When I grew up listening to music, there was Rock n Roll, Country, Blues and Polka. These days, I wouldn’t dare to try to list the many styles, genres, sounds, categories of music out there. Although there are many, there are always the staples/the roots/the pioneers of new music that ensure that their music is here to stay! One music that might be considered ‘fairly new and fresh’ to Toronto and Canada is – EDM (electric dance music) or Progressive House Music. It might seem new to this younger generation but its roots are well planted in Europe, Asia, The Netherlands and the Middle Eastern countries. The US and Canada do have some catching up to do… but luckily, we now have our very own professional EDM/Progressive House Music Producer/DJ ASHKAN in the house and in our country/Toronto!
DJ/Producer ASHKAN (Ashkan Dian) is from Iran but now makes his home in Toronto, Canada. His music specialty is Progressive House Music and his new track 963 HZ is guaranteed to please those audio receptors as well as your body sensors – like no other music can. The one thing that I’ve learned about this song… it has secrets. In talking to ASHKAN, he explains that he enjoys the surprise and mystery of dropping sounds or vibrations that can only be appreciated/felt/detected/heard through a quality sound system. ASHKAN has performed around the world and on some of the largest stages with the best sound systems designed for PHM and Techno House Music – so he knows the science behind soundwaves and megahertz. His passion is art and his art is his music that he wants to share with the world. We can all use some good vibrations in our lives, especially in these trying times.
ASHKAN has developed a large fan base following his tours in high profile International clubs in Malaysia, Cyprus, Dubai, France, The Netherlands etc. The talented artist also earned Best Oriental Electronic Music award from Enmoda Magazine. Ritchie Hawtin and Marco Carola, icons in the techno music world have praised ASHKAN’s talent. His creative edge has led to collaborations with International artists and top record labels around the world. ASHKAN’s new EP “963HZ” has made it onto Beatport’s Top 10 chart.
ASHKAN has established his own record label, Positive Sounds to have creative control in producing Progressive-House music, a subgenre of house music. The sound is hard but tuneful, banging but thoughtful, focusing on melodies and chords that grow at regular intervals. Always progressive, ASHKAN works hard on the techniques of his craft, putting his own creative touches to keep the genre personal and 963 HZ is a perfect example of his vision. Progressive-House has a feel that translates to a crowd, concert or dance floor. His reward is to see the crowd lifted up and movin.
Hear and feel the excitement of 963 HZ, out now on Soundcloud/Beatport/YouTube.
I had the amazing privilege of speaking with this incredibly talented, humble, kind, generous and unbelievably creative music artist, ASHKAN…
HNMAG “Would you say that Canada has a big progressive-house music population or does it have room to grow?”
ASHKAN “Toronto has potential to grow this type of music. The problem is – younger people are listening to R&B and Hip Hop. I think it depends on the locations and the clubs. It’s really a 50/50 chance for change.”
HNMAG “What inspired the name for your newest track, 963 HZ?”
ASHKAN “I’ve always liked strange names for my songs and because of that, people will google it to find out if there’s a meaning to it. If you look it up, you will find meanings, such as… the frequency of God, the frequency of meditation. I’ve put some secrets in the song, that you have to find out on your own.”
HNMAG “In saying that, would someone have to hear those secrets using special audio equipment?”
ASHKAN “Not really, but I think a great sound system would be helpful. If you listen to House-Music, you need to listen to it loudly because you need to be able to feel all the frequencies and not just the subs. It’s why a lot of people go to the club – to listen to the music loudly, so they can feel it.”
HNMAG “What inspired you to create the track 963 HZ?”
ASHKAN “It was inspired by the melody of a song, A Flowers Love and the artist is, A Lovers Love. In creating the dance music, I combine Techno with House Music.
HNMAG “Where was this track recorded?”
ASHKAN “I recorded it right here, in my home recording studio. I wrote the lyrics and recorded the vocals in my home country of Iran.”
HNMAG “Do you want to mentor younger music artists?”
ASHKAN “Oh definitely, it’s why I established my record label, I want to support young talented DJs around the world, regardless of nationality or country – artists that work with progressive house music.”
HNMAG “You’ve performed in some of the most beautiful locations in the world. Where has your favourite country/location been to perform?”
ASHKAN “I’ve performed in many countries, such as Malaysia, Turkey, Netherlands, France but I think Dubai is the best place in the world for entertainment. They put a lot of value and importance in this business and the entertainment industry. When you go into the clubs over there, they have the best sound systems. I believe the Armani Club has one of the largest monitor screens anywhere, it’s amazing!”
HNMAG “How long does it usually take to create a new song?
ASHKAN “It depends on the project. Sometimes between 4-6 hours… and sometimes 1 month. When you consider the process of mixing and mastering, that process can sometimes take longer.”
HNMAG “Has it always been easy for you to create new music in a short time?”
ASHKAN “I have experience in this field and focus on the mixing and mastering of the music. When you’re making the music and thinking about the importance of the idea, it’s not related to time.”
HNMAG “Have you always wanted to create Progressive House music?”
ASHKAN “I switched to this kind of music 5 years ago. Before that, I was a ghost producer for many DJ’s. A ghost producer will make music for an artist to earn money. I’ve made R&B music for the German artist – Baby Brown, I also made EDM (electronic dance music) on the side and have always made dance music.”
HNMAG “You collaborated with the very best of techno music artists. Now that you’re in Canada, is there an artist that you would dream of collaborating with?
ASHKAN “I think Deadmau5 (pronounced Dead Mouse), he’s a famous Canadian DJ music artist. I would love to collaborate with him.”
HNMAG “Your song 963 HZ is on Beatport’s Top 10 chart. How does your family and friends feel about your success?
ASHKAN “Nobody believed I could achieve that level of success in the charts. They tell me that I finally made it and they’re so proud of me for making it into the Electronic Music scene. It’s a good memory… but it was so hard. You’re in competition with music artists and producers from around the world that make the same kind of music. I believe there’s over a thousand music artists. It’s exciting to watch the charts to see who is in front of you and behind you. We have spoken to each other and discussed collaborations for the following year. I had a contract with an Argentine DJ, PureX. I think he was only 17 yrs. old, but I try to help the new and talented DJ’s.”
HNMAG “Let me ask you a fun question. Would you prefer to ride an Arabian horse for the day… or drive a McLaren sports car for the day?”
ASHKAN “I love excitement and technology… so I would ride in the McLaren.”
HNMAG “What is your favourite sport to play and to watch?”
ASHKAN “I don’t know if it’s a sport, but skydiving. I’ve tried it twice but I really enjoy it. If I’m watching sports, Formula 1 racing.”
HNMAG “Do you play any musical instruments?”
ASHKAN “Not serious instrumental but I play the keyboard and synthesizers.”
HNMAG “If you were stranded on an island and you only had one phone call. Who would you call for help?”
ASHKAN “Oh… (laughing), probably my big brother. I think he’s the only one that could help me and tell me that I’m always getting into trouble (laughing).”
HNMAG “Since starting your own record label, are you open to mentoring other young artists?”
ASHKAN “I do want to help out young producers because I know how hard it is, having already been through it. I want to help give them confidence and inspire them.”
HNMAG “If somebody was considering becoming a DJ in Progressive House Music, what type of advice would you give them?”
ASHKAN “I would tell them to be consistent with their projects because sometimes a DJ might only be thinking of the money but they should be thinking of the reasons they want to be a DJ. They need the love and the passion if they’re going to be an artist. You can’t buy the experience with money; you have to earn everything by yourself… through your struggles and your ambitions.”
I’ve listened to Ashkan’s music and it reverberated through me from the first bar. If you’re not familiar with Progressive House Music, make that meet and greet happen. Just remember to turn it loud… when nobody is home.