Raven and Phan, also known as Utku and Manuel (me), is a duo from Vienna, Austria. Utku is originally from Istanbul, Turkey, and has lived in various countries in Europe and America. Our music is influenced by cultural, musical, melodic, and rhythmic elements, which is why we like to refer to our music as “A sonic odyssey from the Bosporus to the Alps.”
We met in 2014 when I was searching for a guitar player for my project. A mutual friend, Ilkhan, introduced us, and we began playing together. At the time, they were founding a recording label, which I was also indirectly a part of. We spent our summer days chilling on Utku’s balcony, listening to inspiring music such as Caribou’s track “Sun,” Chet Faker, Nicolas Jaar, and Jamie XX. Our goal was to create music that reflected our unique perspectives and shared influences.
Listen to the EP while reading the text.
I didn’t have a clear vision, but I wanted to create what would show common traces with this new wave of music while still reflecting my unique perspective on things. Ilkhan left for other artistic endeavors a year later, and Utku and I moved in together to focus on our music. We spent 3–4 years playing and recording in that flat, where most of our album was created. However, when I moved out and Utku moved to Berlin, the flat became just a memory. In tribute to that special place, we named our first album “Room 167,” referring to the address of the flat in Vienna’s 9th district around the corner of the underground station at Rossauer Laende. We came up with the following words, which summarize the story of the album really well:
The concept of Room 167 was born during the period we lived together in Rossauer Laende, Alsergrund. During that period, we had an intense process of deconstructing ourselves and finding commonalities that we had. Then we just pursued reflecting on these commonalities and fitting differences into art and music. In Room 167 everything was under one roof. Now that when we look back, perhaps there was no clear beginning or an end to Room 167. It was our private void, and it feels like we are still very much in it.
The track “How Many Times” was born during one of our typical jam sessions in the living room on a sunny afternoon in June 2019. I came up with the chords and a beat, and Utku quickly found a groovy vocal line, which we recorded. We didn’t touch the project until the first lockdown in 2020. We wanted to extend our repertoire and remember the track. When we returned to it, we changed the arrangement entirely and gave it more of an indie-rock outfit. The lyrics talk about the different movements and motions you must go through to set yourself free from your biases. It all comes down to the image of falling down and standing up again—a modern Sisyphus myth about getting to know yourself truly madly deeply.
So this is the story behind Raven and Phan and our track “How Many Times”. If you made it up here, thank you very much for your attention, and feel free to get in touch with us and or check our other releases such as the ravishing music video we produced with our talented friends.
Xoxo Raven and Phan