YADEGARI: A number of years ago I lived in Santa Monica and right behind the house I lived in there was a big jasmine tree. One night I heard a bird and I had a four-track recorder and I thought, "I should record the bird," then I thought, "I should put up a monitor for the bird." Once I put up the monitor and played back the track something really amazing happened. The feeling of the singing came so much more alive. The bird was a lot more excited. So, I continued this and I did many hours of recording with the bird and I thought this is something I could do with acoustic musicians.
MARCO: So, what you're doing is creating sonic mirrors where everything kind of bounces off each other.
YADEGARI: That's a very beautiful way of looking at it.
MARCO: How well does traditional Persian music fit in with this idea of sonic mirrors that you've developed through LILA?
YADEGARI: I think pretty closely because much of Persian music is based on call and response. It's often back and forth, one person sings a melody, another person either imitates it or brings a variation of it, and they both know where they're going. So, this mirroring on some level already exists. But of course now with LILA I'm able to create a new sound.
MARCO: So, once you developed LILA you actually had to take it to this level where you're using it. Tell us what that looks like? Are you sitting at a laptop and Keyavash Nourai playing violin and how does the interaction evolve?
YADEGARI: Yeah, exactly. And we usually have to be in close proximity. Meaning that visual feedback is very important.
MARCO: And when you say visual feedback you're looking at each other and your taking cues from him and he's taking cues from you?
YADEGARI: Yes. We've arrived at this feeling where it really feels like two performers playing together. If Keyavash plays a certain rhythm I can delay his sound to himself by a bar and that very quickly creates a fugue. He will be playing with himself basically with his own memory of what he's been playing. And then he will be reacting to whatever is being created and this becomes a circular process of creating and rebuilding. Then I decide as I'm playing which delays I'm bringing in, which delays I'm taking out. I try to follow the melodic sounds of what the acoustic performer is providing because in Persian music melody is extremely important.
MARCO: Do you know if your music has been heard in Iran? I imagine it could be considered more subversive than even pop music because you're dealing with such old, quintessential templates of Persia.
YADEGARI: You'll actually be surprised how progressive people in Iran are. They listen to modern music at times more than we may think they would listen to modern music here. Even going back prior to the revolution people such as Max Roach or Stockhausen went to Iran and their music was performed there and that tradition still continues in Iran.
MARCO: The title of the CD is "Migration" and it was named by a friend of yours who was inspired by the migration of Monarch butterflies in San Diego. What is the connection of those migrating butterflies to Iranian Persian music?
YADEGARI: There's this phenomenon that happens in San Diego that every year you see the butterflies migrate from Mexico up to Oregon or Canada. What happens in the city at that time is really unbelievable and magical because everywhere that you look you see butterflies and this music sounded like a soundtrack for their migration.
It's a sense of migration for myself to move from Persian music into electronic music and I thought the name migration fed at that very well. That process of creating the piece.