Interview by Danny Coleman
“It has been a dream of mine and ours to perform in the United States. It is a big country, a great country, a beautiful country and it has been a childhood dream of mine to play there and it is finally happening. The promoters are doing everything possible to make it a great experience for us,” says guitarist German Vergara of the Chilean progressive rock band Aisles as they landed in America for their first ever tour of the U.S. beginning with the recent “ProgStock Festival” in Rahway, NJ.
Vergara is highly enthusiastic about the band, its music and performing in America. He recognizes the difficulty with which many progressive rock bands (not named Genesis or Yes) have maintaining airplay and getting their music out to the masses. Progressive rock it seems is a genre that much like blues music is constantly under the radar, then seems to resurface only to fade away again; something he is very conscience of. “Chile is much harder, it’s hard everywhere,” he said speaking in realistic tones. “Chile is a very small country of only 17,000,000 people and that makes it harder to reach a larger audience. Progressive rock is a very hard style of music to make appealing but I think it’s really up to the musicians to make it interesting so that people want to listen, want to come out to see and hear the bands. Progressive music is growing in Europe and we are doing well there as is the case with many other bands so it’s all a matter of finding the right market; the style gets very little radio play like it did years ago.”
Music, perhaps more than any other art form tends to reach every corner, nook and cranny of the world and one might think that growing up in a small country like Chile would lessen one’s exposure to various forms. Vergara began playing guitar at the age of 11 and had some classic influences. “I loved Brian May of Queen,” he said with the enthusiasm of that same 11 year old. “May, then as I grew older Led Zeppelin and Jimmy Page, he is awesome. Steve Howe of Yes, I love Steve Howe. I’m not so sure if it affects my style of play today because I never imitate others in any manner; I like to think I’m an innovator (laughs).”
Named after the connecting piece that runs from the back of a theater to the stage, Aisles are still riding high off of their last record, a double album conceptual work titled, “Hawaii” which was released in 2016. According to Vergara, the band is, “Very happy with the results and sales to this point” and they are extremely happy with the, “Rave reviews” it has gotten as well. “Yes, we are very pleased with how the album was received. There is always pressure on you when you’re creative or when you create something so we are very much glad this one has done well. We are just about near the end of the cycle with this one and we are going to go back into studio once we return to Chile and start work on a new one.”
While on this first ever U.S. tour, they plan to promote their entire package of material as much as possible, relying on their live performance to seal the deal and win over American audiences that perhaps just listening to a recording cannot. “We plan on promoting the last CD, so we’ll be playing many tracks from that as well as our other three albums. Sometimes the studio can’t capture us as we sound live. We feel we have much more strength and a certain energy playing live that maybe is missing from studio recordings. We come to life on stage, we love to perform and feed off of the crowd’s energy too.”
Rahway, NJ witnessed it first hand and next up is Friday evening at, “Progtoberfest” in Chicago, IL with more U.S. dates to be announced shortly but for now, the band is soaking it all in, enjoying their first taste of American audiences. “We are very excited and look forward to meeting the fans in America. Once we get home we have a few more dates in Chile and then we start over (laughs).”
To discover more about Aisles, please visit www.aislesproject.com.
Danny Coleman (Danny Coleman is a veteran musician and writer from central New Jersey. He hosts a weekly radio program entitled “Rock On Radio” airing Sunday evenings at 10 p.m. EST on multiple internet radio outlets where he features indie/original bands and solo artists.)