GETTING CREDIT

IMAN

HOUSSEIN

Speaking with the multi-hyphenate artist on being featured in this year's Future Bubblers, how he takes influence from his Iranian roots and creating atmospheres within his sound. 

What was your first introduction to music and how does that impact the sound you create today?

I come from a province of Iran with a rich heritage of communal song and dance. Almost every member of the family plays an instrument. The music is tribal in the sense that it carries with it a great deal of identity, this essential idea has stuck with me and my understand of what creativity should be, an expression of the the unique human spirit.

 

How has growing up in London, after moving from Iran, influenced your sound? 


London is the embodiment of democracy in a way, at least the best version of it. There is not another place on Earth in which cultures and ideas mix as freely as they do here. I was fortunate to be in and amongst these cultures with an inquisition that always asked where and how. I grew up around garage, reggae, nyabinghi, soul, rock, jazz, hiphop and RnB. What was most fascinating was always the drums, what my friends father called ‘the pocket’, and so the drums were the first instrument i learnt to play.
 

How do you feel that the city’s music scene encourages artists who do something different/experimental with their sound?

I think the last 15 years have been a testament to London's impact on music globally. Focusing on the developments of sub genres stemming from garage, London’s long established history of musical appropriation in a way turned into innovation. I think this set a standard in a way for aspirations of artists to be that of a more innovative and forward thinking creative. 

"It is always inspirational working with others who not only encourage

self-expression but ...

love seeing it shared."

How did you become involved with Future Bubblers and how was the process of working with them for this year’s project?

I was encourage to send the team some music via their submissions process by a friend. Fortunately, I was chosen as a year four bubbler and started working with them. They have been a real inspiration to me as their encouragement and giving have enabled me to share so much more with the confidence and belief I think I lacked prior to meeting them. It is always inspirational working with others who not only encourage self-expression but genuinely love seeing it shared. 

 

What were the main inspirations for your track ‘Slow Things Down’?


The song is about being a carrier of the spirit, the spirit of creativity, being a median of the unsaid in some way. Music is a part of a larger whole being, what I call the ritual. A ritual is a procession, visual and auditory, it celebrates a change of good or bad. It aims to be as immersive as possible, hypnotic in its driving rhythm, melody and structure. It seeks a state of change from the listener and asks them to slow things down. 

 

What was the process of working on that track on the collaborative project? 

 

I had a lot of creative freedom and wanted to work towards something informed by the label in a way as a thank you. I tried to align my influences and the countless inspirational releases Brownswood as a label has given us into a celebration of the Bubblers project. 

"I saw that creativity is a powerful personal pursuit that should be encouraged and left to flourish."

Was there anything that you took away from the experience of working with the other featured artists?

I saw that creativity is a powerful personal pursuit that should be encouraged and left to flourish. Within each of the bubblers there are very sentimental reasons for expressing themselves in such a way. I’d argue it is a necessity for all of them, me included.
 

What were the influences that went into ‘Unity / Jang’ and how was creating those tracks?

 

The single was a way of me sharing a more personal creative voice, revealing a little more of and about myself. I stripped back as much as I could from 'Unity', focusing on the message I was conveying within the writing. 'Jang' is in a way the opposite, driving forward with a heavy rhythm and rich musical narrative. The Poem ending 'Jang' is a message of love and faith to everyone and their pursuits. The idea comes forms the Iranian cultural practice of elders reciting surahs or poems while overlooking their grandchildren.

 

"An instrument is a language, the broader your knowledge and understanding of the language the more creative you can be."

 

How has lockdown been for you, creatively?

The Lockdown has brought to focus the miracle and insanity that is the human condition. Polarising in every way, a test from which people live through or die from. 

Do you take inspiration from other artistic mediums e.g. film/art and how do you go about intersecting them into your music?

 

The majority of my work takes inspiration from poetry or film. I think the written form is the most concise and a great practice of perfecting and beautifying an idea for translation into music or any other medium. 


How do you go about capturing a mood within your music?

 

I try and find the essential in an idea, into a word, a symbol and a sound. From there a story can be built starting before or after the essential element and going wherever it wants to go from there. 


How does being an instrumentalist aid your songwriting?

 

It allows for you to better communicate your idea. An instrument is a language, the broader your knowledge and understanding of the language the more creative you can be. 


What three tips would you give to anyone wanting to get into producing?

Ask yourself if music is the best way you can communicate what you want to say before anything else. If so, start with the bare minimum as a rule, even if your budget has no limits. Master the basic concepts of production and do as much research as you can in developing your intuitive, dynamic human spirit, aiming to create something that has not been done before. 

Which artists first inspired you to get into music and who is inspiring you today?

 

Apart form the traditional classical music of the eastern world including Africa, I am most inspired by contemporary classical and jazz music. Post world war one and two, music became something very personal and started to step away from established forms and purposes. It became the artists voice more so than it had ever been. Maurice Ravel, Anton Webern, John Coltrane and Terry Riley to name a very small handful. 

 

In more recent years, pioneers like Madlib, MF DOOM, James Blake, Flying Lotus, Chris Daddy Dave, Drake and much of commercial hip-hop and RnB now. I always listen to the current trends within a variety of genres. its important to carry with you the feeling of the current time and place, I find it helps in orienting your creativity and grounding it in something real.

If you guys had to recommend five artists to your listeners, who would they be?

 

Maurice Ravel, Soft Machine, Alice Cotrane, Madlib, James Blake


What’s coming up for the rest of 2020?

 

I'd like to explore film, I find film to be the medium in which you can fully realise an idea and leave the strongest of impressions on the audience. I will also be working towards an LP nearing the middle of the year and I hope to perform as much as possible too. 

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