Paimon Alipour finds passion as DJ, music creator, and film producer

Paimon Alipour went from being fired from his first job as a DJ to being one of the most well-known DJs in the Iowa City area.


Ayrton Breckenridge

Photo Illustration by Ayrton Breckenridge

Jami Martin-Trainor, Arts Reporter

Paimon Alipour was fired from his first job as a DJ. He said the owner of the bar he worked at did not like how much hip-hop he played. 

Today, Alipour has produced films, created his own album, has nearly five million likes on TikTok, and is a recurring DJ for one of the most frequented bars in Iowa City.

His introduction to the field started 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 could remember.

“When I was old enough to get my first job at age 15 at Burger King, I worked all summer to be able to get my turntables and started DJ’ing as a hobby,” Alipour said. 

After graduating from the University of Iowa with a degree in economics, 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 build enough skill to make what once was a hobby a worthwhile career. 

As Alipour continued to grow his passion as a DJ, his talent took him across the states. From Iowa and Wisconsin to Chicago and Los Angeles, Alipour said he was able to learn a great deal from his work around the country. 

“Playing in different markets has allowed me to know what it’s like to play in a multitude of crowds and demographics,” Alipour said. “Playing in LA, you’ll play different types of music than if you’d play in the Midwest.”

Eventually, Alipour said he wanted to settle back into Iowa, where he could have a consistent job as a DJ. Alipour, however, did not limit himself by any means. His love for creating music was just as strong as his passion for mixing music, which led to his own album being produced. 

“I started to DJ and make music because I fell in love with hip hop, but hip hop started with a DJ,” Alipour said. “Sampling and DJ’ing are integral parts of production. I fell in love with both at the same time — those two passions happened simultaneously.”

Along with producing music, Alipour has created several films that are centered around his work as a musician. 

“Instead of making a music video for any single song, I decided to document the entire process of making that 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 documentary, called “DJ Paimon: 100%” about his journey in music. While Alipour said he doesn’t know if he wants to fully dedicate his life to film, he does find it a compelling medium to express his art. 

This documentary looks into the unique struggles that Alipour faced when reaching for success in the music industry. 

Part of that struggle comes from growing up as a first-generation Iranian American, Alipour said. He said generally, in his culture, pursuing music is not a common choice. He wanted to break out of that traditional mold and leap over that obstacle through hard work and dedication to his craft. 

He also said he faced unique struggles growing up in Iowa City. While Iowa City is relatively large for a city in Iowa, Alipour said it is not a metropolitan area and does not always have a vivid music industry.

Alipour said his work in film helped him express these unique struggles and give context to the music that he worked diligently on. 

“I just wanted to do something different. Part of releasing art out into the world is not only putting out the music, but adding visuals to it,” he said. “When I decided to put out an album after moving to Iowa City, I wanted to shine light to the local market of Iowa City and the surrounding area.”

Last year in May, Alipour’s DJ’ing skills went viral on the social media app TikTok. Posting a video where he plays the original beats that well-known songs sample, he was able to get over 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 followers overnight. Now, sitting at nearly 169,000 followers, he said that he finds motivation in having people listen to his work. 

“It’s something I’m still not used to. There’s no rhyme or reason to it, no way to recreate that moment,” Alipour said. “It’s pretty motivating when you have a larger platform, because the work that you do feels like it doesn’t fall on deaf ears. It gives motivation to be more creative and try new things.”

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