What made you decide that music is a thing for you?

I grew up playing video games, which led me to listen to a lot of original soundtracks long before I was introduced to metal. It was around 2005 when I first encountered two metal songs in the soundtrack of Need for Speed: Most Wanted – Disturbed’s Decadence and Bullet For My Valentine’s Hand of Blood.

These two songs remain favorites of mine to this day. At that time, I had just started exploring various metal records, and hearing those two tracks in a video game further solidified my love for the genre in my subconscious. Since then, the idea of creating my own music has always been in my mind. I even began writing lyrics back then, and those early works are now published in my anthology book, which is a collection of my short stories, poems, lyrics, and other literary pieces.

Introduce us to you and your musical history.

As a solo artist, I operate under my real name, Parham Gharavaisi, which is also my artist/stage name. All my works are published under this name as well. The primary reason for this choice is the incredible difficulty in coming up with an original band name that’s both catchy and not already taken. It seems like every possible combination of words from the dictionary is already in use by some band.

I began my professional journey, if you could call it that, as a musical artist in early 2019 and released my debut instrumental album, Identity Cipher, on January 3, 2020. Since then, I’ve released just shy of a dozen records, spanning various genres and subgenres such as post-rock, hard rock, gothic rock, doom metal, melodic death metal, and metalcore, among others.

What was life like for you before music?

Video games and music have always been integral parts of my life for as long as I can remember. Even during the Sega Genesis era, I distinctly remember the 8-bit tunes from those games, now considered ancient relics. For me, the soundtrack is an inseparable and crucial element of a video game. It’s not just the music, but the entire soundscape of a game, with all its intricacies and nuances, that captivates me.

I can confidently say that a soundtrack can easily make or break a game for me. When I think about it, nearly all of my all-time favorite games are also accompanied by my favorite soundtracks. A prime example is the game Chaos Legion. Despite its initial reception by critics as an inferior clone of Devil May Cry, I have nothing but fond memories of it, primarily due to its legendary soundtrack. Every single track from Hideyuki Fukasawa’s Chaos Legion Original Soundtrack is a flawless masterpiece that I adore.

What was the first song you heard that steered you into a music path?

That’s such a difficult question. I can’t pinpoint a specific turning point or threshold that compelled me to suddenly start making my music. It was more like a calling; I just knew it was something I both could and wanted to do at some point in my future, even in my early days. I wasn’t in a rush, but I was certain that it was something I needed to do and would do eventually. Does that make sense? So, I guess the answer is that it’s been a culmination of all the soundtracks and records I’ve listened to throughout my entire life.

Where do you feel you currently sit within the music industry?

I primarily make music for myself; my songs are the sounds that I want to hear. One of the reasons I decided to share them with an audience was the thought that there must be more people like me. If I enjoy this sound, then others might as well, you know? So, in a way, I hope to eventually find my niche.

As it stands, blending elements from genres that are so starkly contrasted often seems to alienate listeners from both sides. For example, my songs might be too harsh and heavy for rock listeners while being too soft for purist metalheads. Nevertheless, this is my sound signature and what I enjoy most, so I will continue to make what I want to hear.

What’s the biggest thing you have learned from someone else in the industry?

The value of production quality and achieving a professional-sounding mix cannot be overstated. Whether or not the average listener perceives this difference on their listening device is somewhat irrelevant. Consequently, I’ve been concentrating on improving my mixing and mastering skills. Additionally, I’ve been seeking assistance from external studios to attain a more professional audio quality.

Tell us Two truths and a lie about you.

I’ll make it easy for you. I am a huge video game nerd, and a passionate metalhead, and I adore romantic poetry.

If you could wish for one thing to aid your career what would it be?

I’m not sure, it depends on the perspective. I haven’t given it much thought since I primarily make music for myself. But I suppose a standard answer to this question would be achieving something like getting on an Editorial Playlist or similar milestones. Right?

Do you ever worry about people taking things the wrong way or cancel culture? Discuss….

Oh, don’t even get me started on cancel culture and the rampant woke mind virus that’s spread like wildfire. A hard no from me on that. I’m not concerned with what others say, think, or do about me, not in the slightest. I stand firm in my beliefs and express my thoughts without compromise. However, this doesn’t mean I believe I’m always right, nor does it imply that everything I write reflects my personal beliefs or that I condone every aspect of my written works. No author can claim that. I see myself primarily as a storyteller, and I’m not entirely sure where I stand on George Orwell’s assertion that all art is propaganda.

Additionally, I acknowledge that I can be wrong, change my mind, or even play devil’s advocate and disagree with myself. With all this in mind, I’m always open to honest intellectual discussions on any subject without exception. But at the end of the day, I refuse to be coerced or persuaded into conforming to popular opinion. Never. Just wait for the release of my album, Ghosts of Nations, or better yet, check out the lyrics online since they’re already available. You’ll see for yourself exactly what I mean.

Do you sign up to any conspiracy theories? If not why not?

I mean, I wouldn’t label them as conspiracy theories if I believed in them, now would I? The term conspiracy theory is quite vague, so you’ll need to be more specific. Do I believe the Earth is flat? Well, maybe if I fell headfirst down the stairs, I might think so for a brief moment. Do I believe the moon landing was faked?

Not unless I come across undeniable evidence. Do I think there are 5G microchips in vaccines? It’s too late to worry about that now, even if I did believe it. Here’s a more interesting one: Do I believe in a deep state operating behind the scenes? Possibly. Am I a prepper?

No, but perhaps I should be since it’s better to be safe than sorry, and being prepared for unforeseen incidents is wise. Do I believe the government is hiding aliens and flying saucers? Sorry ufology folks, but that’s another no from me. Best of luck finding them, though! So, what exactly constitutes a conspiracy theory? One man’s conspiracy theory is another man’s truth, there I said it.

What was the worst experience on stage?

I’ve never performed live because I’m not interested in social gatherings or any other forms of live events in general. I tend to avoid them unless necessary. We are increasingly moving towards a virtual realm, for better or worse, and there’s a chance, whether small or large, that these types of in-person interactions, or whatever you want to call them, will become utterly obsolete.

Those who rely on them to function may suffer detrimental consequences. My advice would be to at least attempt to mentally prepare for such a future. Let yourself be pleasantly surprised if it never comes during your lifetime.

Tell us something about you that you think people would be surprised about.

Perhaps the fact that I’m really into competitive first-person shooters and take my rank in each game very seriously. I almost always reach the highest ranks in every online FPS I play. For example, I achieved Apex Predator in Apex Mobile (which is now shut down), Global Elite in CSGO (now CS2) back in the day, and more recently, Legend in Arena Breakout and Ace in Farlight 84, among many other games. I’m always up for a challenge!

What makes you stand out as an artist?

My unique style sets me apart, blending often contrasting elements from genres like atmospheric gothic rock, melodic death metal, and death-doom. This mix, as I’ve mentioned before, is both a blessing and a curse. It’s challenging to find a niche audience whose tastes align with this specific combination. Besides, I believe my lyrics are a strong point. I dedicate an immense amount of time to writing and refining them. Each topic is personally significant, and I always have something meaningful (to me) to say. As I’ve previously mentioned, I never hesitate to speak my mind.

I hear you have a new music, what can you tell us about it.

Mirror’s Gaze is a single I hadn’t originally intended to release this year. As you might have noticed, it’s the only song I’ve released outside of my regular schedule, which is a new single every first Friday of each month. However, the song just naturally came together and sounded so appealing to me that I decided to go ahead and release it as a standalone single as early as I could.

What was the recording process like?

When creating new songs, I start with composing riffs or chord progressions on the classical guitar; it’s just more convenient. Satisfied with these, I then transpose them to the best key for the electric guitar. Next, I record, starting with the electric guitar, then the bass. After that, it’s time for the drums. Lyrics and vocal melodies come together next, and I record the vocals. The last step is adding synth elements and atmosphere to round off the song.

What was the biggest learning curve in writing the new tunes?

Writing harmonies always gets me. It’s just math, and I don’t want it to be just math; I want it to be something more, something personal, something unique. I’m not going to add random harmonies just for the sake of having them or because it’s a standard practice. If it sounds good, it sounds good. You should write with your ears, not with your eyes.

Composing music isn’t like building a house where you keep stacking bricks until there’s no more room. Forcing harmonies is akin to that – just calculating and adding notes until the soundscape is overloaded and there’s no room for more notes. Vocal harmonies, in particular, are what I find particularly appalling in mainstream pop music. It’s not the autotune I have an issue with; that robotic sound is an artistic choice and either fits the music or it doesn’t.

However, some vocal harmonies, not all, I just can’t stand. They don’t sound good to me, detract from the uniqueness of each voice, and make every song predictable, sounding like every other song. I want to just hear the vocals clearly, the distinct sound of a specific voice. Stacking fifty layers of vocal harmonies on top of each other turns it into an unintelligible mess. In my honest opinion, this makes the voice sound more unnatural and robotic than autotune.

Would you change anything now it’s finished?

For better or worse, I don’t think I’ve ever changed a song or gone back to modify any aspect of it after the final render. I sometimes revisit and rerecord older songs to achieve better sound quality, which is the project I’m currently working on.

However, I don’t tend to linger on one song for too long to tune it to perfection, mainly because I don’t believe such a thing exists. You might end up trapped in a cycle of incremental changes that don’t truly serve any purpose.

I’m currently working on compiling a greatest hits album, which will feature some of my favorite old tracks re-recorded from scratch and mixed and mastered by myself. The audio quality you can expect will be similar to my single Mirror’s Gaze, which I also mixed and mastered myself.

Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?

Feel free to contact me via email or Telegram if you have anything to talk about. I don’t bite, so don’t hesitate to reach out!