Hüseyin Evirgen aka Magna Pia is a composer, producer and DJ. He is one half of Cassegrain and has been working on his own solo material as Magna Pia since 2016. He studied composition, piano and electronic music at the University of Istanbul and Mozarteum Salzburg and has composed music for theatre, dance performances, and mixed media for almost two decades. After meeting Alex Tsiridis at the Red Bull Music Academy in 2008, they formed the techno duo “Cassegrain”. Since their first release on Mikrowave in 2010, they have worked with a variety of labels such as Warm up, infrastructure NY, Prologue, Killekill, Counterchange and Semantica. In 2016 they formed their own imprint called “Arcing Seas”, which is now home to both collaborative work as Cassegrain, solo projects as well as guest artists. As Magna Pia, Hüseyin Evirgen focuses on providing combative dance floor trips and unorthodox sonic moods with subtle 90s techno references while he keeps his interest in combining contemporary techno music with archaic symbolism.
1: Fight the bullies.
2: Fight the ignorance.
3: Fight your own demons.
1. What is the biggest inspiration for your music?
Nature, love, space, time, future, past, everything archaic, history, patterns, loops, loops which are slowly evolving, counterpoint, people who I have the feeling that we met in the past lives, occult, sexuality, roots, animals, spirits, politics.
2. How and when did you get into making music?
I started playing the piano in 1985, when I was 7 years old. As soon as I learned how to read and write notes, I would fill a paper with generic melodies and call it something like symphony no. 52 and show it to the theory teacher at the conservatory. She used to tap on my head say “well done boy” and politely ignore me. I started writing pieces properly at the age of 13. Then I started studying composition with 16 at the Istanbul University. First electronic try outs were around 1997.
3. What are 5 of your favourite albums of all time?
Glenn Gould – Bach – Die Kunst der Fuge
Boards of Canada – Music has the Right to Children
Judas Priest – Painkiller
Jeff Buckley – Grace
Miles Davis – Bitches Brew
4. What do you associate with Berlin?
Change. It is a place which changes constantly, unlike the other European big cities. Although it is getting tougher and more expensive, it is still one of the few places where it is easier to survive. It is a dangerous place for the soul as well. The “freedom” you get here and the hedonist vibes can suck anyone in very easily. It is difficult to move here and keep focused. Too many distractions. People come and go very often. Really hard to find the real friendships and relationships. It used to be a friendlier and more open minded place but now everything is becoming a fashion or hype.
5. What’s your favourite place in your town?
I think it is still Berghain. Otherwise Landwehr Kanal which is the closest water to my flat. I especially love Britz Garden too.
6. If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?
The world would be a terrible dystopian place without music. If I managed to survive, I would fight the darkness. But also, if I grew up in a world without music, I would not be the person I am now. So it is difficult to guess.
7. What was the last record/music you bought?
JH1.FS3 – Trials and Tribulations
8. Who would you most like to collaborate with?
Sanubar Tursun. A unique Uyghur folk singer. But she has been missing for the past two years since they put her into a concentration camp for Uyghurs in Xinjiang, China.
9. What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?
I think the best one was last Cassegrain live set at the Vurt in Seoul where we played more than and hour and half and did not realise how the last hour passed.
10. How important is technology to your creative process?
It doesn’t matter if it is a synth or a piano, every instrument is a technological product of some era. So it is very important for my creative process. On the other hand, my studio is not the most high tech studio. I try to keep up with all the improvements, but I’m not obsessed with the gears coming out every month and I chose very carefully what gear I buy and try to keep my set up as limited as possible to get the best out of it and not to get lost with too many options.
11. Do you have siblings and how do they feel about your career/art?
I have an 11 years older sister. We have very different daily lives, but we have a deep connection which is not that much related to art and music.
Magna Pia presents his new album ‘DAIAUNA’, focusing on piano with electronics and archaic sound art, at Feral Note’s showcase at St. Elisabeth Kirche on Wednesday, 17th July, along performances from Robert Lippok with Kaan Bulak, and Liam Byrne.
Photo © Gözde Güngör