Jean-Christophe : Hello, Kavus, thanks for granting this interview to Neoprog.
Kavus Torabi : Thanks for the interest.
Jean-Christophe : The Unravelling has been released last month, how do you feel in this promotion period, just before the first 4 shows you will give in England to present the record?
Kavus Torabi : I'm excited about performing the new songs live. We've just finished pre-rehearsals and will starting to rehearse as the full band in a couple of days. We're going to attempt to play almost all the album.
Jean-Christophe : Tales of Crushing Defeat (2009) was rather a solo album wherein were plying some musicians still there on The Unravelling. Do you think Knifeworld is really a band today? In any case, is it so for you?
Kavus Torabi : Tales of Crushing Defeat (2009) was rather a solo album wherein were plying some musicians still there on The Unravelling. Do you think Knifeworld is really a band today? In any case, is it so for you?
Jean-Christophe : One can recognize, of course, your songwriting on the album, but nevertheless the style is less pop indie, and far more psychedelic prog, if not jazzy, what we have a little bit heard in Claivoyant Fortnight (EP, 2012). Do you agree with that point of view? If so, is it deliberate or the result of the work carried with the 7 other members of the band?
Kavus Torabi : It's probably a bit of both. I think in terms of the instrumentation, having a Fender Rhodes and three horns will always have those kinds of associations, that said, writing for an eight piece has meant we can be far more ambitious about the arrangements. I think there's always been a lot of stuff going on in the music but it's divided between these specific instruments a lot more now.
Jean-Christophe : So I find your guitar playing freer, but also more concentrated, making me think about Frank Zappa playing…
Kavus Torabi : Thank you. I suppose there are similarities in the way I phrase things a little. I am a big Zappa fan but more of his compositions and arrangements than his guitar playing per-se. Still the influence must have gone in somewhere along the line. In my head I think I sound like Adrian Smith from Iron Maiden. That's who I wanted to play like when I was a kid.
Jean-Christophe : Number of parallels could also be made with Gong, a band you’ve joined in 2013…
Kavus Torabi : Fair enough. I have loved Gong for years. Working with Gong is a very different process to doing Knifeworld but Daevid Allen is a very inspirational man. His music really affected me when I was younger and now I find he affects me as a friend. He is remarkable.
Jean-Christophe : Between Gong, Guapo and Knifeword, do you find yourself?
Kavus Torabi : Good question. I don't... that's the idea. If I'm left alone to introspection, my mind can often wander into very unpleasant places and I can behave in a way I don't like one bit. Keeping busy is the best way to keep that at bay. I love making music; it has been the one constant source of happiness to me for as long as I remember. As long as I'm busy making the kind of music I like then everything around it falls into place and I don't start acting like an asshole.
Jean-Christophe : Looking back to The Unravelling, in addition with the fabulous production, one can feel a lot of ideas and room for the other musicians’ expression, particularly for the singers. How can one do to organize the work of an octuor? Do you manage it in a democratic or a tyrannical way?
Kavus Torabi : Well, tyrannical is a bit much but I do pretty much write and arrange all the music, yes. Everyone in the band is involved with other stuff and most of the players are terrific writers in their own right. This means that no-one resents the way Knifeworld works. Everyone is doing it because they like the music and we like playing with each other. I do tend to write with specific players in mind and everyone is free to make suggestions as to how to approach the parts.
Jean-Christophe : Melanie Wood is a very good singer whose voice is really in harmony with your own, but honestly, does she ever smile from time to time (lol)?
Kavus Torabi : If you had heard her very loud laugh you would wish you never asked.
Jean-Christophe : We also can feel this strange and confusing way of behaving in your videos. Do you have this same kind of attitude on stage?
Kavus Torabi : Sometimes, if I'm into it. I often can't stand to watch myself back on videos. I don't like being self-conscious. On stage I feel a lot more comfortable because I have much more experience at it. I can't just turn it on like an actor, though, if I'm not into it, I can't really hide it, so if you see us and I'm going crazy on stage the chance is I'm really enjoying the show.
I'm still getting used to making videos. They're a necessary evil I suppose. A lot of people can't listen to music unless it's accompanied by images. The only time a lot of people listen to orchestral music is if it is in a film, for instance.
Jean-Christophe : Now, Knifeworld has enough tracks for touring as a headline. Do you project to give some shows in France?
Kavus Torabi : Well we've been doing headline shows in the UK for the last few years but yes, of course we'd love to come to France. We're sorting things out at the moment. If not later this year, almost definitely next year.
Jean-Christophe : In closing, what would you like to say to French prog fans so that they listen to Knifeworld and come and see you live?
Kavus Torabi : It's hard. I know we're not for everyone but then I think there really aren't too many bands that sound like us. You won't find us boring, that's for sure.
Jean-Christophe : Thanks a lot, Kavus!
Kavus Torabi : You're welcome, thank you.
Rédigé par Jean-Christophe le 28/08/2014