Bits in Pockets

Bits in Pockets

Band / Artist

​​Bits in Pockets is high school friends vocalist Emre Arduman, guitarist Derin Dönmez, bassist Ata Tuna, and drummer Tibet Ahunbay. Their debut EP The Bits was released on April 29. The three-song collection is frenetic, punky, and whip-smart, yet somehow always accessible. It oozes the familial chemistry of longtime friends harnessed to the reckless irreverence of the young.

Digging into the creative process, Byta speaks with artists, musicians, producers, DJs and anyone involved with music creation. A conversation about how they create, collaborate and share music. From studio setups to routines, and the first person to hear about the next 'big' work.

Hey, Bits in Pockets! Where are you based?

Hey. Bits in Pockets are internationally based: Montreal, Edinburgh, London, and Istanbul.

We recorded the music in Istanbul.

How, when and where did you start making music? Are you primarily a musician or a producer, or do something else?

We all started making music in different places and times with different people. However, the band was being formed near the end of high school. We would have regular jam sessions in a basement studio. A year after we departed for college, Emre and Tibet met up in Montreal to record demos. Ata and Derin joined them to form a full band and record songs in a studio.

Who would you consider some of your biggest influences when it comes to your “sound”?

Early Arctic Monkeys has been a big influence. Generally, we like going through songs if we are looking for a specific sound, this can be looking at a Jeff Buckley song sound for the sound of a guitar or a Last Shadow Puppets song for the bass sound.

Explain your creative process. Do you have a routine?

Since we’re in different cities of the world, most of the initial creative process is done by Emre. He sends recordings of him while ideating melodies with a guitar and the rest of the band critiques the work he does. Then we start recording a demo remotely to agree on the general arrangement but all of the material that we make can later be deleted in the studio if the majority of the band dislikes it. As a consequence, some songs such as ‘Sailed Away’ and ‘Wave on Backwards’ were created in a couple of days while our other releases took us months of 12-hour studio sessions on top of university work.

What is your “studio” setup?

We record in a studio that is mainly used for recording commercials and soundtracks. The studio has a lot of high-end equipment but they mostly do not. Considering we are a rock band, our favourite gear is generally guitars. We worship the sound of a Telecaster.

What is your process when working with other people? How is collaboration different in the studio vs working remotely? 

When it is remote, we try to assign tasks for each member of the band, then circle back a week later. We usually don’t collaborate with anyone else except the band. We have demo versions finished before we enter the studio, and we re-record everything and try to complete the missing links and add layers in the studio. The main arrangement is usually finished before entering the studio, but we can write a new chorus, verse or bridge in the studio if we feel something is missing. 

During the covid period, before we entered the studio, we had frequent Zoom sessions where we discussed arrangements of our demos and creative explosions.

At what point(s) are you comfortable letting other people hear what you are working on?

We like to get feedback from other people as soon as it starts sounding like what we imagined. Or, if we feel a song needs improvement and can’t figure out why we send it to our friends for feedback.

Do you share your work in progress (streams or downloads)? Any technical frustrations?

After we roughly mix a song, we start sharing them through private streaming links

One frustration is the remote demo work and mixing. When we work remotely, we have all these ideas, so we create many versions of a song, without vocals, without bass, and so on, to test different ideas. The same thing with mixing, there will be 12 different versions normally for a single song. It can be frustrating to look back and find the version that you were looking for.

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How do you know when a track/album is finished?

When we try all the ideas we had, and end up with a version that satisfies all the members of the band. If nobody has a burning feeling to add more to a song, and we feel there is no more left to give, we call it finished.

How do you listen to the final mixes/mastered work?

Since we never have all the time in the same city until a song can be mixed/mastered, we listen to the final works in our own home setups. A way of being sure of our work for us is sending the final works to our musical mentors who we love and respect deeply. Once our songs are about to be finalised, we like to hear their thoughts. Once the production was finished, we used private SoundCloud links to share our songs with others, and the Box App to send the song links for promotional purposes.

How important is pre-release security when sharing new work?

We don’t really have problems with pre-release security. We didn’t face any issues with our label or our distributor in any of the releases.

Who on your team gets to hear the final versions first and why, what formats do they each need?

We all get to listen to them at the same time because they are being sent to all of us at the same time. No one outside the band really makes decisions on any part of the production process.

Outside of your inner circle who are the people that will need to hear the new tracks next?

Our parents and close friends hear our songs when we finish or are close to finishing. If we are looking to promote it, we can send it to labels and publishers.

Anything you are working on, anyone you are working with and want to share?

Yes, our debut EP – The Bits came out on April 29th 2022.