The Tehrangeles Series | Mahssa Taghinia

Writer

Brownbook Staff

Photographer

Monica Nouwens

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Why did you decide to set up Mount Analog?
I’ve been working in record shops since I was 14, and after 15 years it was time to open my own!

What kind of merchandise can be found at Mount Analog?
Vinyl records, cassette tapes, rare books and other various esoteric and collectable items.

Do you sell any ‘Iranian’ goods or records at Mount Analog?
Yes we do! We sell Persian vinyl records of reissued psych, funk, folk and pop (including the B-Music/Finders Keepers Records released Pomegranates and Googoosh compilations) and we also sell original Iranian pop cassette tapes – which take on a special sort of uniqueness outside of a typical supermarket context. These tapes may be found deep inside the belly of San Fernando Valley of LA (or Valley Abad as some Iranians would say).

In addition to running Mount Analog, you are a DJ and record collector. I’ve read that your specialty is long-lost 1960s and 1970s Iranian pop, psych and funk records. What do you like about these types of records?
The universality of the era is very important, in that there is a social and political cry in most forward and progressive music of that time period, no matter what corner of the globe you explore, musically. Iranian pop music blossomed in the sixties and seventies and bore a soul that was not only progressive but passionate.

Where do you go to look for Iranian records?
The first place I looked was in my parents’ vinyl and tape collection. Then my extended family, and the Jomeh Bazaar of Tehran.

What does the term Tehrangeles mean to you?
It’s more about familiarity for me. I don’t have any family that lives in the States (everyone, including my mother, lives in Tehran) so knowing there are restaurants I can visit, markets I can frequent, coffee shops I can hang out at and spaces I can occupy where I might hear the sweet sing-song of spoken Farsi, taste the food that I grew up on, hear the gurgle of a water pipe that might recall my dear Agha smoking on his balcony, or even something as simple as purchasing Haft Seen items for the Persian New Year that you might not find elsewhere (I don’t even know what the English for ‘samanoo’ or ‘senjed’ is!) means a lot to me. Maybe all that is coated thick with nostalgia – but nostalgia is important and these recalled narratives make up my Iranian identity.

Have you lived in LA your whole life? If not, what first brought you to Los Angeles?
I was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio. I lived in New York for almost six years, and now I have been in Los Angeles for almost five. Moving to LA has been a great ‘middle-ground’ between my mellow Midwest roots and hectic New York experience.

Tell us something about Tehrangeles that outsiders don’t know.
The Persian sandwich shops are the best kept secret – non-descript, sparsely decorated with near-obnoxious Persian boy-band-pop blaring from the TV screens – serving some of the most delicious olivieh (Persian chicken salad) and zaboon (beef tongue) sandwiches ever made. Check out Denj in Woodland Hills and Attari in Westwood.

What do you enjoy about record collecting, besides gathering a great body of music. Is it the musical scavenger hunt?
The story becomes the thrill for me, more so than the excitement of finding a rare record. Wanting to learn more about the people, context and/or struggle, the hows and whats and whys – connecting with the story becomes more important than the physical artefact, and bears more interest to me than the rarity of a record or price tag of its obscurity. That’s why all B-Music/Finders Keepers releases come with well-researched, profoundly annotated and gorgeous liner notes with the intent of familiarising the listener with the plight and context of the music and people involved.

This article appears in the issue41Buy Now