Having dropped the first vinyl 12" on Furry Music in November last year, his own "Just Go With It", and expected to be followed by the equally tonsorial "Curly Hair" from Roel H, Ozgur explains, that like many great 21st Century ideas, the name for the label came from a late-night Messenger chat session with label partner, Stian Klo from Norway.
"We were sitting up one night, chatting on MSN Messenger and thought, fuck, we need a project name. If you take a look at all the projects that Stian's involved in with his Norwegian producer friends, they always have the strangest names that don't make sense. So from out of nowhere he came up with 'Furry Nipples', which is our name when we make projects together. I was laughing for about an hour cos it's like so ridiculous. But it stays in people's heads so we just said, "Let's go with it!" even though it made no sense." When the pair then started talking about setting up the label, the progression from furry nipples to furry music seemed the obvious choice.
[If, like me, you're possibly wondering whether Ozgur Can has furry nipples, you may have to wonder a little more. At the risk of having him lift his shirt in a crowded restaurant I refrained from asking this question but, I'd put money on it!]
Back to the music and Ozgur is quick to make the distinction between Furry Music, which has the Mixturi guys behind the label's management, and Anjuna Beats, who he also does A&R for. "I don't really have much to do with Anjuna Beats other than finding tracks for their new prog trance label, " admits Ozgur. "They approached me a year ago since I know a lot of progressive trance producers. That's going good for me too but it's more of a side thing compared to Furry Music".
For all of his progressive trance releases and associations, it was actually psychedelic not progressive trance that inspired Ozgur to start tinkering away at production and DJing back in 1996. "The strange sounds, the melodies like Astral Projection stuff - I was really into that. I think I have all their albums and I still put them on sometimes for the good memories. Then I went into really hard Swedish techno like Adam Beyer, Cari Lekibusch, Joel Mull, that kind of stuff and I'm still into that. I'm going back to it even more now."
The progressive techno side of Ozgur can probably best be heard on his recent "Mind Your Step" single released on Adam Beyer'sTruesoul label. Having described his sound as "technoraveacidhousetrance", on the night we catch up with Ozgur Can at club Air in Tokyo, there is certainly a hard, ravey, techno sound resonating throughout most of his set and very little of anything remotely fluffy or progressive.
"I used to be really into that stuff, like most of my early releases were [progressive trance]. Nowadays I don't really play that kind of stuff and haven't for a year. I still play some of the stuff if I find it really exciting, like if it's something fresh, " points out Ozgur. "I still like it, obviously, because I'm still scouting for tracks to push to Anjuna Beats but it's not really something you'll find in my sets".
Perhaps Ozgur is finding more inspiration these days, from the producers in his hometown Stockholm, home to the so-called "Swedish Mafia" consisting of Eric Prydz, Steve Angello, Sebastian Ingrosso and Axwell, not to mention the talented Dahlback brothers (Jesper and John). Although Ozgur is the first to admit that his hometown is hardly a hotbed of thriving club nights.
"The scene is really small in Sweden. People think like, "Shit. They got a lot of big DJs and a lot of producers..." but you don't see any of those guys playing in any clubs. Stockholm is nice but we have no big clubs. It's really hard".
Having known Eric Prydz for three years "before his whole 'Call On Me' thing" and a good friend of Sebastian Ingrosso, can we expect any future releases or remixes from them on Furry Music? "Only in my dreams!" laughs Ozgur. "That would be nice! I've actually remixed one of Eric Prydz's tracks under his Cirez D name, 'Knockout'. I think it's coming out soon."
Ozgur also hints at a possible collaboration with Sebastian Ingrosso sometime in the future. "I've actually been talking with him but we're both so lazy. We've been talking about it for six months but it'll hopefully happen sometime soon. It would be fun to do something with him".
For now, the title of the first release from Furry Music "Just Go With It" would seem to be both indicative of Ozgur's A&R philosophy and his approach in the studio. "We don't want to be pushed in the corner with one sound. We're going to be releasing all kinds of stuff that we're really into," confirms Ozgur. "If we come across a really good techno track we're going to release it. If we come across a really good tech house track, same...as long as we feel that it's good".
"That track ["Just Go With It"] started out as a joke in the studio with three friends. I made it in like three hours or something. It was something that I've never done before. I just thought, "Fuck it. Let's go with it." adds Ozgur.
While last year saw Ozgur playing more international gigs in places like Poland, Greece, Norway, Tokyo and Budapest, for all of his worldly travels, it seems there's no place like home when I ask about some of his best gigs. "That's a hard one. I think it was probably in Stockholm on a boat. They have these cruises, 24-hour party boats between Stockholm and Helsinki. I think that me and Stian, the Furry Nipples, played together for like 3 or 4 hours. It was in February and it was crazy!"
Cold, furry nipples! Now there's a thought.
Ozgur Can's "Just Go With It"/"Another Kind" is out now on Furry Music. His "Mind Your Step" release is also available on Truesoul.