Dream house and early rave cuts from the Persian Prince.
Next up we’ve enlisted the Iranian-born raver, NTS Radio host, and all-round purveyor of dreamy dance Kasra V. Since making the move from Tehran to London as a 17 year old, Kasra Vaseghi’s uniquely leftfield mix of influences from his Iranian youth and the hedonistic Balearic sounds of the early 90s has been turning heads. Now well established as one of London’s most interesting selectors, his bi-weekly slot on NTS Radio has hosted the likes of Baris K, Paramida and Telephones in between specials dedicated to obscure Iranian music or the work of pioneers like LFO. Lately he’s turned his attention to crafting his own dreamy escapes for labels like Make Love In Public Spaces and Feelings Worldwide, while steadily compiling a forthcoming run of compilations showcasing some of the forgotten sounds of pre and post-revolutionary Iran.
Hey Kasra, what have you been upto?
Hello, first of all, thanks for asking me to do this mix. I’ve been having a pretty nice summer, travelled to a lot of places I never thought I would play at / visit including Lyon, Paris, Vienna, Brussels, Oslo and Toronto to name a few.
On the other hand, I have moved into a new studio and have been making a lot of new music whilst doing my bi-weekly radio show on NTS which gives me a really good reason to dig for new and old music all the time.
I read that before making the move to London at age 17 you were attending and hosting illegal raves back in Tehran, which sounded like they played a big part in shaping your current style and taste.. What are some of your favourite memories of those parties, and what styles would you have been likely to hear across any given night?
I would say that wasn’t the only thing that shaped my taste back in Iran, there were a few. The main difference between London and Tehran was that there weren’t as many people obsessively into the same sort of music as I was, so me and a close circle of my friends were always exchanging bootleg CDs on a regular basis and some of the music from those CDs would end up getting played at the parties, that by itself was pretty interesting as some songs are considered classics to me and my friends from back home but outside our circle they had gone pretty unnoticed. One of the albums that I remember from back then and still quite like is ‘Sounds From Another Room’ by 16B, check it out if you’ve never heard it.
At the same time I used to download John Peel and Essential Mix radio shows frequently but the internet speed was really slow back there so I had to always set the downloads up before going to school and they would be ready by the time I return home, I would then go through tracklisting and try to download the songs that I liked.
Also my older brother used to always introduce me to new and exciting music as well as the tapes that my dad had in his car, which was a mixture of old Iranian pop and Italian music from 70s and 80s as they reminded him of times he used to visit Italy when he was younger.
Your brilliant bi-weekly slot on NTS which has featured guests like Dream 2 Science, Baris K and Telephones to name a few.. tell us about the idea behind the show, what have been some of your highlights thus far… and what’s coming up next?
I did an open air show on NTS three years ago and after that, they offered me to start my own show. It was originally once a month but we changed to bi-weekly after the first year. I tend to focus on music that excites me on a personal level whilst trying to maintain a balance of old and new music, and I regularly have guests that I’m into what they are doing. I also tend to get people to cover me sometimes when I’m away playing in a different city which in that case are up and coming London DJs and I have to say It’s been amazing to see NTS grow so much over the last few years and be a part of it at the same time.
I’ve met a lot of DJs and producers I admire through the shows over the last three years but would say my personal highlights are two. First one is the time I interviewed Boris Blank of Yello who is a top legend. The second highlight was when I did the LFO special and Mark Bell’s manager got in touch with me asking to send him the files so he can play it for Mark’s family, which means a great deal for me as I was always obsessed with his work!
Coming up I got shows planned with B12, Zozo, Kris Baha and Woody. I am always in touch with different DJs and producers so it kind of depends on when they are in town.
You were also lucky enough to have the legendary Cozmo D aka Dream 2 Science (also Push/Pull, Newcleus and Sha-lor) remix your latest EP for Feelings Worldwide, tell us about how that connection came about, and what are some of your favourite works from his incredible back catalogue?
When Karl (The guy who runs Feelings) heard the EP, he suggested that I should send him a few names that I think would be suitable for the remix, I sent him a list of producers and D2S was the first on that list which actually ended up happening. Karl contacted Cozmo and he was well up for it and we received the remix after 2-3 months.
I would say my picks from his back catalogue are ‘How Do I Love Thee’ as Dream 2 Science and ‘Africa’ as Push/Pull.
I read that with the help of your mother back in Iran you’ve been working on a compilation of pre-revolutionary Iranian music.. Tell us about the idea behind the comp, how you’ve been able to source (and licence?) the music, and where the project is currently at?
The idea of the compilation originally came about around 3-4 years ago when I realised apart from very few compilations you simply can’t get hold of the majority of the music from Iran on vinyl and digital. Due to various reasons, the documentation of Iranian music has been generally poor, so it made sense to see if I can do something about it. Since then my mom started buying loads of old 7″ in bulks from bazaars in Tehran and send them over to me in London, I would then go through them and put aside the ones I liked.
Earlier this year after chatting to Andrew Thomson of Huntleys + Palmers about it following a show on NTS, he told me that Strut which is a sublabel of !K7 would be a good home for this compilation, and after talking to Strut we decided that this project has a really good potential and would be best if we make it into a series rather than a single compilation.
So the first one which consists of music prior to the Iranian revolution in 1978 will get released in March 2018 with artworks and covers designed by Morteza Vaseghi AKA my older brother. I handed in the final tracklist recently and the licensing process has started by the Strut team.
What can you tell us about this mix you’ve put together for us? Any standout records you would like to share?
I personally don’t like over thinking making music or doing mixes much cause it ends up making me really frustrated so I always tend to do stuff with just the amount of preparation that I feel is natural. So I spent a while gathering songs that I was liking at the time and visited the NTS radio station with a bunch of records and two USBs on a cloudy afternoon in London and recorded it on one take there.
I would say the opening song by Eddie Fingers from 1993 (the year I was born), Renegade Soundwave remix of The Shamen and ‘Subconscious’ by Sote that I have played on 33 in the mix are the standout ones for me.
What’s coming up next with your own music and gig schedule to round out the year?
I’ve got a new EP coming out at the end of this year and have started to work on my debut album which I would say that realistically it would be out by end of 2018 / beginning of 2019.
Gig wise I’m playing in Berlin (first time visiting the city!) this Saturday at Paramida’s night, as well as some gigs in the UK planned for the rest of the year. I have recently applied for my UK artist visa so can’t travel outside the UK for a while until that gets sorted but it’s all looking positive and at the same time it gives me enough headspace to focus on working on the album!