Demetris "All Around"
If you wanna listen to a prog album with an existential approach about people concerning their “…self-empowering conviction…” in “…something truly personal and meaningful” while talking about emotional antithesis between dejection and elation, at the intersection between positive and negative moods and cognitions, this is the concept album of 2013 to stick to! AISLES’s Germán Vergara from Chile is proggin’ as much as he can with his fellow band members to communicate what people might think, feel or/and do at 4:45am in the morning entering the depths of human equation! We love those guys!!!
Dear members of AISLES, thank you very much for your participation in that interview! It’s our honor!
Where are you now? Where this interview finds you?
We are in Santiago, the capital of Chile, where we are based now and where the band was formed, but I don’t know where you’ll find us in the future. Hopefully touring 4:45 AM!
How did you come up with that name? What does it mean to you?
We came up with the name on a very beautiful location in the north of Chile with my two brothers Sebastian and Luis. We discussed the idea with the band and everyone liked it. An ‘Aisle’ is a long passage between rows of seats in a theatre. For us it was the path to get to a higher place or to the ‘stage’ specifically. Aisles are the many journeys and walks to get to a better or more transcendental place for us; we also liked very much the theatrical allusion of the name.
You already have three albums out! Please give us a brief description of each one highlighting possible similarities and differences! Are they concept albums or sets of different songs?
‘The Yearning’ and ‘In Sudden Walks’ are concept albums in the sense that the importance of lyrics and visuals is crucial. They are concept albums also in the sense that the songs on each of these albums deal with one greater concept related to the individual and his greatness, loneliness and desperation as well, but ultimately about the individual.
On the other hand ‘4:45 AM’ is a concept album in that all songs are connected to a specific time of the day and most of them are encompassed in an urban landscape.
What makes somebody to be awake at 4:45 AM? What makes him leave his bed and what leads him to wander the streets alone when everybody else is asleep?
What does it mean that the events in Shallow and Daft happen at 8:00 AM? The connection between the music, the lyrics, the artwork and the time of the day is what makes 4:45 AM a conceptual album.
What happens(ed) at 4.45am in the morning???!!!
‘4:45 AM’ came to mind thinking about what the most extreme hour of the day is. Somehow the album is about darkness and light, it’s a time at the edge of the night before daybreak.
On the one hand the pain, loneliness and misery of human condition and on the other the strength that some noble spirits have to overcome adversity and to find a reason to fight for something truly personal and meaningful. This existentialist approach with a self-empowering conviction is what gives 4:45 AM its mood.
This concept album is about these opposed feelings of dejection and elation, but among all the songs of the album, we decided 4:45 AM to be the title track because of its resilient and extremely positive message in a rather dark context.
If you watch the 4:45 AM music video in our YouTube channel you’ll see that it’s about a female dancer that overcame childhood adversity. She is training in an empty theatre at 4:45 AM in the morning. Check out the video, it might help the listener understand what 4:45 AM is about.
Are there any conceptual similarities between your three albums?
The three albums have an existentialist idea of the world, but all of them in different ways.
‘The Yearning’ was music that came spontaneously from our hearts and has a very romantic feel, we were a lot younger and the music shows this purity of youth.
‘In Sudden Walks’ is definitely more pessimistic conceptually than ‘The Yearning’. We used more guitars and harsh sounds that contributed to this feeling of exhaustion and inner struggle. Its lyrics also show this direction.
4:45 AM in a way combines some romanticism from ‘The Yearning’ with some of the decadence of ‘In Sudden Walks’ but we go further towards a sadder and darker album. Sometimes it is difficult to hear 4:45 AM following the conceptual line because it weighs on you with all the emotional strain.
What’s the main aim of AISLES in the music community? What is (are) your vision(s) as artists?
Our aim is to be considered a truly original band with a unique sound. We intend to keep developing and evolving with this vehicle of artistic expression called Aisles. We have a very universal vocation aesthetically speaking and we feel that we can take a rather complex kind of music to a worldwide level reach again.
Any other projects/musical collaborations or/and solo records of you in the past?
No, Aisles is all I’m doing now. It demands a lot of time because it’s a mega project.
Your first record is more neo-prog than the other two although this term is very restrictive of your eclectic mix of styles? How would you characterize your sound to someone unfamiliar with your music?
I agree that the term is a little restrictive. It’s very hard to define Aisles ‘style, especially because we consider ourselves to be very eclectic in the sense that we love the fusion of styles. We try our music to be based more on the content than in the form. That is why sometimes you can find within any of Aisles’ albums music that sounds so varied. The key for us is the feeling that we want to convey, if that goes first we can write whatever type of music that contributes to the concept or feeling that we want to transmit to the listener in any song.
I like to think of Aisles as a band with a unique style and with a very liberal and eclectic approach; progressive in the deepest sense of the word and if we had to be labelled I would feel more comfortable being regarded as ‘Fusionists’ of some kind.
Who are the people behind the mix and production of your albums and how did they accomplish to produce such a diverse and delicate sound?
The album was recorded and engineered by Rodrigo Martinez who is part of Aisles’ family. I think this part of the process is very important because it captures the essence of what the band is and we benefit from working with someone that knows us as musicians and as human beings. We share the same musical jargon with him and he always understands where we are heading. The mix was in charge of Angelo Marini, whom we met especially to mix 4:45 AM but I always knew he had what was needed to work with Aisles: a good ear and a very open mind. Excellent engineer too.
The mastering was in charge of the prestigious Adam Ayan who has mastered albums of artists such as Rush, Pearl Jam, Foo Fighters and many others. He had also worked with us in our previous record ‘In Sudden Walks’
Main influences? And, how do you incorporate them into your music soundscape?
The progressive rock bands that have been an influence on us are mainly the Anglo Saxon Bands, but they are only a part of the music that has inspired us and taught us. We owe a lot to Jazz, Fusion, World Music, New Age, Classical Music and these musicians come from all parts of the world. There’s a Latin seal too in our music that we probably owe to South American music.
Some of our influences among the band members are: Yes, Pink Floyd, Rush, Genesis, Radiohead, Pat Metheny Group, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Jean Luc Ponty, Allan Holdsworth, Jean Michel Jarre, Depeche Mode, Pedro Aznar, Queen, Journey, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Kate Bush, Tool, Los Jaivas, Marillion, Sigur Ros, King Crimson, Iron Maiden.
Probably the diversity of the music we like contributes to what we do, but if we incorporate our influence we do it in a subconscious level because at the same time we are consciously trying to avoid sounding like them. In the end we owe these musicians a lot for inspiring us.
What comes first? Lyrics? Music? Or, both? And what are the issues of your lyrics?
Most of the time it’s the music first and later the lyrics follow the feeling or the mood of the composition. The lyrics content varies from very poetic and abstract to very narrative stories and what I personally write comes always from very personal ideas.
What do you listen to your free time (from your discography or from other discographies too!)?
Lately I have listened a lot to 4:45 AM, because we have to relearn it to play it live and because I’m really proud of it. We will soon start touring to promote the album so it has to be very fresh on my mind.
Discography from other artists… I listen a lot to Mahavishnu Orchestra, classical music, I bought the latest Kate Bush album which is amazing. These days I’ve been listening to Steven Wilson latest work, everything done by Pat Metheny, Allan Holdsworth. I always listen to Yes. It depends on the day.
How is the prog Chilean (or, the music in Chile in general) in the contemporary world?
It is very hard for us to make a living with the type of music that we do in Chile and there is a very small market for Progressive Rock, especially because of the idiosyncrasy of Chilean people that are not particularly inclined to find music that is new. There’s not much space in radio for anything that is not easily sellable. In the case of TV it’s even worse.
That is why it is so crucial for us to keep making our audience grow at a worldwide level. If our audience keeps growing in Europe the way it is now we will most probably continue our career basing ourselves there in the near future. No matter what happens we love making the music that we make.
Although there are some other great Prog Rock bands in Chile like Los Jaivas, Congreso and Tryo.
What’s your personal philosophy in life? How do you overcome barriers and how do you use your strengths?
My philosophy of life is basically to fight for my dreams; life is too damn short not to do something that I’m really passionate about. To overcome barriers I try to stay very close to myself, I try to be better every day of my life, and I try to use my strengths to serve my purpose in life.
What is prog rock for you? And prog music in general, anyway? We think this is a concept and not a genre, as many believe.
I completely agree that if Prog ends up being a musical formula it ceases to be ‘really prog’. Prog is about being forward thinking, allowing yourself certain indulgences, doing whatever you feel in music for the sake of music itself or for the sake of the concepts you want to convey.
Also, what do you think about the future of prog rock and prog music in general? Are there any ways for the betterment of its promotion through internet and other means?
Yes I think that people working to promote these bands should insist with massive media so that these bands stand a chance to be known by larger audiences. On the other hand bands and independent media should keep doing what they do like ‘Just in Case’ which is a very important music source for people that’s actually looking for new acts.
Tell us a few things about your plans for the future.
We are preparing to tour Europe in the near future and have already started writing new material for a fourth album. We are very excited about our future because we’ve seen an exponential growth in our audience and people from all over the world want to see the band playing 4:45 AM live.
A message from your part for the listeners of JustIn Case Prog Radio and for all prog’n’rollers out there is…
Keep listening to good music, be creative when it comes to finding new bands and whenever you find an interesting band share it with your friends and family. This way the ball will keep rolling!
Anything that you might add?
Go to our official website www.aislesproject.com and find out more about Aisles, you can also buy our music directly at our website, as well as from I tunes, Amazon and the main digital retailers. You can also ask for our music in your Prog Specialized CD store.
I would also like to thank Demetris and everyone at JustinCase for this opportunity to talk about our music.