The Free Keys
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The Free Keys

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"Podcast 48: Underground Rock in Iran"

For most of us, listening to any music that we want is just a way of life. But in Iran, musicians face censorship and Iranians cannot listen to anything they want. In this week’s Weekly Rights Podcast, we talk to Arash Sobhani of Kiosk and Pooya Hosseini and Arash Farazman of Free Keys about the burgeoning underground rock culture in Iran. They talk about the difficulties they faced while trying to create their music in Iran. For this and to hear a sample of Iranian underground rock, don’t miss this great podcast! - International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran


"The Free Keys Rise From the Underground For NYC Show"

Finding enough space in the back of the band van for a bass drum and not running out of beer are some of the major obstacles for touring rock bands. In the case of Iranian trio Free Keys, playing gigs without getting arrested by the Tehran police is a bigger concern.

The progressive rock band formed in 2007 playing underground, sold-out shows with post-punk outfit and best friends The Yellow Dogs. From transformed parking lots to apartment building basements, Free Keys went subterranean to avoid arrest from Iranian authorities during their illegal shows. Led by Pooya Hosseini’s ominous vocals and sweeping guitar riffs, Arash Farazmand’s pounding drums, and AK’s technical bass grooves, the Free Keys’ epic sound couldn’t be contained underground for long.

Releasing their first EP in 2008 and following it up with a song placement in the award-winning film No One Knows About Persian Cats (which cast Pooya and Arash in roles), the trio’s music busted out of Tehran in a big way. After leaving Iran in 2011, the group found a new home in Brooklyn — one that didn’t require clandestine band practice.

You can catch the Keys in NYC at The Delancey on May 2 for a sampling of the Iranian underground. In the meantime, watch them tear through the track “Freaky.” - MTV Iggy


"INTRODUCING: The Free Keys, Tehran Rock At It's Finest"

You can't say you know of many bands from Tehran. But you can add one to your list. The Free Keys, a progressive rock band, formed in Tehran in 2007 and features Pooya Hosseini (vocals, rhythm guitar), Arash Faraamand (drums), and AK (bass).

Tehran is not like the U.S. in terms of music. Back in summer of 2007, Free Keys performed with their friends in The Yellow Dog for a few strictly forbidden underground shows. These two bands still remain as one of the few bands to get away with such an illegal thing—something they did right under their government's nose.

Free Keys released their first EP in 2008, and was made available (and free) via their Myspace page. That same year, they had planned a U.K. tour, but the Iranian Military Service laws prevented them from leaving their country. Naturally, this drove the band to hiatus.

In 2011, The Free Keys were finally able to leave Iran and moved to Brooklyn where they are finally able to perform legally. - FILTER magazine


Discography

2013 EP (Set to release by September 2013)
1. Low
2. Whistling Kettle
3. H
4. Natural Born Destroyer
5. The System

Untitled EP
Released on March 5th, 2008 as a free download on the band's Myspace, last.fm, and facebook.
Tracklist:
1. Time's Spin Zero
2. Freaky (Tehran)
3. Dreaming
4. Time's Spin
5. Time's Spin Pt. 2

Dream Mechanics
The band's debut full-length Album, 2010
Tracklist:
1. Dirty Street Rat
2. Abortion Blues
3. A French Inquisition
4. Twice
5. Ships
6. Time's Spin V2.5
7. Dream Mechanics
8. Genesis For Dummies
9. Limp
10. Nightmare on Wall St.
11. Skip
12. The Hypocrisy of our Dictatorship
13. Dream Mathematics
14. The Eulogist
15. Arsenium
16. Sam and Jack
17. Mood Swing
18. A Minor Convenience

Singles:
Dreaming
Dreaming was Featured in Bahman Ghobadi's 'No One Knows About the Persian Cats' in full, accompanying a video.
It was first Aired on Iranian Underground Radio Broadcast Zirzamin (Zirzamin.se) in Late 2007 and is also part of a Compilation CD featuring Iranian Rock bands released by Hesam7 Productions in Europe in 2009.

Photos

Bio

Free Keys is an alternative rock band originally from Tehran, formed in 2006. Free Keys consists of Pooya Hosseini on Vocals and Rhythm Guitar, Brandon Simes on Drums, Anthony Azar on Bass and Julie Neusner on saxophone.

In Summer ‘07, The Free Keys teamed up indie rock quartet The Yellow Dogs for a couple of strictly forbidden underground gigs in Tehran, where Western music is strictly forbidden. Risking arrest and consequences including prolonged jail time and physical beatings, the Free Keys sound-proofed then transformed lead singer Pooya's basement in west Tehran to a music venue and rehearsal space, complete with a stage and pyrotechnics. Two major events were thrown in that venue before the bands had to abandon it so to avoid arrest.
In 2008, The Free Keys were featured in 'No One Knows About Persian Cats', the latest Cannes Award-winning movie by the well-known Persian Director, Bahman Ghobadi. The semi-documentary, Co-written by Roxanna Saberi, who was arrested by Iranian Authorities and then released shortly afterwards, delves deep into the underground music scene of Tehran to bring the world's attention to some of the best Iranian musicians and the difficulties they have to face in order to play music in Iran. Much of the movie was filmed in Pooya’s basement. When the film was released, The Free Keys had to flee Iran to avoid arrest. They fled to India, then Turkey, and came to Brooklyn in 2012.
Pooya is currently in the process of obtaining political asylum in the United States. He reunited with Anthony and met Julie and Brandon through their mutual friends, the Yellow Dogs. The band rewrote many of their songs and adjusted their sound to integrate punk and reggae influence.