It’s all been done before. We have all either heard or used that phrase at some point and quite often it’s the truth. As far as “rock ‘n’ roll” is concerned, this phrase carries extra weight because there is very little left that hasn’t been done.
Enter Hypernova, a ridiculously dope collective of four musicians from Iran that will play Mickey Finn’s on June 30. The show at Finn’s is part of Hypernova’s first headlining tour in support of its new album, “Through The Chaos,” which was released in April.
While the backstory of Hypernova is impressive, it would be unjust to omit how damned good its music is (myspace.com/hypernova). Granted, indie rock doesn’t hold the lion’s share of the music market; it’s still evolving, growing and becoming less and less of a subgenre. Hypernova may be the band to help push indie music to where it wants to be.
Hypernova’s sound isn’t uniquely organic, hypnotic or groundbreaking. However, what Hypernova offers is something that many people still look for in new rock — energy and melodies that resonate.
The Iranian four-piece has a genuine yet modern rock sound and writes songs that command attention. Vocalist and rhythm guitarist Raam has an amazing baritone voice. His deep tones and exceptional control are the foundation for the band’s potent lyrical content.
Lead guitarist Kodi and bassist Jam embody what rock is. They’ve got the rock look, slick playing style and solid timing. So often, rock bands tend to play the same notes at the same time. While this generates some massively thick sounds, it doesn’t always leave room for counter-melodies or tonal motion. The way the guitars and bass interact keeps each Hypernova joint fluid and engaging.
Last, but certainly not least, is Kami, the expressive and nearly inhumanly accurate left-handed drummer for Hypernova. While the show will be the first time I’ve seen him live, watching him play in the “Fairytales” video and live on other videos it’s clear that what we’re hearing is not a studio derivative; this guy can play.
The Hypernova show at Finn’s is the result of ridiculous persistence, years of hard work and some extraordinary luck.
“To come to the States we had to apply for visas and that was a difficult task because it’s not easy getting visas when you’re from the Axis of Evil” said frontman Raam in a recent interview. “As artists we’re the good guys, we’re not the bad guys. When we came here, all we wanted was a shot.
“We sent a demo to the South by Southwest festival and a few weeks later we got an e-mail back from them telling us we were selected to showcase. We went to Dubai to visit the American Embassy so we could get visas.
“After months of waiting for work petitions we had an interview and were denied the visas because we couldn’t prove we were a legitimate band. The problem is, there is no way to prove you’re a legitimate band when you’ve spent your music career trying to hide!”
It was shortly after being denied visas that Hypernova received its first bit of good fortune. People handling work visas and immigration in the states learned of the situation and forwarded the issue to New York State Representative Chuck Schumer, who promptly faxed a letter to the U.S. Embassy in Dubai.
“We went in for a second interview and they didn’t even interview us, they just gave us the visas and told us we had a very powerful fan in the states,” Raam laughed. “We were just crazy kids with a dream of coming to America to perform in New York. We came here not knowing what to expect. We didn’t even know how to do a proper sound check, we never played on a real stage before.”
Hypernova’s lack of “proper” experience wasn’t for a lack of skill or talent, it was because as rock musicians in Iran they had to stay buried in the underground and stay hidden.
“We missed the South by Southwest festival because of the delayed visas but we came to New York and played one show. It was a shitty venue on a shitty night and we really didn’t expect all of the attention we got. We were quite overwhelmed by it,” Raam said. “I understand the human interest part of the story as people haven’t heard bands from the underground of Iran. The way the media sometimes depicts our country and our culture, it’s not as accurate as one would believe.”
The overwhelming attention Hypernova attracted included a New York Times interview that “exploded.”
“We were only supposed to stay a few weeks and go back home. We hadn’t even said proper good-byes to our friends and family,” Raam said. “We really didn’t feel like we deserved the attention because our music really sucked when we first came here, it was quite overwhelming.”
As Hypernova continued to play shows and gain fans, they continually extended their visas. Three years later Hypernova is the first band from Iran to get signed and tour across the United States. According to Raam, “It’s been a wild journey.”
“When we first came to the States, I would have given us a 1 out of 100, now I’d give us a 10!” Raam laughed. “We worked so hard to get here, we don’t take anything for granted.” Even if our journey ends today, we’d still be the happiest people on the planet.”
When asked about Hypernova’s success, Raam said, “It’s the American Dream, but it’s also the American way. If you want to become successful you have to earn it. That’s what we’ve been doing, we’ve been grinding it out, we’ve had lots of ups and downs, and we’ve had a lot of bad things happen, but it’s all part of the journey.”
It is hard work being on the road and constantly touring for three years.
“It’s the greatest drug, there’s so much freedom just being on the road,” Raam said. ‘You’re in this complete state of bliss where you’re just waiting for the next show and just taking things as they come and just really enjoying the moments that make up your life.”
While touring the United States and playing shows in different cities every night sounds like a dream, Raam said, “I’ve never been poorer, but I’ve also never been happier.” Despite the poor economy and hit-or-miss shows from city to city, Raam said, “Every night we play in front of 10,000 people in our minds!”
What’s the best part of realizing your dreams? What is the most amazing thing about making it to the States, touring with your band for years, playing shows for thousands of screaming fans and the freedom that comes with all of that? According to Raam, it’s “the girls!”
“The women are the best part of this whole thing. That’s how most of my bandmates have learned how to speak English; it’s all the girlfriend’s they’ve had,” Raam laughed.
What’s more rock ‘n’ roll than that?
The doors for the Hypernova show open at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 at the door.
Tags: Hypernova, Mickey Finn's