We may not be able to gather like we're used to due to the impact of COVID-19, but music will always find a way to bring us together. Last week, Heard It Here First hosted it's first-ever virtual festival event, Cabin Fever Festival. The fest spanned two days—August 27th and 28th—and raised over $500 towards the Innocence Project, hosting 30+ artists primarily from the bass genre. A delightful exception to this sonic preference came on the fest's second day, when its headlining act, ASADI, delivered a one-of-a-kind live performance atop a hill near the Las Vegas strip.
The Los Angeles-based beatsmith has become a star since storming onto the seen over six years ago. His style of "Persian Trap Music" is a perfect microcosm of the progressive genre fusion of today, mixing traditional Persian instruments, trap rhythms and cinematic choreography to create an experience unlike any other. Not only has he forged a truly authentic style all to his own, but also ignited a viral following who crave his unique performance videos.
"When I was in middle school, I would go to Guitar Center to mess around with these drum pads," said ASADI, who caught up with EDM.com to discuss his Cabin Fever performance. "I always [wanted them] because I knew I could perform completely live with them. I finally got my hands on one when I was 16 and in conjunction with learning Persian instruments, I would practice on them nonstop."
While he's inspired by artists like Pretty Lights, ASADI maintains an artistic style that is unique to him as a person. "I think the worst thing you can do as an artist is to try to find something that makes you 'different' from others—rather find what truly represents you."
This attitude—plus a resourceful and dedicated team—have and will continue to propel the young star in navigating new ways to entertain and connect with fans. The proof? ASADI's Cabin Fever Festival set, which he shared via his Youtube channel this week. You can watch the set and read our Q&A with ASADI below.
EDM.com: Where did the idea for this set come from? Where was it shot?
ASADI: We shot this performance on the top of a hill in Las Vegas. It’s such a great location because you see the Vegas strip on the horizon.
EDM.com: What were some of the logistical challenges to set this up? How did you guys coordinate the production, artists and performers? Who’s that guy on violin!?
ASADI: The short answer is my manager and I just used brute force, got everything done, and hoped for the best. Originally, we were going to do a traditional green screen setup and send it over the Heard It Here First's Cabin Fever Festival team. Then a day later, we were like, "Fuck it. Let’s do it in the desert." Exactly 48 hours before the day of shoot, I woke up to my manager telling me that he’s getting speakers, three other DJs, a fire-breather, and a small crowd to make this a socially distant mini-festival. The night before the event, we decided that it would be the icing on top if DSharp could play the violin. The guy drove straight here from LA the night before.
30 minutes before my set time, my computer crashed 10 times. A minute before, I finally found out the issue and fixed it. I hit record on my computer and prayed it wouldn't crash during my performance and it didn’t. Halfway in, D and I played out our new single "3 Wishes" and freestyled like crazy. I was shocked by how we pulled this off. Thanks to my manager, it looked like it was planned a month ago. Such a wild, last-minute experience.
EDM.com: Assuming you haven’t had ample opportunity to perform live recently, what was it like getting to perform with such a special setup and an audience?
ASADI: I forgot about the feeling of performing in front of an audience. It was nostalgic. Just good energy everywhere. Everyone was so happy to be there.
EDM.com: Your talent and acclaim stems from your live performance setup, which features you prominently drumming various live pads and midi elements. Where did this style of performance start for you?
ASADI: I grew up in Columbus, Ohio. When I was in middle school, I would go to Guitar Center to mess around with these pads. I always wanted them because I knew I could perform completely live with them. I finally got my hands on one when I was 16 and in conjunction with learning Persian Instruments, I would practice on them nonstop.
EDM.com: You proudly represent yourself as a Persian Trap artist. What does that mean to you and how would you describe it to the average fan? What other traditional instruments do you bring to the table?
ASADI: Persian Trap Music is exactly what it sounds like—trap music with a middle eastern influence specifically from a variety of Persian regions. This involves sampling and using mainly two instruments that I play: the Persian tar and Persian setâr. I also like to bring a sort of cinematic element to it. That combined with the sound design that I include is probably why I’m more categorized in the Electronic Music community. Which makes sense because my biggest influences include Pretty Lights and Hucci.
EDM.com: You’ve enjoyed several years of viral acclaim and fame from your performance clips and videos. What’s your secret to deliver consistently unique content?
ASADI: I think the worst thing you can do as an artist is to try to find something that makes you "different" from others—rather find what truly represents you as a person. Regardless of whether it’s original or not. Those who are most original tend to be most honest with themselves. I don’t try to act or dress a certain way that’s not me and I don’t try to act or dress my songs a certain way that’s not me either. I just express myself the best I can through my music, but it all starts with being very honest with myself. I love trap, I love that theatrical sound. I'm obsessed with Persian Folk Music and culture, and I love making beats live. These things kind of have nothing to do with each other. But now they do.
EDM.com: Have you been working on any new ASADI music during quarantine?
ASADI: Absolutely. I’m working with a wide spectrum of unique talent from all over the world. I have an arsenal of collaborations waiting to be released. I can’t say the details yet, but they are a step up in the evolution of my Persian Trap Sound. About a month from today, I’m going to release a song every ten days, from hit singles to weird 8 minute long pieces.
EDM.com: What’s next from ASADI?
ASADI: We received such a great response from everyone involved in this past livestream. So starting [this past Monday,] I’m releasing performance videos every week on my YouTube channel.
I wanna make a big shoutout to Heard It Here First for allowing me to stream on their festival, Cabin Fever. Also, Pedram for being an incredible manager as always and DSharp. Thanks for always giving me the opportunity to make incredible music.