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Interviewed by
Danielle Street
Thursday 7th April, 2016 2:28PM

Angel Deradoorian, known simply as Deradoorian for her musical project, released her enchanting solo album The Expanding Flower Planet last August through Anticon. The release was a huge step for the former Dirty Projectors member. As her first full-length album, the writing and recording process saw Angel have to take a step back to work out her own musical identity before she could move forward.

The result is simply stunning. An album full of rich textures and wonderful rhythms that weave in-and-out through its 46-minute running time. And judging from some of the clips we've seen online, the songs translate beautifully to live performance - with help from her sister, Arlene. Soon Auckland audiences will be able to witness Deradoorian's songs bounce to life, as she is due to play a show on these shores next Thursday. In anticipation, UTR had a chat with the New York musician, who missed Megadeath concert to speak to us...

UTR: We've been listening a lot to your wonderful debut album here in the office, and of course hearing the single 'Beautiful Woman' on the radio lots too. I'm intrigued to know more about the inspiration behind the song. What's it about?

AD: It's kind of a personal goal. It's kind of about overcoming self-deprecation, self-doubt, self-defeat. Anything that stands in the way of becoming the freest version of yourself as a human. I mean, women live in a society with very high expectations of how they should look, how they act, what they do. And regardless of whether that is something consciously thrown in your face or not, it affects every woman. And to move in to a role of being a leader of my own project and having to face those kinds of challenges, and face myself, it's kind of like going through a whole overhaul of self and the struggles you go through to make a song, make a record.

What were some of those specific challenges, going from a band situation into a solo project?

I think you have a lot more back-and-forth - or reliance on other people - when you are in a band. You can share the responsibilities. You can feed off of each other and create something together - as opposed to sitting along in a room trying to figure out who you are, and then turning that into sound.

A lot of the record sounds quite introspective and in parts quite meditative, is there a common theme that pulls it together??

I don't think there is a common theme conceptually, I think there was more of a theme sonically. There's a lot of drone in the music, which is something that I just like, a lot. It's kind of a concept of having your core, and the other things around the core can go out and explore, but they'll always have something to come back to.

It might be that drone that creates that beautiful meditative quality I mentioned, but you've also got these percussive sounds weaving in and out of the songs, and even some of the instruments like keys sound quite percussive in the way they are being played...

Yeah. I think there were a couple of things that I definitely wanted in the album and one of them was a very strong sense of rhythm and groove... and melody. So, yeah. My brother's a drummer so I listened to someone playing drums everyday, and I wanted to rip my hair out because he played in the family room. But I absorbed a lot of that, and I absorbed a lot of that in Dirty Projectors too because Dave, and I don't think we're the same at all, but Dave kind of writes melodies on percussion. And I sometimes I feel like I write percussion for melodies, if that makes sense.

Yeah it sure does. And I understand you are from Armenian descent, does your cultural heritage have influence on the art you make?

Yeah it does. For me, making music is very much about understanding who I am and where I've come from. I didn't really get to be immersed in my heritage, because I did not have an Armenian community where I grew up and I did not have any Armenian family, but I was always very proud and interested in that part of my bloodline, so I kind of had to create my own version of what that would be and how that would play in to my life, and it ended up being more musical. So I really love traditional Armenian music. The rhythms and beats that come from traditional Armenian music, it's all very.... oddly relatable. It's very fast music, a lot of it. But also very joyous. I think that reflects the history of the people, it's an oppressed group of people who have overcome a lot.

If you were hosting Armenian Music 101, who would you recommend as a gateway artist?

Well, I listen mostly to old vinyl records that I have accumulated and I could not tell you what their names are [laughs]. There's maybe like a compilation or something like that, but honestly I don't pay as much attention to whose making it as I do to the whole sound.

Well, Im really looking forward to your New Zealand show, will your sister be coming to play with you too?

Yes, she will be coming. I'm really excited.

Deradoorian is performing Wednesday 13th of April at the Kings Arms Tavern in Auckland, with support from SoccerPractise. 


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