ANAHITA: Meet the queer DJ who put on underground parties in Iran

Iranian DJ Anahita moved to London from Iran seven years ago. Since then, she’s made a name for herself as a DJ on the East London scene and further afield.

Ahead of her set at Homostash tomorrow night, we chatted to her about her story and how Iran compares to London.

Hey Anahita – tell us a bit about your story. When did you come to London?
I was born in Sheffield, because my parents were studying at Sheffield University. We moved to Iran when I was 8 and I grew up in Tehran, the capital city of Iran. I moved back to London in 2010 to study. I studied Middle Eastern studies/ Islamic history at School of Oriental and African studies (SOAS).

What do you like most about this city?
To be honest, nothing and everything. London is one of the world’s most international cities. Therefore I’ve felt I am not at home, or there’s no one who can understand me. I don’t like a lot of things about this city, especially the weather and the fact that everything is happens super-fast. But I really love how this city is open to everyone from completely different backgrounds. I really found myself in London, because at my university I got to know so many people who had had so many different experiences in their lives.

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What do you think of the queer scene here?
I love the queer scene in London. I have never seen any city in the world more open to all different queer events than London is. For me as a Middle Eastern girl, it can be difficult to be fully accepted. But these daily identity struggles become easier by having so many other people from exactly same backgrounds around here in London.

We’ve heard you played underground parties in Iran. That’s pretty amazing! Tell us about that?
People always think no-one parties in Iran and all they do is just go to mosques. TRUST ME, Iranians are wild when it comes to partying. I learnt DJing myself, without any classes or anything. Whenever I hear someone talking about underground parties in London or any other European countries, I just smile because for me the meaning of underground is partying indoors with having the fear every second of the police coming to stop the party. Here, the name “underground” represents very cool parties that not everyone can find. I must say, I prefer the underground parties in Iran more than any other place in the world. I think this is human nature -whenever you’re doing something you’re not allowed to do, it’s more fun. So trust me, you can have a proper Berlin-style techno parties in Iran, but no one knows about them, because this is what we call underground…

On a lighter note – what public figures are you most inspired by at the moment?
No one really.

Tell us a bit about the set you have planned for Homostash.
I really love Homostash Parties because I really think that their parties are welcoming and open to everyone, So my plan is to play a set which everyone can enjoy and to make them dance. In fact I am going to play some Iranian shaky beats in middle.

Homostash is on Friday 10th November at Dalston Superstore. More info here.

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