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Kavus Torabi: “I can never finish things”

Next August will see the release of Kavus Torabi’s project Knifeworld, the album Buried Alone: Tales Of Crushing Defeat will be preceded by a single called Pissed up and brake fluid.  

Torabi has plenty of project work on his CV; The Monsoon Bassoon, Authority, Guapo, Admirals Hard, Die Laughing, North Sea Radio Orchestra, Miss Helsinki, Hatchjaw and Bassett, Cardiacs and now Knifeworld. I took the opportunity to do an interview with him and talk about his new project, his childhood, how he became part of Cardiacs and the future of Cardiacs.


“The LSD album will come out eventually, believe me.”

A bit about your childhood Kavus, you were born in Iran, when did you come to the U.K. ?  Did you ever visit Iran again ?

Well, I was born in Iran, but we moved to the UK when I was 18 months old and here we remained. The original plan was to move back when my Dad made a bit of money, but the Islamic revolution kicked off so that was the end of that. I've never been back although most of my family is over there, many of whom I've never met. If I went back now I'd have to do two years national service which is, as you can imagine, not particularly appealing.

What kind of music did you listen to when you were a kid ?

There was never any music around the house really, my parents just weren't particularly into it. My Mum had three maybe four albums, that was it. I was crazy about the music on TV shows. Particularly C.H.I.P.S. I invented a strange form of notation and 'scored' the theme tune in great detail on one of those bits of card a school shirt might be pinned to if you bought it new. I kept this under my pillow to consult everytime I forgot how it went. I was always coming up with songs. We got a piano when I was about seven years old and I remember being far more interested in making tunes up than actually learning anything by anyone else. No-one really picked up on that and I had no idea that you could be a composer or a musician, it's just what I did. My cousin Arash came over from Iran to grow up with us in 1979 and we became very close. Pop music arrived in our house a year later. That changed everything. It was seeing The Stray Cats perform Runaway Boys on Saturday morning television that did it for me. A light turned on in my head when I saw Brian Setzer. I thought, "That's who I want to be". I started playing the guitar almost immediately after that, again just coming up with stuff that, in my head, sounded like The Stray Cats. I didn't learn chords for about a year. Chords were for squares. My mum knew between two and four chords which she tried to teach me, I thought "If she knows chords then they're not for me". That's probably the starting point to the peculiar style I have now.
I was crazy about The Stray Cats for about two years, I sort of went from one musical obsession to another like a rock serial monogomist. I finally landed at Cardiacs in 1988 when I was sixteen. A Little Man And A House had just come out and a friend lent it to me. Before I'd even got to side two I realised this was the best band I'd ever heard.

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