- Ayyam-i-Ha is a Baha’i festival that is joyously celebrated in countries and territories all over the world. It is a time of hospitality, generosity, and caring for the needy. This year Ayyam-i-Ha runs from February 26-29.
Navid Bahmani (AKA Navid B) became a Bahá’í about two years ago, and he recently founded his own record label called Bluebottle Records. I’ve known Navid B for some time now and I’ve been fortunate enough to be on the sidelines of seeing his musical career unfold. Bluebottle has just released their debut album called A New Dawn, so I sat down with Navid B and got him to tell me a little bit about himself and what he’s trying to achieve through his record label:
Baha’i Blog: So tell us a little about yourself and how you got into making music?
I’m from Sydney, Australia and I’m actually a hairdresser by trade, but music has always been my passion. Even though I haven’t been musically trained, a few years back I finally decided to buy a keyboard and to just try and express myself musically, so I started playing around with different tunes and beats and I just started posting it up online. Before I knew it I was contacted by an independent record label in the US asking me to release an album through them. That really gave me the confidence to keep working on my music and I guess I’m still learning a lot and I just try to keep working at it.
Baha’i Blog: So tell us why you started Bluebottle Records and what you hope to achieve with it.
Bluebottle Records aims to create hip-hop, R’n’B and soul music with a conscious twist. I wanted to start a label which would give myself and my friends an avenue to release our music. I wanted to have complete creative control as well as contractual control so our dealings would be fair.
As a label we want to create a movement of consciousness! People of all walks of life today are sucked into materialism, and unfortunately a lot of music often reflects this, so we are trying to put the ‘soul’ back into music!
Baha’i Blog: I know a lot of people think you were born into a Bahá’í family, but I know you only became a Bahá’í a couple of years ago. Can you tell me a little about how you heard about the Faith and what your journey to becoming a Bahá’í was like?
My parents are non-practicing Muslims and I heard about the Faith from a friend… I was quite anti-religious at the time, but that was because I didn’t understand religion. From all the reading I did, I realized that the core message of all religions are the same. I embraced that message and try and live by it as much as I can. It was hard to accept God as a reality at first, but once I came to grips with the existence of God, all the sacred writings all made sense. My parents have been really supportive of my personal journey with religion and me becoming a Baha’i, so I’m really grateful to for that too.
Baha’i Blog: This album has a lot of different artists on the album including some of the members of MANA. Can you explain why there are so many different artists and what the process of working on your music is like?
The album Bluebottle Records Presents A New Dawn is a compilation album that showcases the artists that will be releasing through our record label. We want to give everyone a taste of our music to get them interested in our future work, hence that’s why there are so many artists on the album. For example Ine and Marie from the Bahá’í music group MANA are currently working with us on their solo albums, and SoulChef and kwiz from New Zealand are also working on solo albums too, so listeners can get a taste of what’s to come.
The process of working on the music is very organic. It involves a lot of hours sitting and playing with different sounds, sounds like water dripping for instance, or the sound of rain. These sounds influence me in different ways and so I might start off with a sample of the sound of rain on the roof that I recorded, and I’ll build a bass line using that, and then keep building on that with various other sounds or instruments.
Baha’i Blog: I know you’ve been facilitating a Junior Youth group as well in your spare time. What’s that been like for you personally and how has it affected you both as an individual and as an artist?
Working with junior youth is amazing. By participating in junior youth classes it just reaffirmed to me that the youth are actually so much smarter than what society gives them credit for! With a little guidance they can move mountains! Their understanding of complex theories also astounded me! This was one of the major influences of why I started Bluebottle Records, because a lot of the music out there today endorses materialism and ignorance, whereas I’m trying to endorse knowledge and the freedom that comes with that! I’m hoping that my music can help them on a big scale, in the sense that I can help influence a mass of youth rather than a handful in a class.
Baha’i Blog: What message do you have for the youth today?
Don’t let society tell you what you are and what you should be! Ignorance is so 90’s (LOL)! Reflect on your lives, do right by others, and stay positive!!
Baha’i Blog: What are you hoping to achieve with your music?
I want to show that music can be cool and not be about drugs, sex, murder and making money! I want to also show that music doesn’t have to be one extreme or the other – like commercial or the opposite like gospel. For example the track we just released called H2O v.2, is all about water – the whole song is about water! I think that’s amazing, and it’s neither here nor there as far as extremes are concerned.
Baha’i Blog: Where do you hope to see Bluebottle Records in the future?
I want Bluebottle to have a strong following of individuals that like listening to conscious music – music which asks them questions and which challenges them. I guess you could say I want to have people listening to music which stimulates “elevated conversation”. I want to have a studio where any youth can come in and learn how to change their life and the lives of others through the use of music.
Baha’i Blog: Thanks Navid for your time and congratulations on the new album and the record label. I believe a special congratulations are also in order as you’ve recently become engaged to Ine from the group MANA, who also features on the album and on the single H2O v2. Wishing you much success!
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