From Story to Sound: Inside Namito’s Groundbreaking Concept Album “Letting Go”

Lauren Krieger

As an influential part of the burgeoning Berlin Techno scene of the 90’s, Namito’s introduction to the music as a teenager fleeing war-torn Iran set the stage for a decades-spanning career devoted to following his passion. His enthusiasm for DJing altered his destiny, as he dedicated his life to discovering more about it, and began sharing his unique musical perspective in Berlin and beyond. Residencies in clubs like Tresor and E-Werk were followed by international gigs, his releases gathering the attention of promoters across Europe and solidifying his name in the industry. With appearances on renowned labels such as Kling Klong, Systematic Recordings, Kompakt, Yoshitoshi and Selador, his productions further spread his global influence through his distinctive sound.

Today, Namito continues to share his unique artistic perspective through his music and paintings, recent highlights including co-producing with artists including Marc Romboy (Innervisions, Kompakt, Bedrock), sharing the stage live with the Dortmund Philharmony Orchestra, and working with the legendary Grandmaster Flash with whom he made parts of the music for the Netflix show called “The Get Down”. Launching his latest project, his new label “Übersee”, Namito will be showcasing the sounds from his friends around the world, as he brings the music to unknown places.

He’ll also be bringing his own music to the forefront with the release of “Letting Go” on November 23rd [Pre-Order Now], a unique conceptual autobiographical album that tells the story of his life when he first came to Berlin and his DJ journey began.

About Letting Go:

Multi-talented musician and artist Namito has remained an important figure in the very fabric of Berlin’s Melodic House & Techno scene, right since its humble beginnings.

 

His autobiographical concept album “Letting Go” charts the story of his early years, when he was forced to flee his native homeland Iran, as a 13 year old boy and plots the struggle of him coming to terms with growing up as a young refugee, on his own in West Berlin.

 

Letting Go reveals his most pivotal moments between 1985 to 1993: the East-West conflict, the fall of the Wall, his entry into a Bhagwan-Commune and his decision to drop out of school for music.

 

Released on his newly founded label “Übersee Music” on November 23rd 2018, Letting Go transports listeners on a thrilling journey and teaches a poignant lesson, that perhaps we’re only truly ready to embrace new and exciting possibilities, when we finally let go?

Featured as FRISKY’s Artist of the Week, Namito’s exclusive set is premiering on November 20th @ 2PM EST [convert timezone] and will be available to listen on-demand anytime after with a FRISKY Premium Subscription & on FRISKY Mobile Apps.

Wanting to hear more of his story and learn how he was able to translate his experiences to sound, I was excited to catch up with Namito:

With the finishing of your autobiographical concept album “Letting Go”, and the beginning of your own label “Übersee”, this seems to be a very notable time in your life and career. How are you feeling with these accomplishments and changes?

I feel great! It seems like after more than two decades of producing I finally found my “story”, in this case literally!

What were some of the challenges you faced when producing the album? How were you able to overcome them?

The main challenge was obviously to translate the story to music. It is much easier for example to paint a scene or event, but how do you create the fitting sound or vibe? But in the same time it is a very helpful tool to have a story behind a track, as it gives you a very solid frame. For example if you write about your uncle being shot the track can not be uplifting or playful, it is melancholic and sad. I am extremely happy with the final result and love each single one of the tracks, especially the cooperations with the other artists.

As both a musician and artist, do you have a certain approach to getting into a “creative flow”? Do you have any routines that you follow?

Making music has been my daily life since 1994, there were super rare occasions when I was sick or had no computer that I skipped a day at the studio or at least on my laptop. With my other stuff like painting and writing it is a totally different story. I have weird attacks of creativity and have learned to allow that to happen over the years, as they disappear as suddenly as they arrive. Sometime I start a painting and it is just the last 2-3% to be finished but it takes me months to finish what I started. I can’t even open a tube of colour then. Also here I had to learn to accept the facts and wait, if I force it things go south.

What is one consistent rule or guideline that you apply to your life and your music?

No limitation is my first rule in music…

I have all the possibilities to make all kinds of music in my studio and feel like I would be stupid to limit myself to a certain genre or style. Marketing wise it is probably not the best idea to have and you end up making a few mistakes but hey, no risk, no fun.

In life I don’t do things that I don’t want other people to do to me. Very simple. I have never betrayed a girl friend for example, might be boring and not “rock’n’roll” but the peace of mind coming with the decision is priceless.

What song or artist made the first big impact on your life?

I have thought about that a lot lately and I identified “Shake The Disease” by Depeche Mode as THE song that had the biggest impact on my life. I heard it the first time in the year 1985 in West-Berlin, a few days after arriving in Germany and could not believe what sounds they used. In Iran we hardly had access to any modern music beyond Abba and Boney M, maybe some Michael Jackson if we were lucky. Western music was forbidden. So when I heard the synth driven sound I was hooked.

Is there a lesson that you learned when you first started working with music that you still find valuable today?

The only reason you should make music is because you totally love making it.

There is no security, nobody gives a fuck about what you achieved a few years back and let’s face it, there is more morality among arms dealers. But if you don’t do it for the fame or the money, there is a huge reward that you get and it is divine. When I go to our studio in the morning and close the door, all my problems and worries stay outside, I am in some sort of what esoteric people might call “no mind”. I love it.

There is such a wonderful seamless consistency and journey through “Letting Go”, do you find it challenging or natural to produce with a definitive sound while still maintaining variety?

As an artist you develop certain work flows and tricks that define your sound more and more. But in the case of “Letting Go” it had a also to do with the purchase of a magical device that I used on most of the tracks: ANALOG KEYS by ELEKTRON! I learned to love this complicated machine so much that I every time I am stuck just start to fiddle around with that synth and 99% of the time magic happens. And of course you create that way the consistency that you call wonderful! 🙂

Do you have any advice for artists who are interested in creating their own full album?

I think it is essential to surprise the listener. Nothing is more boring than being predictable. I don’t necessarily mean the music. Be creative, think outside of the box, be WEIRD. I watched a video by one these guys that make funny videos and he mentioned something really true. We are being told to be normal, in school, at home or in the society in general, but those we admire are all somehow weird. Isn’t that crazy? So dear young artists, we are excited to be surprised, bring it on and stop copying the top 100 of online platforms!

Could you share an example of the creative and thought process of one of your tracks, how it evolved from story to sound?

The best example for that is the opening track of the first part of the album called “Culture Shock”. It is about the very, very first encounter I had in Germany upon arrival at the Frankfurt airport on my way to West-Berlin. I was sitting there and waiting for my caretaker to get his luggage as a guy approached me and offered me a rolled up magazine. I didn’t speak english nor German and didn’t want to offend the guy and took the magazine. When I opened it in the middle I saw for the first time in my life a totally naked woman. It was a PLAYBOY magazine and the guy started to lough out loud. My head turned red and I gave him his belonging back quickly.

Now if you listen to the track you will realise the vibe is a bit dreamy and lost in the beginning, I had overcome the sadness of leaving my family and country and was rather in a curios mood. And then suddenly out of the blue an almost too loud synth line cuts through the track and you feel tension but also excitement. I was not unhappy to finally see a naked woman, only the circumstances shocked me. I think if you hear the track with this knowledge you will totally feel it. That crazy synth line was by the way written by my dear friend Luna Semara!

Can you give us a hint of what’s to come with your new label Übersee?

Übersee Music is going to be playground for me and my friends to release our music. I connect the desire of traveling to unknown places with the name and that is also what I want to achieve regarding the music.

If there was one message you could share through your art and music, what would it be?

Stop voting cunts into the office, I wish I could share that with my music and art.

Listen to Namito’s Artist of the Week live on November 20th @ 2PM EST [convert timezone] and on-demand anytime after with a FRISKY Premium Subscription & on FRISKY Mobile Apps.

Letting Go will be released on November 23rd: Pre-Order Now

FRISKY | ARTIST OF THE WEEK

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