Mor ve Ötesi was formed in 1995 with the line-up of Kerem Kabadayı (drums), Harun Tekin (vocals and guitar), Derin Esmer (vocals and guitar) and Alper Tekin (bass), who were then students at the Deutsche Schule Istanbul. They released their first album Şehir (“The City”) in September 1996 and played their first live concert in Ankara. That year, Burak Güven replaced Alper Tekin on bass.
Bırak Zaman Aksın (“Let Time Flow”), their second album was released in January 1999 and met with success. Just after its release, Derin Esmer moved to the United States and was replaced by prominent guitarist Kerem Özyeğen. After the devastating 1999 Kocaeli earthquake, Mor ve Ötesi started exploring more social and political themes. They were also very active in the opposition against the use of nuclear energy in Turkey.
In August 2001, they released their third album, Gül Kendine (“Smile at Yourself”). With Kerem Özyeğen, there was a noticeable change in the music and lyrics. In May 2003, Mor ve Ötesi’s released the Yaz EP, which included a cover of the Ajda Pekkan song Yaz Yaz Yaz.
Their fourth album Dünya Yalan Söylüyor (“The World is Lying”) was released in March 2004. The album became their most popular album in Turkey, reaching 250,000 sales. Since their previous work was not as well known, many new fans were not aware of the band’s history. Although this album has been their best selling album, it is not admired by many of their old fans as much as their previous work, and some have even seen it as “sell-out”. The album contained considerable political criticism against the activities of the USA both in Iraq and the rest of the world. In the same year they received a Golden Orange Award for their single “Bir Derdim Var”, included on the soundtrack of the Çağan Irmak film Mustafa Hakkında Her Şey.
Mor ve Ötesi performing at Eurovision
Their fifth album Büyük Düşler (“Great Hopes”) was released on 9 May 2006. This album mainly dealt with the political problems of Turkey and the personal problems of the group members, including loss of family members and their relationships. It has a darker sound compared to their previous albums. This album is regarded as a homage to their old fan base and a return to a style closer to their earlier albums. Three singles were released from the album: “Şirket”, “Küçük Sevgilim”, and “Ayıp Olmaz Mı?”. Büyük Düşler was named Best Album of the Year by Rolling Stone Turkey and Best Rock Album of the Year by Blue Jean magazine.
On 10 December 2007 TRT’s general manager İbrahim Şahin announced that Mor ve Ötesi were to represent Turkey in Eurovision Song Contest 2008 with the song ‘Deli’. Mor ve Ötesi qualified to finals through the second half of the half finals on 22 May. They had the 12th performance on the finals and finished the contest in 7th place with 138 points, which was held in Belgrade on 24 May 2008. During the contest, BBC commentator Terry Wogan described the lead singer as “a sinister James Bond”.
The band’s sixth album, Başıbozuk, was released in late 2008, and included three studio and four live tracks, including their Eurovision entry, as well as remixes.
Their seventh album “Masumiyetin Ziyan Olmaz” (“Your Innocence Won’t Go To Waste”) came out on 12 May 2010. The first video clip was “Yorma Kendini”
Their eighth album “Gunesi Beklerken” was released on 17 December 2012. The first video clip was made for “Oyunbozan”.
In 2016, the band released the single “Anlatamıyorum” which came out with DMC label. The music video was shot together with director Serdar Ferit. Two sets were set up for shooting in Istanbul and Helsinki. On the 20th anniversary of the band’s foundation, their cult album “Dünya Yalan Söylüyor” was, for the first time introduced to fans on vinyl format.