It's hard to place Duman under a single genre, as various influences can be heard throughout their albums -- but a grunge feel combined with Turkish folk themes and an overall Arabic vocal style could somewhat provide an initial clue. The hardcore fan base of Duman may be populated mostly by teenagers around the age of 18, but the band is actually a massive influence in the modern Turkish rock scene. Although they may not be the first to cover Arabic styles or folk songs, they were definitely the first to make such musical approaches huge in 21st century Turkey. Duman are comprised of three permanent members: Kaan Tangoze (vocals/guitars), Ari Borakas (bass), and Batuhan Mutlugil (guitars). The first roots of the band may be found in Mad Madam, which was a cover band with a set list full of songs from Seattle groups. Kaan Tangoze and Ari Borakas were together in Mad Madam until Tangoze flew to Seattle to earn a graduate degree. Upon returning to Turkey with a handful of songs molded in the spirit of the Seattle scene, Tangoze formed Duman with Ari Barakos from his former group and Batuhan Mutlugil from another local cover band. After first deciding to work with session drummers, drummer Alen Konakoglu took on this responsibility and the group released Eski Köprünün Altinda in 1999.
Simple guitar lines, catchy choruses, and an intimate approach to daily subjects made Eski Köprünün Altinda a shocking debut in Turkey. "Koprualti," "Hatun," "Halimiz Duman," "Hayati Yasa," "Istanbul," and indeed all the album's songs immediately became gig faves. "Istanbul" was also featured in the documentary film Crossing the Bridge, directed by Fatih Akin. Second effort Belki Alisman Lazim was released in 2002 and featured Cengiz Baysal on drums. With help from a heavy cover of the Sezen Aksu classic "Herseyi Yak," the album was a mainstream hit and the band became the next big thing in the Turkish rock scene. The album and subsequent tour spawned many similar bands as Turkish record labels searched for the next Duman. Almost every song on Belki Alisman Lazim was a hit, and the expectations for the band's third album was even greater. After three years, a lot of gigs, and the release of live album Konser in 2004, the next installment in Duman's recorded history was released in 2005: Seni Kendime Sakladim was a more bluesy and psychedelic and less catchy album, with fewer attempts to achieve popular hits. Cengiz Baysal was on the drums again and Tangoze experimented with more political lyrics. Turkish music writers were split, as some believed that Duman were out of ideas and others thought that the album reflected a newfound maturity. Many gigs around Turkey followed its release. ~ Vefik Karaege