Ahead of their allstar new year's eve party, the Homostash crew had a chat with their headliner Anahita Shamsaei about music, community and liberation. Anahita Shamsaei is an Iranian queer underground DJ. Raised in London and currently residing in Istanbul she is one of the names in the techno scene to look out for!
Homostash is a liberating party, fuelled by freedom of expresison. How did you come into contact with the team?
I love how Homostash is a liberating and freedom of expression fuelled party and I also love that it is a safe and warm space for everyone to join and party with us. One night I went to East Bloc with some friends of mine and Tafkanik ( Founder of Homostash ) was DJing and he was playing really good. I started to dance in front of him and slowly talk to him haha, then we started to talk and it was very nice conversation about our life and studies. One month later he asked me if I want to play at Dalston Superstore for one of Homostash’s parties, and I immediately accepted. I have to say without Tafkanik’s help and support things would be more difficult. For me Homostash changed my perspective on underground parties, in Iran we call parties underground because it is illegal, but when I came to London I was asking myself why do people call some parties underground? Homostash showed me the right meaning of underground which is a space for everyone to be free and be themselves.
You moved from London to Istanbul over a year ago. How is the LGBT and alternative scene there, where do you usually play and are there any local artists/DJs you’d recommend?
In Turkey Homosexuality is legal, however its been 4 years now that the government don't allow people to have their gay pride. So people think Istanbul is open to queer people however deep down this is not true. Once I played at a LGBT friendly venue called ‘Orta Terace’ but they shut down this venue. I usually play at Techno underground clubs ( Temple, Glow). I usually play with two of my friends Aaram and Aran MO . We play proper Techno in the most underground clubs in the heart of the city. We wake people up with our bass. Why sleep when there is Techno?
Besides being a DJ you also work with the United Nations population Fund(UNFPA) that helps the LGBT community, HIV positive people, refugees and street workers. Tell us more about the job. Does this experience impact your music in any way?
In Istanbul I work with United Nations opulation Fund( UNFPA) , my job is working with LGBTQ Refugees and mainly refugee sex workers. I used to get really upset seeing how people are living under so much pressure both from the society and the government. Everyday when I was walking in the streets I was making music in my brain to show this anger through my music.
I asked my friends do you guys think my set-mixes are changed ? and they said Yes. I realised every set that I recorded in Istanbul is very wild as if I am a warrior. So yes my music style has changed because of my job and that's because I put my sadness and anger on my music which is clearly showing. I actually really like this change and I feel music helps me to continue my daily life.
Since it’s the end of the year can you tell us what your favourite track & DJ of 2018 are?
My favourite track of 2018 is Jazing by Gery Otis. I cant say who is my favourite DJ because they are all my favourites.
What are your plans for 2019?
My life plan for 2019 is to be more happier and healthier , and my music plan for this year its a surprise but its something completely different and I am sure you will all enjoy it. I hope I play more with Homostash this year because I miss playing for Homostash and specially Tafkanik when we dance together while I'm playing.