The following is a multimedia article. The links therein will lead you either to song files, websites, or videos. To be able to see and download all the songs that are mentioned in the article, you can go to this page . The mp3 files on the page are there for you to download and keep should you wish to do so.
In many ways, Barzin  is a unique musician. Not only has he managed to write and perform songs in a style that’s not common, he has also practically remained unknown to the Iranian audience. Instead, he has gathered a reasonably large western following for his type of music, considering the time since he has gone public. This is easily visible as soon as you click onto his Myspace page .
I discovered Barzin a few months ago when I was browsing the Internet. He was supposed to open for Kiosk in Toronto and yet, I had never heard of him. I quickly Googled his name and found his web site . Lucky me, I found a few full-length mp3 files there to listern to. I think the first few notes did it for me. I was rather surprised at the fact that an Iranian act would create music in the same style as bands such as Wilco , Mazzy Star , or even Radiohead . The next thing that surprised me was his smooth Canadian/American/English accent, to the point that I first had doubts about him being Iranian. Then there was the question of the lyrics. Mostly modern poetry if you ask me, although he would tell you they're not. I don’t know if the timing was right, but the coolness that immersed me after I listened to that first mp3 file made me download a second one and then a third. That was it, I was really captivated after the third one.
Barzin defines his music as being the "quiet side of Pop". That certainly is true, but there’s more to it. This style hasn’t been exploited as much yet, even by western standards. A look at this page  would give you an idea of what the style really is like. There is no real standard structure to the songs, but the feeling gets through nevertheless. You know from the first chords that this is supposed to mellow you out and make you lose yourself to the peaceful flow of the music. Imagine yourself sitting in a desert on a lazy hot day, where the only thing that could cool you down would be a long, tall ice drink. Or, imagine standing in a plain white snowy mountain where there’s not a soul lingering, feeling cold. Barzin’s music is the long tall ice-cold drink in the middle of that hot desert, or the heat you’ll feel from the fire you’ll light up in that snow. It has that relaxing quality not many other musical genres have. If you’re reading this in the middle of a busy day at work, download some of the files , find a suitable moment, put your earphones on, close your eyes, sit back and listen. Forget about all your troubles…
One of the first reflexes I had after discovering Barzin was to make some of my audiophile friends listen to the tracks I had downloaded to see if they felt about them the same way I did. The first person I sent them to was an online friend who listens to a lot of mellow rock -- stuff like Pink Floyd’s "Dark Side Of The Moon" , Nick Drake, or odd bands I’ve never heard of. His first reaction was "man, this is fantastic." He was much more surprised when I told him the musician was Iranian. The reaction of surprise to Barzin’s Iranian roots was almost repeated every time I made someone listen to his music, no matter who the listener was. Besides one friend who preferred her tunes with a lot of ups and downs, I think the rest of the people who gave Barzin’s music a spin were rather unanimous on being carried away by the smooth sounds and lyrics of his songs.
I got in touch with Barzin about a month after having found out about him. He was kind and gentle as the spirit of his songs suggested he would be. Having my to-be-published conversation with him also turned out to be as smooth as his music. I practically didn’t need to make any introductions to try to get to my points, he actually got to them by himself as you will see, and he even revealed more than I thought about his music, the way he works, and most importantly, himself. I think the conversation I had with him was one of the most pleasant ones I’ve had with any musician. No fuss, no strange interjections, no spoiled brat attitude. All intelligent, enlightening, deep open inputs.
Of course, the conversation lasted quite a while and looking back at it, I feel it would be a waste to edit out some parts. To familiatize yourself with Barzin I urge you to either take a look at the following videos on YouTube ("Leaving Time " and "My Life In Rooms ") and/or to listen to some samples on his Myspace page . I personally recommend his "My Life In Rooms " album, which you will also be able to find on iTunes, as it’s the one I can listen to over and over in one go -- and boy, does it put me in a relaxed mood every time. His self-titled album  has been released again as well, so if you do like "My Life In Rooms", do indulge in that one too, it will be well worth it in my opinion. Let’s see what you think about it.
Here’s a part of our conversation for starters:
How long have you been playing music for?
I've been playing music for about 15 years. 5 years of it was spent playing in various bands as a drummer, and the rest I spent on being a songwriter.
A drummer? When did you start playing guitar, then?
I was learning to play guitar at the same time I began drumming. But I always felt much more comfortable with the drums than I did with the guitar. To this day I still feel this way.
When I listen to music, the first thing my mind starts picking apart are the drums. Maybe the gods had destined me to be a drummer. If that was the plan, then I clearly disobeyed them. I am not sure what the penalties are for veering away from one's chosen path. But I guess I'll find out soon, because I feel I have definitely taken my fate into my own hands.
Were you still in Iran when you picked the drums up at first?
No. My musical days started in Canada.
So how long have you been in Canada? Did you grow up there?
I was actually born in Canada. But then went and lived in Iran until the age of 9. And then I came back to Canada again, and have been here since. So, I guess you can say I pretty much grew up here.
Which should explain your ease of verse in English. Do you remember anything of Iran? Its people? The music people used to listen to when you were there?
Well, most of my life there was spent in a large apartment complex that was pretty closed off from everything else. It felt like a tiny city. It had everything, so I spent most of my time there. But sure, I still remember the streets, and the architecture, and way the people went about their daily lives. Even though I was quite young I still managed to internalize what it felt like to live and be an Iranian. I hope that makes sense.
I mostly listened to western music in Iran. I don't know why I never felt connected to Iranian music. I was more interested in bands like Abba, Bee Gees, Men At Work, etc.
Do you feel more Iranian or Canadian? Have you kept contact with Iranians?
Oh, this is a tough question. The answer may lead to some very abstract and painful discussions of identity and existentialism. But before I let it get that far, I'll try and answer it as simply as I can.
I guess I would answer your question by saying that I don't really feel one or the other. I feel I occupy a space somewhere between being a human, an Iranian, a Canadian, and a songwriter. I don't really feel at home in any one of these places. I wish I did, and I am not sure why it is that I feel this way. I guess I think that having been transplanted at the age of 9 to a new country resulted this sense of identity crisis. There I said it. I used that dreadful word I was hoping not to use. But I guess I do feel a sense of identity crisis when it comes to feeling at home in one culture more than the next.
If there is one place I feel the most comfortable in, it is amongst musicians. I feel I have been immersed in the culture of music more than anything else, so there is less a sense of alienation when I am around those who musicians or in the arts.
Over the past few years, I have been spending much more with my sister and her husband. They are both very much immersed in the Persian community. And I feel that I have been getting reacquainted with the culture once again through my sister and my brother in law, and thus I am feeling more and more comfortable amongst Iranians...
(to be continued...)
Please look out for part 2 of this conversation, as Barzin will explain about his life and music.