Corner 16: Ramin Sadighi

Exploring the World of Iranian Music with Ramin Sadighi: A Journey Through “Cozy Corner with Hossein Nasiri”

Welcome to another exciting episode summary of “Cozy Corner with Hossein Nasiri,” where we delve into the creative minds of Persian artists. In this corner – as we like to call our episodes – we are honored to have Ramin Sadighi, the founder and CEO of Hermes Records, as our guest. Ramin Sadighi’s contributions to the Iranian music scene are monumental, and his insights during this episode provide a rich exploration of the music industry, collaboration, and creativity.

The Genesis of Hermes Records

Ramin Sadighi’s journey began in 1999, a pivotal year for Iranian music. During a time when pop music had just been legalized in Iran, the musical landscape was not as diverse as it is today. Sadighi, a passionate musician, saw an opportunity to promote Iranian music on a global scale. With the launch of Hermes Records, he created one of the first legal avenues for purchasing non-Iranian music in Iran.

Sadighi’s vision went beyond just distributing music. He invited international artists to Iran, organizing concerts that adhered to international standards. This not only gave Iranian music enthusiasts fresh experiences but also fostered extraordinary creative collaborations between Iranian and international artists. These collaborations introduced the innovation and daring of contemporary Iranian artists to a global audience.

Pioneering Projects and Global Recognition

Hermes Records quickly gained recognition for its production of significant works in genres such as jazz, contemporary, traditional, and fusion. Sadighi’s efforts led to international recognition for artists like Hossein Alizadeh, Pejman Haddadi, Ahmad Pejman, Soheil Nafisi, Peyman Yazdanian, Mohammadreza Aligholi, Masoud Shaari, Hooshyar Khayam, Kostet Quartet, and Christophe Rezai.

Albums like “Rira” by Soheil Nafisi, “Seyr” by Masoud Shaari and Christophe Rezai, and “Watching the White Waters” by Hossein Alizadeh and Jivan Gasparyan stand out in Hermes’ impressive portfolio. The latter was even nominated for a Grammy Award in 2007, underscoring the label’s impact on the global music stage.

Achievements and Recognition

In recognition of his contributions, Ramin Sadighi was named the best music producer of the year at the 2015 international Womex conference. His influence extends beyond music production; he is also the founder and director of the international improvisation festival “Show of Hands.” This annual event focuses on “creation in the moment,” bringing together music enthusiasts to share the beauty of music in a community-like environment.

Insights into the Role of a Music Producer

During the podcast, Ramin Sadighi elaborated on the multifaceted role of a music producer. Drawing an analogy, he compared being a music producer to being a master chef who carefully selects ingredients, cooks at the right temperature, and adjusts flavors to create a delightful dish. Just as a chef brings together different elements for a harmonious meal, a music producer works with artists to produce appealing musical projects.

Key Aspects of Music Production

  1. Collaboration and Feedback: Effective collaboration and constructive feedback are crucial in enhancing the quality of music projects. Sadighi emphasized the importance of trust and communication between producers and artists, which leads to successful collaborations.
  2. Resource Management: Managing resources efficiently is vital. This includes financial support, offering feedback, and ensuring the project’s success while respecting the artist’s vision.
  3. Balancing Creative Freedom and Performance Pressure: Sadighi highlighted the variations between Iranian and non-Iranian artists regarding performance pressure and creative freedom. Understanding these differences is essential in fostering a productive working environment.
  4. Inspired by ECM: Sadighi’s founding of Hermes Records was inspired by ECM, a label known for its unique approach to music production, emphasizing the significance of silence and space in music.

ECM’s Influence on Hermes Records

One of the most intriguing aspects of Ramin Sadighi’s career is the profound influence of ECM (Edition of Contemporary Music) on Hermes Records. ECM, founded by Manfred Eicher in 1969, is renowned for its distinctive aesthetic and innovative approach to music production. The label’s motto, “the most beautiful sound next to silence,” reflects its emphasis on high-quality sound, minimalism, and the use of silence as a musical element.

Hermes Records adopted several principles from ECM, particularly the importance of sound quality and the creative use of space and silence in music. This influence is evident in the production style of Hermes, where the clarity of sound and the ambiance of recordings are meticulously crafted. Sadighi’s admiration for ECM’s approach led him to incorporate similar values into Hermes, creating a unique sonic identity that resonates with listeners.

Collaboration Between Hermes and ECM

The relationship between Hermes and ECM goes beyond mere inspiration. Over the years, there have been several collaborative projects that brought together the expertise of both labels. These collaborations have resulted in some remarkable musical works that highlight the synergy between Iranian and international musicians.

One notable project is the album “Seyr” by Masoud Shaari and Christophe Rezai, which showcases the blending of Iranian traditional music with contemporary elements. The production quality and the use of silence and space in this album reflect the ECM influence, making it a standout release in the Hermes catalog.

Another significant collaboration was the involvement of ECM artists in Hermes’ events and festivals. The “Show of Hands” festival, founded by Sadighi, often features artists who have recorded with ECM, bringing a touch of the label’s aesthetic to Iranian audiences. These events create a platform for cross-cultural exchanges and introduce new musical experiences to both Iranian and international listeners.

Challenges and Rewards in Music Production

One of the notable challenges Sadighi faced was setting up a recording studio at a musician’s house for an album. This unconventional method required adaptability and creativity but led to authentic and successful musical outcomes. Sadighi’s enthusiasm, discipline, and versatility were key traits that contributed to the project’s success.

In the studio, efficiency is paramount. Sadighi enforces a strict three-day deadline for project completion to maintain quality. His role is facilitative rather than imposing, focusing on providing the necessary resources and support for the artists to bring their vision to life.

Building Authentic Connections

A recurring theme in Sadighi’s discussion was the importance of building strong relationships with composers and musicians. Trust and confidence between the producer and creators are essential for successful collaborations. Openness and understanding are crucial, even when projects do not materialize as expected.

Embracing Authenticity and Creativity

Sadighi’s passion for music and his commitment to advancing cultural and artistic goals have inspired many young people and music enthusiasts. His approach to music production emphasizes personal authenticity, which enhances creativity and fosters meaningful connections in the industry.

The Role of Passion and Discipline

Throughout the interview, Sadighi emphasized the importance of passion and discipline in music production. He believes that a producer must be genuinely passionate about music and dedicated to the craft. This passion drives the relentless pursuit of excellence and the willingness to explore new creative avenues.

Discipline, on the other hand, ensures that projects are completed efficiently and to the highest standards. Sadighi’s strict adherence to deadlines and his meticulous attention to detail are testaments to his disciplined approach. He encourages aspiring producers to cultivate these traits to succeed in the competitive music industry.

The Impact of Enthusiasm and Versatility

Sadighi’s enthusiasm for music is contagious. His excitement about new projects and collaborations inspires those around him, creating a positive and productive working environment. He believes that enthusiasm is a crucial factor in overcoming challenges and achieving success.

Versatility is another key trait that Sadighi values. The ability to adapt to different genres, styles, and working conditions is essential for a music producer. Sadighi’s diverse portfolio, which includes traditional, contemporary, jazz, and fusion music, demonstrates his versatility and willingness to embrace new musical landscapes.

Lessons Learned from ECM

The influence of ECM on Hermes Records has imparted several valuable lessons. One of the most important is the use of silence as a musical element. ECM’s approach to music production often involves creating space and allowing moments of silence to enhance the overall composition. Sadighi has adopted this philosophy, recognizing the power of silence to create depth and emotion in music.

Another lesson is the emphasis on high-quality sound. ECM is known for its impeccable production standards, ensuring that every recording is of the highest quality. Sadighi has implemented similar standards at Hermes, investing in state-of-the-art equipment and employing skilled engineers to achieve the best possible sound.

Future Directions for Hermes Records

Looking ahead, Ramin Sadighi envisions a bright future for Hermes Records. He plans to continue fostering collaborations with international artists and exploring new musical genres. Sadighi is committed to maintaining the high standards that have become synonymous with Hermes and to pushing the boundaries of what Iranian music can achieve on the global stage.


Ramin Sadighi’s interview on “Cozy Corner with Hossein Nasiri” provides a profound understanding of the intricacies of music production. His journey with Hermes Records, his innovative approach, and his dedication to fostering collaborations have significantly impacted the Iranian music industry. The influence of ECM on his work has shaped Hermes into a label that values quality, creativity, and authenticity.

Aspiring music producers and artists can draw valuable lessons from his experiences, emphasizing the importance of trust, communication, and authenticity in the creative process. Sadighi’s passion, discipline, and versatility serve as an inspiration for those looking to make their mark in the music industry.

Tune in to “Cozy Corner with Hossein Nasiri” for more inspiring conversations with influential Persian creatives. Each episode offers a unique glimpse into the world of creativity, uncovering the untold truths and unlearned lessons that drive artistic innovation.

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