Aisles are a progressive rock band from Santiago, Chile. They have been considered one of the most interesting acts of recent years. So far they have released three albums, the widely acclaimed “The Yearning” (2005) and “In Sudden Walks” (2009), and “4:45AM”, which has been warmly received by the most prestigious publications of progressive rock.
Guitarist German Vergara answered the Progstravaganza Questionnaire after Aisles took part on Progstravaganza XIX: Convergence as a part of Prog Sphere Showcase feature.
How did you come to do what you do?
I remember as a kid seriously deciding I wanted to be a guitar player when I heard Bohemian Rhapsody’s guitar solo. I think that was the beginning of everything for me.
What is your first musical memory?
Probably my older brother playing the piano at our parents’ house, or even myself trying to get some sounds at the piano as a kid.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
I owe a lot to Jazz, Fusion, Prog Rock, World Music, New Age and Classical Music. There’s a Latin seal too in our music that we probably owe to South American music.
Some of my influences are: Yes, Pink Floyd, Rush, Genesis, Pat Metheny Group, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Jean Luc Ponty, Allan Holdsworth, Jean Michel Jarre, Pedro Aznar, Queen, Journey, Ryuichi Sakamoto, King Crimson, Iron Maiden, Led Zeppelin.
What message does the song on our Progstravaganza compilation carry?
Melancholia is perhaps the saddest song on the album. It talks about a child’s sickness and his mother’s suffering while she thinks about his destiny: Is he going to be happy or live a life in pain? That feeling of uncertainty is Melancholia, which can be a mortal illness. The whole song is sung from the son’s perspective as he sees his mother suffering. Can ‘Melancholia’ itself be the child’s sickness? We don’t know how sick this child is, but somehow his dreams have kept him alive so there’s hope for him in the future. It was a very emotive song to write and record. I remember being at the edge of tears at the studio while we were recording vocals.
Do you tend to follow any pre-defined patterns when composing a piece?
Not at all. Whatever flows, the method changes every time you want to write something.
What is your method of songwriting?
Most of the times an idea comes from improvisation on your instrument, in my case the guitar or sometimes the piano. Other times you have a pre-conceived idea of what you want and try consciously to get it on your instrument. That’s only the starting point, after that, the methods are countless. You can develop an idea as a band, as a small group of two or three, or by yourself and then arrange the composition as a band. We work in many ways. It would be unwise to have only one method.
How do you see your music evolving?
I think the band has reached a certain degree of maturity now, but that also means that you can never get stuck, you have to evolve. We always try our music to have a meaning and a reason, and with 4:45 AM we have succeeded at writing very emotive songs, which is our intention. I think our sound and music have become more authentic as the years have passed and we’ve developed a very original, theatrical and eclectic type of music.
What advice would you give to other musicians, trying to make inspired music and get it out in the world?
First of all, be brave about doing whatever you love in your life. You have the responsibility of following your dreams. Try to be authentic and spend many hours with you instrument. Don’t hear anybody when they say that you won’t be able to make a living as a musician, only you will put the limits to your dream.
Don’t think of fame and money, just do it for the sake of music, and success will come eventually.
What are you looking forward to?
We look forward to broadening our audience, reaching more people with our music and message. Also to be regarded as a truly original band with a unique sound. We intend to keep developing and evolving with this vehicle of artistic expression called Aisles.
Official website: http://www.aislesproject.com
Bands, send your music submissions for the Progstravaganza compilation series to firstname.lastname@example.org