10 questions with… HABIBI

1. If you had to describe your music with a colour, what would it be?

Rahill: For me it’s red because red has always been significant. I’m always trying to incorporate it and I think it’s the most passionate and inspirational colour. Also it’s very present in Middle Eastern stuff – like in my house we have so many Persian carpets and they’re always red. 

Lenny: I realized that we have band colours. Recently it was black, red and gold. Where did blue come from? I think I’m gold. In England they’ve compared us to the Spice Girls. They were like [with an English accent]: „Where’s Ginger?“ (everyone laughs)

2. What’s the biggest struggle you have when it comes to creating?

Everyone: Time!

Rahill: We all live in New York. And because we all work full time and getting five people together to practice is really frustrating. 

Lenny: New York sucks your creative energy. At the end of the day you have nothing left. It’s much better on tour, you’re more focussed. 

3. If you could play any show in the world, what would it be?

Rahill: I would go for opening for The Stooges before he – Iggy is never gonna die – before he retires. 

Lenny: Every New Yorker dreams about living in the ‚Golden Age‘. Everybody was constantly at Max’s Kansas City. Everybody would be walking in, hanging out and it was just creativity popping from every pore.

Karen: Forget about CBGB’s ´77. 

Rahill: I would really like to open for Kourosh Yaghmaei who’s an Iranian artist who we cover and all love and he’s special to me. I think we pretty much nailed that question.

4. What do you consider your biggest musical success?

Lenny: You know this year has been pretty good. The New Yorker, NPR… had us and we felt like… we’re hot shit. (everyone laughs)

Rahill: That felt nice. But honestly it was just the publicity about the new E.P. and finding a manager and things got together quite seamlessly… it feels successful in a way like – wow, this thing is actually moving. Pitchfork, too. So that was really affirming. It’s hard to choose one. NPR made my dad really appreciate my career path. This year has altogether been really special to us. 

Karen: This world tour situation. You always want to travel the world and share your music. The good reaction that we’re having is really amazing.

Rahill: They’ve just announced that we’re playing Lincoln Center which is something that you can only dream of as a musician in a garage rock band. Or as a human.

Karen: I did ballett and my highschool was across the street from it. So I was like… wow, it’s where I’ve been as a kid. 

5. What inspired you to start making music?

Karen: I grew up in a musical family so it has always been a thing in my life. It just felt natural to segue into it.

Rahill: I always wanted to play guitar and I begged my parents to buy me one. So I saved up for one when I was 9 years old and it was all about the Beatles, the Doors, Led Zeppelin. It was the time that inspired me. I tried to learn every Beatles song there was.

Lenny: I just wanted to make songs. Not to have anything too technical, just a pop song where people are having fun. 

Rahill: Yeah, I think they [Lenny and Karen] are a lot more schooled. I’m more like of a late bloomer. I’ve always been super appreciative of music and I was encouraged by friends to just try it. Alana, what do you say?

Alana: Sound is the most sacred thing. And making things that you can’t touch or feel is really … am I getting too deep? (everyone laughs) I grew up in a musical family and it was the way we expressed ourselves.

6. If you could hear any person living or dead sing to you, who would it be?

Karen: Definitely Hector Lavoe. He has the voice of a God’s. And I guess Joey Ramone. 

Lenny: The first thing I thought of was Leonard Cohen or Lee Hazelwood. Their voices just give me shivers. (laughs)

Rahill: Mine is pretty dark. My aunt just passed away not so long ago. All of my dad’s siblings play music of some sort and she was singing all the time. She was always singing my favourite Iranian song to me and I would love to hear that. Sorry! (everyone arrrrws)

Karen: That was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever heard!

Rahill: Sorry!

8. What do you like to do other than music?

Lenny: Karaoke.

Rahill: Karaoke.

Lenny: I like dancing. We have the best dance parties.

Rahill: We always make the best dance parties happening. In Switzerland we had bodyguards of this venue and they were like: „Thanks for making these people dance!“

Lenny: We love to dance, eat and spill the tea amongst us. (everybody laughs) Boy talk. Girl talk. Thrift shops. Yeah, we love eating. 

Rahill: I love soccer.

Lenny: Getting massages.

Rahill: I love sports. And creative facets like painting, just any expression is important. 

Lenny: I love booking hotels. (everybody laughs) Yelping and research. 

Rahill: Basketball, skateboarding. 

Lenny. Oh, yoga!

9. What is the most misjudged album in the world?

Karen: Link Wray – Link Wray.

Rahill: That is such an amazing record. 

Karen: Master’s Apprentices should be a lot bigger.

Rahill: I think I have to come back to that question. 

10. What’s usually in your fridge?

Lenny: Oooh, I like your questions by the way. 

Karen: I have like the weirdest food taste. I live near China Town so I always get things like: Century eggs. Weird cheese. Weird meats. Just weird everything.

Lenny: Dry cranberries and tons of weird stuff. And then it’s all about the condiments. Hot sauce. You have to have a good chili oil. Good mustard. 

Rahill: I literally have no idea what’s in my fridge. I don’t need a fridge honestly. But I wanna go back to that ‘underrated artists’ question: I wanna say Moondog.  He’s a true pioneer of music. And Arthur Russell. This bar even has pictures on the wall of him!


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