When many people think of Iran, either the vast-lands of desert or the historic silk-road springs to mind. But underneath the rich history of this Islamic country is a metal scene that determines to thrive despite facing oppression from the political and religious elite, something of which metalheads despise; the act of creative art and freedom locking horns with the sharia law that prohibits non-Islamic music, so one begs the question.. what defines as Islamic music? Tarantist, a Thrash Metal band originally from Tehran, but now based in the USA, stepped up to talk to GMA about their native scene, their new single 'Ekhtelas' and the general complications they face as being Iranians.
"Back in the day if we wore band shirts, we would have been arrested and raped in the Islamic jail by some jihadists"
For those who have not heard of Tarantist, could you give us a brief history of the band?
"Formed in the basements of Tehran around the year 2000, bitten and toxic by the society's poison, we started to scream out loud and get our frustration heard by the world. Unhealthy situation by the occupying Government of Iran..."
How did you get into playing and listening to metal music? Was it hard growing up as a metalhead in Iran?
"Only through some friends or relatives who have been travelling in-and-out of the country and later on by the help of satellite TV channels, radios and then internet. It was all in the underground and secret scene and was a very dangerous situation, because mullahs have been thought by the puppeteers, to impose the society false and bullshit statements... like the music will rape their profits anally... so, music was banned, joy was banned, happiness was banned, being a human was banned, every f*****g thing was banned, because the f*****g false prophets of some f*****g bullshit lies were supposed to get mad at us and send us to hell if we did so! Sigh... "
You just dropped your new single 'Ekhtelas', what has the reception of the single been like?
"The chorus seems to be catchy and everyone sings and dances with it!"
You moved from Iran to the USA, how easy or hard was the transition?
"It was (and still is) so f*****g hard... you won't believe the amount of horse-s**t both governmental bureaucracies will put in your plate... that was insane... but TarantisT got kind of lucky (although it was not luck, it was because we f*****g rocked hard and we deserved it, then we gained it)... so, we got a huge international exposure, people from major international media were coming to Iran only to meet with TarantisT and interview us! Then the news we were getting viral on the early days of Internet and social media. Then we started to receive invitations to travel the world and perform... so we walked in to the US like rock-stars with the visa type of "Internationally Recognized Artists"! Yeah f**k yeah, young kids as internationally recognized artists... proud of our achievements..."
Do you feel that metal music offers a way for everyone to come together regardless of political, religious, cultural and social differences?
"Metal is life, metal is everything, metal is a culture... humanity comes first, before any Satan-damn thing!"
What can fans expect from your forthcoming album? What is different in comparison to previous albums?
"In the upcoming album, "Fucked Up Generation", words would be in Farsi once again like "Not A Crime" album (2017), but again fresh and new sounds, groovy bass lines and riffs, traditional Persian instruments, and new subjects to bite the f*****g corrupted system."
For metalheads visiting Tehran, what sights or attractions should they go and see? How restricted is metal music in Iran; are metalheads allowed to wear band t-shirts in the street?
"Back in the day if we wore band shirts, we would have been arrested and raped in the Islamic jail by some jihadists, who are scared of their nonsense Allah! We haven't lived there since 2007 so we don't have personal experiences, but it seems it is a little bit better these days. But you won't see any thing related to rock or metal music in public. If you lick the balls of the supreme leader, you might be able to f**k around though..."
For the rest of 2018 and into 2019, what are your plans?
"3 albums in 2019 ready to fire, SXSW festival 2019, new videos, some shows and gigs here and there... all news will be posted on our social media channels, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Spotify, Apple Music, etc."
Do you have any greetings, thank you's, etc., that you wish to send out?
"Fuck you mullahs".