Arts, Culture & Media

Los Angeles-based lawyer exposes Iranian bands

By Cyrus Farivar Like most Persians, Kia Kamran likes to talk. And from the moment I step into his office, he can't say enough about one of his new clients, Pomplamoose. They're a young duo from the San Francisco Bay Area. They gained a following online before their first album came out. Kamran pulls up their song, Expiration Date, on YouTube. "This is a band that's going against the grain," Kamran said. "240,000 subscribers is no small number. The Black Eyed Peas have 130,000 subscribers. Pink has something like 30,000." A year and a half ago, a friend sent Kamran a YouTube link of Pomplamoose on his Facebook page. Kamran was hooked, and fired off an email to the band. In the email, he wrote, "Hi guys, great stuff. The YouTube vids are completely original. Downloading the album now. Let me know if I can be of any assistance here yonder. My signature says attorney at law, and my website says tunelaw.com." Now, Kamran represents them. Global Hit Los Angeles-based lawyer exposes Iranian bands By The World â?? March 16, 2011 â?? Post a comment Share/Save Share Download MP3 By Cyrus Farivar Like most Persians, Kia Kamran likes to talk. And from the moment I step into his office, he can't say enough about one of his new clients, Pomplamoose. They're a young duo from the San Francisco Bay Area. They gained a following online before their first album came out. Kamran pulls up their song, Expiration Date, on YouTube. "This is a band that's going against the grain," Kamran said. "240,000 subscribers is no small number. The Black Eyed Peas have 130,000 subscribers. Pink has something like 30,000." A year and a half ago, a friend sent Kamran a YouTube link of Pomplamoose on his Facebook page. Kamran was hooked, and fired off an email to the band. In the email, he wrote, "Hi guys, great stuff. The YouTube vids are completely original. Downloading the album now. Let me know if I can be of any assistance here yonder. My signature says attorney at law, and my website says tunelaw.com." Now, Kamran represents them. Kamran was born in Iran in the early 1970s. He moved with his family to Fresno in 1979, when many Iranians left in the aftermath of the Islamic Revolution. As a teenager in 1980s California, he fell in love with music and the music industry. After college he became a talent agent, and then decided to get a law degree in copyright and trademark law. Now he represents bands like Abjeez, which he also discovered on YouTube. Abjeez is an Iranian band made up of two sisters who live in New York and Sweden. They did their first US tour last December. And Abjeez was the first Iranian band to play the Roxy, the famous night club on LA's Sunset Boulevard. "I played agent there," Kamran said. "I booked that show for them, I did all the deal-making for them and brought them out here. It didn't make me any money. But, in five years, 10 years, or 15 years, hopefully they'll be playing the Hollywood Bowl every year." Even though Abjeez' music is banned in Iran, many younger Iranians continue to find it online, and pass it around. That could make Kamran persona non grata should he ever try to go back to Iran. But Kamran said he's not too worried about that. His main concern is helping bands make money, and that means playing in the US Only about 10 percent of the people Kamran represents are Iranian or Iranian-American, but he said that being Iranian-American himself gives him a leg up in terms of going after bands from his home country. And not just bands. These days, Kamran represents people like comedian Maz Jobrani, who toured as part of the Axis of Evil comedy group. Jobrani said it doesn't hurt that Kamran can bridge the Iran-US cultural divide. Jobrani added that he used to have non-Iranian representation, but when he performed for Iranian groups, he'd sometimes get complaints. People would say things, like 'your representative was really rude.' And I'm like, 'oh boy.' "They don't know that there's this whole formality that Persians go through and you have to treat them in a certain way," Jobrani said. "But with Kia, he's got the background, so he knows how to deal." And dealing is what Kamran does. Oh, and that band, Pomplamoose? They just made the cover of SF Weekly last month in San Francisco. It may not be Rolling Stone, but they're set to go on their first-ever tour later this year.

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