LA Musician Connecting Iran & USA (Danny Asadi)

Jun 10, 2021 61.5K Views 310 Comments

In this video, we meet up with Danny Asadi, an Iranian American who’s reached success in LA and the world with his distinct sound that connects Iran to the world. Join me today as we get into is story and tips for making it here in LA.


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Got a video I’m super excited
about today, guys. We’re
meeting up with Danny Asadi.
He’s a musician here in Los
Angeles, known around the world
for his Persian trap music.
Now, most musicians fail
when they come to the city.
He’s not, he’s making it. Let’s
get into his story today, hear
how he’s making it. Also get
into his background and learn
more about his style of music.
Yeah, brother! My man! Happy to see you.
In a Persian neighborhood. Yes, sir.
Los Angeles. Yes, Persian
Square. So, I came into Danny’s
music when I did a video series
about Iran and I was looking
for the fusion music of
like… What’s that Iranian feel
but what’s something that a
Western audience would dig.
Because the traditional
Iranian stuff while it’s good,
you know, I think it would put
off most of the western
audience, and then if I didn’t
have any Iranian influence,
it wouldn’t have felt Iranian.
Exactly. And that’s when that’s
when Danny Asadi came into the
mix. And unfortunately for you,
it was my first YouTube
video series and I had no idea
what I was doing. So, I was
asking around about music, and
the Iranian people I was
talking said: “Yeah, just put it
in there, just put it in there.
It’ll be fine”. I’m like: “What
about copyright? I heard of
this copyright thing…” and
they’re like: “No, no problem.”
They’re like the right to copy.
Yeah. The right to copy, it’s
your right. And then I put the
music in the series and I got
the copyright strike but thank
God Danny gets the money for
it, but I apologize. Wait, I was
going to show you this spot.
Oh, yeah. This is one of my
favorite ice cream places,
actually my favorite ice
cream place. There’s
like rose, white rose, jasmine,
lavender, orange blossom.
It’s an Iranian business?
Yeah, persian ice cream.
It started in Iran
75 years ago. Wow!
I can only go to Iran once a year,
and I can only stay there for not
more than 3 months. Before that
I gotta head out, because if you
stay more than 3 months then
you kind of gotta join the army. Yeah.
You got the scarf for it but that’s
about it, right? You don’t want
to jump in? I got this scarf for
other stuff, it’s not going to
protect me from anything. So,
question I have and I’m sure a
lot of you guys have, if you’re
into music or want to know how
people succeed in music in Los
Angeles. How did you get
here… How did you get to where you are right
now? Because it seems like this
last year, maybe you’re
especially taking off?
Honestly, this year has been so
far the best my career has ever
been, because I feel like…
I feel like I finally figured out what
I want. What do you want?
I want to do what I want to do
for once without worrying about
whether it’s something that
would make me go viral or not.
Okay, so you’re just staying
completely true to your
creative mindset and what you
want to do. So, I make like
Persian influence,
electronic music, where I
play a lot of… I play like
traditional Persian music,
I use traditional Persian music
online, I collaborate with
traditional Persian musicians
and artists to create, to
influence electronic music in
America and also hip hop music
in America and thus, hopefully
And, you know, for the longest time
I would call this Persian trap
music because it was I was
really into the trap sound.
Right. And for those
that don’t know the trap sound
is that, you know, the fingers
on the… What is that?
instrument called? And I’m
not a musician as you can tell.
It’s just a drum pad. Drum pad.
Okay, but no, that
has nothing to do with the
genre of trap. Okay. Like I
know what the sound of trap
is, but what distinguishes trap
specifically? It derived from
like the TR 808 which is like a
machine from Roland that
created the 808 sound like the
in like hip hop music like – that’s
trap. Okay. Like when you have
that boom or you when you have
like the tsss tsss like the analog high
hats, these all derived
fro this one machine that
people started using for a
style of hip hop that was
eventually called trap music
because it was like…
It was famous in trap houses in Atlanta,
that style they came up with
derived from these sounds, came
from the trap houses in Atlanta
where they were smuggling
drugs, selling drugs.
So that’s why it was called “trap
music” because they’re trapping.
Well, I was always inspired by
the EDM (electronic dance music), when I was
younger, and I wanted to always
incorporate make my own version
of it where it was Middle
Eastern influence, and I’ve been
pursuing that since I was like
14-15 years old. Your parents
are from Iran but you grew up
here? Yes, I grew up in
Columbus, Ohio. But you feel a
connection with the Motherland?
With Iran – yeah, absolutely.
Never fully though. Never
fully? You’re sort of in between
the two? In between, yeah.
I’m like a direct definition of an “in between”:
the foreigners think I’m American,
the Americans think I’m foreigner, you
know. And your music is exactly
in the middle too, I would say.
I hope so. That, you know, that
was done on purpose. I want
the whole world for once
to hear Middle Eastern music
and in my case, particularly
Persian music and be like, oh,
I love Persian music. Right.
I’ve heard this song and it’s
Asadi – that’s what I want.
You know, the way I
would try to market my music is
I would do these videos. I make
these 60 second
videos that I try to
make as engaging as possible on
my Instagram. And just kept
knocking it out, right? And it
kind of reached the point where
I was getting known for my
videos and being less known for
my music, my actual music that
I was like really passionate
about that. But I put so much time
and effort, you know… Like my precious
little babies that I put out on
Spotify, I want the world to
see. And totally my
fault, because I got so carried
away with the video because I
was doing so well, that I was
getting such a good following.
This year is the
year where I’m finally like:
just screw it. I just
want to do what I absolutely
love to do and just show that
to the world. And I’ll still do
the videos and stuff, but I want
to just it’s going to take
longer and it’s going to… it’s
not going to get as much
engagement, but it’s what
I love to do and now when I when
I get half as many views for a
video that is more as a
well produced music video,
that’s not intended to be some
quick little TikTok, right?
If I get half as many
views as like the TikTok videos
that I made I get so excited,
because I’m like: this is
working. People are accepting this and the
algorithms that we see online,
The insights that you see
online that show how many views
you got will never show how
many fans you got. How many
people that are emotionally
attached to your music. When
there was no social media the
only thing that would show…
would give you a good sign that
you’re actually making
name for yourself is sales for
your actual songs, and people
recognize seeing you on the
street. You know, and
that’s what they’ve been doing
for a little time here,
the camera was off.
So your music puts me in a
trance. It puts me in a like a
meditative surrealistic sort of
space, where I lose a bit of
time. If I’m in the right
moment, if I’m in the
right mood, I can listen to one
of your songs and get like out
there for a bit, which I love
it. It’s the same as looking at
a really like a surrealist
piece of art, like a Dali or
Magritte or something. It brings me
out into this other state, this
other state of mind,
almost like a psychedelic
without taking the psychedelic.
So, would you say because there
are a lot of musicians that
want to come up and bring their
art to the world? What
would be a couple tips, and you
already gave one: it was stay…
like where you’re at now, you
have enough of an audience, but
staying true to what you want
to do. I do agree
with that too, because my videos
are all over the place.
I was with a diamond merchant the
other day, I was in the
hood in Watts 2 days ago –
like I’m going into every
different space and while that
might not be great for audience
because it’s, you know, if you
just stick to one genre
completely, you can probably
build more of a core fan, but I
just do what I like because
I don’t want to get bored of it.
So you’re a great example.
You do what you like,
but you work your as*
off doing it. Yeah. That’s all
you gotta do. Yeah. That’s all
you gotta do – is you gotta do
what you like to do and work
your as* off doing it.
My mindset now is less about doing
quick, gimmicky publicity
to just harvest a bunch of
followers that don’t really
care about me that much,
and more like building one
after another, a quality super
fan, and eventually at this
rate, eventually, I have built
such a strong foundation that
it would be hard to fall off as
an artist. It would be very hard to.
This took 1 hour to make?
Right. But really it was
probably years of practicing,
and experimenting, and thinking…
Correct. And then it one day it
just spilled out of you?
Yeah. Where are we going now? To
get some food? Raffi’s, greatest
Persian Armenian restaurant in
Los Angeles, in the city of Los
Angeles? This is the Persian
Palace, Glendale, California.
Raffi’s Place.
So, who is this? This guy’s
name is Faramarz Aslani and he’s
like a legend, everyone
knows who he is. Every
Persian knows who he is. It’s like
almost the equivalent of
playing with Johnny Cash or
something? Yeah, Bon Jovi. Like the
Persian Johnny Cash, Bob
Dylan. Do you use some of that
type of music in your music?
Absolute, literally my
music now, what I create
now’s so traditional, so
conservative, but with
this foundation of modern
arrangements. You
know, the drums, the electronic
drums that involved, the
texture, the sound effects, and stuff.
Thank you. Ever since I was a
kid, I always had this mindset
of like: I need to work
hard now, I am like 12
years old, so I can blow up when
I’m like eighteen. And then
I’m fourteen and I’m like…
I don’t think I’m going to blow
up when I’m eighteen, I’m
not even close to there yet.
So then I’m fourteen and
I’m like, oh, I know what I’m
doing wrong, I need to be doing
this and I’m like working even
harder. Always so competitive myself to be
as successful as possible,
as young as possible, but it
never… it only discourage me
once when I turned eighteen and
I was like: I’m not big yet,
I’m not… I didn’t reach my
goal, right? And I said that to
someone and someone
straight up laughed at me:
dude, you’re 18 years old, and
then when I realized I was,
okay, maybe it’s okay if
you reach a goal and you don’t
hit it because when you shoot
for the stars and you reach the
moon, at least you still reach
the moon. Now, you’re 25. Now I’m 25.
This is your year. I really
feel it. I really feel it. You
can feel it just be by being
near Danny, it’s coming over
the table. It’s an energy. It’s
an energy. I feel it in your
music and I feel it being
around you. And you never had to
do like the LA… do music and
also work a restaurant job at
the same time? I’ve been
blessed, I didn’t ever
have to do that, no. I was
fourteen and my dad came home
from Iran. He brought a setar,
and when he brought the setar…
Explain the setar to those who don’t know.
It kind of looks like almost…
it’s a loot, so it kind
of looks like a wooden
spoon with strings on it.
And this is the Persian setar.
This isn’t the Indian setar,
it’s a completely
different instrument. And when
my dad brought it home from
Iran (he visited Iran, he
brought it home) I was just
blown away. From then on, I
was like… because I didn’t know
about this kind of stuff, that
there was… that us, Persians,
had our own instruments,
I thought that was so cool,
I thought that was so unique.
And when I went to Iran with my dad
the following year, and saw
all these Persian music stores,
the walls of setars and all
these other instruments, that
I’ve never seen before in my
life, I just wanted to buy all
of it. I wanted all of it. At
the same time, I learned about
electronic music, like
electronic music was first
becoming a thing. I also
learned about the technology
side of music and how you
can play like orchestras on
your keyboard. You arrange it
on a software on your computer.
Yeah. And I found out that that
was called producing.
Oh, fantastic. Awesome. Thank you.
Thank you so much.
What is this called, Danny?
Traditional Iranian?
Yeah. And I love that, how they
do the the charred vegetables.
Yeah. Has that been your
guiding principle: you try? Just
try, try, try, try, try, try?
Always try it. Always. Do you
ever get beat down? Yes. With a
big smile on my face.
You know, but what about
outside voices? Does that ever
affect you or no? I’m sure you
get mostly positive… Outside
voices always affect. Yeah.
Everyone. Everyone sometimes at
the very least sometimes gets
affected by outside voices. So,
I’m not going to try to say
like I don’t listen to anyone
like no, that’s not. But I like
to think that I trust my gut
before I listen to any
anything anyone else that
tells me. Right. Right. Very
good. And Persians love their
rice. Yeah, we are. We are
obsessed with it. This light,
light, fluffy rice. Yeah, it’s
comfort food. Comfort food.
Yeah. It’s like pasta for
Italians. Exactly. You know, my
parents left Iran moved to, you
know, the United States, are US
citizens trying to live the
American dream. Right. And I
don’t think they were very
enthused for their son to be
like a DJ or some sh*t, you know. But
then they started to realize,
man, this kid is either going
to… he’s going
to die being a musician,
you can’t change that about him.
When did they figure that out?
When I was like eighteen.
And they said: just go to college for music.
And they really helped me out,
they helped me move all
the way down to Florid,a where I
went to you university there in
Orlando for music, got me an
apartment, just continued
spoiling the sh*t out of me and
then when I was ready to move
to LA, they were like: “Oh,
great! We want to come to LA
too”. No way! They moved because
you moved? They moved because I
moved and they always wanted a
reason to leave Ohio, where I
grew up because they’re just
sick of it. They just wanted to
live somewhere nice. Alright,
guys. Little insight to a
musician that’s made it here,
around the world. Cross culture
fusion of music. Yes, sir. Of
cultural identity and wow! You
guys gotta listen to what he
has to offer – Danny Asadi.
That’s been awesome, man.
It’s a pleasure. It’s a pleasure to be
on your channel.
Seriously, this is… you’re
really cool. You’re cool man.
Thank you. I’m very grateful to
be around you, let alone VIP in
your videos. Appreciate it.
Yeah. And I had Danny’s
music in my Iranian videos,
I’ll leave those down below too.
Definitely watch them,
those videos are so cool. You
guys gotta watch that. Alright.
Alright, man. Thanks so much.
Until the next one, guys. Till
the next one. Take care.

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