Athena is a ska punk band from Istanbul, Turkey that is famous in Turkey and is also well-known in Germany. Its current line-up is composed of Hakan Özoğuz (guitar and backing vocals), Gökhan Özoğuz (lead vocals and guitar), Umut Arabacı (bass), and Emre Ataker (keyboards).
Athena (ah-T'hěn-ah) was formed by twin brothers Gökhan Özoğuz and Hakan Özoğuz in 1987. They started their musical life as a metal band, but switched to the ska genre sometime later.
Until 1999 they performed numerous concerts and paved their way to their first album Holigan. Athena's ska sound and songs were welcomed by the local record buying public so much so that the title song Holigan was adopted as a march by football supporters of all ages at the stadiums. The album hit various Turkish charts and stayed at the top for a considerable amount of time. Shortly after releasing the Holigan' album, Athena did a large scale tour of Turkey. One of the significant moments of the tour was their show at Açikhava Tiyatrosu in Istanbul, followed by their role as a support act for the Rolling Stones concert at Ali Sami Yen Stadium, home to the Turkish football club Galatasaray, which they consider to be the most important performance of their career.
Athena was the face of Turkey as part of the Millennium Concert at Taksim Square in Istanbul on the first night of 2000. The said concert was broadcast live by the Turkish channel NTV and was available to channels around the world. Athena was later invited to Popkomm Festival held in Köln, Germany and performed with the Beastie Boys. WDR, the leading radio channel in Germany, broadcast Athena's concert live.
The second album "Tam Zamanı Şimdi" was released and the first single Yaşamak Var Ya was an instant hit in Turkey. The album sales reached gold status in an extremely short time. Their tour was sold out as a result of their exploding popularity. They performed a series of concerts in Germany pairing up with the famous German ska band The Fritz. After the tour, their song Devam Boşver included on the album World of Ska Volume 11 which was released in Europe by a pioneering ska label Pork Pie Records. Then came one of the major events in Athena's career, the 12 Dev Adam (12 Giant Men). The song they recorded for the Turkish National Basketball Team had also an immense success in Europe. The Turkish National Basketball Team finished runner-up in The European Championships and many European newspapers commented that the song, sang by the team's supporters during the games, led the team play better.
In January 2002, Athena's new album Her Şey Yolunda was released. Two songs from this album, Öpücük and Beyoğlu were major hits. 2003 was a particularly busy year for Athena. While the large tour for their latest album was in progress, they started an anti-war movement against the Iraqi war, and Athena contributed to the movement with a song No Need for War, and performed with many other musicians. Athena was the guest group at the huge dance show directed by Beyhan Murphy for Turkish Opera and Ballet. They also performed as a headliner at the H2000 Festival June 2003, with Starsailor. Athena ended their tour as one of the local headliners at the Rock'n Coke Festival which included such bands and artists as Pet Shop Boys, The Cardigans, Suede, Simple Minds, Sugababes, Dirty Vegas. In January 2004 Athena performed at a series of concerts in the Netherlands.
After that, on May 15, 2004, Athena represented Turkey at the Eurovision Song Contest with For Real. In an unprecedented result, a punk rock band finished 4th in the contest. Athena were the media darlings of the European media at the time. After Eurovision, Athena's maxi single For Real was released in Germany and Greece. Athena's first concert after the Eurovision Song Contest was the European - Turkish Festival in Berlin and was broadcast live on TRT (Turkish National TV).
After this concert, and already popular in Germany, Athena was a guest on TV Total, a popular German talk show where they performed live. In June 2004 Athena's new album US was released in Turkey. This album was also released in Germany at the end of July. The band also started working on their English album, which then hit the shelves in May 2005. Athena then performed in a series of concerts that sold out to tens of thousands. Athena often performs at Fenerbahçe football games, being die-hard supporters of the club. In 2007 Athena made an album special for Fenerbahçe's 100th anniversary.Than, Athena's last album Pis was released.
On September 8, 2012, they opened for Red Hot Chili Peppers in Istanbul.