Paimon Alipour has gone from being fired from his first job as a DJ to becoming one of the most well-known DJs in the Iowa City area.
Paimon Alipour was fired from his first job as a DJ. He said the owner of the bar he worked at didn’t like the amount of hip-hop he played.
Today, Alipour has produced movies, created his own album, has nearly five million likes on TikTok, and is a recurring DJ for one of Iowa City’s busiest bars.
His introduction into the field began at a very young age. Growing up in Iowa City, Alipour said music has been an integral part of his life for as long as he can remember.
“When I was old enough to get my first job at 15 at Burger King, I worked all summer so I could get my decks and started DJing as a hobby,” Alipour said. .
After earning a degree in economics from the University of Iowa, Alipour said he struggled to find a job in his intended field. Working as a part-time DJ in Iowa City, he was able to acquire enough skills to turn what was once a hobby into a worthwhile career.
As Alipour continued to develop his passion as a DJ, his talent took him across the states. From Iowa and Wisconsin to Chicago and Los Angeles, Alipour said he learned a lot from his work across the country.
“Playing in different markets gave me the opportunity to experience what it’s like to play in a multitude of crowds and demographics,” Alipour said. “Playing in LA, you’ll be playing different types of music than if you were playing in the Midwest.”
Eventually, Alipour said he wanted to relocate to Iowa, where he could have steady work as a DJ. Alipour, however, did not limit itself in any way. His love for creating music was just as strong as his passion for mixing music, which led to the production of his own album.
“I started DJing and making music because I fell in love with hip hop, but hip hop started with a DJ,” Alipour said. “Sampling and DJing are an integral part of production. I fell in love with both at the same time – these two passions happened simultaneously.
Along with producing music, Alipour has created several films centered on his work as a musician.
“Instead of making a music video for just one song, I decided to document the whole process of making this project,” Alipour said.
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For one of his projects, what started as a visual aid for an album turned into a full-length documentary, titled “DJ Paimon: 100%” about his musical journey. Although Alipour has stated that he is unsure if he wants to fully devote his life to cinema, he finds in it a compelling way to express his art.
This documentary delves into the unique struggles Alipour faced to succeed in the music industry.
Part of that struggle comes from growing up as a first-generation Iranian American, Alipour said. He said that in general, in his culture, pursuing music is not a common choice. He wanted to break out of that traditional mold and break through that hurdle through hard work and dedication to his craft.
He also said he faced unique challenges growing up in Iowa City. Although Iowa City is relatively large for an Iowa town, Alipour said it is not a metropolitan area and does not always have a vibrant music industry.
Alipour said his film work helped him express these unique struggles and give context to the music he was diligently working on.
“I just wanted to do something different. Part of spreading art around the world is not just putting music out there, but adding visuals to it,” he said. “When I decided to release an album after moving to Iowa City, I wanted to shine a light on the local Iowa City market and surrounding areas.”
Last year in May, Alipour’s DJ talents went viral on social media app TikTok. By posting a video where he plays the original rhythms of this sample of well-known songs, he was able to obtain more than 20 million views and 4.3 million likes.
“I don’t know why or how it went viral,” he said. “I describe it as hitting the social media lottery.”
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Alipour said he gained 50,000 subscribers overnight. Now sitting at nearly 169,000 subscribers, he said he finds his motivation in getting people to listen to his work.
“It’s something I’m not used to yet. There is no rhyme or reason, no way to recreate this moment,” Alipour said. “It’s quite motivating to have a bigger platform, because the work you’re doing feels like it’s not falling on deaf ears. It gives motivation to be more creative and try new things.