Ece Era is the artist name and electronic project of Turkish musician and filmmaker Ece Eryavuz. From a young age growing up in Istanbul, Ece found herself inexplicably struck with great emotion at the most curious and commonplace of moments: sitting on a rooftop staring across Istanbul’s ocean of concrete and minarets, listening to an overplayed pop song, watching passers-by out of the car window. The intensity of these moments would be matched by their bitter-sweetness, a complexity of emotion she struggled to channel. Ece always had an artistic lens on the world, but being the only person interested in the arts at school took its toll, making her question if there was something ‘wrong’ with her.
“Primary and middle school were hell. I was made fun of for being odd or having different tastes. My mother often told me she wished she had a ‘normal’ daughter. I ended up thinking there was only one way to be – an ‘objective reality’. I studied how other kids behaved in order to replicate it. I succeeded, but deep down I was unsatisfied.”
As a fan of American film throughout her childhood, Ece found herself compelled to experience the American way of life, and moved to New York alone to finish high school and college. Although her American high school wasn’t what she envisioned (a very religious boarding school, something she was unaware of before attending), she could, at last, explore her artistic side there. She joined the choir and began being cast as the leads in school plays.
Since childhood, she had a fascination with philosophical analysis, and went on to study philosophy in college. The dry rigidness of traditional philosophical pursuits left a sense of human connection and communication to be desired, and she found herself, once again, gravitating back towards the artistic world. She landed on filmmaking and music as creative outlets to balance and account for what she could not articulate in haughty prose and argument.
After completing her studies in New York, Ece relocated to Belgium to focus her studies on film. While attending the master’s film program at the Royal Academy of Arts in Ghent, she discovered the freedom of making electronic music through meeting musicians who grew up in the electronic music scene there. Now, she is releasing her first 3-track EP, War On Innocence, on the Brooklyn-based label 2MR. Using elements of Eurodance and Trance, Ece laid the foundation for each track, iterating on them until they reached a sense of timelessness.
“I’ve always had a soft spot for Eurodance having grown up in Turkey and going on summer vacations where that was played at every beach and hotel bar in the south. Trance is likewise nostalgic for me. I associate it with traveling: being at an airport with futuristic architecture, or driving through tunnels with amber tungsten lights. To move from one place to the other, to become oneself… I carry these feelings when I’m making music.”
For Ece, music is a metaphysical mirror that stares back at us, communicating the incommunicable. The very act of making music serves as a conduit between Ece and what surrounds her: a grounding, connective activity. Her music often has minimal lyrics and is playful. Through music, she is finally able to freely explore her dionysian side.