All Around The World: Empty Yard Experiment

Bojan Preradovic and Gorgin Asadi reveal how they’re creating a progressive movement in Dubai.

Often referred to as the millionaire’s playground, Dubai is a haven for wealthy tourists and top footballers. It’s also home to post-rockers Empty Yard Experiment (EYE) who recently made their UK live debut. “There is an underground subculture but you can only discover it when you live here,” explains vocalist/guitarist Bojan Preradovic. “It’s up to people like us to develop it.”

Formed around 2007 by three transplanted Iranians, EYE have since expanded to include the Serbian-born Preradovic and Indian drummer Josh Saldanha, who all connected through their love of experimental music. They happily list Tool, Porcupine Tree, Pink Floyd and Karnivool among their progressive influences and the music they make is just as eclectic. From the melancholic Greenflash to the post-industrial spasms on Entropy, via the sublime soundscapes of The Blue Eyes Of A Dog, there really is something for everyone on their self-released second album Kallisti. But their journey hasn’t been an easy one. With few resources available locally for musicians, especially the more experimental, the five-piece decided to take matters into their own hands with a collaborative platform they call Desert Experiment. “We’re trying to create something more diverse and more fun because [all the acts we team up with have] different styles,” says keyboard player Gorgin Asadi. “We’re trying to start a movement to get people interested in alternative music… EYE can’t play more than five or six shows a year here because we’re playing to the same audience and they would get bored so this is a way of creating something new and more profound.” Bigger attempts to create a metal scene have fallen short in the past – The Dubai Desert Rock Festival ended after a few years – but these lads are already having an impact. They’ve even opened for Anathema in their hometown.

“The formula is quite simple right now; it’s to get out there and play as many shows to as many diverse audiences as we can,” reveals Preradovic. Judging from the great response they’ve had in the UK, it shouldn’t take them long to score some European festivals. NRS

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Natasha Scharf
Deputy Editor, Prog

Contributing to Prog since the very first issue, writer and broadcaster Natasha Scharf was the magazine’s News Editor before she took up her current role of Deputy Editor, and has interviewed some of the best-known acts in the progressive music world from ELP, Yes and Marillion to Nightwish, Dream Theater and TesseracT. Starting young, she set up her first music fanzine in the late 80s and became a regular contributor to local newspapers and magazines over the next decade. The 00s would see her running the dark music magazine, Meltdown, as well as contributing to Metal Hammer, Classic Rock, Terrorizer and Artrocker. Author of music subculture books The Art Of Gothic and Worldwide Gothic, she’s since written album sleeve notes for Cherry Red, and also co-wrote Tarja Turunen’s memoirs, Singing In My Blood. Beyond the written word, Natasha has spent several decades as a club DJ, spinning tunes at aftershow parties for Metallica, Motörhead and Nine Inch Nails. She’s currently the only member of the Prog team to have appeared on the magazine’s cover.