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The Truth teller from Tehran
This is the true story of someone who went out to find something without knowing he was looking for it. The story of someone whose path inevitably had been changed forever before his adult life had even started. Read on, estimated music lover, to hear the details of a life as colourful as a handwoven Tehrani carpet telling 1001 stories in a patch smaller than the palm of your hand — just like his music. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the one and only Namito, of of Berlin’s earliest and most influencial DJs and producers…
Born in Teheran, Iran, in 1971, Namito whose real name is Ali Khalaj, witnessed the revolution first hand when he was starting school in 1978. “I can clearly remember how helpless we all felt. The climax of all the tragedy that afflicted our family was my uncle’s death whose car got into a shooting. As soon as the revolution was over in 1979, Saddam Hussein deemed it necessary to take Iran which we kids found super exciting at first.” But then the bombings started, randomly dropped on the city, and those were the sole reason for Namito’s departure from Iran. Secretly, Namito’s mother had, against the will of the father, obtained a one-way flight ticket, destination – West Berlin.
“My resistance was futile, and in August 1985, I was sent to live with my uncle in Germany,” recalls an excited Namito, willing to spill the beans. Nowadays a 14 year old would end up straight into the detention cell in immigrations, but Namito made it all the way to Berlin via Frankfurt, “scared to shit”, and safely arrived in his uncle’s custody. He was sent to school and quickly learned the German language whilst his relationship with his uncle got worse and worse. “Parallelly to the growing alienation from my uncle, I became totally fascinated by the activities of an Indian guru called Bhagwan, also known as Osho. In 1989, I moved into the commune and lived happily with fifty other people, who successfully managed the Ku’damm discotheque (which only went bust a few years ago). “1989 was the year in which I decided to dedicate myself to being a DJ,” recounts Namito who ditched school in favor of his new occupation: “Something I don’t regret at all, until today.” Nevertheless, his auto efficient education paid off. Until 1993 he had the rare opportunity to play in front of a huge audience three to five times a week, thus gaining a lot of experience. But at some stage, in 1993 to be precise, Namito decided to say goodbye to the commune, and began to roam the planet. He went to South America for three months and travelled as far as Venezuela, Colombia and Equador. The journey became somewhat of a turning point as Namito, upon his return, would only immerse himself in electronic music.
It was the right decision; it was rewarded with gigs and residencies in Berlin’s best techno clubs like E-Werk and Tresor. In 1994, Namito had an encounter of the third kind which would pave his way as a producer: Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze affiliate Andreas Grosser, totally unknown to Namito, decided to borrow all of his studio equipment to Namito as he believed in his talent.
Two years later, in 1996, he released the first records which resulted in a lot of international bookings; his travels took him all around the globe with stops in Europe and Asia. The final breakthrough came after a very special encounter with Martin Eyerer which resulted in a string of amazing productions released on renowned labels like Multicolour, Great Stuff, Systematic and Boxer.
His enigmatic style combines the early energy and positivity of trance with the virtues of techno and house to create a very unique musical vision. As Namtrak, he currently reinvents himself in a more reduced context. 2009 sees the release of Namito’s first ever long player, “Eleven”.
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