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The Unknown - Interview

Interview with: Aria Moghaddam
Conducted by: T.V.

The dark metal scene exists also in countries like Iran and one of the finest representatives of it are atmospheric doom metallers The Unknown. Even if the conditions in their country are not even near to being normal for bands to create music, The Unknown strugle and are a force to be considered as a must hear for every fan of highly atmospheric and emotional metal. Once you'll hear what this band is doing you won't find it strange that they attracted into collaboration some big names on the music scene, like Daniel Cavanagh of Anathema, Amy Lee of Evanescence or Thomas Helm of Empyrium. The Unknown were formed in 2013 by Aria Moghadda and their first single, "All About Nothing", featuring Daniel Cavanagh as a guest vocalist was released soon after that. Two years after, in 2015 The Unknown released their second single, "Unequal Battle", featuring Luis Fazandeiro, Niko Panagopoulos and Anahid m.o.p. Their debut album named In Search Of The Unknow, was released in May 2016 by My Kingdom Music. In Search Of The Unknow is a one song conceptual album divided into four parts, it's very deep album, influenced by any sound that gives emotions, with each single element to make you reflect about your life and push you into the world of dreams. The album was created by mastermind Aria Moghaddam and Kevin Pribulsky from USA based band In Search Of, special guest vocalist on the album was Thomas Helm from Empyrium. Then in October 2016 The Unknown released video/single "Meanwhile In Our World", featuring French guest vocalist Anaé. Now The Unknown are working on their sophomore album, but before that some singles will be released, one of them is featuring special guest vocalist Amy Lee from Evanescence. In the interview below, done with bands founder and mastermind Aria Moghaddam, you can read about conditions for musicians in Iran, about their musical influences, musical collaborations, about The Unknown's music, new album, future plans and yet much more.

T.V.: To begin this interview can you tell to our readers who are The Unknown. Give us a little insight into the band please.
: The Unknown is a point for us about what we know that we don't know enough about that. I think those are over millions in our life for sure, many things like who really we are!? what's the matter of being?! What's the existence's subject and many many more things. The Unknown try to focus on it and let you see that more clear, we opt to darkness to let the light shining more bright.
T.V.: If I'm not mistaken you are right now in the studio. Can we expect a new album soon?
Aria: Yes we are in recording season for our second album, but at this very moment not unfortunately, we are on to release a new music video, plus three single tracks before our second album, but we have beem working on our second album which will be called All About Nothing. For this album we had a pleasure to did a cooperation with Anathema's Daniel Cavanagh for the demo track for this album and surely we will have many more great guest musicians and artist for rest of this album.
T.V.: That's great to hear! Tell me how did you came in contact with Daniel?
Aria: As you know we had this pleasure of working with great musicians that we are their hard fans for long time now, Thomas Helm from Empyrium joined us for our first album In Search Of The Unknown and dear Luís Fazendeiro -  Anahid M.O.P. - Niko Panagopoulos - Anaé for our upcoming music video, sir Michał Mierzejewski and dear Andi Rohde, we are trying to work worldwide and that's more than fantastic to work with great musicians and artists all over the world. But about Daniel Cavanagh, he did a great favor to us honestly, Mr. Daniel was listening to our song and told me that's a strong and nice song and then gave us this pleasure and honor to record the vocals for us, which we will never forget.
T.V.: Your first full lenght, In Search Of The Unknown, is a one song concept divided into four parts. Tell me, what was the reason to do things this way and what inspired you mostly in the creation of this very deep and atmospheric album?
Aria: About In Search Of The Unknown I must say that we tried to do something different. We focused on dark and melancholic atmosphere and deep philosophical lyrics, we tried to spread our thoughts and staring at the world with other view. This album sounds like a book to us, a book of our thoughts. We found that it will be better to use narrations and mellow melodies with melancholic and dark atmosphere, maybe it will help you to focus more on the lyrics and drop you to your thoughts, we tried to use the notes like waves that leads you drowning on it.
T.V.: Before I ask you more about the music, please tell me how it is to have a band like yours and create music in country such as Iran? If I'm not mistaken you are one of rare bands, the only other a bit similar act that comes to my mind are Melancholica, playing melancholic doom metal.
Aria: Honestly I have to say that's not easy and surely we don't live in a good enough country for art and music, especially metal music, you have to work hard, everything is deeply underground and you must keep working in night and wishing to see sunrise one day, you must be a "die hard" one here for this kind of art and music.
T.V.: It sounds like that this kind of music is forbidden. I hope that the things are about to change someday soon. But is there at least sometimes a chance to play live? Are in Iran any kind of concerts or clubs where fans of rock or metal music can find company?
Aria: Yes, the gigs are allowed but with many filters and huge censorship, personally for me and my band I will never accept the censorship for my art and music, so people like us have no chance to set concerts and gigs, we will never sell our souls just to play live, we respect art and ourselves and our fans for sure.
T.V.: And is there a kind of a control provided by the state over your compositions? Do you have to hide if you want to make music?
Aria: It's not so severe as someone might think, you can make music underground and release it, there is no block for this type of activity. But there will be no support too for sure.
T.V.: Tell me about the metal scene in your country... are there a lot of fans of this type of music?
Aria: I can say that we have quite a lot of fans of metal here in Iran as you can find it out in concerts and tours all over the world and it's clearl that even some worldwide bands got surprised to see about how the people in Iran support them as well, we have a lot of potential here for metal music. Honestly I can say that a lot of people in Iran love art as well.
T.V.: That's very good to hear and I hope that the future will be bright for you. I just saw that you are working on a collaboration with Amy Lee of Evanescence. Can you tell me a bit more about this one as well?
Aria: Much appreciated and many thanks, peace and love for all the world. Yes for sure, our upcoming single track is in new genre rework of "Lithium" that we have this honor and pleasure that some of the vocal parts have been re-recorded and rearranged with princess Amy Lee, we will release that very soon, and we hope it will be worth to listen.

T.V.: Looking forward for it. Your debut album was released by the My Kingdom Music sublabel Club Inferno. How satisfied were you with this collaboration and will you work also on your next releases with them?
Aria: I must say a great thanks to our brilliant manager and label owner sir Francisco Palumbo for all his kindness and help that he gave to us, it was our pleasure and honor to know these guys and work with them as well, for our second album it would be a pleasure too for sure.
T.V.: Can you already reveal to us some more details about your upcoming second album? Will you follow the style of the first album?
Aria: Our second album will be called All About Nothing and it will be more metal and heavier, maybe sounds a bit similar to our previously released single "Unequal Battle" I must to say, no that's not even near to our first album, All About Nothing will be our own style in metal music and we are trying to make something new and spread our own signature and style in metal, hope we will do it right. On our second album you will hear three genres on it; atmospheric, dark and metal for sure. The already released tracks, "Unequal Battle" and our upcoming second music video called "Theory Of Nothingness" are more close to our second album's genre.
T.V.: All About Nothing was also the name of your very first single released back in 2013. I guess that this track featuring Daniel of Anathema will be also present on the new album?
Aria: Yes, that is it, "All About Nothing" will be the opening track of our album and we used the same name for our album because dear Daniel is our all time favorite artist and this title name means a lot to us, also because we worked on our very first track with him. We have plan to make a music video for that after the album's release date.
T.V.: Beside of course the influence of mighty Anathema, which is as well perfectly heard in your first album, can you reveal to me which bands and artists are your main influence?
Aria: Clearly at first step we are the fans of metal music in general, we are listening to many many bands and if I want use their names I must write a million names, but My Dying Bride, Anathema and Empyrium are not just bands for us, they are much more and their music means a lot to us.
T.V.: And what about the lyrics of yours, I find them very thoughtful and deep. What inspires you in this matter?
Aria: Dark philosophy, humanity, kindness, peace and love are all the things that matters to us. I have to admit that sometimes we used dark and melancholic lyrics but I must to say at the end of this journey that we had to take our steps in a more light, maybe sometimes we were more focused on darkness but we are trying to use this darkness to let the light shine more clear.
T.V.: Do you consider The Unknown as a full-band or as a one-man band. I'm asking you this because I see that you do almost everything in regards of music...
Aria: The Unknown is a full-band, we have our current members and do cooperation with other musicians all over the world too, but The Unknown has its own members too, but at this moment we get help from other musicians as well and for our gigs and tours surely we will introduce our full line-up.
T.V.: Is there a chance for you to play someday live outside Iran?
Aria: Yes for sure! We talked about that before with our label and our musician friends all over the world and for sure after our second album we will start our tours as well.
T.V.: I'm just listening once more to your debut album and I find there many different musical elements beside doom metal. There's also post-metal/rock, some shoegaze and even dark ambient. Do you listen also to dark ambient perhaps?
Aria: Yes, personally for me all kinds of art are very welcome and especially for music I don't use limits for myself to listening to, the art's essence is about its unlimited sense.
T.V.: Before we finish, can you tell me which bands from Iran, beside The Unknown of course, should we pay attention? Any recommendations?
Aria: Unfortunately it's long time that I don't hear anything new from Iranian metal bands, I thought it's around 3-4 years, but we had many good bands honestly, I hope everything goes well enough to them and hear from them so soon, for sure The Unknown and I are their first fans as well.
T.V.: Yeah, I wish all the best to them as well. In the end of this interview, what would you like to say to our readers?
Aria: Let me please say a big thanks to you and your web for this complete and nice interview! I must say the biggest thanks to our fans, because they are the power and potential for us to keep our steps and continue this way from our first step untill now, this is the thing that makes us brave to keep going on. Let me salute them one by one, love and peace!

The Unknown links: Facebook, Bandcamp, YouTube