Photo by Kimya Sadaghian
If The Casualty Process’s music sounds like it’s straight from a movie, it may be because a hope for freedom powers this band, whose reality itself is not unlike a movie script.
The two person band from Iran, which consists of Saeid “Natch” Nadjafi and Shayan Amini, moved to the United States after dealing with the difficulties created by Iran’s government, which disdains Western cultural influence in its society.
“Our story in Iran was because of religion and our government. We [didn’t] have any opportunity to play in public places, and because of that we [had] to have our own concerts underground for our friends,” said Saeid Nadjafi, who handles the electronic components of the band, does vocals and composes all music and lyrics.
However, “difficulties” may be too generous a word to describe what the group had to go through to be able to express their music under the Iranian government.
“In the last underground concert that we had, more people than we expected showed up, lots of people, and the police found out and arrested us. They sent us to jail for almost two weeks. They took all of our instruments,” said Nadjafi.
Such “difficulties” undoubtedly make their way into the music of The Casualty Process, who performed at University of California Santa Barbara on Nov. 3.
The group mixes a healthy dose of acoustic and electric to create a sound that can be described as a fusion of Muse-like rock and Daft Punk techno. It was apparent during their performance in the Hub that they play with energy that is emotional and inspiring, and the crowd was truly feeding off that vibe. While their New Age sound feels organic and energetically rousing, the sound lying underneath is at times dark; not angry, but rather almost sad and longing.
The Casualty Process is influenced by a wide range of mostly Western groups, which can be heard in their unique yet somewhat familiar sound.
“We have some other rock influences like Pearl Jam, Nine Inch Nails, and Sound Garden. I can say that it’s a vast range of music that we listen to and I think that all of them exist in our music,” said Nadjafi. Their rendition of the Pixies’ “Where is My Mind” reminds one of the movie “Fight Club” and its themes of struggling against social and political conformity, a perfect analogy to The Casualty Process’s own struggle for freedom.
Beyond their sound, however, is the idea that freedom is an ideal that is not to be taken for granted, not just in countries like Iran, but also in the United States.
“I want people to become aware about the kind of living situation they are in. We came from a country of limitations and restrictions,” said Shayan Amini, who represents the other half of the duo. He plays electric guitar and also sings.
When asked about the importance of freedom in The Casualty Process’s music, Amini said, “It’s all about freedom. If you take a look at our lyrics and words, you see it’s all about having freedom.”
Amini sighed, exasperated by the idea of thinking yet again about the harsh reality that they try to reflect through their music. Continuing, he said, “All the time we are fighting for freedom, what we should have, because we don’t have it in Iran. We should have what ordinary people, what everyone else in the world, have.”