Hey Siavash, how are you, how’s things in the world for you right now?
Hello Sweet Music, what can I say? How is anybody doing in today’s climate? We are all confused and we are all charting uncharted terrain. It feels like just when I had my act together, worked 25 years towards an end goal and then all got swept from under me, but on the bright side this awful horror/sci-fi world of ours has brought a lot of good things as well. I guess there’s always a silver lining.
Tell us about growing up in Iran, and how you got into music – was it there or via radio or internet or when you left?
I didn’t quite grow up in Iran. My mom, dad, baby brother and I escaped once the Islamic Republic came into rule. I was only 5 years old, also both my parents are born deaf so there wasn’t a lot of music influence at home in my childhood. To be honest all my musical influence came kind of from within me during my youth in Madrid Spain. My parents gave me a lot of freedom and I would explore the city as a little tiny boy. One of my favourite memories of learning what music was is when I saw the Michael Jackson ‘BAD’ tape for sale in a news kiosk. My brother and I scavenged for scrap metal to sell until we finally were able to save up to buy that cassette tape.
What is the scene in Canada like, what sounds are popular, are there good underground parties?
I’m going to be completely honest, the scene in Canada can be a little lackluster. Places to the East like Toronto and Montreal put far more importance in culture and arts than in the West and you can see the scenes flourish more easily over there. On the West coast there isn’t much in terms of underground, but thank God we have You Plus One to hold down the flag. Without a doubt our Hausparty event at our private You Plus One HQ has changed the game on our coast of Canada.
Is there a certain sound in Canada that is unique, a certain take on house and techno that separates it from the rest of the world you think?
I would say that back in the day in the 90s and early 2000s we were known for our uber funky deep techhouse sound. But since then the musical styles have really changed and evolved. As the world of electronic music has branched into so many genres and subgenres so has musicians tastes in Canada. I definitely know a strong handful of artists across Canada that are making some unbelievable music these days. I want to salute them and give them all the tip of my hat.
Tell us about your new one Black Horse – where and when was it written?
Oh Black Horse! Boy I cannot wait to finally get this little animal out of its 3+ year cage. I don’t always write my music in my studio, but this track was, start to finish. I usually start most my songs with an idea that stems from my hip hop roots. A hook, a sample, some lyrics, something like that. Helps me get in the flow and helps me get the tone of the project started in a vibe that’s very me. If you’re an oldschool golden era hip hop head then you’ll definitely be able to point out 2 very strong hip hop influences within Black Horse.
Tell us about Ferdowsi’s ancient Persian epic poem and how it inspired or influenced the tune?
I wanted to introduce myself to the world in a way and the idea for this track came from my name that I share with the prince warrior character in ‘The Book of Kings’. In this epic the new queen frames her stepson by accusing him of assault and conqucential miscarriage. In order to prove his innocence the king orders his son to ride “shabrabg behzad” (“nightcloloured purebred”) up and down a fiery mountain. Talk about epic lol. So I tried to paint this picture with Black Horse. A big climb, a slow motion break at the top of the smokey mountain, and then a rapid descent back home and to freedom. I was blessed enough over the years to truly road test the track on small and large audiences and was able to brush it up to where it stands today.
Why was Funk D’Void the right person to remix it? What made you chose him?
Funk D’Void has been an artist I admired and looked up to since the beginning of my electronic music career. I had the pleasure to later work with him and become super close friends with this kind and supremely talented artist. He is like no one else, but like many true veterans in the scene, I’m sure he can relate to the pain, struggles, and criticisms of what the prince had to endure. I remember as a little boy making a wish that one day I would grow enough as an artist to be able to work on a music project with Funk D’Void. Talk about manifestation! Because here we are! Funk D’Void’s version is so much nastier and bad ass than I think anyone else could ever deliver.
What are the best and worst bits about running a label in 2021?
The best part about running a label in 2021 is that there’s nothing but time in my hands as a touring artist to perfect and put a lot of love back into the label. Unfortunately the worst part is knowing that the great music we are releasing right now is not getting as many plays as it would have been prior to the pandemic. Not as many videos and shares of your music being played on big stages these days.
What are the sounds you are looking for on the label, what’s its sonic identity?
I’ve always had a very firm belief that I stick to for my own music performances – that is never pigeonhole myself into any specific genres or trends. Staying true to this also allows me more freedom and fluidity. Every time I saw everybody around me lean towards a specific sound I would walk the opposite way. I’ve applied the same ideology and theory into the You Plus One record label and I never want this label to be constrained by any sort of music ideologies. As long as it’s got soul, made with love, oozing quality, and it has that very special magic that makes you feel something different then it’s the right fit for the YPO label.
What else have you got coming up/are you working on?
Like I said earlier with the pandemic changing the way my life path has been heading I was left with a lot of time in the studio to perfect my production and come up with new music. I’m now sitting on a big bundle of unreal music that I’m truly proud of. I’m my own worst critic, but now I can truly say I am in love with so many of my songs that I’m ready to release in the near future.