A band of our times: Bits in Pockets feels new, raw and timely

I spoke with the members of Bits In Pockets about their new EP, how the band started and what they’re doing now.


Ebru Ahunbay

The members of Bits in Pockets looking extremely lavish. (Photo courtesy of Ebru Ahunbay)

Deniz Orbay, Staff Writer

Do you ever feel inadequate when you realize your peers are way cooler than you, especially when they were born and raised in the same place as you? Well, that’s exactly how I felt when I talked to the four guys that make up Bits in Pockets, an up-and-coming rock band that feels global and local simultaneously: glocal, if you will.

Disclaimer: you are going to see the letter “ö” a lot throughout the article. Pronounce it like the “ea” in “heard.” Thank me later.

Bits in Pockets consists of guitarist Derin Dönmez, bassist Ata Tuna, drummer Tibet Ahunbay and vocalist Emre Arduman. All fellow countrymen of mine (in other words, hailing from Turkey), the quartet have all found their ways abroad, with group members continuing their education mostly in the UK and Canada. To add to the internationality of it all, Arduman actually joined our interview from a quaint little cafe in Paris, a perfect spot to establish the vibe the band is going for.

The idea of the band blossomed when Arduman and Dönmez found themselves next to each other on a school bus, heading to the high school they both attended. They realized how different their tastes in music were, roasting each other’s playlists until they eventually started expanding their horizons through the other person’s taste.

“He was a classic Radiohead snob,” Arduman said, referring to Dönmez.

Meanwhile, Ahunbay and Dönmez were already in a cover band together. Dönmez introduced Arduman to Ahunbay, and the three started jamming in Ahunbay’s dad’s music studio. Yes, imagine owning a music studio.

With three out of four of the final lineup ready to rock ‘n’ roll, the trio started to learn more about creating music in the studio. Arduman mentioned that Ahunbay and Dönmez were his points of reference when it came to how to navigate the ins and outs of music. With everyone learning more and more about music production, the band was almost launch-ready. One thing was missing though.

“We decided we needed like a handsome bassist type,” Dönmez said.

Enter Tuna.

The only one out of the four from another high school, Tuna was a member of his school’s orchestra, playing the bass for his school in prestigious events. Now that he had joined, bringing all his musical prowess (and handsomeness) with him, the band was complete. What came after was countless days and nights in the studio, struggling with where to start within the endless options of music production modern technology provides. They learned as they played; they played as they learned. Finally, they had an EP. That EP, though, never got released.

“We struggled a lot with snobbery, with not liking our own songs,” Arduman said. Back to the studio they went.

The EP, dubbed “The Bits,” is now finally out, consisting of the three-song set list “Halfway Through an Episode,” “Wave on Backwards” and “Collette.” The songs are mostly about the stories Arduman accumulated as a college student in the hustle and bustle of London. “Halfway Through an Episode,” per Arduman, is the retelling of a crazy night he had in the city. He was a bit more hesitant to answer who “Collette” was, however (wink-wink). Let’s just say she was a girl he met during the pandemic, and it didn’t quite end well.

Arduman additionally cited Arctic Monkeys’ first album, “Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not,” as his musical inspiration for the EP.

“I love how you can hear the guitars kind of answer each other on that album, which we tried to recreate on the EP,” Arduman said.

I am hyped to see what the band comes up with next—if they get over their self-proclaimed snobbery, of course. But for now, I will enjoy their new EP, envious of what people my age are capable of as I sit here, writing about them.

“The Bits” EP is out now on streaming platforms.