At the time of this interview, March 2014, this musician was living in Afghanistan and asked that his identity be kept secret. He feared for his family and his own safety. He left Afghanistan in the summer of 2014. His family remains there. We will refer to him as “K”.
“K”‘s parents fled Afghanistan after the Soviet invasion in the 1990s to France. Born in Lyon France, “K” and his parents moved to the United States where he grew up in a suburb of Denver, Colorado. He grew up simultaneously with Afghan and American cultures, always having a curiosity to find out what Afghanistan was like. After the fall of the Taliban, his parents were able to find work in their homeland and they returned while “K” was in university. After graduating with a degree in chemical engineering, he decided to travel to Afghanistan to acquire some work experience and to learn about himself and his Afghan culture. That was in 2012.
While “K” lived in Kabul, he produced progressive house music and composed music. When not working in production, “K” was DJing deep-house and tech-house underground parties. “K” explained the culture of the underground music scene in Kabul as spontaneous. “In other countries, underground parties start after hours, when bars stop serving alcohol, but in Kabul, every party is underground at any moment in time.”
Leaving his family behind in the summer of 2014, “K” left Afghanistan for a safer, freer life. He hopes to return some day when his country is secure.
Since the election in the summer of 2014, Kabul has faced threats by the Taliban who are attempting a resurgence. On December 11, 2014, the Taliban carried out an attack during a play in Kabul, which threatened the city’s civic and cultural life. The performance, “Heartbeat: The Silence After the Explosion,” explored issues of violence to an audience of high-school students at the prestigious French Cultural Center. The Washington Post reported on December 23, “As insurgents attempt a comeback, they have proclaimed all Western civilization as an enemy to be crushed along with foreign troops.” The Taliban denounced the play as an “insult to Islamic principles” and “propaganda against Jihad, especially martyrdom operations.” The newspaper article explained that analysts see that “the Taliban clearly intends to keep attacking civilians involved in liberal and artistic pursuits, which it views as immoral activities imported from abroad. Most newspapers, galleries, and musical and academic programs in Kabul have international backing.”
While living abroad, “K” continues to compose original tracks and remixing other artists’ music from all over the world. Ideally, “K” likes to express his artistic side at all times in his interactions with people, whether it’s through speaking or sharing music. His style is avant-garde and while in Kabul he faced persecution and oppression that aimed to prevent him from fully expressing himself artistically anywhere, but especially so in Afghanistan. Living away from Afghanistan, “K” can compose his music without fear.