Techno Tuesday: Namito on growing up and ‘Letting Go’
Techno Tuesday is a feature on Dancing Astronaut documenting the culture of underground dance music. We’ll bring you exclusive interviews, tracks, and narratives from artists within the techno, tech house, and deep house world in an effort to shed light on some of the best talent outside the world of mainstream dance music.
Namito is a humble success story. The artist went through a lot in his youth; an Iran torn by a coup and general warfare led to fleeing to Germany as a child, where he proceeded to watch the tumultuous end to the Soviet Union unfold right before his eyes.
One thing remained constant to the young creative, though, and that thing was art. Dance music in particular was a guiding force in his life, and by 1992, Namito was on his way toward making it into a career. He’s since become a regular at some of the world’s most treasured clubs, including Tresor, Fabric, and more, while also wearing the hat of label owner to help cultivate the next generation of underground greats. Success aside, Namito has never been one to brag about his work or talk big on social media. Instead, the reserved talent keeps his head down in the studio, focused solely on evolving himself and being the best musician he could possibly be. This is the mark of a true creative.
His endeavors eventually led him to embark upon the most extensive project of his career: a double LP called Letting Go, a multimedia autobiographical album. It traces his growth, hardships, and triumphs as an immigrant adolescent who found his way into dance music — not just in song, but also through visual aids. A painter as well, Namito has paired each track with a unique image that drives in their meaning. Then, he tops it all off is a story alongside each.
In honor of the release, we invited Namito to the Dancing Astronaut offices to tell his story in a more succinct form that offers a taste of what we might hear come its December 7 release. We’ll leave it to him to tell the tale…
When I was 13, I had seen a bloody revolution [in my home country of Iran] that took a huge toll on our family due to the tragic death of my uncle. I witnessed the war and Saddam Hussein’s bombs dropping over Tehran, but was not ready to live without my parents, my sisters and my friends. A week before my departure I was given it straight that it was best for me to leave, yet as a teen you take this very personally — almost as a punishment or rejection.
My parents put me in an Iran Air flight to West-Berlin via Frankfurt and my carer abandon and there I was taken care of by my uncle and his wife. I was under 14 years old and back then at this age Germany didn’t ask for a visa. What was extremely traumatic, though, was the fact that nobody asked my opinion about whether I am up for leaving everything behind and immigrating to another country, another culture without my parents or not.
So, the idea of telling my story [in album form] came back in 2003. After leaving Iran and seeking asylum in Germany, I could not go back for 17 years. The problem was that I could not apply for the German citizenship without getting released from the Iranian one, and the Iranian embassy refused to even answer any requests regarding that subject. It was only after the victory of Chancellor Gerhard Schröder 1998 that Germany allowed Iranians to have the dual nationality. I applied for it right away and 2001 almost got it but then 9/11 happened and now the authorities insisted on double checking my past again!
After finally receiving the German Passport in 2002, I went back to visit my family in Iran and also started to write a little blog. My Berlin friends liked my way of writing and encouraged me to start writing a book about my journey. Even though I had already finished 80 pretty well written pages in the past years, I realized that I am not a writer. I express myself more with music and paintings. The idea of telling my story [in album form] was first born came in 2003, and over the years the idea of telling my ongoing story in a different way became more and more clear. Ultimately it developed to be a hybrid trinity of music, painting and writing.
The concept of my album “Letting Go” is that every single track tells a story about a peak or special moment of my life from childhood till 1993. Each tune has its own individual painting portraying the situation and additional to that a story that I wrote to explain what happened.
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05 – Namito & Ruede Hagelstein – Letting Go ( w&p by @ruedehagelstein & @djnamito ) This time the story is a bit longer so I will post it in the comments! ❣️ • • • • • • #beatport #spotify #melodictechno #deephouse #electronicmusic #berlin #dj #art #animated #drawing #story
The 23 tracks are divided in two parts, one Electronica part about the time in Iran (which will be released a bit later), one mirroring the events that happened in Berlin. The later part is obviously infused by club sounds of all sort. The memories are probably a bit different to the majority of the Western world kids usual recollections. The revolution of 1979 in Iran, war, cold war, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the explosion of electronic music in Berlin shaped who I am today and are part of the narration.
I’ve been reinventing my sound the past two decades again and again but one thing is for sure: I always try to tell a story within track and my favorite tool for that has usually been the melody and the bass. For example, the track “Culture Shock” in my album is about my very first encounter with a German upon arrival in Frankfurt as a boy at 13. I was waiting for my caretaker at the luggage belt as a stranger approached me and handed me a rolled up magazine. I didn’t speak any German and almost no English. I had no clue what he wanted but out of politeness I took the magazine and opened it. It was a PLAYBOY magazine and for the first time in my life I saw a fully naked woman. It literally was a shock, which I expressed through the surprise synth roar in the middle!
I am pretty happy with the acoustic translation of the situation into music, big thanks to my friend Luna Semara for helping me with that. Or the wild tune “Blank Check” that is about the anarchic situation in East-Berlin after fall of the Berlin wall, a situation that is probably not gonna occur ever again in that weird constellation. “Letting Go Prequel” was designed to reflect the melancholic nature of my birth place Iran. Slow beats and almost sad strings that always carry hope reflect the situation there. Especially the tracks with my dear friends Manaa and Hubert Watt add that special mood to the album that I had in mind. The complete story will unfold over the next weeks on my Instagram account, and the whole album should make a lot more sense once people understand the story.
Order a copy of ‘Letting Go,’ out on Namito’s imprint Ubersee, here