By Grace Nasri, Iran Times
After years of playing secret shows in Iran's underground music scene, the rock band Hypernova-now based in New York City-is on tour with The Sisters of Mercy.
The band, made up of lead singer Raam, drummer Kami, guitarist Kodi, and Jam on bass, came to the United States in March 2007. They are currently on tour across America and are also set to release their debut album, "Through the Chaos," by the beginning of 2009.
"Coming to the U.S. was a dream come true, and we're living the dream we've always hoped for and wanted and it's something we hope we can keep doing for the rest of our lives," Raam told the Iran Times.
Raam told Wired magazine that pursuing a profession in music in Iran was nearly impossible because of the many restrictions imposed by the Islamic Republic that force much of the music scene underground.
"The consequences of being a rock musician in Iran are so ridiculous that you would have to be crazy to pursue such a career over there," Raam told the monthly magazine.
"We all were born in Iran. I was the only one who lived in the States-Eugene, Oregon, to be exact-for several years during the 1980s when I was a kid. I eventually moved back to Iran. The rest of the gang had never been to the States before. Kami and I met at a military camp in the year 2000 and started the band. At first we were just a bunch of crazy kids who had a dream of one day coming to New York. Doesn't every artist have the same dream?"
Raam told Wired, "After several years of playing in the underground, we realized that we could only go so far in Iran. There were limited resources and we always felt confined in what were doing. It's not easy being a rock musician in the Islamic Republic. In fact, the consequences of being a rock musician are so ridiculous that you would have to be crazy to pursue such a career over there. But there are many underground artists pouring their hearts and souls into their work. Now I know why the caged bird sings."
Raam explained Iran's underground music scene to PluginMusic.com. "The underground scene in Iran is pretty intense. There are many amazing musicians driven by a burning passion who are literally putting their lives on the line for their music, just like we did. There's nothing more beautiful than raw and sincere music."
But despite the many restrictions and regulations on music that led the band to emigrate to America, Raam said Iran wasn't as bad as the Western media portrayed it, and even compared Washington and Tehran. "I think a lot of people over here are unfortunately misinformed about the realities that exist in Iran. Not to be an apologist for the current regime there, but Iran really is not as bad as they make it out to be in the media.
"Iranians are amongst the most hospitable and compassionate people in the world. I'm astonished how afraid people are of a country they can't even locate on a map. I think that everybody in the world has to put a little more effort into understanding other cultures.... We came to the U.S. to let the world know that rock 'n' roll has no boundaries. The kids back home in Iran enjoy the same things that American kids enjoy. We are all one and in this cosmic mess together.
"I think the governments in the U.S. and Iran are very similar. They use the exact same kind of tactics to run their countries. Ideologically, they are fundamentally the same. They just believe in different gods. But neither of them seem to be making much sense nowadays," Raam told Wired.
Hypernova is currently on tour with the Sisters of Mercy, and will play 20 shows between October 31 and December 2, from New York to California.
"Funny story," Raam told Wired. "When I was a kid, my dad used to play the Sisters of Mercy in the car all the time. He didn't even know who they were-or maybe he did. He just had a bunch of tapes that he would always play. Fifteen years later, I meet Farhad Mohit, CEO of Dostspots, Shopzilla and Bizrate in Los Angeles, and we became really good friends. One of the main reasons Farhad fell in love with our music was because we reminded him of Sisters [of Mercy]. So he reintroduced me to the band's music and sent me its entire discography. And now we're going on tour with the Sisters of Mercy. The universe really does work in mysterious ways."
A list of tour dates is at: www.hypernova.com.
About Iran Times: The Iran Times is an independent newspaper with no affiliation with any political party or faction The Iran Times corporation was founded in Washington D.C. in 1970, in accordance with U.S. federal and local regulations: www.iran-times.com
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