Published June 11, 2023

With her sets AIDA aims to create a story that ebbs and flows between rhythm, energy, and emotion. We get to experience her craft on Friday 16 June when she plays in Black Box alongside Rïa Mehta and AZADÎ. We also want to spotlight that AIDA and Nesa Azadikhah curated a compilation called WOMAN, LIFE, FREEDOM released on Apranik Records back in January. See here. The compilation is exclusively featuring tracks by Iranian Women and dedicated to the recent wave of uprisings in Iran following the death of 22-year-old Kurdish Woman Mahsa Amini in September 2022. We had a chat with AIDA about the compilation, the uprisings in Iran’s impact on her and the music community and visions for the future.

How has the reception of the compilation been?

The compilation was received very well by the greater music industry. The project was covered by many of the publications and platforms us music-industry folks know very well such as Resident Advisor, Crack, Billboard, DJ Mag, Mix Mag, and many more. This was a really great accomplishment for us because we were hoping to raise awareness around the issues in Iran with this project in the greater music industry which had otherwise stayed silent in the first 6 months of the uprisings.

Is it possible to say something about how the uprisings have impacted the Iranian music community at home and abroad?

The uprisings have impacted every Iranian person very deeply. There is a collective anger and trauma that each person in Iran or in the diaspora is experiencing. For the people inside Iran, this is a much bigger issue. The impact I have seen in the music community is that artists have used their art and platforms to raise awareness around the issues. For some, being louder and more actively involved in the music scene is a form of fighting and retaliation against suppression, and we are certainly seeing that.

How have your Iranian roots influenced your work as an electronic music artist?

Much of the Iranian dance music I grew up with ,though on a 6/8 time signature, runs around the same tempo as House and Techno. I grew up dancing to this tempo in parties which drew me towards the music I play. In another way, growing up in an environment where the ruling body forced extreme gender roles influenced my desire to go against gender conformity by doing something that is otherwise forbidden: DJing, performing, and putting oneself, as a female, in the spotlight.

Have the uprisings changed something for you in relation to your work with electronic music?

Yes, the uprisings inspired the creation of Apranik Records, and the release of our first project which was the Woman Life Freedom VA. Dance music and what we know as club culture today is, as many know, historically rooted in creating space for marginalised folks to express themselves and feel safe amongst a supportive community. Though I have known this for as long as I have been in the music world, I had not been part of a cause that was so dear to me and rooted in who I am until the uprisings and our label and VA project.

If one wishes to show support of the Woman, Life, Freedom movement from outside of Iran do you have any recommendations as to how?

Keep your eyes peeled to the news, keep talking about it, and simply support your Iranian friends and colleagues through expressions of care and sympathy. I first hand experienced the contrast between being amongst a non-Iranian community who cares vs. others who are apathetic despite having the knowledge. Let’s just say that it goes far when we show support and understanding towards those who are experiencing traumas that we cannot otherwise relate to.

What’s the vision for Apranik Records? What is next to be published?

Apranik will grow. Nesa and I have plans for future releases and showcases with the label. The next project is a second VA with a new stellar lineup of Iranian women musicians. After that we are planning smaller releases. Currently we are also planning to expand our concept but more to come on that soon 🙂

I read somewhere that you also work full-time as a Senior Product Designer at a financial technology startup in San Francisco. How does it feel combining your different professions?

Stressful, rewarding, and a serious balancing act. For me it was especially challenging because I eventually became the head of the product design department. There is a work ethic that I am able to tap into when I’m really passionate about something. This comes out both in my design and music careers. Balancing the two has its challenges with time management, distributing focus, energy, and creativity. I am however very grateful to say that I am currently on a one year long sabbatical from my design career to focus on music, touring, and the label. 

What’s the vibe you’re going for when playing your music?

With my sets, especially the longer ones, I aim to create a story that ebbs and flows between rhythm, energy, and emotion. In any given set you will likely hear me build up with tracks that have a lot of rhythmic drums or elements, leading the way into a high energy vibe that bangs or has vocals. Then, I tend to tame the energy by hitting the heart with tracks that get your emotions involved. And then, repeat!

Do you have any wish for the future of electronic music you’d like to share with us?

Firstly I’d like to see more diverse lineups with truly fair compensation regardless of gender, background, and identity. I also wish to see smaller music scenes in North America thriving in the way of other hubs like Berlin, London, or New York. Many artists move to the hubs because they hit a ceiling in their hometowns. I hope to see more relaxed regulations in cities that have early cut-off or difficult regulations for throwing parties. I also hope to see locals in headlining spots of their city’s parties, as a contrast to always playing opening sets. I believe this will make smaller scenes have a more thriving scene where local talent has a higher ceiling for growth.


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