Shine A Light On: Reza Athar


Relocating from Iran to the Netherlands, Reza Athar has strived to become a part of a world in which music rules supreme. Having made his debut appearances at the legendary TrouwAmsterdam & Berlin’s amazing Salon Zur Wilden Renate this year, Reza is certainly on the way up. Having already booked a number of high-profile DJs including Jennifer Cardini, Ivan Smagghe and  Ewan Pearson for his Horizon parties, there can be no arguing that the man knows his music. We got him to provide us with this week's Shine A Light On mix and we delved deeper into his mind;

Who are you?

Reza Athar

Where are you from?

Nijmegen. WHERE DID I SAY? A city in the East part of Holland HAS HOLLAND GOT AN EAST PART? YES!

What are you?

Good question! I wish there was an unequivocal answer to that question.

When did you first decide that you wanted to produce your own music? What spurred this on?

I still haven't decided. There are plans to do so, but for now I'm focusing on DJing

What’s your earliest memory of music?

Oh I must go way back for this one. I was born in Teheran/Iran. My brother has these mixtapes on cassete which were super illegal. Pop music is forbidden under the Islamic laws of Iran. I remember watching all those Iranian popstars, who were living in Los Angeles. Once a year all those pop singers made an music video VHS for the Persian new year. The singer that touched my soul in those VHS videos was Moein.

And from those Cassettes I remember hearing Modern Talking as one of the first examples of Western music and I was instantly in love with those cheesy synth lines. Speaking English was not very common by people in Iran. I remember everyone in Iran was singing the Modern Talking lyrics "You're My Heart, You're My Soul" like "Yamaha, Yamasol". It took me years to find out that the real lyrics were different.

What was the first electronic music you ever heard and how did it make you feel?

That must also be on of those illegal VHS videos. My uncle had a friend from Europe and he send him those tapes with recorded MTV music videos. I remember hearing Depeche Mode for the first time and I was in love at first sight.

Who would you say were your biggest influences?

If we're talking about DJs. I must say that my heart goes out to three essential things. 1. A certain punk factor 2. Not taking yourself too seriously & 3. That you really should be what you are playing.

With this in mind, my favourite DJs are: Harvey, for his amazing rock 'n roll attiude behind the decks. Andrew Weatherall, for almost the same reason and plus the fact that he has chosen underground and spent his life not trying to break through to the mainstream. Daniele Baldelli, for exactly the same reason and his amazing taste. Trevor Jackson, for really the same reason as well and also that he is so outspoken about all kind of subjects and, of course, the rock 'n roll lady of electronic music, Jennifer Cardini. 

I have a weakness for DJs who don't take themself too seriously. A very good example of that is the Dutch underground superstar DJ Benny Rodrigues. A great skilled DJ with a versatile music taste. And last but not least, Prins Thomas! For being the personification of his records.

Talking about producers/bands, these are the producers that I really feel at the moment or who have touched me in the past: Depeche Mode, Tornado Wallace, LCD Soundsystem, New Order, Black Merlin, Massimiliano Pagliara, Fleetwood Mac, Imagination, Roman Flügel, Headman, Suuns, Lauer, Eskimo Twins/Heretic, Wooden Shjips, Fernando to name a few. But there are a lot more.

Where was this mix recorded?

At home! With two Pioneer cdj 800's and a shabby, but still very reliable, mixer.

What was your last day job and when did you realise you could give it up for music?

I haven't got that luxury yet unfortunately.

If you still work, what do you do and why?

I work as a host in the theater and Concert hall in my town.

What would be the ideal setting to listen to this recording?

This mix is an insight to my DJ set(s). The kind of music I really love to play at clubs. So I guess in a cozy room, with a large poster of me on the wall.

What should we be wearing?

Something sexy.

If you could go back to back with any DJ from throughout history, who would it be and why?

I hate most of the back to back sets because the DJ could not do 100% his own thing during the set.

What’s your favourite recorded mix of all time?

I think that might be Dixon's Body Language and Prins Thomas & Lindstrom's Essential Mix. Both mixes were so different for the musical climate back then. They really have influenced me as a person and DJ.

Are you a kick drum, hi hat or a snare? And why?

A kick drum. Because of my big mouth.

What’s your favourite place on earth?

That must be Tehran! People who know, they know!

When was the last time you played a good game of table tennis?

That must have been in an asylum central more than 14 years ago. I was pretty good actually. I could defeat every kid there.

What do you do on Sundays?

Usually sleep. But this month I played two awesome Sunday gigs. So playing on Sundays is my new favorite hobby.

What are you obsessed with at the moment?

The new album from Massimiliano Pagliara. It's even better than his first and his first one was already my favourite album of that year.

Upcoming in the world of Reza Athar?

Journey taking DJs.

Anything we've missed?

I will make my UK DJ debut in 2015. Look here for more info & details about it.

Find out more about Reza Athar here.