An Exclusive Interview of ZirZamin with Kaveh Afagh
This is an Interview of ZirZamin website with Kaveh Afagh which has been published in www.zirzamin.com
ZIRZAMIN: Kaveh, Congratulations. You made it to the second position in the ZIRZAMIN Music Award 2010. How does it feel to be part of this competition?
Kaveh Afagh: Thanks. To me, the joy of participating among other bands in this competition was more important than just receiving an award or getting a special ranking. This is what persuaded me to take part of ZIRZAMIN Music Award 2010.
ZIRZAMIN: Let us talk little bit about your life and your music. Give us a short biography, please.
Kaveh Afagh: I grew up in an artistic family. My father, is a writer and theatre director and my mother is has a PhD in urban designing and planning. Due to this artistic characteristic of my family, I was acquainted with different kinds of artistic principles and theories since my childhood. From 1992 to 1996, due to some issues, I had to live in several different cities north of Iran, and through that I got familiar with the many traditions of Turkoman folklore. Through the encouragement of my parents, the passion of music grow in me and my musical goals surfaced during those years. When I was fifteen, I started playing jazz and blues and by being very influenced by Pink Floyd and Queen, I got interested in rock music. At the age of 17, I began to write songs and compose music. A year later, I began to study architecture in university. During that time, I formed my first band, “The Part”. We dissolved due to financial problems. Afterward, I joined a large orchestra “Asemaneh” as lead guitar player. And then by the invitation of Alireza Pourreza, I joined “The Kavian”. When I turned 21, I experienced my first studio recording with “The Kavian”. I collaborated with them for two years, 25 live performances, 10 concerts and releasing one studio album in Persian “Zaraban e Namonazzam” (EN: Uncorrelated Beats) was the result of that period. Meanwhile, under the inspiration of old Persian poets, I started to write English lyrics. In 2003, me and Alireza Pourreza formed a band and by my suggestion, we called it “The Ways”.
ZIRZAMIN: You are also the lead guitarist in The Ways, one of the Rock bands from Tehran. Can you tell us little bit about the band?
Kaveh Afagh: “The Ways” is a Pop-Rock band, which was first formed by me & Alireza Pourreza in 2003. After a while, Hamed Ghannad, joined us as a Bass guitar player. Summer of 2005 Iman Mohammadi joined the band as our drums player and the last member of the band. “The Ways” has created or reached a sweet kind of Iranian Pop Rock music. Two studio albums: “Stress” in Persian and “Drown by Wings of Fantasy” in English, several concerts in different cities of Iran between 2003 and 2006, composing for various short movies and attending in some music festivals are the achievements of our band till date.
ZIRZAMIN: You participated in the music award by the song called The Underground Story (Persian: Ghesseye Zirzamin). Let’s first look at the video clip from that song.
ZIRZAMIN: Why did you choose to participate in the competition with that song? Isn’t that song part of The Ways?
Kaveh Afagh: To be honest, it’s a long story why we chose this video and this song and how my band participated in the ZIRZAMIN Music Award 2010. Truth be told is that I wrote the lyrics of this song and composed it, at the end of a long bitter night in the corner of my home studio, for almost 9 month ago! After a couple of days I decided to put this song in The Ways new album. Arad Aria got passionately interested in Gesseye Zirzamin and asked me to sing a duet with me, as a chance to be in our future album and he arranged the song and presented his effort as a gift to our band in the condition I mentioned earlier. Afterward we recorded the song and used the members of The Ways band as musicians. Therefore Gesseye Zirzamin is the result of a common work of Kaveh Afagh and Arad Aria not as such The Ways band. Now I’m greatly happy that the work, which was a memory of one of distressing nights of my life in Iran with troubles I have here, became a valuable work for my country. In fact this song narrates the story of my personal life in undergrounds of Iran so I think what comes from your heart, goes to the hearts.
ZIRZAMIN: The second prize money is going to be paid in form of paid mastering service. But you are mostly working with The Ways. I hope you understand that since The Ways was one of the bands who participated, they cannot benefit from the prize money. In other words, you will have to go solo on this. How do the band members feel about this? Was this understood and discussed in between you guys?
Kaveh Afagh: Actually, the main reason of participating in such a competition was not its prize and as I told you I was thoroughly satisfied that the competition was for my country and all that matters to us was that the honor of being a part of it. In my viewpoint for all participants the prize of the competition was of the least value to think about. I have some single works for myself outside of the band and I don’t think The Ways with its current publicity among Iranians, that this is a matter of a problem. After all, our band members recognize that Gesseye Zirzamin was the result of Kaveh Afagh’s effort and The Ways were those supportive elements needed who helped me and Arad Aria in recording this piece of work.
ZIRZAMIN: What about YAS and Erwin and Aryan? Have you spoken with them about the prize? What did they say?
Kaveh Afagh: Unfortunately I have not received any feedback from them. It`s expected as it a usual behavior in the Iranian culture.
ZIRZAMIN: After the competition you were subject to some harsh words and personal attack from a number of those who did not agree with the outcome of the award. What happened? What caused these harsh words and personal attack on you?
Kaveh Afagh: It is really unfortunate. I don’t know why the music and art atmosphere of Iran instead of being a place for love, friendship and competing in a healthy artistic environment, has changed to a battle-field between artists and their fans. I do find the impacts of the death of morality and courtesy of Iranian artists in the underground music world a whole lot more destructive than the government and the policies which rule our country. We always destroy talented people by rumors, insults and accusations rather than supporting each other. I just wish the professional behavior could be seen more often into the Iranian artistic community. Hopefully one day!
ZIRZAMIN: Well, the attack was one of the lowest in its kind, I have to say. It was rather funny to see how low it was. Anyway, let’s go on. What are your plans now? Where are you and The Ways heading?
Kaveh Afagh: At the moment, we have progressed to the final stages of completing our new album. We will have four (4) new video clip ready to show which will release as we progress but more than anything else we’re looking for a validate company to release our new album. Right now, we’re talking to the managers of companies and institutes.
ZIRZAMIN: One of the reasons why we started the ZIRZAMIN Music Award 2010 in Rock was that we felt that Rock in Iran had come to a stagnated phase. Almost as nothing was happening for a good while. What is the condition of Rock in Iran?
Kaveh Afagh: Rock in Iran, as other art genres, is facingmany troubles. Lack of official supports, concerts permission, interview permissions (TVs, national radios, newspapers and etc.) and most importantly the absence of official permission to release Rock music, by record labels in Iran have caused an utterly complicated condition, full of challenge and stress for artists. At the end, you can’t expect technical works with high quality in forms and new concepts from nervous, frustrated and bad-tempered artists. These have gradually led to death of passion of creating new works for public. This is probably the reason why we can’t see much creativity and impressive works.
ZIRZAMIN: Many thanks for giving us your time and we are very excited to hear more from you.
Kaveh Afagh: I appreciate it very much. Thank you and other organizers of ZIRZAMIN Music Award 2010, who helped the progress of music quality and defining Rock to our people.
You can find this interview in following link as well: