Australian musician, journalist and debut director Travis Beard chronicles Afghanistan’s only metal band as they take to the stage, risking their lives for rock music.
When Beard met District Unknown back in 2009, Kabul’s fiercely conservative and traditional community frowned upon music, and the underground party scene was for expats only. The four, later five, young Afghan men in the band could barely find instruments, let alone a rehearsal space. Practice sessions were interrupted by power cuts and exploding bombs. Nonetheless, the musicians persevered, excitedly performing their first gig to an audience as much at risk as the band themselves. But as their notoriety grew, Qasem, Pedram, Qais, Lemar and Yousef had to choose whether to stay or go, knuckle under or keep rockin’.