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It had been a long time since we had heard from the Chilean group Aisles. On the occasion of the video clip "Smile Of Tears", we went to meet the German guitarist of the band.
CALGEPO - 11.11.2020 -
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Aisles can boast of having gradually built up a beautiful discography which has been able to reach Europe, notably thanks to a European tour in 2016. But since then, little news has come from this distant country. However, several events have intervened in the life of the group, which is in the process of composing its next album. Meeting with German to take stock.


" Hawaii " was a great success with the music press who saw in this album something really fresh and original, how did you receive these rather positive reactions and do you feel a bit of pressure for the next album?

GERMAN: It was amazing, we were very happy with the reaction from the audience around the world and from the music press. I think there's always some pressure every time you work on something new, actually the way we approach a new album is always to try something different than in the previous one.

The tour that followed, which went through Paris (at l'Antipode in 2016) was a long one, how did you live this period? Sometimes bands get tired of these tours ...

GERMAN: For us it was great, we loved playing at l'Antipode. In 2016 we made our first European tour, we had played in France in 2009 but there was only one show at festival Crescendo. So the first tour in the continent included England, France, Belgium and the Netherlands, and it was great, you know for most of us musicians to be able to travel and play our music is one of the most rewarding experiences in life.


We're in 2020 and we're impatient to know what you're going to do next with "Hawaii" which is starting to date, how do you explain the fact that today everything is going fast in terms of musical release, that you seem to be taking your time?

GERMAN: Actually we would have liked to release an album before 2020 but the decision of letting Sebastian go definitely delayed the process. It's true that we take a rather long time to write, rehearse and record a new album, but this period took even longer because we had to look for a new voice for the band.

To be part of a band requires a high level of focus, stamina, endurance in order to make it happen as a professional career.

Aisles experienced a change of line up with the departure of Sebastian Vergara on vocals and the arrival of Israel Gil, what explains this departure and how was Israel recruited?

GERMAN: Sebastian for some time seemed on a different page than the rest of the band, more in the level of commitment to the project than in a musical sense. To be part of a band requires a high level of focus, stamina, endurance in order to make it happen as a professional career. He was staying behind the rest of us in some aspects, and we let him go about two years ago.

We recruited Israel after an intense process. We put ads on music schools, on Craigslist, on different websites, and then I found this app called Vampr where you connect with musicians that have similar taste and I saw Israel. I immediately liked his voice. But since we wanted to have a broad palette of candidates to choose from, we didn’t call him right away. We waited until a year ago, when we called him and another singer who seemed to fit the best to our sound. Finally, we chose him because he has s special voice, but also because we connected with him, he is very friendly, very disciplined, and very curious, he is open to hear any kind of music and his background as a classical trained musician is amazing.


Sebastian's voice was really specific, very high-pitched, which is a bit like Israel's, especially on the single 'Smile Of Tears'. Will these new vocal abilities allow you to explore other musical possibilities?

GERMAN: A new vocal tone definitely opens new possibilities, but not only the sound of a singer´s voice determines the future of a band also his energy, creativity, scenic performance among other things. It is true that both Sebastian and Israel have a very high register which is very useful in our music.


We often see him in pictures on his facebook with a violin in particular, is this an instrument that you will incorporate a little more in the next album?

GERMAN: Absolutely, but not in a forced way. Of course it was great to find out when we picked Israel that he was also a great violinist and for sure we will incorporate that element in our music. Who wouldn't love to have a singer that also plays the violin?

We love experimenting with sounds and we love crossing the boundaries of styles, genres, age and culture.


The title "Smile Of Tears" seems to accentuate the electronic side of Aisles already seen in "Hawaii", sound experimentation is something you're really attached to?

GERMAN: Totally, we love experimenting with sounds and we love crossing the boundaries of styles, genres, age and culture. In the case of Smile of Tears we changed every sound that was used in the original version released in 2009, the new version is harsh, it has more guitar, it has electronic drums… we wanted to get a more industrial and dark wave sound.


The lyrics are very dark, they talk about prohibition, anxiety, absence of smiles... it's a message that fits with this heavy news related to the epidemic. It's a song that is an outlet for you, that expresses your frustration in the current context?

GERMAN: Absolutely, we wanted to express this modern paradox of being hyper connected and at the same time being lonely or feeling hopeless. Social media in a way exacerbates this phenomena, all we see in other people's profiles is the perfect body, the perfect smile, the perfect dish, the perfect drink but deep inside we can be alone and feel rather lost. Smile of Tears is about that paradox. Confinement, death, all of that was in the air


It heralds a new concept album? Do you like to tell stories?

GERMAN: We are not making a concept album in the classical sense of what a concept album is. Hawaii was a concept album in that classical sense, a great story that needs to be digested from the beginning till the end so that it is really understood and truly enjoyed. But our music and lyrics are always thought and created around a general mood, direction or idea about the world. And of course we like telling stories, that's what music is to us, a way to tell stories and convey feelings.


Your filiation with progressive rock remains very present, in Chile we know bands like Altazores in a more metal vein Delta. What do you like about this music: the fact that it is a style without code where you can express your artistic freedom? And are you prouder of it?

GERMAN: It is good to be labeled with a style that embraces that idea of openness. We would get really bored if we had to make a heavy metal album every time, or a jazz fusion album over and over. We feel more comfortable without the constraint of a specific genre. In that sense, we understand Prog Rock, and not too much as the idea that it is complex music with intricate passages and odd time signature changes.


With your albums, you have been able to conquer a part of Europe both critically and publicly, is it for you an even bigger challenge (if only geographical) compared to a European band to get this deserved recognition?

GERMAN: Of course it's a lot harder for us to conquer a wider audience in Europe because of geographical distance and we have a clear disadvantage compared to local bands. But we are proud that we have an audience and in the promotion cycle of our next album we will have to go more often to Europe if we want that audience to keep growing.


In what way does Chilean and more broadly South American culture enrich your music and your projects?

GERMAN: We are influenced by our history, by Latin American writers, artists, musicians, everything that we read, what we see every day and the way we interact with each other. I don't mean by this that there is only one stereotype of a Latin American person. In fact pluralism and the need of more pluralism is what you breathe in the air these days in Chile. What characterizes any modern society is that many cultures coexist.

The Chilean music we listened to from an early age in our childhood is part of our DNA and it can come out and we can use it or react to it. I personally love the music of Violeta Parra and Los Jaivas from Chile; Luis Alberto Spinetta, Pedro Aznar, Seru Giran and Piazzola from Argentina; Elis Regina, Hermeto Pascoal, Egberto Gismonti, Caetano Veloso, Tom Jobim and Joao Gilberto from Brazil. In a more specific way you will find in our music the use of acoustic guitar, bandoneon, Peruvian cajon, the use of certain rhythmic ideas and percussion instruments are present. So probably even more than we notice you will find a Latin American flavour in the music that we do.


We are living in a very frustrating period with this epidemic, how do you approach this period and the continuation for Aisles?

GERMAN: We tried to keep ourselves active, I used the confinement to finish writing lyrics, we've been releasing live videos "from home", which you can check out on our YouTube channel. Now everything is reopening in Santiago and as soon as that started happening, we got back to the studio to record vocals and are working tirelessly until our fifth album is finished.


Many Europeans and the media claim that this epidemic-related crisis is leading to a sanitary dictatorship where bars are closed, restaurants open only at certain hours, large crowds are banned? The word "dictatorship" must be inappropriate for you, given that Chile has been going through a very dark period for years? Does it offend you?

GERMAN: There can be no comparison between the restrictions now in Europe for sanitary reasons with the Chilean dictatorship more than 30 years ago where people were killed for thinking differently. I personally think we have to follow the restrictions and do it for the best of all as long as it is rational and doesn't bring other more serious problems.


Let's get back to the music, where is this future album and do you have a spoiler to reveal exclusively to us?

GERMAN: I can only tell you that the music is more direct, heavier, with more electronic sounds, and that we incorporated the sound of 8 strings guitars. The rest you can find out by yourself at the beginning of 2021 when we start releasing new music.


Will we have the chance, once the events are over, to see you on a European tour?

GERMAN: That is for sure, in Europe there is one of our most important audiences. We have a large following and Europe is such a lovely place to visit and to play live music.


We leave you the last word for the readers of Music Waves...

GERMAN: I invite you all to subscribe to our you tube Channel We are constantly publishing videos, follow all our social media instagram and facebook /aislesproject. We also have a Patreon page if you want to get access to exclusive content and benefits and at the same time support us in this journey of making music.

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