Tatoch Bekçin

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Tatoch Bekçin
Eddie Vedder 2018 -2.jpg
Bekçin in 2018
Tatoch tim Naré Bekçin

(1962-08-03) August 3, 1962 (age 60)
Kisakum, Skarmia
Other namesSamátl Ikçélgi
  • Musician
  • composer
  • actor
Years active1978–present
Children4, including Bulo and Saréia
AwardsFull list
Musical career
OriginKisakum, Skarmia
GenresFolk metal
Associated acts

Tatoch tim Naré Bekçin (born August 3, 1962), also known by his stage name Samátl Ikçélgi ("Knight of Skulls"), is a Skarmian musician, composer and actor, having come to fame as the lead singer and bass guitarist of the Skarmian folk metal band Eline. Noted for work in music and film, Bekçin has received various accolades for his wide body of work. He is known for his baritone vocal style, and is a prolific composer of music beyond metal, with some suggesting he is the most internationally recognised Skarmian musician.

Born in Kisakum, Tatoch sang from a young age with his family, who belong to the ethnic Skarmic nation of Nilagimik, learning folk songs and tribal shouts that would influence much of his later style. However, the influences of the city and the increase in modern music played on "darkblack" radio stations in the 1970s and 80s caused Bekçin to gravitate towards rock and metal, going as far as to teach himself electric guitar to play along to songs on the radio. In 1978, he and cousin Kiparé Bekçin, as well as their school friend Dmitriy Vasilyev, formed a band named Dunne (Darkblack), changing it to Eline (Blessed black) after being investigated by the government as a result of the former name.

Eline was a prominent band in Skarmia, but their influence rarely extended beyond there for their early history due to regular government interference against their tour plans. However, their music effected change on the local government policies regarding musical cultural influence, and by the 1990s they were playing in tours all across southern Ausiana. He achieved even wider fame when taking on his first film role in Meeting in the Ashes in 2000. Since then, his prominent film roles have landed him with critical acclaim, such as in Enter, the Storm, Boys of Misery, the Graveyard series of films, and Becoming Fire. He also has a role in the upcoming film Canvas, set to be released at the 2022 Tofino Film Festival. He released his first solo album in 2005, and has released three other albums since then, and scored numerous films and television shows in that time.

Early life

Bekçin was born on August 3, 1962 in Kisakum to Naláia (née Kilina), a dressmaker, and Qakinik Bekçin, a civil servant working for Skarmia's Diverse Energy Authority. His father had graduated from Kisakum's Ronem University.

His family possessed deep links to the ethnic Skarmic nation of Nilagimik, and was raised in a secular household thanks to his father's own atheist beliefs. He has an elder brother, Apulatl, and two younger siblings, Kiparéia and Sakekç, as well as being raised around his large extended family. The family would often sing folk songs together and dance, which Bekçin states greatly influenced his later stage presence. As well as this, he developed a keen interest in contemporary music, often listening to "darkblack" radio stations, which were stations that operated without the express knowledge of the state and often played otherwise banned music, with government interest in shutting them down waxing and waning over time. It was during this time that he bought his first electric guitar, and would often play along with some of the songs on these radio stations. Bekçin states that while his father and siblings tolerated his music, his mother did not appreciate it, and so he would often spend afternoons with his more amenable aunt and uncle, as well as his cousin, Kiparé Bekçin, who was at the same time learning electric guitar. On weekends and during the school holidays, Tatoch and Kiparé would often spend time writing music, alongside their schoolfriend Dmitriy Vasilyev who played in the school drum band and often brought a snare drum with him. Over the next few years, this partnership would meet more regularly to jam together.


1978-1980: Ënchéka Kekçei Karé and Dunne

The Bekçin cousins and Vasilyev, taking inspiration from the stories of some of the bands they regularly listened to on darkblack stations, decided to form a band and perform as a group in some of the local bars around Kisakum. Tatoch and Vasilyev were 16 at the time, and Kiparé was 15, so many of the bars simply refused to allow them to perform. The group had the idea to circumvent this by going to the local barber that Kiparé's mother worked at to collect some of the hair, that they turned into fake moustaches and beards. The owner of the local bar Aratilag, Ropah Diisin, stated since that he knew the band were using fake names and hasty disguises, but that he allowed them to play on the strict proviso that they did not drink any alcohol. Bekçin stated in an interview that Diisin and many of the early patrons didn't even seem to be enjoying the music all that much, but found the sight of the highschool-age rockers with fake facial hair and folk outfits playing rock music in a bar to be quite humorous. Despite the supposed atmosphere Bekçin describes, the group, at the time performing under the name Ënchéka Kekçei Karé (one-thousand powerful snow lions), attracted a number of patrons to their performances. With Kiparé the slightly more proficient lead guitarist, Tatoch shifted to rhythm guitar, sometimes taking on bass guitar, while becoming the band's lead singer.

In mid-1978, the Skarmian government began cracking down on darkblack stations. Prior to the increased crackdowns, a darkblack station could operate on one frequency for months at a time, with some of the more established stations being able to last a few years, but after increased government interest, some stations were only able to operate over a few days before having to change frequencies and relocate equipment. The Bekçin cousins and Vasilyev lamented their loss, but Ropah Diisin encouraged them to continue playing and learning songs as they could, including writing new material. Continuing to perform in Aratilag, they began to operate with the tagline "the new darkblack", before changing their name to Dunne (the Skarmic word for darkblack). It was also at this time that they started to diversify towards folk metal. It was during this time that they attracted the fourth and fifth members of the band, Arseny Petrov on keyboard and Revep Bertkin as a dedicated bass guitarist.

By the time Tatoch was 18, the secretive nature of performances at Aratilag had begun to crumble, and more and more people were learning of them. They had long since ditched the fake hair routine, and were beginning to grow facial hair of their own, in line with many of the rockers of outside nations. However, with increased popularity and decreased secrecy, and with a name like "Darkblack", the government started to smell blood in the water. This culminated with Diisin informing them that two of the men in the audience one night were government agents, and as Kiparé was still 17 at the time, they should keep quiet for a while, and maybe change their band name. The band went underground for a few months, but were busy during that time. It was at this point that Revep Bertkin suggested they change the name to Eline (Blessed Black), and start performing under pseudonyms as an attempt to cover their identities as the "Darkblack Witchhunts" were still underway. The band agreed, with Tatoch adopting the stage name Samátl Ikçélgi (knight of skulls), and the entire band drawing up posters that would be displayed around town to inform people of their next public performance.

1980-1999: Eline

Their first large-scale performance at Kiiseddor grandstand in Kisakum drew large crowds, partially through the use of posters that teased their link to the earlier Dunne while making their new name front and centre, though also prominently by word of mouth. As the grandstand was a public venue, they were able to perform there without any permits or licences, though the performance was delayed by 17 minutes by an amateur theatre group practicing a performance of Love in Heaven (Skarmic: Chiu qo Kvél). The theatre group made way for the band once the crowd began to get restless. The performance was a major success, and attracted more people from around the parklands, and a boat carrying a wedding party on the lake stopped to get a view of the band's performance. As the band was singing in Skarmic, not explicitly anti-government and ultimately deemed fairly harmless, government reaction to the performance was slow, allowing state-run media to run a positive review of the concert in its next daily paper, though the government issued a recall of the papers (with the positive review) a week later to limited success.

The band took Siis Wenahin on as its producer, as a part of the UCSS production company People's Records, and very soon after in 1981 released their first album - So (meaning "red"). The original name for the album was going to be Ne ("black"), but the production company, not wanting to make any inferences of anarchist sentiment, demanded a change of name. Eline's mainstream appeal grew from there, with state-run radio stations playing their music throughout Skarmia until they became household names. As one of the only metal bands in Skarmia at the time, the radio's limited trial of "metal hour" (2-3pm on Thursdays) mostly revolved around their music, but itself could have limited listenership, as the students who would be more likely to listen to their music were in school. Bekçin expresses the sentiment that they were being "silently silenced" in his 2005 song 2-3pm. Their lyrics and style were described by state-owned critics as "distinctly new, but based on a long tradition", while the album had only a very limited international release. Their next two albums (Ihi Siša in 1982 and Pepinet in 1983) received very similar reviews, but have later often been considered fairly uninspiring, though still received glowing reviews from state run media.

1983 saw the beginning of the Ossotia War, and Skarmia became involved in the conflict on the side of Beleroskov and the UCSS. The Skarmian government requested the band create an album as pro-UCSS (and anti-Ossotian) propaganda. Bekçin has later said of this request that "it was the first moment that we, as a band, decided to say 'fuck you' to the government and make our own way. We didn't care what [the UCSS] said, we didn't want to condemn our neighbour, we simply thought they had the right to leave if they wanted to, so we told our government that we would not be making propaganda for them". The band gradually decided that they should attempt to show some of their own anti-establishment sentiment, even if only covertly, in their songs, and that they should be continually pushing People's Records to allow them more leeway. The Bekçin cousins wrote the songlist for their next album project, and managed to twist Wenahin's arm to allow them to record and release them using a legal loophole to circumvent the input of the state censor board. Wenahin complied, and in November 1983, they released Detzi. Despite anger from the government, the court found in favour of the band due to the legal loophole they exploited, and the album went on to receive international acclaim. Upon winning their case, the band released the single Ne Tauc, Ne Guri! (No War, No Thanks!) which became the definitive protest song against the Ossotia War. It was also at this time that the band members, while still associating with their stage names, officially released their real names to the public, the stated aim of protecting their identities having already long since failed.

1999-2002: Film breakthrough and breakup of band

2002-2016: Leading man status and solo work

2016-present: Memoir and Canvas