Iranian punk arrives at the Monarch Tavern

1 May 2023 / by Owen Thompson

On this weekend’s five band bill at Monarch Tavern, two of them sing exclusively in Farsi. Kasra Goodarznezhad is a Toronto based Iranian artist and lead singer of the hardcore Iranian punk band Siyahkal. They are joined by Eteraz another Iranian punk band from Olympia, Washington and fronted by Elika Nakhaee.

To the knowledge of Kasra and Elika, they are the only two punk bands in North America that sing in Farsi. Originally, both did not intend to sing in Farsi, but eventually chose to sing for similar reasons.

“Our bassist Liam was saying ‘yeah, you should sing in Faris’ and Declan from our band was like, ‘ yeah you should do it’ and I’m the only Iranian in the band, I think I was just stoked to do it,” says Kasra.

“I wanted to highlight where I’m from and bring that more into the punk community,” says Elika. “I moved up to Seattle ten years ago from Los Angeles, where a lot of my family is, and since being up here I don’t really have an Iranian community. I thought it would be a good way for me to not forget my language.”

Named after the Siahkal Incident of 1971 where 13 guerillas were executed after killing three policemen to free two of their comrades, Siyahkal the band keeps up the anti-government sentiment. Songs like Beshin Paasho/ بشین پاشو  on their 2016 Sagzani demo/س​گ​‌​ز​ن​ی comment on police brutality with the lyrics “sit down, stand up, arrest, cuff, kill, beat up, smile, die.”

Eteraz is not too far behind Siyahkal when it comes to an anti-government attitude. Their band name, meaning “to reject or revolt,” is reflected in their 2018 EP Evil Hardcore

“Evil in the eyes of whom? With your borders, your walls and tower, your armies in every street your methods of keeping us divided, broke, and imprisoned – we are the evil ones…we claim this mark you have put upon us, we claim evil as a symbol of power and defiance,” says the description of Evil Hardcore.

You can listen to Siyahkal and Eteraz on Bandcamp as well as Spotify.

Listen below for the interview: