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The Sound of Kiosk

A pioneer of the underground movement of Iranian pop music, the Kiosk group, was set up in Tehran by Arash Sobhani in 2003. However, they were never able to obtain the necessary permit to perform or to release records, due to the critical content of their songs. In common with many other pop groups, they had to go underground and gather together in makeshift studios in the basements of friends and acquaintances. After two years, the strict restrictions finally took their toll and the group felt they had no option but to move abroad to be able to play their music freely. 

In America they released their first album, Ordinary Man. It was widely acclaimed by critics and fans alike, and was the first Iranian underground music to appear on the iTunes site. Kiosk released its follow up album, Love of Speed, a year later in Canada. It proved to be another big success, and the music video which had been made for its title track became one of the most-viewed clips on YouTube in the week of its release.

The lyrics in both albums are a blend of humour and sharp satire, although the group cannot be described as being strictly political, but just shrewd observers of the idiosyncrasies and almost surrealist paradoxes of Iranian society and its political system. Their creative style of music- with traces of jazz, blues, and rock- distinguishes them from other Iranian bands.

Their third album, Global Zoo, whilst still containing references to the problems of Iranian society, is however different from the first two. As its name suggests, it goes beyond the borders of the group’s homeland, focussing on today’s global chaos. Arash describes this as a zoo, not even a jungle where the inhabitants are at least free. One of the album’s tracks, Yarom Biya, became an instant hit inspiring many variations and repeatedly played at underground parties back in Tehran.

Kiosk has participated in several music festivals and had numerous concerts in their world tours. It was during their recent concert in London that Jadidonline had the opportunity of talking with Arash Sobhani, as well as the concert’s organizer, Pantea Modiri.

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