Yagiz Oral is a film music composer and founding conductor of the Agora Symphony Orchestra, based in Ankara, Turkey. Epic Lab had a chance to talk with him.
Yagiz Oral, what made you follow the career of a film composer?
Actually, I can say that my journey started with my interest in composing. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been fascinated by movies and their impact that lasts for days or even weeks. It was inevitable for me to combine these two passions with my interest in composing. When I watch a movie, it makes me realize that I am doing the right thing every time, thanks to its music and the effect it creates as a whole.
How does a young film scoring graduate successfully transition into a successful film composer in today’s highly competitive markets?
Definitely by finding your own musical language. The music industry today is incredibly competitive. However, very successful composers emerge from this competitive environment in every period. I think the biggest reason for this is that these composers are very successful in finding their own language. Creating your own musical language without giving up for a moment from trying and producing is the most correct answer to this question.
What kind of musical trends do you see happening at the moment regarding the musical style of TV and film scores?
I think it depends a bit on where exactly we are looking at the industry. We have a little difficulty hearing new things, especially if there are productions that are on time and are consumed fast. Apart from that, I can definitely say that I hear more electronic and loop-based music. I can say that seeing electronic-based music in today’s productions makes me happy.
Traditional filmmaking has changed significantly through digitalization. Do today’s film composers have to be good programmers / software specialists in the first place?
My answer to this question is both yes and no. Today, keeping up with digitalization is inevitable in order to catch up with the speed and current flow of the industry. However, I don’t think you need to learn programming completely for this. It is necessary to learn in a way that can use digitalization as a tool without restricting creativity in terms of music. So the balance is the key.
You are the founding conductor of the Agora Symphony Orchestra. Who are its members and what kind of repertoire is the orchestra specialized in?
Our orchestra occurs off the music-educated professional musicians from Turkey’s various cities. As an orchestra, we consider performing social responsibility projects as an assignment in a meeting of art and society. Therefore, our repertoire ranges from soundtracks to classical music, from more popular musical arrangements to original compositions.
Besides your compositorial work for film you have also written music for video games. What is the biggest difference in your experience when composing for the video game industry as opposed to fition film?
Definitely the interactive nature of video game projects. When you work in a video game, you’re really building a world out of nothing. This allows you to be interactive and master more variables while writing your music. Also, as someone who loves video games, it’s definitely a very enjoyable process!
Looking at Turkish film in general. How would you characterize it?
If we look at Turkish cinema, especially in terms of story and music, we clearly see dramaticness. Although we can see very good and original works in recent productions, when we look at the big picture, we see dramatic music that is far from epic. Although we can see good works from time to time, I think that Turkish cinema needs more innovations and new approaches in story and music.
What is your dream project?
My dream project is a project formed by the combination of many different branches of art. Just like a movie. I love the aspect of cinema, where it combines different branches of art to create something completely different. My dream project is simply a combination that I want to make with professionals from other fields of art other than music. To be more specific, I would love to incorporate fields such as improvisational painting and modern dance into my music. It is fascinating to me to be a part of this combination with my music and to be able to create a giant product out of small pieces.