"Music and any form of creative practice is a pathway to presence" - Deradoorian


Angel Deradoorian (Deradoorian), ethnically Armenian, was born and raised in Orangevale, California to a family of artists. She discovered music at the age of 5, starting with piano and violin. At 16 years old she decided to drop out of school and pursue a career in music. In 2007 she joined Dirty Projectors, an indie rock band in Brooklyn, New York. She released her debut EP 'Mind Raft' in 2009. In 2015 Deradoorian released her debut solo studio album 'The Expanding Flower Planet'. In 2017 she released an EP 'Eternal Recurrence'. She’s worked with U2, Vampire Weekend, The Roots, Animal Collective, Brandon Flowers, Charli XCX,  Flying Lotus, Discovery, Boots, along with other acclaimed artists. 

Deradoorian is known for how she incorporates her consciousness and spirituality into her music. Her vibe is distinguished by droning layered vocals, meditative melodies and a psych rock experimental feel. Her lyrics are intelligent, conscious, poetic and worth examining independent of the sound. Deradoorian will release her next album Find the Sun with ANTI-records in September 2020. This album is highly imaginative, visual, spacious, and geniusly harmonizes poetic lyrics with bells, flutes, percussion, guitar, synthesizer, and gongs for a meditative conscious rock album that is not to be forgotten. 

Find the Sun feels like a creative culmination of all of Deradoorian’s past work. Her inspirations for this album are widely spread, from Can, Damo Suzuki, Indian spirituality, and free jazz masters such as Pharoah Sanders and Sun Ra. The album was recorded in a studio looking out over  Mt. Tamalpais in California. In a diverse traversion of sound and words, she ignites and inspires self-exploration and enlightenment. The themes of the album range from freedom, revolution, God, transformation, life, death, connecting with your roots, the frustrating elements of growing up, gratitude, self-love, communicated in a dreamy, and shamanic style. This album reaches deep in your soul and challenges you to think again about the world around you with its spiritual and psychedelic components. Deradoorian’s music is particularly relevant now in a quasi-apocalyptic era of global quarantine. While most of us are  in solitude, and the physical plane around us is somewhat in a chaotic state, we are perfectly equipped to indulge in some self-exploration and this Album can be a great guide to get you thinking.   

Tell us about your beginnings. How did you go from playing violin and piano as a child to leaving school as a teenager to pursue it full time? 
Making art was encouraged in our household. Our home was filled with instruments, and I grew up in a town where there wasn’t much to do, so I started teaching myself how to play them. I got fed up with highschool and decided I wanted to do whatever I wanted. I tested out of school early, went to college to study art, and then got the opportunity to start touring. Traveling was a very eye opening and educational experience in seeing how other parts of the world operated. I can’t remember my first experiences of expressing myself through music. I believe once you start studying your instrument you automatically become creative. 

Enlightenment is a major theme in this project, Find the Sun, shown by the lyrics (“purify the shadow of the soul”) and song structures. Why did you choose this theme? Why is enlightenment inspiring for you? 
I’m not sure I chose it with the thought that it was a particular theme. The album is a reflection of my life at this time. Enlightenment is presence in my opinion. Presence is self-awareness. Presence can mean observing when your mind wanders and bringing yourself back into the present moment, where you are, what you are physically feeling. This is the most difficult task for the human mind, so the chances of reaching real enlightenment may not even be a reality for me. “Purify the shadow of the soul” means you must face your darkness and not let it fester inside of you inhibiting your growth potential.

In the current times of a global pandemic, we are quarantined in our houses and business as we knew it, is suspended. How do we use these chaotic circumstances for growing and expanding our consciousness? 
I think the pandemic will force everyone to ask themselves the question: what are the most important things in my life? Am I doing those things? Am I being who I want to be? We are not in control of this situation, and we are having to let other people make difficult decisions for us. That is a lot to accept in itself. This pandemic is a very traumatic global event and more than anything it will bring us into the present moment where we have to find ways to cope first and foremost. 

How can music aid in achieving enlightenment? 
Music, and any form of creative practice is a pathway to presence. When we are creating we have to be in that moment focusing on what we are doing. Music can serve as a soothing energy as well when the listener is connecting with what the musician is transmitting. 

What do you think inhibits human enlightenment most in the modern world? 
I feel there are many ways to answer this question. So, here is one answer: I think there is an issue with consumption of media, entertainment, food, clothing, etc. because it has deeply affected our attention spans. People inherently suffer in this world. We are programmed to feel pain and to do whatever we can to survive. Now our outlet for alleviating our suffering comes through distracting ourselves with tv, social media, and shopping. It’s more difficult to face ourselves when we want to live in the pursuit of happiness, and major advertising and current society tell us the way we achieve that is through consumption.

Why is expression through sound and music exciting for you? Do you have other creative hobbies or outlets outside of music? 
I’ve worked with expressing myself through music for such a long time now that it has transformed into a different kind of practice. The possibilities are endless to me with how the music can turn out. I’m inspired by so much music I listen to that I want to try out the concepts in the compositions that I am so affected by. I like that music is invisible. You have to respond to it with your feeling and hearing senses. It comes out of the ether. It comes out of your mind. It comes from your body. It is highly vibratory and I can feel how different tones and sounds change your physical frequency. I draw, paint, make collages, write poetry, journal, and cook as well. 

Interview by Hannah Kazanjian Brewster