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Iman Deeper [Interview]

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Iman Deeper is a Berlin-based DJ and producer whose passion for house music was born on the bustling streets of Tehran. He honed his craft in Rome before settling in the German capital, where he has become a fixture of the underground music scene.

Over the past 12 years, Iman has played at some of Berlin's most iconic venues, including Sisyphos, Ritter Butzke, and Arena. He has also held residencies at Club R19, AVA, and Urban Spree, among others. His live performances and DJ sets have been featured at a variety of events and festivals, including Feel Festival and Monis Rache Festival, Camp Tipsy and more.

Iman's talent as a composer is evident in his work for high-profile clients such as Audi Deutschland, Vice Magazine, and Decompose Magazine. His passion for creating otherworldly soundscapes has also led him to explore TV and game compositions, where his cinematic style shines through. His ability to blend his experience in these areas makes for a unique and captivating musical experience that transports listeners to new dimensions.

In addition to his live performances and compositions, Iman hosts a radio show on Kittikun Minimal Techno Shoutcast. His 99 episodes are available for download on SoundCloud and showcase his impeccable taste in music.

2021 marks a new chapter for Iman, as he launches his own record label, Deed Music. The imprint will feature both his own work and that of talented up-and-coming artists across a range of electronic genres.

This week finds Iman returning to his comfortable home of Deed Music with a new single 'Till We Meet Again'.

Progressive Astronaut caught up with Iman to learn more about the release of 'Till We Meet Again', his background, DJing, Deed Music future plans, and more. Enjoy.

Hi Iman, thanks for joining us. What is your current mood and what was the last piece of music you listened to?

Hey guys, thank you so much for having me I’m feeling grateful and the last piece of music I was listening to an OST belongs to a an Iranian movie called Reza Motori from composer Esfandiar Monfaredzadeh. Absolutely master of creating drama.

How was your summer and what gigs have stood out for you these last few months?

Summer was really productive, more in studio than playing gigs, but I had fun playing in the Burning Beach festival, in Nürnberg, and Birgit open air floor in Berlin . In some places people are shiny!

Take us through a typical day when you’re not travelling, what does a day in your life look like?

I’ll start my day with my warm up for standing meditation and Taiji training , after that my day begins with a shower and coffee . My studio is also my office i run the label and the event company from the same place , well i like to block chunks of 30 to 90 minutes on tasks.

3 days a week i meet my teacher outside and we do Taiji training plus a small group, the way is long, the rest I’m mostly in studio.

You’ve moved around quite a bit from Tehran to Rome and now Berlin, tell us how living in each of those cities impacted your path into electronic music.

Well, I grew up in a mega city and it’s called Tehran, between 15 to 19 M people live in the city , and everything is quite underground, Adrenalin rush all day if you like. so when I moved to Rome, everything was different and I had a feeling my life is pitched down. There i learned to keep up up with the sound in my head even if everything looks wrong! And Berlin showed music is always further than me, there is always more to explore

Your bio states it was in Rome where you honed your skills as a producer, tell us about that.

Yes, Rome was the we’re finally I had a very good internet, the nightlife was not quiet on my style, so I locked myself in the home studio , my very first collaboration started at that time on Skype. We were LaRoca and and we were producing underground, tech house and deep house all day over Skype. And I would spend a few hours a week on my architecture University, Homeworks! For me, it was clear what I was willing to do!

Berlin is such a hub for musicians and artists in general but how is the nightlife there? You're a recognized figure in the scene there, so tell us if you were a tour-guide, what would be the clubs you’d take the people to see and what local DJs do they need to hear?

Well, the nightlife is still hot, you can go to an event every day of the week . Actually this happens more often that I have to do a little tour guide. I make sure they go to Sisyphos and Katerblau . But different places resonate differently each individual.

How important is it as an artist to try and follow along with current music trends? Is this something you’re conscious of at all?

We make the music for collective consciousness and collective consciousness is used to follow certain trends like fashion. We have been trained this way. Electronic music from the other side is also bounded with technology always. So with every trend, normally certain technology will come to the market. I am constantly studying what is going on with the sound and what is going on with the collective consciousness. I learned to get the best out of everything and create my own version. Again I stick to the sound that is constantly being played in my head and try to translate that to the physical work.

You have a new single ‘Till We Meet Again’ out now on your Deed Music imprint, tell us about the track and how it showcases your current sound.

It all started when I hear the song revision by Maceo Plex, and the vocal work on it attracted me right away, it sounded something between Depeche Mode and Coldplay. I wrote a message of congratulation for Giovani for being on this record and doing such a great job. And soon after we were chatting together, and we spoke on the phone the vibe was so genuine from the start. I had the instrumental from one of my improvisational youtube sessions, i sent it to Giovanni and he came up with the vocal chunk you hear now on the track. Simple communication can end very productive even if one person is in another continent. We make music between New York and Berlin and that is so exciting thanks to the technology. Till We Meet Again is a track that can move something in so many people of course it could be also a normal fusion of pop and techno to another group.

Let our readers inside your studio for a moment, what is your current setup and what studio tools are featured heavily in your recent productions and more specifically your ‘Till We Meet Again’ single?

Actually I turned the studio around recently. I used to have a bigger mixture hardware all connected to each other but recently i separated the hard wear and kept only my Sub37 - Rev2 and MaschineMk3 and a Komolete keyboard from NI to be connected to my mac mini , the rest of stuff are sitting in other corner , like my ambient corner with Digitalt and Minitaur with Big Sky pedal and its when i wanna just create without looking at any screen. It’s called ambient corner but sometimes i end up making techno too. All analog its lot if fun. But recently Diva is big part of my production and i use a lot if Kontakt stuff. But the main melody in Till We Meet Again is from my beloved Prophet REV2 and you can hear the Sub37 from the very beginning of the track. And the piano part is recorded on my Roland FP-10 , there all to be seen on my YouTube channel where i took the first sketches of the instrumental live on camera. The two Synths Rev2 and Sub37 will stay always close to me and may travel with me for my new live act.
The DJing corner is the playground and where i test the truth , doing an A/B inside the Pioneer players will show me if the last master is competitive and loud enough next to other tracks in set. That’s very important

Where does the impulse to create something come from for you? And was there anything specific which inspired ‘Till We Meet Again’?

it seems that all we create on earth pre exist in some sort of field already. We tune in that field and show interest and curiosity, try it out and end up creating something new. Yes it takes our actions which are also results of our curiosity and interest somehow, where attention goes energy flows.

What is the task you enjoy the most when producing and what would you prefer someone else to do?

Mix-down is a lot of fun, after having committed to the composition and arrangement. Giving massage to the channels. I do almost everything myself but i get mastering by professionals and recently i wanna work more with PR agents and booking agents.

Let’s talk a bit more about your label Deed Music which has been running since 2021. What led you to start the label initially? Was this your first foray into running a record label?

This is the second time i start a label, the first label plus a due live set was closed as the waves of insanity hit the globe end of 2019. In the two years of social distancing story i just worked on my craft and it was a lot of work to bring back the energy to my solo project Iman Deeper and of course i needed a new label because i believe in consistency and i make a lot of music that needs to be released , other than that i enjoy supporting my talent friends and those who show up on my way, just creating more ways to give because i know that by lifting others we rise. Im super excited because the sister company of Deed is launched since last month. We officially started past//future our new event production.

How has your vision for the label changed since its launch? And what would be some of your biggest takeaways from running a label over that time?

I keep seeing more potential within collecting of a back catalogue and a roster of likeminded artists, nowadays our merchandise line is kicked off and soon some good news with our educational department will reveal, my friend Behnam also artist name Haoma helps with many parts of curation. And I’m very excited because with past//future we get to host artist who passionately released music with us on big stages next to some of the top names in the game.

What advice would you have for artists hoping to get their music signed to Deed?

I sign artist who are trying their best on their own and i see they are on their way to grow big, so i can invest in a part of their growth and be part of it. Their music must be storytelling and authentic and most of all consistent working artist with a big motivation.

We’re in an age where content turns over quickly and attention spans are short; so how does this factor into how you run Deed?

Yep i know , i do my best also to attach the music to an appealing short format video. Social media platforms like instagram are the shortest way for us to communicate with the fans of label and the artist , crossposting and trying to get new people’s attention as well as satisfying our top fans . It’s not that easy ,but i drive this traffic to my own main playlist on Spotify and the 6 Main playlists of Deed Music that is curated by our team and i see people then get stuck in there and listen to more music, so those who follow the rabbit holes of our short ads and reels and stories will end up inside a treasure of back catalog and carefully selections of music in 6 different realms. Many stay and then come back because they enjoy what they hear! And we are interested in such fans.

Now let’s talk about DJing for a moment, it’s a unique discipline at the border between presenting great music and creating something new with it, between composition and improvisation to an extent. How would you describe your approach to it?

It’s great for me, i love DJing and building blocks on sound to tell a story for music lovers, when it comes to technical approaches i am sticking to harmonic mixing, I like matching the phrases in the ideal way and leave looping and stuff for deck 3, and i almost use all the knobs and faders and keys and enjoy myself in the moment, and i mix a series of techniques that has been developed on my DJing journey since 2005.

Recently i play more of my own tracks and releases of Deed in my sets and we end up producing the same direction of sound mostly. So i really try to optimise what i produce , play and sign on the label to be cohesive and quality.

How much prep do you put into the tracks you choose to play? Or are your sets totally spontaneous?

It really depends to the event and type of gig and crowd , but every time i but new tracks and my listeners end of being surprised in the dance-floor, sometimes i prep the entire set and all the samples of 3 and 4 deck even and sometimes i just prep big folder and secure working tunes that i choose and play in the booth. I wanna have fun.

Can you tell me a bit about how your work as a DJ has influenced your view of music, your way of listening to tracks and perhaps also, your work as a producer?

It’s crazy how sensitive you become to what music you can listen to , a listener enjoys music much differently but a composer and producer and Dj is having a constant challenge with their analytics and critical parts of the brain. There are only some timeless music albums and works that are always welcomed around me.

If you could set up an event with a line-up of five artists of your choice, who would you book, and what set times would you ascribe to the artists?

Oh this is very hard but i try to go with an imaginary lineup that would be real fun

Laurent Garnier 23:00
Rodriguez Jr 01:00
John Digweed 02:30
Maceo Plex 05:00
Carbon Based Lifeforms 08:00

But only if you pay for it

Current Top Five tracks in your sets?

Iman Deeper - They Wanna Know
Marwan El Maligy - Edges Of Harmony
Space Motion - Epic Resurrection
Khainz - Stanger Things
Iman Deeper & Kinantek - Dreams Are Rushing

Recently I played Till We Meet Again too , people love it

If you were not a DJ/Producer what do you think you’d be doing with your life?

Study , train and teach Taiji and Calligraphy and work on my healing skills

If you are not DJing or socializing at clubs, where do we find you? And doing what?

In my studio mostly, working on music and office stuff for deed and past//future. I also enjoy cooking with my lovely neighbours and alone and also we discover good restaurants around the town.

What’s a book you’ve read or film you watched that has left an impact on you, and why?

The Alchemist by Paolo Cohelo was very impactful when i was 20 i guess.. and Tao Te Ching is the book I use everyday in my life.

And the movie The Doors was a crazy experience to watch for me as a young boy

Aside from music, what makes you happiest?

Cannabis , good food and martial arts

What does the remainder of 2023 and on into 2024 hold for you? Anything you can tell us about?

Create your own empire, and choose your mentors wisely, speak less and listen more, train and work in secret and only showcase the results , dream big and manifest from non physical dimension. And don’t be afraid of saying no. Mediation is your way in.

'Till We Meet Again' is available now via Deed Music: https://shorturl.at/cfgC9

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