A few months back, on a sunny Thursday morning, I met a lanky, wavy haired wild child for tea at Tehran’s Khaneh-ye Honarmandan, a cultural centre in the smoggy heart of the city. I’d been in touch with Moslem Rasouli for a while online, after having developed an interest in his ingeniously clever Facebook images, mostly featuring his face superimposed on those of Qajar concubines, subjects of Renaissance paintings, and Hollywood belles. It was only later, of course, that I discovered his recordings, and his experiments in fusing classical and folk music from Iran with modern, electronic sensibilities, and his ambition for preserving his country’s musical heritage.
Sipping on a cup of hot Indian chai, overlooking the leafy square below us (where a few individuals had been hanged only weeks earlier), Moslem and I chatted about his rise to comic fame, our shared Rashti roots, and his penchant for Spongebob Squarepants, as well as Tehran’s underground music scene, his life as a twenty-something musician in Iran, and his work.
Having been recently featured on a UK radio programme, and with a new music video out on the net, Moslem is one emerging musician who’s been making quite a ‘sound’ these days, as we Iranians like to say. Exclusive to REORIENT, the following is his first media interview.