The Free Keys
The Free Keys
Iran was clearly no longer a place for music. Pooya and Arash decided to form a band that can achieve not only domestic, but international praise so they can leave the country and do what they want to do the most. They recruited Arya (ex-barcode) to play the bass and Thus the Free Keys was Born. The name Free Keys was suggested to Arash in one of his dreams. In Summer '07, after several rejections to play in public venues by the government, Free Keys teamed up with Indie Quartet "The Yellow Dogs" and decided to organize a couple of strictly forbidden underground gigs in Tehran.
They sound-proofed then transformed a parking lot in west Tehran to a venue of roughly 150 people, complete with a stage and pyrotechnics, and named it the O.T. O.T stands for Otagh Tamrin, which means Rehearse Room in Farsi. Throwing a rock concert in a settlement like this without a grant and with boys and girls moshing together doesn't sit well with the persian government, though. If a gig were to be raided it could lead to the arrest and imprisonment of performers and attendees and even confiscation of musical equipment.
Naturally, the bands had to go to some lengths to keep the shows a secret and they achieved that by selling tickets to friends and their friends. The address of the venue would not be disclosed in the ticket and it was revealed to the attendees by phone on the day of the show and at the last minute. After a few shows, it was natural to assume that it's only a matter of time before the authorities find out about this. They had to stop the shows after a while as to avoid arrest.
The shows however, all sold out, never got raided and all in all were a huge success. Many people filmed the shows with phone cameras and spread them around. SMK, a very good persian artist even made a DVD of the first show, but it was never released due to funding issues. Free Keys and Yellow Dogs are now among the few bands who had performed illegal shows right under the persian government's nose and had gotten away with it to tell the tale.
The trio released its untitled EP (later called "THE EP" by the band) in March 2008. It was made available for free download on the band's fan pages on myspace, facebook, and last.fm. Later that year, Arya moved to the UK to promote the band abroad, while Arash and Pooya helped Critically acclaimed Iranian Director 'Bahman Ghobadi' with his Latest feature film about the current affairs of the underground music scene in Tehran, 'No One knows About the Persian Cats'. The Single 'Dreaming' from the band's EP was featured in full in the movie accompanying a clip shot in the streets of Tehran.
The closing scene of NOKAPC, also shows the band perform a cover of King Crimson's 'Epitaph' in a private party in the O.T. Koory from Yellow Dogs replaced Arya on Bass for that show. With several shows and opening acts booked in London, Brighton and Birmingham, the band set out to make an international name for themselves. However, Military service problems forbid Arash and Pooya to join Arya in England and they were forced to cancel all the shows. This Caused the Free Keys to go on a year-long Hiatus. The hiatus ended in December 2009 when the band went through a massive line-up change.
Arya transitioned from Bass to Lead Guitar and Keyboards, and AK (ex-Vandida) and Anthony (ex-Sediment) joined the band. AK took over Bass and Anthony became the second singer. Anthony will also be assuming the role of the band's sound manipulator, a task handled in the early years by Hamed (ex-Puzzle). Free Keys was born again.
The quintet rented a house in the outskirts of Pune, India and are now working on their debut album, titled 'the Mathematics of Dreaming'. A live album will be released on September 2010, Containing both new material and songs from the trio era, rewritten to feature Anthony and AK who weren't members yet when the EP was released. A new Single "Fear and Loathing in Varamin" is due out on late 2010. The band will be touring the states in support of The Mathematics of Dreaming, starting this November.
The Album itself is scheduled for release in the first quarter of 2011. Free Keys' music combines elements from Psychedelic Rock, Progressive Rock, Metal, Jazz and Electro. Their live shows are described as energetic, colorful and featuring long improvisation sets for which the band have often been compared to The Mars Volta and King Crimson. Lyrically, Free Keys focuses mainly on dreaming, psychedelic experiences and human behavior. The members have generally expressed little interest in politics although there are a couple of observation-style songs about the current affairs in Iran and the world in general. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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