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Producer, singer and DJ Navid 'Izadi' Hakimi, 32, delivered 'crazy, loving energy' to dance floors

Producer, singer and DJ Navid 'Izadi' Hakimi, 32, delivered 'crazy, loving energy' to dance floors
Navid Izadi performs at Sunset Campout in late July. The artist was one of five people killed in a twin-engine plane crash Sunday in Santa Ana. (Robin Russell / Sunset Campout)

One measure of producer, singer, DJ and keyboardist Navid Hakimi’s love of adventurous music could be found in the most basic of places: the influences category on his Facebook page.

For the 32-year-old Hakimi, who was among five people — including his mother, Floria Hakimi — killed Sunday in a twin-engine plane crash in Santa Ana, the list was long, deep and varied: classic dance music producers, glam rockers, rappers, funk masters, experimental composers.

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The kind of electronics obsessive who celebrated Aug. 8 as “808 Day” in honor of the Roland 808 drum machine, Hakimi — who was best known to music fans under the name Navid Izadi — harnessed those influences from his Los Angeles home base.

As Navid Izadi, he DJ’d and produced beat-based songs and remixes for respected electronic labels including Wolf + Lamb, Soul Clap, Touch of Class and Crew Love. Izadi also had been collaborating with Victoria Hesketh, an artist who performs as Little Boots.

In a statement posted to Instagram, Hasketh described Izadi as “an incredible talent with the biggest heart.” Adding that they had just started rehearsing for an upcoming show, she said, “He completely transformed our live set and helped me to see music in new ways.”

Born in Palo Alto on July 17, 1986, Izadi learned how to reconstruct frequencies into music in the mid ’00s when he was tapped for a Miguel Migs remix through Migs’ label at the time, the Bay Area-based Om Records.

Recalled his longtime friend Jonathan McDonald, who was at Om and now manages the Crew Love collective of which Izadi was a member, “He was a triple threat. He could sing, could play any instrument and had a really incredible live performance presence, so he really had all of it covered and was superexcited and eager to get involved.”

When the San Francisco DJ crew started clubbing in New York, they hooked up with kindred DJ-production team Wolf + Lamb and a group of “East Coast boys that had a certain kind of attitude,” recalled Wolf + Lamb’s cofounder, Gadi Mizrahi. “Then, when these West Coast boys came in, they totally flipped the vibe.”

Describing that East Coast scene at the time as DJs “wearing black with a sort of serious vibe to us, even though we were trying to do disco and fun stuff,” Mizrahi said that the pretension dissipated with the San Francisco DJs’ arrival and Izadi’s “crazy, loving energy.”

Mizrahi added, “I clearly remember the one party where they came in and brought this San Francisco kookiness and affectionate energy. It was like, ‘I don’t know what we got into, but it was definitely different, it was definitely … cool and definitely ushered in the whole Crew Love era.’”

That infectious tone carried over into Izadi’s music, which mixed dance styles from across the decades. His 7-minute minimal house track “Lost in the Fold” couples a warm four-on-the-floor beat with precisely placed dribbles of midrange squiggles. With the arrival 2-plus minutes in of Izadi’s voice, the song evolves into an uptempo, soulful R&B track.

His most popular work, “Feelin’ Purple,” draws on Prince-suggestive synth and drum tones to update a particularly memorable era. That precision with sound, whether the depth of echo on the snare or the way in which swaths of synth chords drift through the measures, typified his work. In honor of his passing, fans and peers have been celebrating Izadi with the hashtag, #feelinpurple.

That they’re doing so shouldn’t surprise anyone who crossed paths with Izadi, says Mizrahi. “He greeted you with a kiss on the lips, no matter who you were. A hug wasn’t enough. A handshake wasn’t enough,” she added. “It made people enjoy the parties even more.”

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