Mix of the Month May 2018 — compiled by Niki Sadeki

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I owe Niki Sadeki for weeks of creative fuel, siphoned from her DJ sets which are charged with so much depth and heart. Listening to her first set from Frisky Radio I was obsessed, where had this girl come from? I went to school in Victoria, a neighboring city in BC and had spent years living in Vancouver and searching for music like hers but had never even come close. But like many of the best music scenes and artists in the world, Vancouver’s was just off the main clubbing streets, slightly hidden and thriving.

Niki Sadeki was born in Tehran, Iran and moved to Vancouver at fifteen. Her music is drifting yet powerful, transporting the listener East to her roots. Her sets are cohesive yet never predictable, and her awareness of her mixing and timing connects her with the best DJs on earth. Niki has committed herself to not only the music but to building a community around her in a part of the world that is set to take off.

Niki Sadeki
Niki in her music. Photo by Carlos Antonio

WT: Niki, please tell us a little bit about how you fell into the music that you play.

Niki Sadeki: My interest in electronic music started when I was in high school. From then until my early 20’s, I started messing around with controllers and rented setups here and there until eventually, I got my own setup at home. Shortly after, I started with making mixes that were compilations of my favorite tracks and shared them with my friends. As time progressed, my interest in “the underground” scene really started to develop and I started to take the process more seriously. I worked towards improving my skills and the quality of my mixes. That led me to my first couple of bookings and I went along with the exciting ride ever since.

Why did you gravitate towards this mood of music?

Hmm, good question! I guess the best way to describe it is that it’s the equivalent of focusing a camera; when one thing brings the rest of the elements into focus.

It seems that you are going on tour shortly, can you tell us a little bit about where you are traveling?

Yes – I’ll be traveling to Europe and the Middle East during the first two weeks of May with stops in Beirut (HGNR), Cairo (Cairo Jazz Club 610), Marseille (with the Sparklers Tribe family), Paris (Ayahuasca – Horde Paris) and finally Berlin (Kater Blau).

The scheduling is somewhat intense, but I’m super excited about each and every one of the shows. I am especially excited for my gig on May 12 at the legendary Kater Blau. For me, it is an absolute dream come true.

Another cool experience I’m looking forward to is a little weekend get-away with my second family the Sparklers Tribe. Watch Niki perform with Sparklers Tribe on Degaby Island in Marseille, France, here.

I’ll return to Europe again in July; so far I’ve been honored to be selected to play at the Fairground Festival in Tunisia and The Gardens of Babylon festival in Germany. I’m currently in the process of finalizing some more dates at the moment.

If you could create a track with anyone who would it be?

Armen Miran and Kora. I’m lucky to call both of these amazing souls my friends. They are incredibly talented and their creative processes are very disciplined. It will be an absolute honor to be able to work with them one day.

Where do you channel your creative energy from when you put together a set?

Music has always been my passion. Ever since I was a kid I used it as an outlet to express myself. Today, it is the drive behind everything I do. I love to engage listeners and crowds, so I guess that is what motivates me the most. Telling stories by putting together mixes, connecting on an emotional level and sharing what I feel when I listen to music is something that I cherish dearly. I love to play and I want others to feel the same feelings that I feel when music moves me. In other words, each set is an interpersonal journey (a term that has been overly used these days!)

Niki Sadeki
A moment with Niki in the booth at Velvet in Montreal, photographed by Nicolas Landry.

Have your Iranian roots influenced your music?

To some extent, yes. There is definitely some Persian influence in my musical style and selection. It is an advantage because I find that my ears are very much familiar with these melodic sounds of the Middle Eastern world.

Earlier this year I did a mix for my good friends at Souq Records that was intended to showcase my cultural background. To this day, it has been my most challenging mix as I felt responsible to represent the Persian culture within the constraints of a podcast. At the same time, I wanted it to symbolize me as an individual that resides in between two cultures: My Iranian roots as well as the western cultural influences.

“I founded Deep House Vancouver in the Fall of 2016. I did not have any other specific plans other than to create a space for artists—locally and globally—to share their music. Today, my goal is to expand it into a broader community in order to engage and unify its listeners through the various sounds it explores.”

You’ve started the Deep House Vancouver platform. Tell us about your vision, goals, and plans for Deep House Vancouver.

I founded Deep House Vancouver in the Fall of 2016. I did not have any other specific plans other than to create a space for artists—locally and globally—to share their music. Today, my goal is to expand it into a broader community in order to engage and unify its listeners through the various sounds it explores.

I have big dreams and plans for Deep House Vancouver, so we will see where the journey takes us. So far I have been very fortunate to get many talented artists on board to make podcasts for the channel. Recently, it has also premiered tracks from some of my favorite artists, labels and talented friends. Also, I am exploring the idea of hosting events under this brand. It is a pleasure to have one of my biggest personal inspirations, Mira joining us in Vancouver on June 2nd at Open Studios and that is something I am really looking forward to.

“The city’s gentrification and liquor laws are the most relevant limitations to the art scene. Vancouver is one of the world’s most expensive cities to live, and the municipal government does not seem to be opposed to the ongoing gentrification.”

What is the deep house scene like in Vancouver? Is there a place where people gather that play the type of music that you do? What are the crowds like in Vancouver?

Vancouver’s underground music scene is vibrant and thriving with many talented local musicians, producers, and DJs. The city has a lot of potential for further growth but there are some obstacles that may hinder its growth. In my opinion, the city’s gentrification and liquor laws are the most relevant limitations to the art scene. Vancouver is one of the world’s most expensive cities to live, and the municipal government does not seem to be opposed to the ongoing gentrification. Local artist collectives and performance spaces are continually feeling the pinch.

On the other hand, most clubs in the city close around 3 am, and the liquor laws prohibit sales passed 2 am. This makes things challenging and greatly impacts attempting to develop a culture for underground music; it makes the whole clubbing experience less about the music itself and more about partying or getting one last drink before the bar closes.

You have your own monthly podcast on Frisky Radio called “Allure”. Tell us a little about it.

Yes – the show is in its second year now and it has been such a thrilling ride so far. Allure has introduced me to many new artists and allowed me to connect with listeners all over the world. It has acted as a fertile ground for me to build a solid organic following, so I feel really grateful for it. I would like my sound to continuously evolve so I try to be versatile with my selections. I want to give new artists a platform to create more exposure to their work and for the listeners to connect with the artists as well.

Niki Sadeki
Niki playing at Velvet in Montreal, photographed by Nicolas Landry.

Your career is rapidly taking off. What are your plans for the next few years?

So for the past couple of years, I was mostly busy creating a decent back catalog of Soundcloud mixes for people to browse. Since I don’t produce yet, the only way people would be able to listen to me or discover Niki Sadeki’s sound is through my mixes, so it has been really important for me to regularly release content. Now I’m going to do fewer podcasts per month and focus on traveling and touring. I’ve also been tiptoeing around with production for a while now so maybe I get to finally release something soon.

Where is your favorite place to play that has your favorite dance floor?

All my shows so far have left an incredible impression on me and I have only great memories in my head. But if I want to name drop I guess I’ll go with Public Works in San Francisco, Mensch Meier in Berlin, Open Studios as well as Gorg-O-Mish Afterhours in Vancouver. I’m sure this list will expand very soon with all the upcoming shows.

Follow Niki on Soundcloud here.

UPCOMING TOUR DATES:
18 May 12 – Katermukke – Kater Blau – Berlin
18 May 19 – w/ Öona Dahl – Open Studios
18 Jun 02 – w/ Mira – Open Studios
18 Jun 16 – Backroom MIA – VAN
18 Jul 14 – Fairground Festival – Tunisia
18 Jul 22 – TBA
18 Jul 27 – The Gardens of Babylon – Goch
18 Aug 04 – TBA
18 Aug 26 – Sep 03 – Black Rock City – Nevada

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