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Lyonnais started in 2008 as a musical outlet for former WRAS-Atlanta Music Directors Farbod Kokabi and Farzad Moghaddam. Immediately after witnessing a Rhys Chatham performance, the duo realized that they
needed to fill a void in Atlanta's otherwise vibrant music scene. Using each member's personal taste as a launch pad, Moghaddam (bass, sampler, keyboard, turntable) and Kokabi (guitar, keyboard, vocals) set out to develop their ideas and enlisted additional support from Lee Tesche (guitar, effects, vocals) and TJ Blake (drums, keyboard).
Lyonnais' initial performances found them sharing the stage with larger touring acts such as Windy & Carl, Balmoreah, and Paul Duncan at the now-defunct 11:11 Teahouse. The early Lyonnais compositions floated
somewhere between Labradford's dark post-rock, and Spacemen 3's signature drone-rock. After performing a long string of successful supporting slots and a few headlined shows, the band felt they need to reinvent
their sound and began developing new material that veered into more long-form compositions. These new exercises showcased Lyonnais' flirtations with krautrock's repetition and experimentation, and garnered the band glowing reviews from local music critics and Atlanta-based music blogs. Creative Loafing went on to name Lyonnais the Best Electronic Act in 2009 and Best Experimental Act in 2010.
As audience attendance grew from gig to gig, so did the group's evolving oeuvre. Lyonnais' performances became provocatively forceful, making them the most called-upon band for esoteric concert events in Atlanta.
Depending on any given night's line-up, the band easily morphs their setlist. Jumping from Section25 and Ike Yard's danceable post punk, Mars' no wave intensity, and even Kompakt's trademarked pop ambience. Lyonnais has shared the stage with bands as varied as their sound, including Growing, Grouper, These Are Powers and Deerhunter.