When I was younger, I was listening to a lot of Armenian music, you know, revolutionary music about freedom and protest. In the 70s I was listening to soul and the Bee Gees and ABBA, and funk.
People always ask me 'do you think there should be more bands doing political music?' and I say 'absolutely not.'
We're addicted to this concept of civilization - we can't imagine living outside of it because we've had it for 10,000 years, all of what we call history. But according to archaeologists, humanity has been on this planet for millions of years in indigenous form.
I'm a huge Beatles fan, but I've only really gotten into them as an adult.
I hate injustice, and I can't help but speak against it. But I don't want to get involved in politics.
I like African music, and I'm a huge Ravi Shankar fan.
I am more interested in how people interpret the phrase 'Elect The Dead' than what I may or may not have intended. I named the album after the track, which is a spiritual song about love, life and death and is the heaviest song on the album without having any heavy instruments.
People think our music's very aggressive or angry or whatever, and it's just the opposite, really... I like laughing. And I like being really calm before a show, and smiley.
Pretending that we live doesn't make us alive.
I don't want to spend all my time working as an activist. I don't get satisfaction out of it. I'd rather be doing something else. I'm a musician.
If you allow for a purely capitalistic society, without any type of regulation at all, you will get one monopoly that will eat all of the smaller fish and own everything, and then you'll have zero capitalism, zero competition - it would just be one giant company.
I'm not comfortable with just entertaining. Although I like entertaining, I also like bringing forward the truth of our times as minstrels used to in the old days.
I think it's my interaction with journalists that has pegged me more as political than my actual records, although they have obviously political aspects to them as well.
With rock music, the amount of power that you can generate, the intensity behind the intentions of your lyrics that you can really reflect through rock music - you can't do that in jazz. You can't do that with classical.
In the last few years I've been listening to jazz more than anything else. I listen to a lot of world music and experimental here and there.
I think anytime that you go to the extreme of any mode of economics, be it capitalism or communism, you have these feedback mechanisms that make the system turn in on itself.
I think that the memory of Armenia's genocide opened my eyes at an early age to the existence of political cynicism.
Harout Pamboukjian is one of the biggest Armenian folk singers in the world. In the '70s, he was making these records that were really Zeppelin-influenced.