What I love the most about Music is being able to share some of my feelings and thoughts in a unique way that no other thing can do. It doesn’t even need to have words and lyrics. I love to write and compose songs that reflect my thoughts and feelings and play them to others. At many points, music saved me from going deep into depression or being hopeless. It always keeps me moving, and I remember most of the very hard times where music saved me.
My name is Ali Afsahnoudeh and I’m a full-stack software developer by day and a musician by night.
When I was a teenager, I wanted to be a rock star; when I got older, I wanted to be a professional musician! But I couldn’t for many reasons, most importantly because I wasn’t dedicated or hard-working enough. So at some point, I knew that I wasn’t going to be a professional musician and that I needed to eventually make a living out of something.
I was always interested in the IT world, so I chose software development at university. We had a professor, Mr. Vahid Garekani, and he was the reason I became more interested to become a software developer and start writing codes. And as a good software developer, you could find a job easily at that time, and I think that was another reason for me.
I was born and raised in downtown Tehran, in a neighbourhood called Nowruzi, which is a small street near Qazvin square. And I lived almost all of my life there, like my father. To grow in my career and have more opportunities, and also to make a better balance between my work and my life, I came to Berlin. And of course, I have more resources and opportunities in music here as well.
When I was in school, I had no interest in music! I mean literally nothing, and I think that was because I didn’t like the music that I was hearing around me at that time (which was mostly Iranian pop music). My family wasn’t really into music, and there were no good resources as well. I remember one of my friends in school gave me a CD of Linkin Park’s video clips and some live performances (they were in their very early careers) and I was like “Wow! So music can be like this?” And after that, I found out more about Rock/Metal music, and I suddenly found myself in love with music in general.
I love late 1960s and ‘70s music; I think it was the best area in music history. The variety of different genres and ideas was spectacular. But of course, after that, we still had some really good music. I love Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Camel, Mark Knopfler, Joe Satriani, and many more.
My main musical genre is progressive rock (and also progressive metal as well). After some time playing music and writing songs, I found myself really interested in traditional music as well: from Western and Eastern to Persian traditional music. So at the moment, I’m trying to make something out of combining traditional music and progressive rock.
Songwriting was the first thing that I did immediately after I could play just a little guitar, without any lessons or training. I never thought about it or had a plan to do it. It was just something that I loved to do, for no specific reason in my head. Creating something from just an idea came naturally to me. However, singing wasn’t like that. I wrote some songs which had lyrics and I couldn’t find someone to sing them properly, so I decided to practice and do it myself.
In the future, I want to learn more and more and get engaged with others in the music world and release a professional album as my first step.
I see a lot of similarities between software development and music:
- In terms of creating a new thing out of thoughts and ideas, they are very similar. You created them both from nothing and gave them life and meaning, and you can share them with others.
- You need practice and hard work in both.
- You need to learn about what people did before you and then try to make something new.
- They both require knowledge to be created and to get better.
- If you want to make a song or software with good quality, you need other people’s help and collaboration.
- No individual can release production-level software by themselves. You need someone else to test your application, and you need some business people to make money from that software. You need teammates to correct you, review and question your code, and deploy it professionally. Of course, you can gain knowledge in all of these areas, but you can’t be a master in all of them.
- Similarly in music, no one can release a professional song alone. Even if you can play all of the instruments perfectly, you still need proper recording, labelling, mix & mastering, and marketing.
- And most importantly, you need some people to oppose you (in a healthy way) so you can think more about your decisions and be more sure about them.
My experiences with music have definitely been a benefit to my technological career. Writing codes as your daily job can be very difficult most of the time. But I have music to rescue me and get me out of the coding world. It helps me to keep my distance from my job when I’m resting, so I can have more energy when I want to start working. On the other hand, being in the IT world helps me to work with different music software easily and get better results with them.
My advice to anyone interested in music is that it’s never too late. If you like it, do it now. There is no need to be perfect; it’ll help you feel better and enjoy more. Don’t hesitate and don’t wait for the perfect time to do it. And if you want to be a professional, it needs hard work and practice. You should dedicate yourself to it and give up some other things for it.
There is always more than tech. Like musicians, technologists are getting inspired by each other. Sharing these passions will eventually make everything a better quality. Sometimes, it is about things like money or reputation, but in many places, it’s about having a better life and making a better world. I wish to see more tech companies where their first priority is to make our world a better place, and financial goals come second.
Ali’s Portfolio: https://aliafsah.com/
Ali’s GitHub Account: https://github.com/aliafsahnoudeh
Ali’s Instagram Profile: https://www.instagram.com/badgusan_band/