A Chilean prog rock band on tour in Europe, not something you see every day. Aisles are over in Europe promoting their ‘Hawaii’ album (LTW review here). They have just one date in the UK at the Camden Barfly on 30th October, but they were more than happy to have a chat with LTW’s Mike Ainscoe – what they called “a pleasure to tell your readers more about our new album and our European tour.”
Louder Than War: You must be pretty pleased with the response to the new album – you’ve had some great reviews?
Aisles: We are very happy with the response, because so far not only most of them have been very good but some of them have even called the album a masterpiece. That is something that makes us really happy, and proud of what we did.
LTW: You got a fabulous feature in PROG magazine – can’t hurt to be lumped in with some of the big names in Progressive Rock?
Aisles: Not at all, it’s always nice to be recognised and the more exposure we get the better. Some of the bands that are featured in the magazine were our music heroes when we were younger so being there now is like a dream come true.
LTW: Has the coverage seemed to have any impact on boosting ticket sales?
Aisles: I think it has and more people are buying our music and merchandising now. The views on our YouTube videos have increased lately and what we’re getting more and more often are complaints that we’re not visiting more cities and countries. The album really seems to be touching people and that combined with the more coverage we’ve been getting is resulting in the growth of a very enthusiastic audience for the work that we do.
LTW: The step of making the album available as a free download was a bold one. What was the idea behind that?
Aisles: The idea is that an album so powerful and profound for us had to be heard by as many people as possible. We do this so that people can feel the things we felt, that is the primordial reason why we decided to share the album. This took us so much work and long hours of inspiration, writing sessions, rehearsals, etc, that you think it’s unfair not to share it with the world. We really want this message out.
LTW: There seem to be the usual influences and inspirations which impact on your writing. What sort of things are you listening to at the moment?
Aisles: Lately some of us in the band have been listening to Steven Wilson’s latest studio work (‘Hand. Cannot. Erase.’), David Bowie’s last album ‘Black Star’, Hiatus Kayote, Animals as Leaders, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Nordic Giants. We are always listening to fusion from many parts of the world.
LTW: What’s the music scene and the Prog scene like in Chile? What sort of following doe the band have at home?
Aisles:The local music scene is growing in Chile. Many indie alternative rock bands, some folk oriented rock bands, and of course there are good prog bands like Bauda, Crisálida, Tryo and the classic ones like Los Jaivas and Congreso. We have a very loyal audience that follows us anywhere we play. We play to around 200, 300 people each time and they are usually really excited to see us, they come and say hi after the shows, asked for their cods to be signed etc…
LTW: It must be quite a thrill getting across to Europe – is there anything in particular you’re looking forward to? Aside from playing the gigs obviously….
Aisles: Of course the main thing is to play to the local audiences and to our listeners from the places included on the tour. But we’d also like to create connections so as to come back to Europe very soon, perhaps be the supporting act of a bigger European band. Our record label is interested in a press and distribution deal here in Europe and we as a band would like to create more awareness of our music here in Europe.
LTW: Have you any expectations about the tour and the gigs? At home you are pretty established but you’re moving into unchartered territory!
Aisles:That’s true but we are confident because we have a good following here in Europe. Beyond how full the venues are, the fact that we are playing to new people and to people that have been expecting to see us live since the release of our first album ‘The Yearning’ is amazing in itself.
LTW: What’s the plan for the live show? With ‘Hawaii’ being a full on concept, are you playing the whole album straight through?
Aisles: Unfortunately for those who want to see the full album now, we decided not to do it this time because doing it without the visuals, light show, dialogues etc…wouldn’t be fair to the idea behind the album and could somehow undermine the real impact of the concept.
We did the full album live when we released the album in Santiago-Chile and it was a great show. People approached us later and some of them were really moved. Of course we had our complete staff and equipment and making that kind of show was possible because of that. Now in Europe we will show the best from our discography.
It is for this reason and also because many people have been expecting our visit that we decided to play music from all the albums. Of course most of the show will be focusing on ‘Hawaii’ because it’s our most recent work and we really want people to listen to it.
LTW: I suppose it might be difficult to play individual parts or songs as they are part of a bigger picture and concept?
Aisles: It is in a way because we sacrifice the continuity that it has on the album, but on the other hand we are very happy with those songs and we think they work great by themselves.
LTW: Having now done a ‘big’ album – a 2cd set…concept and story – have you thought about where you might go with the next album?
Aisles: Not at all. ‘Hawaii’ was born not having any preconception at all of what we were going to do next after ‘4:45 AM’ (the previous album). In that same way we don’t have any idea at all of where we will go now. That makes it even more interesting…
The Aisles website can be found at : http://www.aislesproject.com