Part of May 2010 by


Interview with Raam from Hypernova

Most bands talk about “paying their dues” and basically what that means is playing their music for months or years to empty tables with menus sitting on them that list chili cheese fries as the premiere item on Tuesday nights.  For Hypernova “paying their dues” meant illegally playing western inspired music (with arrest and public flogging as a consequence if caught) in truly underground clubs in Tehran for years, until they managed to make it to the US.  They first landed in LA and now have moved to New York.  Their music is a mix of The Strokes, some Psychedelic Furs, with chunks of Queens of the Stone Age and Sisters of Mercy blended into their musical mortar as well.  Hypernovas tunes are addictive, smart, and written better than most.  Very recently I had the honor of chatting with Raam from Hypernova.

a2: If you could please give us some history on Hypernova?

Raam: The band sort of came into fruition about 10 years ago back in 2000 when I first met our drummer Kami at a military camp back in Iran where we were doing some mandatory time you have to do because after you are 18 years old its like a conscription into the army.  We were fortunate enough to buy off the rest of our conscription so we didnt have to do the full 2 years we only did a couple of weeks.  Basically it was more like a summer camp for spoiled kids who could afford to pay off the conscription.  We both were in love with Rock and Roll and we got to talking about the music that we both loved and Iran was about 10 years behind because grunge was just about to happen.  So we talked and talked about rock and roll and finally decided to start our own band.  Since I spoke English because I had sort of grown up in the States I became the singer by default.  Simply because I could speak it but not because I could sing because my voice was actually quite awful and then we started our first band.  For several years we kept playing in the underground of Iran going through different band names and band members until we finally found Kodi our guitarist who was one of our fans actually.  He came to one of our shows and fell in love with Hypernova and wanted to be in the band.  Later on we had a chance to play the states.  We got an opportunity to come and the South By Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas.  We had to go through so many issues just to get our visas to come to the states because of the nature of where were from.  Its not easy getting visas anymore when you are from the Axis of Evil.  We came not really knowing what to expect and we were only supposed to stay for a couple weeks and that has turned into 3 amazing years.  We havent looked back ever since.  We just keep rolling ahead.

a2:  The new album Through The Chaos just came out last month.  What can people expect when they listen to it?

Raam: It paints a picture of what Hypernova is as a band and where we come from and where we are going.  Its sort of an introduction into the world of Hypernova.  Its a very personal album and all the things we talk about in our songs are things that we have first hand experienced, have been through, and can relate to.  Most of the subjects of the songs go back a couple of years, even 10 years ago, and it took a while for it to finally come out.  Things take time.  We had several offers from different record labels but we didnt know who we wanted to work with.  We were basically just trying to educate ourselves as much as we could about the industry in terms of making the right choices so we wouldnt end up regretting those choices in the future.   Most of the songs we used to write were simply rock and roll based songs like punk we would play in our garage.  That was a transitory phase where we were developing our sound and now were at a point where most of the new stuff we are writing is heavily electronic.  We are constantly challenging ourselves and trying to expand our musical horizons.  We havent really confined ourselves to a specific genre.

a2:  What sort of influences are you pulling from to create your sound?

Raam: We all sort have different tastes in music but weve listened to the whole history of rock and roll from the classics to the 70s, the new wave 80s, grunge and brit pop, and now like the indie stuff.  We are big fans of the music with darker lyrics like Sisters of Mercy and Bauhaus and Nine Inch Nails and stuff like that.   I think we find something really…I dont know…sexy and romantic about the darker side of life.   Its hard for me to listen to a lot of rock and roll now because sub-consciously everything I listen to sort of influences me and affects me so try to keep my ears pure and be in places where I can hear my heart.  Now I listen to a lot of ambient and down tempo music and a lot of classical music.  I love classical music.

a2:  Whats up next for the band?

Raam: We are putting a national tour together across the states to support the new album.  We are going to be playing a whole bunch of different states across the country.   Theres no greater freedom than being on the road.  The joy of being on the road is so much.  You really have no responsibilities.  Youre not worried about paying rent or replying to emails and youre living without a care in the world.  All you care about is the next show and its a really fun state of mind to be in.  Theres also a lot of inspiration on the road.   You learn so much just by traveling around, meeting and interacting with interesting people.  Every state that we visit we meet the craziest and weirdest people which makes for fun times.  Its tough because a lot of people hear stereo types about us because where we come from and their skeptical, but once you connect with someone on a personal level its special and unique.  It goes to show how many are similarities are as human beings and how little our differences are.   What better job than for people to go play music, share your music, with a whole bunch of beautiful people and get to see the world at the same time.  Were very luck to be able to do this for a living.

a2:  Any other Hypernova releases in the works?

Raam: We are actually thinking about recording some of our shows and putting together a DVD of our live shows because a lot of our fans have been requesting live material.  Our live shows are a whole different universe from our recorded album.  Our live shows are so intense and passionate and I think in the recording process you lose a little bit of that passion.   Its hard to transfer that passion onto the digital format.

a2:  Is there anything else you would like to tell your fans?

Raam: 1 thing I would like a lot of people to know is that we have been through so many struggles in our lives just coming from where we come from and now were set with new problems and struggles.  I think an artist who is trying to create music and share it with people….no matter where you are theres always going to struggles and hardships.  I think if you truly believe in something, and you are truly passionate about it, the sky will be the limit. That has always been our motto.  Were very grateful to be here in the States and to be able to do this freely and be able to play our music.  We dont take a second of our lives for granted.

Hypernovas summer 2010 tour will be extensive.  Here are just a few of the dates.

Jul 8 2010    8:00P Benders Tavern Denver, Colorado
Jul 10 2010    8:00P  Neurolux Boise, ID
Jul 11 2010    11:00P Studio Seven    Seattle, Wa
Jul 14 2010    8:00P Shire Road Club w/ Yellow Dogs Sacramento, CA
Jul 16 2010    8:00P The Troubadour  Los Angeles, CA

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