Born in Istanbul, drummer and percussionist Robert Sinan Mehmet İkiz moved to Stockholm, where he lives now, with his family when he was 3 years old. He studied Afro-American Music at Stockholm Conservatory and received awards from Royal College of Music in Stockholm. He received awards in the fields of percussion twice and once in jazz. He founded Stockholm Jazz Records in 2002. He released his first two albums ‘Checking In’ and ‘Zoetic Session’ through his own recording label. His endeavours include ‘ikizbooks’ through which he also published his father’s books.
You are a busy musician. You record and play with various bands. Could you talk a bit about these?
The projects and bands I play with are mainly located in Sweden but I also play with international bands as well. These bands I play with are all fundamentally different. Setup and stile-wise: Nils Landgren Funk Unit, Ida Sand, Petter Bergander Trio, Dan Reed Trio. I also have my own band İkiz Cabin Crew (We currently have only one single on iTunes).
I have a couple of duo setups: Lahza (with Cenk Erdoğan)
İkizaki (with Finnish musician Aki Rissanen)
Lindgren/İkiz Duo (with Magnus Lindgren)
İkiz/Bentlöv (with Jonne Bentlöv).
In addition to these bands, I also give concerts with Lars Danielsson, Nicola Conte and Kenan Doğulu (İhtimaller project).
I also have my solo project with only acoustic drums and electronic background sounds. I usually play this project on my free days when I am touring. I also shoot videos with dancers in different countries for this project. Those who are curious can find them on my YouTube channel.
Do you have any upcoming projects?
We will record our first album with İkiz Cabin Crew at the end of February. We will records a new album with Lahza in 2018. There will be recordings with Petter Bergander, İkizaki and Ida Sand in the beginning of 2018. I am also currently touring.
What can you tell us about your duo project with Cenk Erdoğan?
I have been following Cenk for a long time and we met and started to play together a couple of years ago. We formed a great duo and we focused on Lahza even though we live in different countries, and we will continue to do so in the future.
We released our first album in 2017 (through Stockholm Jazz Records and Kabak & Lin). Cenk is a fantastic musician who is in full control of his instrument, I am so glad to have started this project with him. We will have a tour in Turkey between 12-16 December.
12 December Salon IKSV İstanbul
13 December Ankara, June Pub
14 December Konya, Hiç Hane
15 December Eskişehir, Peyote
16 December Bursa, 15 Eylül Kıraathanesi
Swedish Radio named you the musician of the year, was this something you expected? What will come after this?
I was nominated for this award in 2015, I thought I would remain a nominee this year as well, but I was overjoyed when I learnt that I received the award during the live broadcast of the award ceremony.
There were 5 nominee and I thought Goran Kajfes would receive the award. I am the first drummer ever to receive this award in its history. For example, Esbjörn Svensson had received this award in the past. Swedish Radio follows both local and international works of the musicians and this is great. They hear about it when someone makes something great. I was able to focus on music, drums, bands and projects with an easeful mind this past year. This award is acknowledged to be one of the biggest ones in Sweden.
I will continue to focus on the projects I like, but I plan to spend more time in my studio in Stockholm in 2018.
I was constantly on the road in 2017. I was able to stay home for 6-7 consecutive days in August, and was on the road for the rest of it. I want to spare more time for my own projects and play the drums in my studio. I love touring but it leaves little time to effectively play the drums.
My own company Stockholm Jazz Records is still active. The last album we released was Karl Olandersson´s “Simple as That” on the 27th of October.
My aim is to release the albums of great musicians from Sweden in EP and single formats. I focused more on young talents in these past few years, for example I have recorded and released albums of Leo Lindberg and Björn Atle Anfinsen. You can follow these on my page www.jazz.se if you are interested.
One of my biggest hobbies is to make garments, I release new collections every year that relate to music.