Onur Bıçak is a successful musician who started his career as a TV series composer with “Kalbim Ege’de Kaldı” and has written theme music for many popular series. While reading our interview, you can listen to the TV series albums he composed for “Kalbim Ege’de Kaldı”, “Siyah Beyaz Aşk”, “Doğduğun Ev Kaderindir”, “Masumlar Apartmanı” on digital music services; you can also get to know Onur Bıçak, the composer who keeps the feeling of the series alive in you while reminiscing the scenes of your favorite series, by reading his interview. We wish you a good reading.
You are a well-known name in the TV series world. How did you meet this community?
– As a musician, movie music was always my dream. I don’t know why, but during my school years, while my friends were more oriented towards stage and studio work; my goal was always in this direction. Even when there was no project, I would fictionalize an emotion or a story and compose a music for it. I started as an assistant at an agency while I was 19. I have been writing music for TV series ever since.
When you start composing music for a TV series, are you inspired by the script and characters?
– Of course. The story, emotions, time, place, characters… All of them are the main factors that give you direction. For me, the best works with the highest impact are written only when I come together with the stage. Reading the script inspires you, of course, but it is only when the image arrives that we can take the work to the final point. Therefore, when I meet with the script and the image, I find myself accompanying the emotions of each character.
Which instruments and music genres do you prefer in the series you work on and what factors influence your choice?
– The story, time and place mostly determine the style of instruments and music. Rather than a preference, it’s like blending these points and combining the most accurate and striking sounds with the image… Let’s take a family drama: If this story is set in the East, it leads us to focus on different music, and if it is set in the West, it leads us to focus on different sounds. Time is also one of the most important factors shaping the choice of instruments.
As a musician working in this field, how do you evaluate the impact of “theme” compositions in Turkish TV series on storytelling and connecting with the audience?
– We usually pair the theme music with the character. We take care not to use that theme in different places in the series so that a connection can be established between them. With the right emotion, we can increase this effect to a very high level. It is this combination of music and character that stays in the minds of the audience.
How do the reactions and feedback from the audience about a TV series for which you have composed music affect you?
– There is a considerable audience for TV series music in Turkey. Of course, it’s great when your work is appreciated. It increases motivation and makes you feel great at the point of reaching professional satisfaction, which is more important than the money you earn. The fact that there are viewers who also investigate the kitchen part of the work is also very impressive in this respect.
Do you think TV series composers are as well-known as screenwriters? If your answer is no, what do you think could be the reasons for this?
– I think both screenwriters and directors are not recognized enough. To be objective, I think there are many people who need to be mentioned until it’s our turn. The reason for this situation is of course not being in the public eye. It is another dimension to be a little bit more in the kitchen, not in front of the camera but right behind it.
Turkish TV series also attract a lot of attention abroad, do you follow them; are they different from the Turkish audience?
– I don’t follow enough to share general information about the audience abroad, but we have productions that are very popular and followed like in Turkey. Thanks to the success of both my colleagues and our producers, I am sure that the Turkish TV series market will be in a better place.
How do you evaluate the differences between composing music for a TV series and creating an album or a standalone song?
– A TV series or a movie… No matter how much of yourself you put into it, in the end, you are guided by a story, a point of view; you act within that framework. We can give an example like a glass bell. But when it comes to your own compositions, it is only you who draws all the boundaries. In your own compositions, you are like in a vast ocean, and when you meet with the audience, you can feel and share sadness, happiness and enthusiasm to the extreme.
While you are a recognized composer, you have not neglected your education. Do you continue your education at London College of Music, University of London?
– London College of Music is actually an open education system that any musician can join and get a diploma. If you have theoretical and practical knowledge in the field of music, you can also apply to this system, provided that you have enough English. When I first heard about the London College of Music, I applied without hesitation and I am about to finish it. Thanks to what it has given me, I have made great strides in my studies and even watching my own development from afar makes me remember once again what a right decision I made by turning to this field.
You are also a piano instructor. Do you continue to give active lessons? If yes, what level and age range are your students? Can you share contact information so that those who want to be your students can contact you?
– Right now, I have students with whom we have actively continuing lessons. However, if a student drops out and there is a vacancy, I may start lessons with new students because it is a very difficult job to create a curriculum specific to the student and to be closely involved in the student’s learning process. But it is a job I love. Anyone can contact me at email@example.com.
It’s probably difficult to make a choice among TV series, but if I ask you which theme among all your TV series music has influenced you the most and which theme you can’t forget, can you choose?
– Rather than my works for TV series, as I mentioned before, I like my own special works that make me feel like I am in an ocean. Since these works give me more pleasure, I would like to share one of these works with you. I would love you to listen to my recently released track “Old Paper” and I look forward to your feedback.
Do you have any new projects coming soon? Will you be working on anything other than series music?
– My current plan is to give a break for the TV series for 1-2 years. We are already continuing to work with my students, because I always seem to learn something new myself in this process. So, this period will be a time when I can add new ones to my own compositions, which you can access on music platforms like Spotify and AppleMusic; and focus on my own album and my works. I’m preparing a series on music on YouTube and it will be available as a podcast. I hope to finish it as soon as possible and share it with enthusiasts.
Do you plan to give concerts?
– Of course I do. But as I said, I will have a long work schedule ahead of me. I hope everything will be great in the end. I am looking forward to it, too. Thank you very much for your interview. Lots of love.