004 - From Iran to Ibiza, the rise from Red Bull Music Academy with HabischmanMar 05, 2021
Danny Savage introduces Iman Habibi known globally as Habischman an Iranian DJ and Producer appearing on iconic labels like Get Physical, Global Underground, Moda Black, Viva, Noir Music, Knee Deep In Sound and Nonstop whilst also counting industry giants Pete Tong, Nicole Moudaber and John Digweed amongst his ardent supporters.
Podcast: Download (Duration: 1:02:37— 28.7MB)
In the episode
01:26 - What made you first get into DJing and electronic music especially?
03:21 - Can you tell us some of the challenges, faced from living in Iran and some cultural benefits that’s influenced your music over the years?
05:29 - Do you set big goals? Is how you get to where you are?
07:13 - Who are your idols?
09:33 - I've seen you share one of the new documentary from Ali Dubfire. Is that right? Did I see that on your wall? Above Ground Level
12:46 - How did you get your big break living in Iran?
14:35 - Do you have any sort of strategy or techniques on how to get them to listen to your music?
17:42 - So you say you took part in the Red Bull Academy, people like Jamie Woon. What was that experience like and how did that help your career?
20:47 - So at the moment you’re with a boutique agency, Jackmode in Berlin, is that right? What made them choose to support you?
21:49 - Say if a DJ's starting out, how did he go about getting there, getting an agent?
25:28 - Have you got any tips for building online followings?
30:41 - So recently you got involved with Global Underground and you've got a mix album. How did that feel 15 years later? What did it feel like to get signed up?
32:53 - So this summer you dip your toe in Ibiza for the first time, is that right?
36:09 - Did you used to live in Berlin?
37:45 - So outside of music, what's your passion? What drives you? What are you into outside of music?
37:56 - I started this account on Instagram called Timecode TV. It's about like creating knowledge for young people. It's all about production, DJing tips and it's like a small academy here.
42:33 - What's it like travelling? What do you experience when you're travelling from gig to gig?
45:15 - What one big purchase has had the most impact on your career?
48:08 - So what is one of your biggest regrets in your career, if you have any?
51:16 - How important is social media to the industry now and which is your favourite place?
53:40 - Do you find the underground scene in Berlin has changed for the better or worse since you began performing?
55:12 - Tell us something we don't know about Habischman.
Get the short summary and all the tips and links from this episode by downloading the free PDF
In this episode we discuss what it takes to break through within the current scene. Iman is a graduate of the Red Bull Music Academy and we cover goal setting, networking and also the significance of aligning your brand alongside the right labels, venues and agencies to build your following with people that really understand your music.
Hello and welcome to this week's episode of that Danny savage show. Our special guest this week is Iman Habibi, otherwise known as Habischman. He's one of the early Iranian DJs and producers still living and producing in Iran where he's based in the capital, Tehran. He’s one of the Red Bull Music Academy success stories where he studied alongside the likes of Jamie Woon and Septa. He’s since recorded a mix for the legendary Global Underground series and featured on the recent Decade of Dubfire album. Iman has a really cool story that I'm sure you'll all love and take some inspiration from. Ladies and gentlemen, Habischman.
So Iman, welcome to that Danny Savage show. Would you like to introduce yourself and speak to our listeners and tell them who you are, where you’re from, what you're best known for?
Yeah, sure. My full name is Iman Habibi Shad. I'm an Iranian, DJ and producer. You might also know me as Habischman. I have releases on Knee Deep in Sound, Viva music, Get Physical, Noir Music. I've been producing music professionally since 2008. I've had different names and monikers but the latest one is Habischman. I'm really happy that we are talking right now.
Getting into electronic music
Cool. So Iman, you've got a very interesting background coming from Iran. Your career seems to be growing year on year. What made you first get into DJing and electronic music especially?
Well, I actually started dancing and break dancing when I was a kid. I picked up Michael Jackson moves from TV and then always liked to learn how to break dance. Then I got into hip hop music and then the whole scratching and turntablism. Then I realised that that's not my thing and then I wanted to learn how to beat match. So I got a pair of Denon, like the crappy turntables, but those were the ones that I could find in Iran. Then I started learning beat matching on those turntables, and then after a couple of years, I realized that I wanted to do more so I started learning Ableton Live. Then in 2008, I had a couple of tracks that were not really like properly mixed or mastered but I sent them to the Red Bull Music Academy and I got accepted to be one of the participants and that was like a big chance for me to participate in the academy.
Then it took off from there. I got to meet lots of well-respected DJs, lecturers, and had my two international gigs in 2008 in Barcelona. That was very big for me at the time because I was coming all the way from Iran and then a place without any club scene or proper sound system in clubs and nightclubs here. So then I started producing, and then here I am. I'm really grateful and happy that I tour around the world, I play music and I also signed my music to proper labels in the industry.
Challenges coming from Iran
Yeah, cool. So you're one of the only profile artists really comes from Iran and still lives and producers there. There's loads we all know, but you seem to be the only ones still best in your homeland. Can you tell us some of the challenges, faced from living in Iran and some cultural benefits that’s influenced your music over the years?
Yeah, sure. Well, there are some problems sometimes because when you're living in a country without any club scenes, you don't really get to see any international DJs. So even if you live in Dubai, there's like proper DJs coming every week, every weekend. So you get to see and hang out with them, you get to pick up a sound. But if you live in Iran, there's nothing here happening like musically, as an electronic music producer, so you have to just listen to everything online and just pick something up from the radio, on Youtube, or watch TV, or if you want to learn something, there is no like electronic music or [inaudible] school here. So it was really difficult for me at that time to learn and to produce music but Iran is a beautiful country.
I love it here. We have good food, we have a great culture, that's what Iranians always say about good food. We have like Tehran where I live, is a bit colluded but we have nice weather and the fresh air outside of Tehran. We have like, kind of, four seasons here at the same time. You can go skiing in the mountains and then the same time you can go to another part of the country and swim in the ocean, that's the beauty of this country, but yeah, lots of challenges here. Like sometimes slow Internet speed but I'm one of those guys who never says, it's just never say never. Just if you want to do something, you can do it. Whatever. If even if they put you on Mars, if you want to do it, you just do it and find ways around it. That's what I think.
Would you say, do you set big goals, is how you get to where you are? Is that what you've done?
What process do you go through to set these goals and how do you get there?
Yeah. The thing is like when I started DJing, a friend of mine gave me this mixed compilation from Global Underground. It was like 15 years ago and I was like, this is very cool man. Like the way they show DJ to the world and the way they put together all these tracks. Then I really want to do it in the future. After 15 years, I did it myself, but like releasing music from day one, I didn't know how to do it. Like if you live in Iran, you see lots of artists that just want to have a track released on Beatport, which is not a big deal these days because it's really important who you release your music with or who promotes your track or which label is. So from day one, I always had this idea of working with proper labels and getting big support from big DJs and my musical idols. So this is what I always cared about. Then after a couple of years, like listening to my tracks and BBC Radio One or being played by lots of my idols and I was like, okay, now I have to move on, go to the next level. Because I've already been there. So, yeah. I always try to set different goals and achieve them. I don't know what's going to come next but one day I was just doing music and making music in my basement, then right now I'm just traveling. So I think that I'm getting places with my sound and what I'm doing, but there's always a next level to anything.
Good. So you said that you're overjoyed by your idols playing your music and supporting you, who are your idols?
Well, when I started listening to music, I have like Steve Lawler, Danny Tenaglia, Dubfire from Deep Dish, and those guys are like my main idols. Then like John Digweed, Sasha and listening to my tracks, John Digweed’s transitions and Pete Tong's BBC Radio One. I remember downloading and listening to Pete's Essential Mixes and Essential Selections every week. Then one day I realised that my track was on all these shows and that gave me the goosebumps and it was great. Great feeling. Then I was like, okay, now I think I'm on the right direction to where I want to go.
Yeah. So you say, you mentioned Dubfire and Deep Dish. Would you say, well, you work with these guys and they're the best in the industry. How did you meet them and what's it been like working with them over the years? How they've inspired you?
Well, yeah. I had another, another band before I started Habischman. It was me and a friend of mine, we used to send tracks to Ali, Dubfire and then he always played them. He got back to me and like this track, I liked it, please send me more. Then, when I started producing as Habischman, I had this track that I made with Hot Since 82, it's called Leave Me and it came out on Modo Black and then I think Dubfire heard it while Lee Burridge was playing in his set. When I met Daley in Watergate for the first time and he mentioned, I've got great news, Dubfire is remixing this track. I was really happy and surprised because like one of the biggest DJjs and one of my main idols in the industry is remixing my track. That was a great honour. Then I've been talking to Ali for a while, like we are in touch online, always send him my music. Sometimes we do a quick chat on Skype and just always send him my music for feedback and if he likes them, he plays, yeah.
Above Ground Level
Well thank you. I think I've seen you share one of the new documentary from Ali. Is that right? Did I see that on your wall?
Do you want to tell me a bit about that?
Well, it kind of makes me proud to be an Iranian and to see an Iranian guy all the way from Iran made it to the top. Everyone has great respect for what he does in the industry. Because this documentary basically shows that it hasn't been an easy way for him to where he is now. It took him a lot of years of hard work and just hanging out with all these DJs, trying to shape his sound. It's like a teaching technique for me, to watch more than a documentary. It's like where I want to go in the next couple of years, in the next five or 10 years in my career, and what I wanna achieve. This documentary is very good. If you haven't seen it or if anyone who's listening to this, I think you should watch it. It's very inspirational at the same time. It shows that like DJing is more than just mixing tracks. It's a culture and you can change someone's life with music. I think DJ's are doing way bigger than what people think, that they're just changing tracks or music behind decks. It's very inspirational and I really loved it.
Yeah. What's the name of the documentary again? I'll put a link in the show notes.
Yes. Called Above Ground Level.
Above Ground Level. Brilliant. Yeah, I'll put a link to that in the show notes. Brilliant. So, have you never considered doing anything in Iran, maybe with Ali? You said there's no scene there, is there a reason for that? Is there anything you've considered doing yourself in Iran?
Well it's kind of difficult to do like electronic music concerts here and it has to be way too experimental because like playing music with beats and the kind of music that makes you want to move, it's not allowed in Iran. I really don't like to be honest, to be involved in the scene here because like my sound is made for Europe and not this country. I’d really love to do it, but because of rules and regulations, that I respect here in this country I try to be quiet and do what's allowed here. I try to help people to produce music or just to create a sound, or sometimes my friends come to me and ask me how to DJ, I tried to help them out but while I'm travelling or I'm not here, when I live in Europe, I try to do what I love. I try to tour and play music and do remixes and just collaborate with other artists. So it's kind of difficult to do these kinds of stuffs and to get like, license for a concert or getting involved with lots of problems. So I try to put that aside and to stick to my music production.
Right. Okay. So you say there's not really a scene in Iran. How did you get your big break living in Iran?
Well music is a universal language to me and then with the power of the internet these days, it doesn't matter where you're based. If you can create music, we all have access to all this gear and then we can just create something with it. Then send it off to other labels and other DJs. They can just produce it or reproduce it or remix it or just play in their sets. So it's not really difficult to create a track in your basement in Tehran and send it to, I don't know, Marco Corolla or Dubfire or other DJs. They just played in a festival the next day because we all have internet and that's the beauty of technology these days. This is how I started, but I actually started to learn more about the scene and what's happening. Who is doing what and try to target the main people in the industry and always wanted to work with the main people.
So those who really appreciated my music and those who wanted to take things to the next level. Because as I always say, sometimes people just think it's really important to release music, just to release music on Beatport, but like in today's scene, it's not always about releasing music. It's about releasing right music for the right label, for the right crowd. That is what I really like about technology. You can study labels, tracks, DJs online and you see, okay, maybe this DJs is right for me, that I can send my music to him or her and that's how it's going to take off from there.
Getting Demos Heard
Yeah, it makes it sound quite easy. Just picking and researching on what DJs to send your music to. Do you have any sort of strategy or techniques on how to get them to listen to your music? How to get in front of these guys? How'd you go about that?
Well, like even big name DJs, they're like really busy and then they get tons of promos every day and they don't get to listen to your music. Like last night, this guy messaged me, how can I send my demos to this DJ. They never even opened my email. I was like, you have to find ways around it. Because even the last two tracks were or one of the tracks that I recently signed to Knee Deep in Sound even I'm one of their artists but they get tons of promos that I had to send like send them emails like five times like, hey guys, I think this is for you. Then when they'd listen to it, they'd already signed it. So even I keep sending them and just reminding them of the tracks that I produce.
So you have to be persistent but you cannot get like sad or it's like, ah, they don't listen to my music. They get like, I don't know, a thousand demos per month. Then you cannot expect them to say, okay, we love your music and just get back to you the next day. If you believe in that, if you believe in your sound, if there are DJs who live in different countries that they can go see the DJ who's playing that night or the next time and they can just deliver USB stick or CD or whatever way they are accepting demos, that's a good way to just send them their music. Then start a nice relationship like in Ibiza, you live there and then there's like tons of DJs every weekend coming like every day. Even when you just walk into like on the beach and you just end up hanging out or just bumping into some DJ, you could just have a chat with them. To be honest, DJs are cool people.
There are not like, I don't know, jerks or angry people that the way some people say like, nah, they don't say hi or blah blah. You can just be nice to people. You can, you just respect them and just ask them how can I send you my music? Sometimes they listen, sometimes they don't. If they don't listen, just switch to another person you'd like to. So many labels, good labels out there and it's not like one label that's producing specific sound. For techno, you can send to a hundred labels, for tech house, house, deep house or like so many labels and DJs who are playing that kind of music. So it's not really difficult. If you go online and on Facebook, you see lots of mutual friends. Even you and I have mutual friends and we've never met before, then we realise how small this world is. You can always find a friend who can help you out. You can ask a favour and say, can you help me get this track to this DJ or to that DJ. So I think if you want to do it, if we want to make it happen, it will happen.
Red Bull Music Academy
Utilizing your networks and then you heard it guys, good old fashioned, turn up in a club with a demo. So you say you took part in the Red Bull Academy, people like Jamie Woon. What was that experience like and how did that help your career?
Well, I was really young and I wasn't well experienced as a producer. I was DJing at that time and it was in 2008. It was like nine years ago, I was 20 something and then, I'm 33 now. It was great. Like getting up, hanging out with all these producers, DJs, vocalists and I was kind of shocked to be honest. Like the first week was like, I was trying to figure out what I'm supposed to do, because it was like on fastest speed, everything was happening real quick. We had to go to these lectures, like at 11 in the morning and there was like lunch and a studio session, lectures and then parties til five in the morning. Again, it was on a loop and I was like, oh my God, this is too much and I really love it, but I need to sleep.
I remember staying in a hotel and there was this one day off and then these guys called me like, Hey, we want to go to this villa outside of the city and it's going to be fun. I was trying to, to be honest, I was trying to ditch them just to sleep. I was like, ah, I don't know, maybe, and it was like, it's fun, man. Then they had decks. As soon as I saw those decks I was like, okay, I'll bring USB. So that was like real fun, like bringing candy to a kid and then just talking to all these nice producers, those sound engineers. Then even some of the staff there, there was this guy who actually won a Grammy and then we were like talking to him, like just sharing experience and all those kinds of things.
That was really like big for me at that time. I was really young and I was trying to digest everything and just sort of trying to feel what it's like to be a DJ in this big industry and around all those guys but they were really respecting all those artists and all those participants at the academy. They were giving us like lots of opportunity and time to have to do our mix shows or record a set for RBMA radio and all of that. It was a life changing experience. Lots of DJs came out of the academy like Nina Kraviz, Black Coffee and there are so many DJs who participated in the academy and then you see these days are doing pretty well.
Right. Good. So at the moment you’re with a profile yet boutique agency, Jackmode in Berlin, is that right? What made them choose to support you?
I had the PR team, I was working with this PR team, then they introduced me to them and then they believed in my sound. They said they like my music and they believe in what I do. So we started working together and it's been great. They're very nice people for the first time I met them in ADE this year and Fabian is the guy I met, he's a very nice guy and is young and talented, is very energetic and he believes in what I do. It's more like a family kind of thing rather than just an agency. So we would get to talk once a week or send emails back and forth and just try to work on gigs and stuff.
Getting an agent
Okay, cool. So you've been with a couple of cool agencies now, MN2S and Jackmode. How would DJs go about getting representation like that? Say if a DJ's starting out, how did he go about getting there, getting an agent?
Well I think it's important if you have someone who can introduce you to all to these agencies and you have to do your job, you have to produce music. I think agencies want to see how active you are and how many tracks you're making and who you're working with, or if you have a busy schedule or not. Because you cannot expect an agency to pick you up and just, if you're always quiet and you're not producing anything. If you just had one hit track or if you had only one release last year and then expect them to say, hey, we want to work with you. That's not going to happen. So I think it's all about the momentum. You have to build it up from day one and just try to create that idea in your head that it's not going to happen overnight.
You have to prove them that you're doing well and you're doing your work and your job. Then they will do their job. Then as a team, you can create well together. But sometimes it's not happening pretty well. If you're signing to an agency and there's another agency that's gonna offer you and you have other friends who are also under the same roster and then they are gigging. Well, you think why am I'm not doing this properly? You think it's your problem but sometimes it's like they're different artists under the same roster and some are travelling a lot. Some agencies work well and better for some artists and sometimes you say, what kind of agency is that, they'll say, ah, we don't like it, it's not good and then there's another artist like, well, I love it. They're doing pretty well at the same time. I'm like, okay, I don't get it. Is this a good agency or is it a bad agency? So you have to look at what kind of energy the DJ is trying to inject into his work and how much time he's spending in his studio, or he's active online or he has his fans and followers on Facebook or Instagram or all of that strategies that's happened in this industry.
You see agencies look for consistency. So would you say, what sort of percentage would you say that they look for your business side of DJing? So your social media, your following and what's the balance between that and your production of tracks and DJing? What did they look for the most these days?
They just like they see how many followers you have and that you have to tell them like how many releases you have, like your upcoming tracks, releases and remixes were, your next plans if you already have offers. If you're already in touch with like the old promoters and you get to send them like your old feedbacks from the places that you have already played. You can put them in touch, in contact with other promoters and they just tried to get feedback from them. And if all of that is good, they will start the process and they would love to work with you. Why not, because you can create income and you can just do nice shows and play nice shows and then it's like a win win situation for both sides.
Building an online following
Yeah, definitely got to be the full package these days. So like building an online following, have you got any tips for building online followings? Anything you do? Do you do live streams, or do you have your own podcasts or anything like that?
Yeah, what I've learned recently actually it's kind of funny like for Facebook, if you post a mix or a set or whatever, people just, they just like it but they don't engage. They just don't get into contact in order to, they just don't comment or anything below but if you ask people questions like, which one do you prefer? Like tape or vinyl? They just like bombard you with all these comments like, well, we love it. Then they're like, okay. I just put like two hours of my time into recording this set and no one even says anything about it but I asked them one question and then everybody is becoming a scientist or whatever. So yeah, there were like different techniques and tricks on how to promote and there are like so many different countries they charge you for that like just to build up your profile or, I haven't actually tried them yet, but if you have a busy schedule, like some of the DJs, I think they don't really have time to just go online and post the stuff. So they pay all these companies or this agency just to post the stuff or I don't know, put ads on Facebook or Instagram and that's another world man. I don't get it. I don't really.
There's quite a lot of free tools you can use as well. I use Buffer and there's Hoot suite. There's loads of these tools now. You can schedule it for a couple of months in advance. You don't even have to be there. You can put all your content out, but you did mention that, the questions, get engagement. I've noticed this last few days, myself, on Mixmag, DJ Mag and a few others on their Facebook track ID question mark and just put a track on. It's really simple and you've got thousands and thousands of comments, gets everyone talking and engaging and brings back the memories of the tune. Maybe a festival they were at last summer, that gets them talking about it and it's a really simple hook. It's getting engagement. People's attention spans now are absolutely minimal. You've got to catch their attention in a split second, couple of seconds as you see like videos on Facebook are no longer than two minutes long. They're getting shorter and shorter, half a minute, 20 seconds now if you're going to do a good video. Yeah, so I think that's good advice.
Exactly, and it's also really important when you post the stuff, because sometimes you post in the evening. Then like early in the morning, sometimes it doesn't work. I think it has to be in the evening or something. I don't know why, but maybe because people come back from work or something and they're allowed to check their Facebook or-, I don't get it. Like to me, it's like stock market. Look at all these graphs and say, okay, this happened today and you need to boost that. I don't get it man, I need someone who understands this language.
It’s totally different. I've got like 10,000 blog subscribers and I send emails out to ask questions for podcast guests. I've got some for you coming up. So I sent this one out for you about two o'clock in the morning. If I’d sent it out at six o'clock, I'd have a lot more engagement. People don't really tend to open as much in the morning, so you have to study these stats. So if you're appealing to people, younger people, for DJs and music, it's the best time to post roughly about six, seven o'clock in the evening, that's when you're going to get the most engagement. That'll go on until about 10 ish. Then start dropping off so that there's that little window, that's the best time to post your content, I think. Cool. There is ways of reading all this data from your Facebook page, you can quite easily go in the back end and figure out what's the best time to post. There's also a lot of tools and apps you can use to do that. I might write a blog about that, actually. It's a good idea.
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So you mentioned as well 15 years ago you were listening to like one of your favourite albums, Global Underground. So you recently you got involved with Global Underground and you've got a mix album. How did that feel 15 years later? What did it feel like to get signed up? Explain the day when you found out.
Yeah. A friend of mine like Steve Perry who works and he owns Celador with Dave Seaman. He actually introduced me to the guys at Global Underground and then they were like, yeah, we like your sound. It's a good opportunity I think. If you want to do it, this is how you have to do it. Like you have to pick these tracks and then you need to license them. It was a bit of pain in the neck from day one because some labels, they said, Nah, we don't want to license this or you're not allowed to pick this one. So it took a couple of months, I don't know, just to pick the tracks and then it took me like a couple of days just put together all these tracks and put them in sets.
I really loved it because it wasn't really for a resume or for profile or whatever they call it. I just wanted to do it because it was the only reason I got, one of the reasons I got into electronic music and I felt it with my entire body that like these mix compilation from DJs, they talk, it's just more than a DJ set or a mix. Especially when those two Iranians like Ali and Shahram, did two of them. Then that was like more of an inspirational thing for me to do. When I did it and when I saw my face on the CD and then that was like, yeah, I think something has been done correctly. I was really happy and I'm always grateful and I always thank those guys at the Global Underground team and then that they believe in my sound and my taste. We actually got great feedback on the release and I think it sold pretty well overall.
Cool. So this summer you dip your toe in Ibiza for the first time, is that right? Yeah. What did you get up to? Have you got any favorite gigs in the summer?
I played a couple of gigs. I played at Pike's, I played at Cafe Del Mar. I played a private party with Hot Since 82, it was pretty good. Yeah, it was like for me, the first time that I was staying on the island a bit longer and then I tried to realise what's happening in the scene. It's actually really changing and then Ibiza is turning more into a VIP island rather than the party island unfortunately. But like, there are places that I really enjoyed going to. I enjoyed Amnesia, Cocoon parties and then Sankeys. There were like a couple of parties that went to and I checked out and it was pretty amazing. Also my manager works with the Carl Cox team, the Game Over guys are doing pretty well, they were supporting Resistance parties as well. Just being around those guys was a great learning experience and I really enjoyed it. Then overall, it was a great experience for me.
Yeah. Have you been anywhere similar to Ibiza in Europe or anywhere really that's got that sort of vibe?
Not really. I've heard Croatia is becoming the next Ibiza but I've never been there.
Yeah. Josh Butler was my guests last week and he mentioned the same. I've not been personally. Yeah. So where else in the world do you like playing? What's one of your favourite places?
Berlin in Germany is very good and the UK. I've never played in Fabric like as Habischman. So I would like to be there and play in Fabric, especially when they reopen it. There are like so many nice clubs out there and if there's time and the right people, right crowd, right promoter. Because sometimes I've heard like there are so many parties happening around the world but if the parties not right like people expect you to play specific kind of music or they're not ready for your sound, it's not going to be good. Sometimes I hear like even like good clubs on Wednesday or on Thursday or I don't know, whatever, you just go there and you're just like, okay, this is not the right sound for this party but because the party is not the right party for you.
So like two weeks ago, I played in Moscow and then they were totally expecting me to play my Global Underground sets. I was playing more groovy and techie, that's what I play. They were kind of like, okay, there's too much energy in your music. We were expecting like, more deeper stuff. Then I was like, okay, but it’s 2:30 in the morning. I'm not going to play lots of deep stuff because this is what I feel right now. But yeah,it's always important, who you work with and you're playing at the right party, rather than just playing at a specific club.
Yeah. You say you like Berlin. Did you used to live in Berlin?
Yeah. In 2015 until 2016 and then I might be going back again this spring. I go back and forth. So I have a nice roommate and a good friend there. Every time I go to Berlin and I stay at his place. I have lots of friends in Berlin, it's a cool city and lots of nice parties. I'm not a big fan of the weather there. It's pretty cold but because compared to Ibiza. So I think next summer, I'm going to be based in Ibiza more than Berlin because I like sunny weather. I come from Iran, so I love sun.
So you say that you want to play a Fabric next year, is that going to be the goals for the year?
Yeah. Why not? I'm doing a UK tour. As an Iranian, it's kind of difficult to apply. I have to apply for an artist's visa. Last time I played at the Ministry of Sound in London it was really hectic and I had to apply for a visa while I was applying for a Schengen visa just to go to Amsterdam for ADE, for Global Underground parties. So it's kind of difficult to deal with all these visa issues. But yeah, I’d really love to do a UK tour soon and it would be amazing to play at Fabric someday. I don't know if it's next year. I don't know when, but it's one of my favourite clubs. I really love spinning there.
Life outside music
Hey there Fabric, Habischman wants to play. So outside of music, what's your passion? What drives you? What are you into outside of music?
Okay. I swim a lot. I'm a good swimmer and I like movies. I like watching different series on Netflix and then I actually like to learn how to write a script for a movie. I recently got involved in this project that a friend of mine who is doing a short film in Iran. I'm gonna produce a couple of tracks for his short film. So that's another project I'm getting involved in. Yeah, I really like to create and make nice videos. Actually opened up this, I started this account on Instagram called Timecode TV. It's about like creating knowledge for young people. It's all about production, DJing tips and it's like a small academy here.
I will try to expand it in the future and make it, turn it into an academy, hopefully. Just for people who are willing to learn more rather than just watching YouTube clips. It's gonna be more than that. So basically it's a one minute clips every day. It's like a TV, Instagram TV that there are like different programs every day. Me and my friends, we tried to mention good music like how to DJ, some DJing tips, production tips, introduce good DJs around the world. If you go online and check it out. We have already introduced two female DJs, Lafleur and Tinny. Every week we introduced another DJ. So, especially for Iranians who are not really involved in the scene and they just only know Solomon or Tale of Us and all those guys. I try to create a bit of knowledge around them. There are so many good DJs out there and they need to know. So yeah, that's another project I tried to push as well.
Brilliant. How do we find that, just on Instagram or is there a website? That sounds really good.
No, it's Timecode TV. If you go on Instagram, the logo is a circle where the diagonal line, the white line in between. It's just everyday programs like, so basically it's an Instagram TV. A thing no one ever has done this before. It's too much work but it's also fun.
Yeah, fair play for that. It's giving something back to the DJs as well. Something to aspire to and I reckon you'll get a lot of hits off this show. So would that, is that your second passion then? The filming and directing?
Yeah. I like editing videos and I really enjoy recording videos, making maybe in the future, documentaries or something related to videos, movies and media because like even when a friend of mine helped me produce the video for my Closure track, I was like sitting next to him and giving my ideas like, please do this, do that. I know a bit of a Final Cut Pro myself. I was like enjoying it. It's a nice passion.
Yeah. Who's your inspiration in that side of your life in directing and film?
I don't really have anyone to be honest. I'm not really good at memorizing names and like, which director is my favourite. If it's Spielberg I’ll know, or whatever. If it's a good movie, if it's an inspirational movie or event, if it can create a message and send it out to the world, I like to watch the movie or just follow up. Like recently I watched Inception for the third time while I was travelling to Moscow. Watched on the plane and was like listening to the tracks because I was trying to create music for this short film. Then I realized that like it's a masterpiece, like the way this is created and every time you re-watch a movie and you get like, okay, unlock some codes in your head. Yeah, James Cameron also is one of my favourite directors. So many.
So that's part and parcel of being a DJ, getting to watch lots of films. I suppose you're gonna have to take loads on the road. What's it like travelling? What do you experience when you're travelling from gig to gig?
To me, the world is really small. When I'm travelling, like you get on a plane after 7 or 8 hours, you're in another country. Different people, people look different like the way they look if you go to somewhere cold, if you go somewhere warm, that the language changes and everything. We all know that but you realise that like to me, this planet, that the world is really small because you get on a plane, like even you go to America, I don't know, anywhere like Australia after like 24 hours, or 14 hours, or 15 hours including layovers and all of that, you get to see another side of the world. But 24 hours is not a lot to see that side of the world. Then like other people living there with different taste, maybe in music or in food or, I don't know, whatever.
It's always good to explore the world. We are all the same. We have this universal language, that is music. Even sometimes like in Russia, like not many people speak English there but the way day they smile, their laugh that they feel the sound I was playing, that's a universal language. That gives me a lot of confidence and happiness that what I'm doing and it makes me feel great. That's the feel for me to add to this cart of production, DJing and travelling. I'm not a big fan of airplanes. Like too much turbulence, I get scared and like, oh my God, but put that aside, it's a nice feeling. As soon as everyone appreciates what you do, they come to your gig. They just say hi, they say, oh we love that track. We love this track of yours. This means that, for example, right now I'm in Tehran but someone in Mexico is listening to my music or just a Hashtag on Instagram and say, I love this. Just try it. Or I'm just running in the street or jogging and listening to that track of yours. It's all energy and then travelling from one side to another.
Wise words. So I've got a few questions now. The first one, what one big purchase has had the most impact on your career? This can be anything, tech software. What's the one big purchase?
Well, the first laptop that I got my sister helped me get it. It was a Sony Vaio and it wasn't the best computer for production. It was a bit slow but at that time, that was the main thing that I started producing on. So I installed my Ableton Live, which wasn't cracked, which was original. That was the first thing that was really helpful. It all started from that. So then of course, I bought a Macbook Pro and then other gear but I always had this idea that if you have the idea in your head, you can create it. You can turn it into a track rather than just buying lots of analog gear or all these synthesizers and put them next to your bed or next to your table or chair or desk or whatever you have in the studio. Because I see lots of people especially in Iran, in Tehran. When I go through a studio, they spend loads of money on gear and because they think that it's the gear to mix music. It's not about that, it's all about the idea in your head. So yeah, the first laptop was a big thing for me.
Okay. What about in the last six months? What's made the biggest impact purchase?
Speaker 3: (47:08)
Yeah, I got this Minilogue synthesizer by Korg. It's an analog synthesizer. It's very good. It's not really expensive. Then I've actually produced a couple of tracks using this sound and I can feel the warmth and depth in the sound that it's creating. It's also really fun to tweak those knobs on a real synthesizer rather than just changing stuff on a computer or with your mouse or just just adding that to your cheap like midi controller. It feels pretty natural to create something and implement ideas from a synthesizer, from an analog synthesizer into your track. Yeah, that's one thing that I really enjoy using in a studio.
Good stuff. So what is one of your biggest regrets in your career, if you have any?
Okay. That I wish I got into Red Bull music and I mean like now or even last year because as I said, I had no idea what was happening at that time. I wasn't as good as I am as a producer at that time. I didn't spend a lot of time in the studio. I was just talking to people and trying to learn because I had no idea what was happening. Yeah, if I could go now, again as a participant, I would get a lot out of it.
Okay. So have you had any big failures in life that you've learned from?
Yes. In order to travel as an Iranian, if especially when you hit 18, you have to go to national service, you have to do military service in Iran. So I tried to get away with it. I found this guy who kind of tricked me into getting this card so I could get my passport. After five years, I was in London and I came back, so I had to renew my passport and then they got my passport. They told me, you have to go to nationals, you have to do your national service. At that time I released, Leave me with Hot Since 82 and my track was on charts. I was doing national service so I couldn't leave the country. So yeah, it was like totally like a movie for me and then I realised there's sometimes you have to pay your dues and you got to pay the price to get somewhere. Even if it's a small card you need for something, if it's a license or if you have to learn something, you have to spend time and you cannot take a magic pill or I don't know, whatever, just to make it happen. There's no genie in this world, so you have to pay the price. Yeah.
How Important is Social Media
Brilliant. Okay. So next we're going to have a few questions from my blog subscribers. I've got my blogs dannysavage.com. It's a resource for DJs. So I ask my subscribers every week if they want to ask you a few questions. So the first question is from Phil Clinton and you can find Phil soundcloud.com/PhilClintonmusic. Phil's question is, how important is social media to the industry now and which is your favorite platform for promotion? I think we've gone over this a bit already, but...
Yeah. I think Facebook is still doing well, but Instagram is like more on point right now because like it's, you can post this stuff. People check Instagram more often rather than checking Facebook. What was the other question?
How important is social media to the industry now and which is your favourite place?
Yeah, it's really important. I think even if you don't have someone who can do the posts for you, you have to do it yourself and you have to be committed. You have to post, I don't know, everyday or every other two day or just to tell to your fans that you're there, you're working and you care about them. Because if there's no fans out there, there's going to be nobody. It's that. It's the people who come to your shows and those who create music like you, they appreciate what you do. It's always good to give away like tips, free tracks, DJ sets. It doesn't always have to be about money. You know, we can just skip back something in return as a DJ or as an artist.
Yeah. Brilliant. So the next question is from Oblivion Atty, soundcloud.com/oblivion atty from Bentonville, Arkansas, USA. What's the best way to book shows playing your own music at your own events? So I think it's like what's the best way to put on your own party, I think that's meant to...
Okay. I don't have any experience in throwing parties but I think if you're in contact with a couple of DJs or your friends and if you think it's a good thing that you're doing as an artist or as a DJ. If you're creating something different. I really care about doing something different rather than just putting like posting a flyer online. So yeah, doing something because I know that everyone is seeing a lot of that on Facebook and everywhere. You cannot really compete with like big clubs. So if you want to create a party, it has to be different. So you can just bring in people and don't expect to make loads of money from one party. Just try to create a momentum and something interesting for people out there so they can just get into your party, check out your sound and your friend's sound and just create a fan base for yourself. Then from there you can build up something nice, I believe.
Okay. So the next one is Tom Saunders in Harpenden London. Do you find the underground scene in Berlin has changed for the better or worse since you began performing?
Well I think in every corner of this world there are like good and bad parties. Even in Berlin, you can go to clubs that you think like, is it Berlin? Is it in Berlin? Because I think it's you who needs to choose which parties you go to. Actually it's good that like there's commercial scene and underground scene happening at the same time in different cities, especially Berlin because you cannot expect everyone to like, I don't know, techno or house or what kind of whatever kind of music you're playing. But to me it was good. Like Berlin is still one of the best party zones in the world and I think they have nice sound and nice record stores and then you can feel the vibe and good energy in the underground scene in the city. I've recently heard that the government actually is spending loads of money on under scene and then this soundproofing, I don't know, neighborhoods and clubs and just all of that. So this means that the industry like electronic music scene is really active in Berlin and that's really a really good thing.
Yeah. It's like the government protected it there as opposed to in the UK where they try bring it down as much as possible. Yeah, it's crazy. Okay, wrapping up now. Tell us something we don't know about Habischman.
My name. Some people think that I'm German. I'm not. My full name is Iman Habibi Shad, which I made Habischman from like, it's a combination of my full name. So you can figure it out now. What else? I like travelling and I don't do drugs. I don't know. It's cool to say that but I don't do any kinds of drugs. Which is kind of weird for some people, but yeah. I don't believe in that side of thing in the club scene. So many people think like specially...
Do you drink?
Yes. Many people think that it's kind of, it's one of the main elements of production or being a DJ is just you have to take drugs, especially in Iran and Tehran. Like these young kids, they come to me, it's like, you have to get high to produce this kind of music.
And I'm like, not really. Then it's kind of good and bad at the same time but I'm not judging anyone who is doing this and that, but yeah. I'm more on the positive side and the more unlike a sportsman side of life. I really like to be more active and just swim and create music. One thing that I had, I had a car accident when I was 15 and my right ear has tinnitus. I don't know if you know what that is. So I have constant ringing in my right ear, especially because when I was like DJing when I was a kid, so I always tried to crank up the volume because I felt like, okay, this side of my ear is muddy. You know, it sounds muddy. It was because of the injury that I had, so it turned into a tinnitus that I have. I think it's really important to protect your ears when you're DJing and when you're clubbing and whatever.
Do you use the the little ear protectors, the ear defenders, do you get any of that? Do you use them?
I haven't actually tried them yet. I need to go to these specialists who actually create them, like make them for your ears but I use earplugs when I go to a party and then when I'm not DJing. I haven't tried them on for like DJing but for, I use these like soundproofing kind of thing like earplugs for that helps you reduce the volume of the overall sound in a club. So they're good. They actually decrease the excitement to be honest. If you want to use those ears, you have to use them.
Okay. Last question now. So we've got a full page, hypothetically speaking, we've got a full page advert in DJ magazine and you can write one inspirational quote for all the DJs out there. What would that quote be?
Does it have to be my quote or I can use someone else's?
No. It's a quote. You can use someone else's, something you live by, your own quote or someone else's. Yeah. Not a problem.
Okay. This is my favorite one. The word ‘impossible’ is not in my dictionary.
That's brilliant. So we'll turn that into a meme as well. Alright, brilliant. You've been a brilliant guest. So finally, where can we find you online? Give us some links to your online activity and what you've got coming up. Anything you want to plug?
Yeah. If you wanna stay in touch with me, you can just go on Facebook, facebook.com/habischman.official. You can just find me anywhere, on Twitter and Instagram, all with the main side slash Habischman. I have finished a couple of tracks. I'm actually talking to a couple of labels, like proper labels. I've recently finished three tracks, but I cannot mention the names of the labels because I'm not sure if it's going to sign, if it's not going to be signed, those labels or not, but I've got a couple of nice releases coming up and I'm hopefully going to be on the island in Ibiza during summer. I would like to do something more than just playing in clubs and so I might be creating something fun, even a small party or whatever, just to create something more on the island for those who really enjoy hanging out and just sharing ideas and listening to good music. I don't know if it's going to be terrace parties or villa parties or roof parties or whatever you want to call it but I'm in the process of creating something for next summer in Ibiza and yeah.
You should come back. You should come back through winter. There's parties, there's small parties everywhere all through winter. There were four in the weekend we had to go to last week. One of them were a kids rave and the next one, Winter Wonderland. Crazy stuff going on. There's always stuff to do on a weekend. Brilliant.
So I'd love to. Yeah, sure. Because even like my managers, like basically based in Ibiza and then I have so many good friends there, so it's always good. It's like a must have vacation, so I love it. Yeah. That's the best place, I think, to be honest in the world. It's really positive. Yeah.
Cool. So yeah, you've been an amazing guest. Some really cool stories and some really good advice for the DJs. Yeah, it's been a pleasure. Thank you.
You're welcome. Thanks for having me.
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