Let’s say Psychic Bloom was literally born when Hashill opened his eyes upon the light and the dark of this world; an embryo in the inflated belly of Tehran-city mother; a city with narrow-alley neighborhoods of thoughts and jam-packed highways of distance. A belly laced with the poison of manipulation to smother the rising spirits searching for their insides and ultimate truth of existence.
Perhaps he was destined to be named Aref to indulge his strong passion for music and set off for a battle to fight, far away on his island of salvation. With the dreams that swirl around in his afro head, he pours his last drop of inspiration to feed the baby Psychic Bloom which has just given us the second album, The Mysterious Temple.
How did you get into music and how was your experience playing your first instrument?
When I was a kid, my older brother was a metalhead and I always followed the music sound coming out from his bedroom. After a while, he realized that I was a music freak too and then we listened to music and headbanged together! I can clearly remember that when I played electric guitar for the first time, I felt like I’d been wasting all my time before and I said “Yeah! I can follow my dream now”.
How did Psychic Bloom start? And who plays in the band?
When I bought my first guitar, I started to cover different styles of music and after a few months I recorded some of my riffs and melodies. That’s when I realized I was good at making music and it was just the beginning. After a while, I decided to band up with my old friend from school and Psychic Bloom started just like that! Keivan used to play bass and organ with me and I did the songwriting, vocals and played the guitar. We tried to work with different musicians in Iran but finding a band member who knows our genre and fits in the band is always a big problem here! Now, I’m working alone and handling all the stuff by myself, from songwriting, writing lyrics, playing instruments, recording process and whatnot. I would also like to mention that I feel so lucky that Michael Villiers, who has the experience of working with several musicians like Curtis Harding, collaborated with me in recording the drums for the second album. That was so generous!
You have released two studio albums from Iran. Honestly, this seems not to be very easy to me! How did all this come about?
This is the only thing that I can do to make me feel alive and the only thing that I love to do in my life. As you know living in Iran is getting so tough, let alone for musicians who have no support and with all the difficulties and obstacles in their way! But I don’t want to give up. I’ll keep on working to find my way to artistic freedom which I can say that it’ll finally happen. I want to share my feelings with the people around the world and that’s my only mission.
Your music covers an array of sound. I put it like a psychedelic rock flesh with surf rock vessels and thick skin of soul. How would you describe your sound and why do you make such a music?
The shape of my music, which you just described perfectly, consists of my musical taste, passion, influences and a lot of things that inspired me since childhood! In other words, that’s a great way to express my feelings. I also think the genre fulfills me emotionally.
What are some of your biggest influences, whether it’s life or other artists, music, people, movies and so on.
I’ve been influenced by so many musicians like R.L. Burnside, Bo Diddley, Link Wray, Roky Erickson, Syd Barrett, … but mainly I am inspired by everything happening around me. I mean everything that makes me think more about myself and the place we live in.
How did you start the first album and what are your favorite tracks?
When I realized that I could make my own music, we tried to find a place to rehearse and record the songs. After a long search, we rented a tiny room in the basement of a house which looked like an auto repair garage. With all of its difficulties, we started making the self-titled album which was finally released on Wiener Records. Honestly, I like em all…because every one of them reminds me of a particular story. My favorite tracks are Sacred Sun, Dead Valley Star, Mystic Shadow and Drifter.
Your second album is currently available digitally and about to come soon by Burger Records on cassette. Tell me about your musical experience when you were creating the album.
Actually, I supposed to make the second album outside of Iran because I knew that it was too hard to get back to songwriting and work on it. Because of the experiences that I had during the first album songwriting and recording process, I couldn’t focus on music and even play instruments anymore! But as I mentioned it before, I can’t live without working on my job and I was like “Man…that’s the way it is! And I’ve been hearing the basement calling me again!”. This made me think about how I could turn around all the bad situation with the dreams I have in my heart and the feelings I got for what I can create. I just applied my soul and expressed myself in the shape of sound by my instruments!
“Mysterious Temple” is your second album! Where does this name come from? Is there anything behind it?
I think there’s a temple in my mind with its doorway that could take me to the infinite origin of beauty, love, salvation and beyond. I call it “The Mysterious Temple”.
When you start making music, do you start with something in mind, or you just follow what creates itself?
I guess at first I have some ideas in my mind and when I start working, they all find their way to one another very quickly. I wrote the second album in like two weeks.
What are some of your gears and how did you record your albums?
I had to sell most of the equipment I used for the first album recording. So I had no other option but recording my second album with cheaper ones! For example, I used to have a 69 twin reverb and 71 quad reverb amplifiers for recording the guitar lines in the debut album and I had to sell them for financial issues. So my friend lent me his Vox AC4TV which was cool too but still not the sound that I was looking for! I also had a lot of pedals and I sold them as well! I tried my best and recorded the album with so many tricks. However, the drum lines were recorded in a studio professionally and played by Michael who did an amazing job.
We have never watched you performing live. Do you have any plans to play some gigs?
Yeah! I really love to perform live and I’m dreaming about it much. Unfortunately, I haven’t had the experience till now. I’m working so hard to make that happen! I’m trying to play at SXSW 2020 and I hope it all comes together while I’m trying to get out of the country asap.
Where do you most like to play? Any dream gigs or festivals?
There are a lot of them but I really like to play at Desert Daze and Levitation festivals someday!
So what is up next with Psychic Bloom?
Just seeking for live shows, tours, and another next album! I want to follow it as my career, which I can’t do at the present time for the restrictions that musicians like me have.
Are there any artists out there in Iran that you would recommend we check out?
I know an incredible visual artist, Arash Zarifian, who works with international artists like The Black Lips and Pond. I love his artworks.
Any last words for the readers?
Hey! thanks for reading my interview! Here’s what I say from Iran: “Keep your stupid dreams alive!”