Saturday, May 9

Interview with Lord Aras of Aras - Shiraz/Teheran, Iran

In a summer night I was cursed to live. I continued my education in painting, and found the colours in sound. February 18, the death of Iranian great writer, Khosrow Golesorkhi, was the day that Aras formed. When I was tried of people's silence against Islamic Repblic of Iran, I created "The Silence" track. Those days I was not too familiar with Black Metal, and I did not want to make Black Metal music, but my friends who listened to my music, named my genre as Black Metal. I dont limit my music in style and genre, my only purpose is to show griefs and wounds. There is too much limitation for Black Metal in Iran, but there are many real fans.

To begin with, please tell me about your background, musical and personal. How did you become involved in Black Metal in a land that is isolated in many ways from Western culture? What is the name of your home town; where is located; is it a small or large area?

I was born in a small city of Iran. I lived in Shiraz ( city of culture and arts ) for 22 years and then moved to capital city, Teheran. I live in a small and old room.

I understand that Aras is the name of a river in a certan region in Iran; tell me more about this name and the eponymous river.

Aras river is located in North West of Iran, which is the border of Iran and Azerbayejan. Aras mean "tear". This river is holy to Iranian people. Samad Behrangi, one of the greatest writer and hero was drowned into Aras.

What great Persian poets would you recommend to me? The Persian tongue, or Farsi, is very old and there are doubtlessly many ancient writers and philosophers that may help to enlighten me.

There were too many great poet in Iran. Perhaps the most famous Persian poet is Hafiz. But in my opinion Ahmad Shamlou, who died in 2000, is the best Iranian poet. Sa'adi, Ferdowsi, Mehdi Akhavan Sales, Molana, and Khayam are my favorite poets.

What sort of response do you get from people in your home town or city who have heard your music, or have heard of what you do? Do you get a lot of negative responses from people, or do you keep a very private personal life?

Iranian people are not interested in my music.They summarize Black Metal in Satanism, and cruel and extreme actions. But those who really know Metal music support me, because they know music is my life.

Tell me about some of your musical colleagues or partners. For example, I think that you did a split release with Avinar. Is this someone who you share a lot of ideas with? I imagine that you have a tightly knit group of collaborators for Black Metal in your land.

Avinar is one of my best friend. When Avinar disbanded, he formed another band which is named Emerna. We worked 2 albums together. Also, I am a friend of Murkmyth ( Sorg Innkallelse Vocalist). We have a Depressive Black Metal band called Daamoon. My other friend is Necres, from Necres band. He was the guest vocal of " Aroosake Ghashange Man".

"Amin Pryavi" from Death Metal band, " Daarma " is one of my friend. We also worked in an unofficial project " Gavandera ".

Have you ever had any issues with receiving Black Metal CD, LPs, T-shirts or anything else of that sort in the mail? Most Black Metal rejects and condemns and blasphemes against Christianity, but Jesus was a prophet for Islam also, receiving a CD in the mail with an album cover of Jesus getting impaled upon a crucifix might not look good for you if the wrong person saw it...or is this all my imagination?

Most fans dont have any access to original Cds. Therefore, they usually donwload music from internet.

What do you think about the long-standing fatwa against Salman Rushdie? Is this a part of your national culture that you support, or do you have no strong feelings about this issue? I suppose you can't borrow The Satanic Verses from your local library, can you? If you had the opportunity to capture or kill Sir Rushdie (he was recently knighted by the Queen of England, as you may know already) would you do so, for the reward perhaps?

I have no idea. But I believe that everyone has the right to think.

I almost don't want to ask this, but I really must: are you a practicing Muslim?

No, I dont have any religion. But I have an especial passion about Jesus personality, but I dont have any interest in Christianity.

What do you think makes Black Metal different from other styles of metal? How is different from any other style of music in general?

Black Metal for some people is lifestyle, but other styles of Metal are mostly just music, and don't have any special philosophy behind it. However I believe all styles of Metal music are worthly and respectable.

Other music styles ( except classic ) show emotions and conditions, but in Classic and Black Metal when a track creates, a world creates. A world where we can stay there for many years. Still the Moon shines by Moonlight Sonata of Beethoven and freezes by Freezing Moon of Mayhem.

What is there to do for fun where you live? Say that it's a holiday or just a night off from work, what do you to enjoy yourself in your city?

At the present moment I don't have anything to pass the times. I don't even have computer. Most times I play guitar or Persian Folk instrument, or do paintings. But these are not for fun. Art is my love.

Have you heard of Taarma, Black Emperor Jogezai's project in Balochistan/Afghanistan? This is a disputed region, of course, so I'm not sure whether he would consider himself a national of Afghanistan or Pakistan, or of an autonomous Balochi land. That's beside the point. I recently spent a year in Afghanistan, and discovered the existence of this dismal, dark and very interesting music called Taarma. I think that it is amazing that Black Metal is being spread to such remote regions as Jogezai's mountain home in the Hindu Kush. I feel that such music is more convincing when created by someone like him, living in an isolated and dangerous place, than by some drunken Norwegians on government welfare.

I have listened to 4 tracks of Tarma, and I was suprised by their music. I mailed Tarma and thanked him for their Black Metal activity in that terrible situation of Afqanistan.

Does the legacy of Zoroaster and Zoroastrianism remain strong in Persia? Or is frowned upon by the government, or culturally frowned upon in general?

Most Iranian people are Muslim, but still there are some Zoroastrians. Most people love Zoroastrianism, but because of Islamic rules, they can not change their religion officialy.

Here's my last question. Do you hate all Americans, or this just a dispute between politicians and governmental cry-babies? For my part, I can tell you that, as an American, I harbor no ill feelings towards your people or your land, and I'm not the only American who feels this way. Over here, we get a lot of propaganda that portrays your land and your people in a very negative way, but I choose how to feel about things, and I don't let my government tell me how to think. I'm sure that there is a lot of anti-American feeling where you live, and I can't blame you or anyone else for that, because much of it is justified.

No I don't hate American, neither Iranian people do. Most people have positive idea against Amercian people. Iranian people love peace from ancient times. This is Islamic Republic cruel politic that shows hate and anger to American and some other nations.

Salaam walekum, shab bekheyr.



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