ENTREVUE / INTERVIEW
WITH: Germán Vergara
ALBUM REVIEW HERE
Richard Hawey - November 2016
PROFIL - Founded in Santiago, the year 2001, AISLES represents the new generation of chilean prog. Provided of a style eminently neo symphonic, the band delivers a style of classic roots and influenced by the british school.
PR - First, thanks for participating in this interview. I would like to start by asking you how Aisles came together at the beginning?
GERMAN VERGARA - Sure, in a way the band was formed the year 2001 when Rodrigo Sepúlveda, Luis Vergara, my older brother, and myself started playing together and making original music. It wasn't until 2003 when, after incorporating Alejandro Meléndez on keyboards and my younger brother Sebastián Vergara on vocals, that the band had the first line up and we started writing music for our first album 'The Yearning', which was later self-released in 2005.
PR – According to you, what separate AISLES from other bands?
GV - I think AISLES is a band defined by the freedom we feel when we create music. The cinematic aspect of our music is important in the sense that our music takes you to various landscapes and moods. We also regard both lyrics and artwork as being essential parts in the music we make. Finally, there's always an eclectic sound and in general a melancholic mood present.
PR – What was attractive in progressive rock music knowing that that this style of music is not the most popular?
GV - The first so called progressive bands were so interested their search for a unique sound that you immediately realised that they weren't trying to be just another 'rock band'. They weren't using the traditional rock music cannons but instead they were expanding the concept of rock to an area of greater artistic accomplishment.
Pink Floyd, early Genesis and Yes for example don't have too much in common except for the fact that you recognise their ambition to be truly unique. It is true that the style is not the most popular but it is very gratifying to create music with a greater purpose.
PR – Would you mind introducing the band members?
GV - We have Felipe Candia on drums, Sebastián Vergara on lead vocals, Daniel Baird-Kerr on bass, Rodrigo Sepúlveda on guitar, Juan Pablo Gaete on keyboards and myself (Germán Vergara) on guitar.
PR - You have just released a new album entitled "Hawaii". It is a double concept album that was inspired by a colony of human refuged in space after the destruction of the Earth. How did you came up with this concept and was it something you wanted to do for a long time?
GV - The idea comes from a song in our second album 'In Sudden Walks' called Hawaii as well. We took that idea of humans having to flee the earth because life was no longer possible there and developed that concept to a much deeper degree.
We asked ourselves what would happen with those individuals who left, what sort of people they would be, how human spirit would behave facing the loneliness and danger of space. We tried to convey a very nostalgic feeling because we were making music about a lost earth.
It took about two years since we started writing new material a little after we released '4:45 AM' and until the final mix of Hawaii was approved. I think Hawaii has been the most ambitious work in our career.
PR – A tour in Europe followed the release of the new album. Understood you had to delay the tour for well-known tragic reasons. How did the tour go? It was the first time that you go to Europe to present your music? You like your experience?
GV - It was very unfortunate to be forced to postpone the first tour because of the terrorist attacks. The new tour was done in October and it ended just a couple of weeks ago. It was so great, we really enjoyed playing for a very warm and enthusiastic audience.
It was not the first time we play in Europe but the first time we do it as a proper tour. The first time we were invited to open the 11th version of the progressive rock festival Crescendo in 2009 but played only that date. Now we visited cities in The Netherlands, Belgium, France and the UK.
The experience was fantastic, discovering that fans travelled many kilometres from neighbouring cities to see us live was very rewarding and sales were great. I think it was a great start for the promotion of 'Hawaii'. We expect to go back to Europe for more dates in 2017, we really want Hawaii to be heard by as many people as possible. The album deserves that.
PR – It seems to be a turning point in the band's career? Have you thought about giving up already?
GV - I like to believe that we are now living the turning point in our career, the reaction of the audience and press with the release of 'Hawaii' have been so good that we feel inclined to think that this will be the first step to reach larger audiences. We haven't thought about giving up, so you people better start listening to our music because otherwise we will be in a deep financial trouble. LOL
PR – There’s a North American tour planned?
To be very honest there's a great interest to play in North America but we don't have anything concrete yet.
PR - What are your musical influences? Do you have groups or favorite artists?
GV - I'm trying to remember influences of all the band members: Rush, Yes, Genesis, Depeche Mode, Pink Floyd, Queen, Jean Luc Ponty, Allan Holdsworth, Mahavishnu Orchestra, King Crimson, Pat Metheney Group, Vangelis, Jean Michele Jarre, Tool, Los Jaivas, John Scofield, Kate Bush, Egberto Gismonti, Ryuichi Sakamoto.
PR - How do you foresee the future of progressive rock and music in General?
GV - It is reinventing itself, the more it gets farther away from the sounds that we all already know the better. The more character, personality and uniqueness your music has the better and the more likely it is to make your band a relevant act.
PR - Is it possible to live from your music today?
GV - It is very hard for young musicians to make it these days because there seems to be a slant to stick to old even stale acts that have been playing the same thing for decades and that hold to their hit songs from 30 or 40 years ago.
It will be possible to make a living with music that is not purely commercial but it will depend on how much you can endure the struggle, it will depend on your strength to keep trying and of course it will depend on the quality of your work. It's not easy but it depends on your persistence, talent and determination
PR - What is your best memory? Do you have a dream that you would like to achieve?
GV - I remember with happiness the first times we gathered as a band to write music. The feeling of doing something you love is so enlightening.
To be able to keep doing music and write lyrics for a very long time. To be recognised for what you do, to be the inspiration of others.
PR - You have the last word...
GV - I'd like to invite your readers to visit our website and buy our music there, we have released both 4:45 AM and Hawaii on vinyl. You can also get our music from Amazon, I Tunes and most of the digital platforms. You can also ask for our music in a Prog Rock specialised store.
PR - Hope to see you in Quebec...
GV - It would be amazing to play in Canada, I truly look forward to that. Thank you very much for this chance to talk about our music.
PR - Thank you, Germán and a special thanks to Álvaro Rojas of Presagio Records.