Unlike Pluto has made his way onto the music scene quite quickly. Last year, he toured with Seven Lions and impressed everyone who came early enough to catch his sets. He’s well worth checking out, so we had a chat with him to help the public get to know the person behind the “planet.”
Sensible Reason: We have to ask: Where does the name Unlike Pluto come from? Is it that you are more of a musician than Pluto is a planet?
Armond: Pluto was my favorite planet growing up, the pariah/outcast planet. I connected with that image a lot since I always felt left out as a kid. I was 18 in my college dorm room and had a few quick songs to put on SoundCloud (this is when SoundCloud was new), so I quickly thought of the “planet” Pluto!
SR: Your SoundCloud says you’re a “brown dude making music.” Do you consciously incorporate your culture into your music at all? How does your background influence what you create?
A: Definitely on a subconscious level! If you listen to Persian music or any middle eastern music, you will notice a lot of it is dark and depressing. For some reason when I think of melodies or chord progressions, they always end up being dark/creepy. I have to force myself to make uplifting happy music. My background influences me in many ways. One way, in particular, is how my parents left Iran during the revolution, the full story is super intense and terrifying, I could never imagine going through what they went through. The fact that I came from that is a crazy feeling, and growing up in Georgia being different than all of the kids – this all shows up in every single song I write.
SR: Has your music changed since moving from Atlanta to Los Angeles? What are the major differences in the dance music scene in those cities?
A: Every year, I always make one change in my writing process that flips my world upside down. One year it was making music with different vocalist For every song, this year it’s me singing my own songs. I only know the early dance scene in Atlanta, I was there in the beginning stages of it. But from what I remember Atlanta only had a few clubs with EDM nights, whereas LA had a ton, being a few years ahead. Atlanta always had a huge hip hop/pop scene, and a pretty decent rock scene – so dance music had a lot of competition when it was first introduced.
SR: What made you start music as a career over pursuing biological science?
A: I just love making music too much, it’s the reason I live. When I got to college, I felt like I had to become some kind of doctor for my parents – I owed them that. When I graduated Emory, it was an easy decision to pursue music full time, being a dentist would have been miserable.
SR: What do you love most about working in the music industry?
A: I love how unpredictable it is! Label executives and A&R’s will always say they know where the industry is headed – truth is, no one has a fucking clue. And that’s why I love it, the rush of not knowing. I have a hunch that System Of a Down and Gorillaz proved so many people in the industry dead wrong.
SR: What is the most challenging aspect of the electronic music scene?
A: Setting yourself apart! It’s so tempting to copy what is popular and play that bullshit game. Seeing those artists’ pseudo success on Instagram while you are sitting in your boxers making music sucks, it’s depressing, life-shattering. Overcoming that is definitely hard because there is no guarantee for success, there is no formula for that path, it’s scary, not many people do it. But the artists that do take that path, either fail miserably or change the fucking world with their musical weirdness. Rick Rubin said in an interview once that System of a Down didn’t fit in, but they were so good, they transcended not fitting in.
SR: What aspect of music do you focus on when creating?
A: Honestly, I don’t focus on anything. I just pick up the guitar and start playing and singing. If it isn’t easy to write, I move on. I let my mind go completely blank while I write, that’s when the best stuff comes out.
SR: You’ve had a few singles come out recently, anything bigger planned for the future?
A: I have a ton of unreleased tracks, also have around 25 unfinished songs with my vocals. I plan on really pairing visuals with the music, working with talented animators and graphic designers all over the world!
SR: Are you hitting the festival circuit? If so, what are you most excited for?
A: I am! I’m excited for Tomorrowland, Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo, Sunset Music Festival, all of them!!
SR: If you could choose a best friend and worst enemy in the music industry (dead or alive) who would they be and why?
A: My best friend would be Jimi Hendrix, I just want to have one conversation with the guy, he was a fucking visionary/genius!!!! I can’t think of any enemies, spread love. <3
Check out the latest track from Unlike Pluto below.