Iranian-American producer Nar Angel Rokh is on our radar. Having released his latest EP, Rose Water in September, Nar is luring us in with sensual beats infused with the nostalgia of carefree summer days. Nar has already built up an impressive repertoire, having worked with icons such as Rihanna for Fenty Beauty, and is showing no signs of their powerhouse creativity slowing down (not even for a pandemic).
We had the chance to chat openly with Nar about his inspirations, a new-found quarantine obsession and increasing representation for LGBTQ+ Middle Eastern and North African people.
Who is Nar Angel Rokh? (Answer in an acrostic poem)
You recently released your EP Rose Water, a collection of exotic summer-infused tracks that hit with the nostalgia of carefree days of the past (especially Capri Sun!). What inspired this EP?
Rose Water was inspired by my time in Los Angeles during the first half of 2020. Spending that time back home, it became very important to me that I reconnected with my roots there. By spending with my family, eating Persian food and being in nature. I was surrounded by all the things I grew up with, so it was all very nostalgic for me.
Every day I would soak up as much of the hot sun as I could, swim in different bodies of water and go on hikes. There’s a trail near my house where it was swarmed with butterflies fluttering in the air. I would just sit there and think about what I wanted this EP to embody and if a butterfly would land on me then I would just go with that idea. That’s how Rose Water was conceived.
Juicy is a saucy track that features the honey-smooth vocals of Gia Woods. How did this collaboration come about?
Gia Woods is actually my extremely talented cousin. She is the voice of the family and I’m the music. We spent a lot of time together in LA and collaborated on a few tracks, ‘Juicy’ was our favorite.
Rose water is said to be a mood enhancer that can relieve depression or stress. Other than rose water, what do you do when you need a mood boost?
I love to just listen to music and dance, or play my guitar. They’re all euphoric to me and always uplift me to another realm. I also love to cook and recently have been stepping up my chef game, eating good always makes me feel better.
Tell us something that most people don’t know about you.
I love architecture and design. In the future, I would love to design and build homes with my own hands and imagination.
If you could only watch one movie for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
Cruel Intentions, it’s dark and sexy which is always the vibe.
Who is someone that inspires you?
My two sisters inspire me. They are the kindest, most generous people I know. We are all very close and they mostly raised me and taught me how to be a good person. I strive to be like them as I get older.
What are your 6 favorite tracks of 2020 (other than your own)?
Shygirl & Arca – ‘Unconditional’
During the lockdown people have been taking on new and unusual hobbies ranging from drain spotting to recycled shoemaking. Are there any new hobbies you’ve taken on while in quarantine?
During quarantine I became obsessed with working with concrete. I started to make design pieces which led me to start my new company, Concrete Angel. Also, got really into plants and harvesting. I started to make concrete pots for my succulents and have continued to do so back here in New York.
Representation for LGBTQ+ Middle Eastern/North African people is still pretty limited in both film and music. Do you have any favourites that you can put on our radar?
Yes, my favorite in film would be Meriem Bennani, her visuals and installations mostly centered around Moroccan themes are very humorous, whimsical and fun. In music, I love Lafawndah, who incorporates her Iranian heritage into her music. Her voice is so powerful and ethereal, she continuously moves me to tears.
2020 has been a rollercoaster of a year so far. How do you envision the rest of the year playing out?
I believe the rest of 2020 will be a mix of chaos and hope. I also believe that energy will bleed into 2021, the new year won’t change much. We’re still very much suffering from the pandemic and who knows if America will have a smooth transition of power. This year has shown the world’s truest colors in regards to responding to a crisis, policies and how the gatekeepers of most institutions have been crumbling. I believe it’s awakened people and my hope is to continue the work to break down the walls of oppression and make this world a place that works for us all.
Check out Nar Angel Rokh on Instagram
Photography & interview by Sahar Nicolette