Today we welcome Yasi to the BORNTORAGE mixtape series. Yasi, Jasmine Safaeian, is a photographer and DJ currently living in Los Angeles. The Middle East has been repping hard these past few mixes and Yasi channels recent travels to the motherland, Iran, along with stellar mixing chops for Volume 6. Her curation weaves hard beats with precision, and surely gives guys in the industry a run for their dollas. She ends the mix on a tender note like a kiss after a KO.
Check out our convo below and >> peep the interactive version << for some water-based realness!
Browntourage: Can you tell me a bit about your background? Where you grew up, where your fam from, alla that?
Yasi: I was born and raised in Tehran, Iran. My family moved to California when I was seven and I’ve lived all over the coast ever since (southern, central, the bay, and now I’m in LA).
B: I definitely do want to hear a bit about your process for this mixtape and how you did your song selection?
Y: The Yasi sound is “hip-hop-adjacent club music with Middle Eastern vibes sprinkled throughout.” I collect aaaaall my favorite dream songs and eventually 5% of them fit together well enough for a mix. The flow of songs is really important to me but I get bored if the energy level stays at one place for too long — I like letting my mixes breathe.
B: You’re a photographer as well, how’d you get into music and DJing?
Y: I’ve always been into music! My main job is I’m a music photographer but I don’t feel challenged enough doing just one thing. I’m on my way to being a human conglomerate.
I’ve been making tapes, CDs, playlists for friends since I can remember. Years ago I wanted to be a music supervisor but I veered off that path when my photo work started to gain traction. The Yasi mixes and DJing are an outlet for that now, plus I play all my mixes and playlists during my shoots.
I learned how to DJ from fellow DJ friends. Most of my photo work is for prominent DJs and producers — I’ve been watching them closely while I shoot their shows and every once in a while I’ve mustered up the courage to ask them for tips. Making mixes and DJing is all math and jigsaw puzzles to me (ya feel?) and I’m OBSESSED with the challenge.
B: Any challenges you’ve faced in the industry?
Y: Everything’s been an uphill battle but I wouldn’t be where I am and who I am today if I didn’t fight my way through. You don’t last very long if you expect it to be easy.
B: Have you ever been back to Iran? How was that?
Y: I go back to Iran every couple of years. The first time was INCREDIBLE because I hadn’t been there for a decade and I excitedly visited all my childhood haunts, saw all the family I’d grown up with and deeply missed, hoarded all the snacks and candies I loved as a child. It even smelled like home, ya know? Since then, every time I go back it feels less and less like home. I’m obsessed with the massive family I have there and I love our culture, our people, our food(!), our beautiful country, the Caspian Sea, Tehran, Karaj, Shomal, Isfahan, Kerman, Shiraz… I love it all *except* it’s so hard for me to turn a blind eye to the way the government treats its people, especially women. There’s soooo much to discuss, and I’d love to hear in-depth accounts from young women who live in Iran, but I can only speak from personal experience as a short-term tourist.
I was in Tehran two weeks ago and I almost got arrested for wearing leggings. I was shopping with family when the police approached me and said I wasn’t wearing proper pants. (In the Islamic Republic, women of age are legally required to cover up — at the very least they have to wear pants, a long tunic/coat, and a scarf that covers their hair. Young women are pushing the limits however they can — their pants are tighter, their sleeves are shorter, their scarves fall lower, their makeup is more severe.) I 100% would have been arrested if my family didn’t urge the police that I’m a tourist and I don’t know any better. The worst part was the person trying to arrest me was a woman. As women, we’re already oppressed in this society, and I couldn’t comprehend why she would want to bring me down even further. This happened on the 2nd day of my trip and afterward I was so disillusioned that I didn’t even want to go outside. I was there for just a week, but people live like this! They keep their chins up and move forward with their lives knowing they’re being watched and that they could be stopped and questioned at any time. They’ve been living like this for thirty-six years!
Shortly before the incident I was taking a (street style?) photo of a guy wearing a MARIJUANA SHIRT (cause it was hilarious) and she came out of nowhere to yell at my leggings. She marched right passed the marijuana guy! Maybe she was mad at me for taking photos?
B: Dang dude. What are your hopes, dreams, aspirations on a personal and societal level?
Y: I just want to travel for work and be surrounded by music at all times 🙂 I love traveling but hate vacationing. I need to have a *purpose* in every city I’m in or else I feel useless. I just hope my career paths take me all over the world.
On a societal level ~ I just hope my peers (especially our women) in Iran keep pushing for change. It’s upsetting to see people who are disillusioned with the current state of affairs looking to escape the situation rather than change it. My friends in Iran study day and night so they’ll get accepted into foreign schools. So many of the smartest hardest working kids are leaving the country — power to them but it’s sad seeing where that’s leaving the nation.
As you can tell, Yasi’s got visions from your basement party to international politics and thats why we love her.
>> Play around with the interactive mixtape
>> Show yasi some soundcloud love!