Interview with Can Yıldırım from the French band Bend the Future

How did Bend the Future come together?

We officially consist of five members in the group: Samy (keyboards), Piel (drums), Rémi (bass), Pierre-Jean (saxophone), and myself (guitars, vocals). My journey with the band began when I was playing in a cover band and stumbled upon a Taylor acoustic guitar during a negotiation in a stranger’s flat. This encounter led me to meet Rémi. Following the disbandment of that project, I expressed my desire to start a new band focused on progressive rock and its derivatives. I was in search of a drummer, keyboard player, and a second guitarist. Instead, Rémi introduced me to a saxophone player who was proficient with the keyboard and had a skilled drummer friend. It was the ideal scenario, and we began practicing together for at least four hours a week. Within four months, we were fortunate to find our young talent, Samy. Additionally, in our albums “Without Notice” and “Sounds So Wrong,” we had the privilege of featuring Nemo, Piel’s younger brother, who played the soprano saxophone, along with other significant guest contributors.

Are there any particular bands or albums that have had a significant impact on your music and style?

Talk Talk – Laughing Stock
Boards of Canada – Music Has The Right To Children
Tigran Hamasyan – Mockroot
Grails – Deep Politics
Opeth – Ghost Reveries

Your music possesses a deep and hypnotic quality. Could you share insight into your songwriting process? How do you approach composing your music?

Either Samy or I usually start with demos, which are often written for multiple instruments. We then bring these ideas to the band, where we collectively shape and refine them. Our creative process involves a lot of jamming around these initial ideas, and at times, our compositions are meticulously written with less room for improvisation. We strive to strike a natural balance between these approaches, and I believe we’ve been successful thus far. Currently, we are eager to explore new avenues we haven’t ventured into before, with a focus on rhythm and a more expansive approach.

In the age of digital music and streaming, what challenges and opportunities do you see for emerging bands in terms of building a fan base and promoting your music?

In the digital music era, where short, TikTok-ready tracks and music for fast swipe videos dominate, promoting our kind of music can be challenging. However, for us, the most efficient way to promote our music is through live shows. Building a sense of belonging and curiosity among our audience is essential. It’s also important to cultivate a sense of appreciation. While our digital platform numbers may not always reflect the effort and quality we put into our work, we cherish our dedicated fans who purchase our merchandise and attend our shows. They are a small but invaluable group and serve as our main motivation for creating new music with Bend the Future.

Can you describe the type of audience that typically connects with your music? What do you believe draws people to your sound, and are there any particular demographics or interests that your fan base shares?
According to analytics, 80% of our streaming audience is male, and mostly above 30 or 40. We have some good numbers around 50-60 range. So sometimes I call our music “old man’s music”. But in concerts we tend to have younger people dominating the audience.

Do you have any plans to expand your live performances to international audiences in the near future? If so, are there any specific countries or regions you’re particularly excited about playing in?

Prior to the pandemic, we had some international dates booked. Unfortunately, we haven’t had the opportunity to perform outside of France since then. Our goal is to expand our live performances to Europe, with a particular focus on Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, and Turkey. Most of our fans, according to streaming and Bandcamp sales analytics, hail from these regions, and we’re eager to connect with them through our music.

How do you feel about the current musical landscape and the state of the music industry today? Are there any trends, challenges, or opportunities that you find particularly interesting or impactful as a young progressive rock band?

The current musical landscape is intriguing, especially with the evolution of new era jazz, notably in the UK scene. There are numerous talented individuals and exceptional producers with unique sounds. However, when it comes to rock and metal, there are some notable exceptions, but many bands seem to either replicate the past or produce music that sounds indistinguishable from one another. I could challenge anyone to blind-test snare sounds from ten different new metal albums, and they often sound remarkably similar.

One of our main challenges is that our music defies easy categorization, making it difficult to promote on various platforms. While we identify as a progressive rock band, our music incorporates a myriad of different genres. Additionally, finding the right record label and receiving their support that makes a significant impact remains a challenge. While we’ve never released an album without a label, we’re uncertain about the true benefits it has brought us and what the future holds.

Looking ahead, what are your expectations and aspirations for the future as a band? Are there any specific goals or milestones you hope to achieve, or new directions you’d like to explore in your musical journey?

Our expectations include continuing to create music until we no longer feel inspired by what we compose and produce. We aim to perform as many shows as possible and relish this journey. To be honest, we believe that our songwriting approach in the past three albums has reached a saturation point. Currently, we are working on a double EP, aiming to shift our style both sonically and in our work habits. We hope to bring these new songs to their final form and record them in the near future.

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APOTHEUS – Ergo Atlas

CANNIBAL CORPSE – Chaos Horrific