Prog Archives - United Kingdom (by Torodd Fuglesteg)
Twenty years ago, a bottle of red wine was my first ever contact with anything from Chile. It was actually my first ever bottle of red wine. Not that I am an expert on wines. But Chile really have some inexpensive excellent red wines. Why do I talk red wine when I should talk progressive rock? Although I am stone cold sober, it is this association I got when I was listening to the third album Creciendo by Jaime Rosas Cuarteto. An album which in texture can be compared with a deep red Chilean wine. Jaime Rosas Cuarteto's excellent live album Viajero Astral - Live in Brazil was a real eye-opener and put this band on my list of bands I and the rest of us should check out. As I wrote in my review, Jaime Rosas Cuarteto is a seriously talented band and one of the better symphonic prog rock bands on this planet. The two studio albums I also bought confirmed my suspicions. I also found Jamie's website and decided to investigate this band further. This interview is a mix of a presentation of Jaime Rosas past, the Jaime Rosas Cuarteto albums, the present and the future. So without any further time wasting, I give you Jaime Rosas.
Besides of having to endure my more or less insane ramblings, what are you up to these days?
Composing, recording and mixing mainly. There are two contributions for the Finnish Progressive Music Association and Musea Records: one is Cani Arrabbiati, based on Italian movie themes, which I just finished; and the other is a song for Paradiso, the third part of The Divine Comedy, based on Dante´s work. I am also mixing and recording some final tracks for Flashback, my new solo album. Besides that, I have been enjoying a very good summer and have recently updated my home studio.
Over to that past and “this is your life” bit of the interview. How was your formative years? Were you self taught or did you get any formal musical education?
The first time music was made conscious, or revealed before me in a certain way, was when John Lennon died. During that December, The Beatles and Lennon sounded in every radio near me. So I guess that was my call, literally. My dad bought a big, very uncool organ and I began to play by myself, first by ear, and then I took some classes. My repertoire: mostly The Beatles, but within a couple of years I had discovered ELP, Yes, Deep Purple and Genesis. Abbey Road’s “B side” had a lot to do with that openness which let me discovered other music styles. I have formal music composition studies, although I am very much self made as a keyboardist. After high school, I had the chance to study Music Composition in an old fashion master-disciple way. My composition master, Roberto Escobar, is a classical musician, a very prolific composer and a very respected philosopher. By the time we worked together he was in his mid sixties, so there was a lot for him to teach me, no only in music, but in life as well. With him I studied, music theory, harmony, counterpoint, orchestration, analysis, etc. He was very open minded about the kind of music I wanted to compose, he comes from the atonal trend in music, but, apart from looking at me in a suspicious way when he heard my tonal compositions, everything went smoothly.
Which keyboardists / musicians have inspired you most?
Beside The Beatles, the first group of musicians have to be the ones from the classical world, mainly Beethoven and Stravinsky. These artists have been so important, that music changed forever, for good. In a way, they belong to a very unique group of people (along with Newton, Einstein, Freud, Jung, Leonardo DaVinci, to name a few) who have transformed their own disciplines helping to the growth of human kind. Next, there’s a group of keyboardists, who definitely have influenced me in composition, and performing: Keith Emerson, Rick Wakeman, Jon Lord and Tony Banks. I mean, you can be both, a rock star and a “classical composer”, talking about balance in life. From this side of the world there are remarkable bands who definitely have influenced me a lot: Congreso and Los Jaivas, from Chile; and Seru Giran, from Argentina. Finally, there is a group of musicians that don´t come from an obvious influence area of a prog musician, but they have been so important in my development and motivation as an artist: Iron Maiden, Metallica, Led Zeppelin, Electric Light Orchestra, Bon Jovi (I know I just lost some potential fans here), Frank Sinatra, Pat Metheny, Chick Corea, Jean Luc Ponty, John Williams, Danny Elfman, Journey, Queen, Triumph and Vangelis. Nowadays I like Dream Theater very much.
Jaime Rosas Cuarteto has it's roots in another prog rock band from Chile called Entrance. You were still a member there when you released your first solo album. Please tell us more about Entrance and the three studio albums and the live album you recorded with them.
Entrance was formed in 1997, we were just a group of musician friends who wanted to make “music with the spirit of the seventies, with a contemporary attitude”. Meaning: compose, record and perform, thinking about music first, and not about being popular, having a hit song or being famous (although it is always welcomed). The real strange thing is that I have travelled, have met so many people, I have been interviewed a lot, that many times I have actually felt like a mainstream musician. We released our first record (Entrance) in 1999. In 2000 the drummer left for personal reasons, and singer and bassist also left to pursue a popular career in music. In 2002 we released En la Tierra (On the Earth) with a new, and now, classic formation. The Mexican tour was recorded in 2003 and release in 2006 as Odisea (Odyssey: Live in Mexico). Finally, in 2008, we released our third studio album Entre Dos Mundos (Between Two Worlds).
What is it's future plans for Entrance?
Honestly, I just want to make music, compose, record and tour. It is sometimes hard to coordinate this with other musicians who have, as myself, day jobs. So that has been an important reason why sometimes I record with Entrance and sometimes as a solo artist. The only short term plan with Entrance is the recording of a song for Paradiso, the third part of The Divine Comedy, the project sponsored by Finnish Progressive Music Association and Musea Records. Of course that can change in the near future, and it would be nice, since I love the band and we have lived so many wonderful times together.
How is the music scene in Chile and South America these days?
Very healthy, more underground that it should be and full of talented musicians. From a very personal point of view there are very good performers, but talented composers are rare, progressive music should not rely on endless repetition of simples structures, it should be based in the search for structures and harmonic and melodic progressions (hence the name?). Author Edward Macan, defines Progressive Rock in his book Endless Enigma as a philosophy that is founded in five basic premises: idealism, authenticity, transcendence, the artist and progress. For a full definition, see my blog (http://www.jaimerosas.com/Blog/Entries/2007/2/1_February_2007.html) I agree with him and this means that is not enough to be a good performer. Back to the question (sorry), the last world economic crisis generated many problems for a lot of Prog festivals. So that part of the music scene has been living a real bad cycle, hopefully, we will return to normal. Labels, on the other hand, are betting almost everything on the internet, which is a risky move. Let’s see what happens.
Over to Jaime Rosas Cuarteto. Please give us a presentation of Virgo. The music, the recording, lyrics, the musicians, the artwork, the tracks.
Virgo (2002) is my first solo album, it has, in my opinion, the best music I have composed, but, sadly to say, the worst sound as well. It is a keyboard based album, all the music is instrumental, except one song. Virgo starts with Plegaria (Prayer), the deep, peaceful moment in which, before a difficult journey, you connect with the gods and ask for wisdom, clarity and success. The main composition of the CD is the Symphony, a four movement, 33 minute opus in which I invested several months of composing. I would love to record an acoustic version of it, you know, besides the regular keyboards, it should have a real orchestra behind it. I’m planning to compose another symphony and recorded it with a real orchestra by 2013, it would be an appropriate opportunity to re record this first Symphony. A trade mark of this and other albums are the Brief Rock Pieces, which stands for 2-3 minute instrumental rock music. In Virgo, I recorded numbers 1 to 5. They have proven to be real good in live concerts after playing 20 minute compositions, the audience tends to rest and just let their rock n’ roll spirits out. Lluvia (Rain) is the only song of the album, vocals are sung by Jaime Scalpello, Entrance’s singer. At the time of the recording I didn’t have much money so I was invited to use a studio in their non working hours, it could be 40 minutes in the morning, 1 hour at the evening, or the whole night. I remember several days in which I didn’t sleep at all during that time, good times I must say.
Please give us a presentation of Extremos. The music, the recording, lyrics, the musicians, the artwork, the tracks.
Extremos (2004) is my second album, now in a trio format, with my bandmates from Entrance Rodrigo Godoy (bass, guitars and vocals) and Alex von Chrismar (drums). We used the name “Jaime Rosas Trio” to promote this CD and the following tour. This time we had a studio at our disposal, but we didn’t have much time, so in an absolute career record, we made the album (recording, mixing and even some composition) in just three or four days. The concept of this album is the coexistence of two opposite styles in music: the rock side and the calmer side. In this CD I recorded another set of five Brief Rock Pieces, number 6 has become a real hit in concerts. Not girls-screaming-hit but, you know, people really enjoying and some screaming (mostly male though). Extremos also has two piano pieces: Sonido Vital (Vital Sound) 1 and 2, the first one has a classical approach, and a really cool thing happens when I played it live: people listen in a moving, respectful silence. To a performer, that is everything. Tiempos de Paz (Times of Peace), also in the calmer side, is a kind of new age composition with just keyboards. Extremos ends with Viajero Astral (Astral Traveller), the classic prog composition of this work. It is the first part of a three movement mega work. The second part is El Mito del Eterno Retorno (The Myth of the Eternal Return) from Creciendo (2005) and the last is Magica (Magic) from Entrance’s Entre Dos Mundos (2008). As a whole, is a 45 minute composition. Viajero Astral tells the story of a space and time traveller. We also recorded a version of YYZ from Rush but we couldn’t release it because permissions didn’t arrive, you can hear it in www.jaimerosas.com/Music.html. This CD was mixed and produced by Rodrigo Godoy.
Please give us a presentation of Creciendo. The music, the recording, lyrics, the musicians, the artwork, the tracks.
Creciendo (Growing) was released in 2005, guitarist Javier Sepulveda joined the band, so now we are Jaime Rosas Quartet, or “Cuarteto” in Spanish. As you may have noticed, in each CD the name of the band changes (I know I have to look for advice in marketing and branding, I’m working on it). This album also has a good balance between heavy and calm moments. It has a track called Un Volcan en las Nubes (A Volcano in the Clouds) which I composed looking at the magnificent Villarrica Volcano, in southern Chile. One particular day a set of clouds have formed on it’s base so you could only see the top half of the volcano. It is orchestrated for electric guitar and Pipe Organ. Another favorite is La Hermandad del Fin del Mundo (The Brotherhood of the End of the World) scored for piano, acoustic guitar, soft percussion and voice (without lyrics). It was first composed for a DVD featuring landscapes of southern Chile. One particular day a set of clouds have formed on it’s base so you could only see the top half of the volcano. It is orchestrated for electric guitar and Pipe Organ. Another favorite is La Hermandad del Fin del Mundo (The Brotherhood of the End of the World) scored for piano, acoustic guitar, soft percussion and voice (without lyrics). It was first composed for a DVD featuring landscapes of southern Chile.
My favorite track though is without a doubt El Mito del Eterno Retorno (The Myth of the Eternal Return), which is heavy, real heavy: heavy lyrics, heavy composition structure, and heavy performance. The lyrics are based in the inevitable return to itself, to the real inner truth; and also to the return to the South side of the world after a mystical voyage. The artwork shows a magic place where wisdom and knowledge is an everyday goal for the people who live there, humans and people from other planets (a theme that was fully developed in Magica, from Entrance’s Entre Dos Mundos - 2008). So you can see these ancient trees called “Araucarias”, a hidden city, plenty of vegetation, mountains and this human figure full of light. Southern Chile is a land that has many myths and regular UFO sightings. Creciendo was recorded and mixed during a three month period, since we worked in one of the bandmates’ studio, we took all the time we needed. Rodrigo Godoy again mixed and produced this recording.
You are currently working on a new album, according to your Twitter feed. What can we expect from this album?
You know when you are reading a book, and at the end of a chapter, the author makes a summary? Well, that is Flashback, my new album. It has a certain look to the past, with compositions that I have never recorded and new music that has strong connections with my history in the form of music themes and guest musician friends. As always, it doesn’t have an obvious stylistic unity so you will find the classic 20 minute prog opus; a very relaxed-jazzy-piano-guitar duet, a formal verse-chorus song, a couple of heavy instrumental pieces and of course, Flashback: the summary of my approach to music, in which different styles and moods are mixed together.
I have already touched upon your live album Viajero Astral - Live in Brazil which I think is a real eye-opener of an album. Please tell us more about this live album and how it was recorded.
It was recorded during the Creciendo Tour by Bob Nagy and mixed in Chile by Rodrigo Godoy, that particular show was held in Rio Art Rock Festival, where we played with Nektar. I love playing in theaters, the energy is so different, I think the audience is more comfortable so it all comes to music and people in a direct and honest way. Everybody should go to Brazil at least once. In this amazing country everything is sports, music, girls and a “don’t worry be happy” approach to life. They can be filled with problems, but they are always open, enjoying, healthy, smiling. So the whole Brazilian tour was having a good time, and that particular show just followed that trend. This was one of those shows where after playing, you go to the lobby of the theater, and you meet the audience, in a one-by-one basis. It doesn’t get better than that: talking and knowing that many people, taking pictures, signing records, and just hanging around with them. I really appreciate this after show, it fills me with energy to keep composing, recording and touring. The show itself was very enjoyable, the band played very tight, the onstage sound was excellent and I remember we all had a wonderful time. One good anecdote: in this festivals, it is common that a section of the theater’s lobby is reserved to sell records and music related items. So we all had spots: Nektar, Rock Symphony (Brazil’s Prog Label and producers of the festival), some other merchant and ourselves. There’s this friendly competition for who sells the most, so every guy does his best. So we used this very basic strategy: Barbara, our drummer's girlfriend, had joined us for this part of the tour, and we gave her the mission to sell CD’s. She is a blue-eyed blonde with a very direct and outgoing personality, and, as (male) logic dictates, we sold all of our CD’s and just crushed the competition.
I guess you will not be mortally wounded if I say that both fans of Dream Theater and ELP will get a lot of pleasure from both this live album and your three studio albums. But how would you describe your own music?
This is a tough one, because music is, as musicologist Jaime Donoso remarks, “a self-referenced language that doesn't need to be translated in emotions or symbols because it has a meaning by itself”. It is always difficult to describe music with words since you will always fall short. One alternative is to use comparisons: my music can be compared to prog rockers, such as ELP or Yes.
It also makes references to classic romantic nineteenth century composers because of the search of new structures and tonality. Other alternative is to use music concepts to make the description: I try to keep a balance in every music element, so there’s room for harmony, melody, rhythm, structure and orchestration. A third way to describe my music is by the message I want to communicate: positiveness, finding your own way, hope and friendship. Finally, it can also be described as how it sounds: a lot of keyboards, solo analog sounds, with peaceful, calm moments and that alternate with strength and rock n’ roll with heavy guitars and drums, and Spanish lyrics (though that will change in the future).
How is your record label situation and the distribution of your albums both in South America and in the rest of the world? What is your experiences with the music / record industry?
In the politically incorrect part of the interview, I must say that in my experience, the music industry is awful. Not only in prog or similar styles, but as a whole. This is a bad time to be a musician (as a business). The music industry is made of a value chain consisting in musicians, labels, media, live show industry, music stores and audience. The goal of labels, media, live show industry and music stores is to bring musicians and audiences closer, but in doing so, they should work together, in long term business relations, knowing that they need each other to succeed. Now, this gets very complex because of piracy, and, as revenues had fall, my perception is that everybody is trying to win as much money as they can in a short term basis, fearing that business will die soon, dangerously forgetting about the importance of working together and trying to come up with new business models. This is a time of change in the industry, there are, and there will be many wounded. What I have seen? Labels invest as little as they can in recordings, the marketing is poor and the distribution is very reactive-oriented. Music stores and labels had suffer the most since they didn’t understand that they sell music, not CD’s (iTunes understood this and they achieved an impressive market share in a very short time). Musicians have the illusion that they don´t need a label in order to succeed (since the internet is free...). The live show industry has now a tendency for tribute bands (maybe the art of composition is somehow lost), is it difficult to compete with that. And the media, I miss music related journalism, almost everything is mainstream, and it’s not even about the music, it’s about sales, fame, and sensationalism, who is dating who; but there is a part of the media, mostly internet based, that is doing a very good job, but, even though I’m optimistic, the long term effects are yet to be seen. I must add that this whole situation has discouraged many talented musicians and composers to keep going, I think it’s a mistake, but I understand them. My own experience with labels and the music industry as a whole has been mostly negative. Now, what will happen? In my opinion, labels, as we know them today, will disappear; they will turn into highly specialized marketing companies. The recording process will be in charge of the musicians and their home studios (more affordable each year), and distribution will be mostly through light speed internet, so almost only marketing is left. We need aggressive labels to do their marketing job, it doesn’t matter if the music industry will be real or virtual, labels have an importamt task to do, but they need to act now or they will be shut by others.
Your Twitter feed also describe an album with Italian film music you are currently working on. Please tell us more about this album.
It is a project sponsored by the Finnish Progressive Music Association and Musea Records. The CD is called Cani Arrabbiati (Rabid Dog) which is a term used to describe Italian essay movies of the 60's and 70's (Horror, Police, Spaghetti Westerns, etc.). It features many musicians, mostly from Europe, each on of us had to make new arrangements of Italian film music. I chose The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, by Ennio Morricone, which is the classic Clint Eastwood western music theme; The Great Duel, by Louis Bacalov, mostly known for Tarantino’s Kill Bill; One Silver Dollar, by Gianni Ferrio, also used by Tarantino in Inglorious Basterds; and Tentacles, by Stelvio Cipriani. The arrangements are mostly keyboards with some acoustic guitars and percussion.
You are also working on a rock opera. Please tell us more about this project.
It is the kind of project that I would love to be remembered for. Honestly, I think that music is a mean for something greater, an instrument to express ideas and ideals. This rock opera stands for everything I believe in life, it’s the story of a soldier first in war and then back home and all the changes he goes through. The score is composed for rock band (drums, guitar, bass and keyboards), string orchestra, vocals and chorus. I’m taking all the time needed for this composition, and ETA is March 2011.
I guess music does not fill every hour of your life. What else are you up to and how is life in Chile?
Well, yeah, back to real life... I have a Human Resources Consulting Company, besides musician I am a psychologist and MBA. We focus mainly in executive coaching, leadership and teamwork. I do not complain, I have never complained, this other side of me allows me to make the music I have always wanted, helps to pay the bills, and gives me peace of mind to think big in music. I would love to be a full time musician, that’s for sure, but in this time of history, the kind of music I compose is not commercial, so I have taken another road. Some fellow musicians have migrated to pop music, others have entered the advertising music business, others can’t pay the bills. My choice has been the development of other area of interest. I release one album a year and have played and keep playing in many different places, so it has worked for me. I know this is a common issue for non commercial artists, everywhere in the world, but it’s ok, our adaptation skills are tested everyday.
Life in Chile is wonderful, I live in Santiago, where the climate is awesome, like in LA. The sea is 90 minutes to the West, by car; and the mountains (and snow) are 60 minutes away to the East. Chile has a remarkable stable environment in both economics and politics, so it is rather different from the others countries of the region. It is an open economy and it’s main exportations are copper, cellulose, wines, salmon and fruits. Landscapes vary a lot, starting from the driest desert in the world in the far north, to the glacier zone in the far south. There are wonderful beaches, lakes, mountains and forests. It is a wonderful place to live. Soccer is the most popular game and we have always have good tennis players too.
Anything you want to add to this interview?
Just like to say thank you for the interview, I had a great time answering it and recalling many anecdotes of recording and touring. I try to follow my own path in an honest way, and in doing that, I have known different people, cultures and countries, so it all makes perfect sense. I’m really grateful with life. Thank you.
Best Regards, Jaime Rosas.
Marquee Magazine - Japan (by Nobuhisa Nakanishi)
Who is the musical leader of ENTRANCE?
I'm afraid there no such thing as a formal musical leader in Entrance, we are five friends that love music and try to do our best to have a good band, each one from their own dexterity. I am though, the main composer and the responsible for the more prog compositions. But this band has always have a double style conception: a formal, classic prog style and a more direct rock oriented style. Richard Pilnik (Entrance's guitar player) has always the responsible for the latter. As I have formal compositions studies, when I compose, I tend to compose every part (except guitar solos). I like to work with the whole picture so in a way, I am sometimes seen like the musical leader but frankly, I am not. This has produced a very healthy result, everybody in this band contributes and is happy with that contribution. Sometimes I don't like the style some song is taking but that's ok because this is not Jaime Rosas' band. That formula has worked for us because we do not make a living with Entrance, we do it just for the music; so we have to be happy, each and everyone of us.
Weren't you involved in the original formation of ENTRANCE? In Japan, people think that you played a main role in forming the band, but when I read the latest biography, it seems that you were invited to join.
Well, yeah, I was invited indeed. What most people don't know though, is that Entrance was not a prog band at the moment, therefore, I was called to make it prog. So I worked in the composition of intros, instrumental parts, solos and bridges of the songs they had, always trying to respect the original spirit of the songs which in fact, were very good songs, not prog, but very good songs. The only songs composed after I arrived were Extraños Entre Dos Mundos, which I composed with Claudio Morice (former vocalist) and Alas Fugaces, composed with Claudio as well, since he wrote the lyrics. Those were the most progressive tracks of our first album, Entrance (1999). For our second album, En la Tierra (2002), I composed most of the music and half of the lyrics and since we had new musicians (vocalist, bassist and drummer) I was often looked as a former member. That album was very successful, in fact, most of the people first heard Entrance back then, so that helped me to be known as the original member as well; the truth is that Richard Pilnik is the only original musician of Entrance. That's the main reason why, when I left Entrance between 2004 and 2006, although Rodrigo and Alex left with me, and Richard didn't continue Entrance, I didn't use that name for the new band.
Please briefly explain your musical background, career and major influences.
Musical background: Formal composition studies (in fact I have always seen myself more a composer than a keyboardist), as a lyricist a psychology degree has helped me a lot, I love to read as well.
Career: 4 albums with Entrance, 4 albums as a solo artist. Many collaborations with other artists in Rock, Folk and Pop.
Major Influences: Beethoven, Stravinsky, The Beatles, ELP, YES, Genesis, Dream Theater, Vangelis, John Williams, Danny Elfman, Chick Corea, Pat Metheny, Iron Maiden, Frank Sinatra. Non musical influences: Abraham Maslow, Carl Jung, Richard Bach, Herman Hesse, G.I. Gurdjieff, J.K. Rowling, Steven Spielberg. M. Night Shyamalan, Cameron Crowe, George Lucas. Chilean influences: Roberto Escobar, my composition master; Dario Salas (aka John Baines) a remarkable philosopher, and several professors at the university.
Was there any Chilean band that influenced ENTRANCE?
We are mostly influenced by british and north american music, because those were the bands that made bigger impressions when we were young (ELP, Yes, Genesis, etc.). A chilean band called Los Jaivas, was a big influence as well, since they made excellent concept albums in the 70s and 80s.
Is your sound reflecting Chilean ethnic character and identity? Or is your sound essentially based on that of the West?
Music is, I would say, 95% influenced by west music. In chronological order that would be Bach, Beethoven, Stravinsky, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, ELP, Yes, Genesis, Deep Purple, Vangelis, Dream Theater, to name the first ones that come to mind. Only few true chilean music is on our compositions and it is not obvious, since I like to take some chilean elements, specially accented 6/8 and 3/4 metrics, for instance, but avoiding to sound as if we were a ethnic character band. Alex von Chrismar, our drummer, has a very latin feel in his style, a certain flavor that is only seen in Latin American drummers. Lyrics, on the other hand, have a strong connection with our land, in fact most of my lyrics refer to southern Chile, an extremely beautiful land full of volcanoes, rivers, lakes, forests, mysteries, myths, and UFO sightings.
Do you stick to Spanish in terms of lyrics, song titles and concepts?
Yes, all our lyrics, song titles and concepts are in spanish. As the music has mainly a traditional western progressive style, spanish is one of our main differentiators. It can be a wall though, if you don't understand, personally I like to understand the lyrics of the bands. I have heard wonderful bands from all over the world but when they start to sing in languages I don't understand it's hard to listen deeply. That has happened to me with bands from Italy, Poland and Germany, to name a few. Maybe that's one of the main reasons Entrance's music has strong audiences in latin america but in the rest of the world is still a rarity.
What is the major difference between your solo activities and ENTRANCE?
My first solo album (Virgo-2003) is a keyboard instrumental album, it has only one formal song (performed by Jaime Scalpello). I wrote it that way because, since I was playing with Entrance at the time, I wanted to write a very different album, a way to justify a solo effort and not just make a clone of the current band (which is something many solo artists tend to do). Although the sound of Virgo was not good, the music is, humbleness apart, very good. I am specially proud of the Symphony which is about 60% of the album; I'm really looking forward to record it again with a real orchestra. My second solo album (Extremos-2004) has a trio format, with Entrance's bandmates Rodrigo (bass, guitar, vocals) and Alex (drums). We were still in Entrance at the time and the story is the following: when we toured Mexico with Entrance in 2003, we were promoting En La Tierra and I had a segment of the show to play some music from Virgo; it turns out that I got invited for 2004 to play music of my solo career, but since Virgo is a keyboard oriented album and I didn't want to play with sequencers and pre recorded backgrounds, I wrote an album for that tour: Extremos, which was recorded in just two days. And again, I didn't want to sound like Entrance, so it is a 90% instrumental album. In some tracks I only play synth bass and Rodrigo plays guitar. My third solo album (Creciendo-2005) was recorded when we were no longer in Entrance so I added a formal guitar player. That album is what Entrance would sound if I were the formal leader of the band: a balance between instrumental and sung tracks, a wider range of sounds from new age to heavy rock, short and extensive tracks. Later, in 2007, Rock Symphony, the brazilian prog label, released a live album of the Brazilian tour of Creciendo, it's called Viajero Astral: JRC Live in Brazil. So, the main differences of my solo career and Entrance is a wider sense of composition, a different sonic approach (specially the two first albums), and more instrumental and complex tracks.
In your biography, you wrote, "learned under a renowned composer; ranked number-one in the charts with DIVA; got a psychology degree and an MBA, wrote a novel; work in the human resources consulting industry, joined ENTRANCE." This is really a career. Is it really true?
It is all really true, let me address each one of those events. My formal musical education is based on classical composition, as I had the chance to study in a master-disciple format with Roberto Escobar Budge, a renowned classical composer, for four years. With him I specifically studied musical theory, harmony, counterpoint, orchestration, structure, musical history and analysis. He lived in a house near the sea in Llolleo, a city about two hours from mine, so twice a week I went to his home, showed him the work I have done and work on new things, all day long. Roberto never told what to compose, but he did teach me how to compose; in other words, he gave the tools, but it was always my choice and responsibility to choose what to do with those tools. And the answer was pretty simple, since I have always loved classical music and rock (in most of its forms), progressive rock was a natural choice for me. In the early nineties I really wanted to make a living with music so I auditioned to play with DIVA a rock band with Van Halen, Motley Crue, Bon Jovi and Journey influences. Those were absolutely magnificent years, as the band was very popular in Chile. So we had a big fun club, a contract with a major label, managers, played on TV shows, sponsors, etc. I learned a lot in those years, not much about music itself, because it was rather simple, but recording sessions, playing live and a deep look inside the music business (which I learned to dislike a lot). In this 4 year period in the lighter side of music I eventually did make a living (most of the times anyway) but I was not musically satisfied, so when the band split up, I look for other ways. And complete other ways they turned to be. My dilemma was that I really wanted to stay true to my inner music and I want to make a living with music as well. But stay true to myself meant at least two things: not going back to popular music and not working in advertising; sadly those were the two things most musicians in Chile did to earn money on a regular basis. So I decided to enter the university and study psychology, that way could make a living as a psychologist and I would compose what I really wanted and never move a quarter note away from that. 5 years later I got my psychology degree, I specialized in Organizational Psychology and became a human resources consultant. A few years later I specialized even more and got an MBA degree in a two year program. Those years at the University produced an unexpected effect: I began to write lyrics, short stories and even a novel (unpublished until now). So I began to play with Entrance in the mid years of university and since then I have released 8 albums, 4 with Entrance and 4 as a solo artist. Now I am forty years old, I am currently working in a new solo album, entitled Flashback, and I am writing a musical called Opera. Besides ENTRANCE, I am also playing keyboards with TORKE, a prog fusion band lead by Javier Sepulveda, the next guitar hero from this part of the world. And in my parallel life, with two colleagues, this year we are starting our own Human Resources Consulting Firm. So yes, all those thing are true; I have had a pretty busy and amusing life until now, I might add.
Please introduce us to the composer whom you learned under, Roberto Escobar Budge.
Roberto Escobar (born in 1926) is a chilean composer and philosopher. He studied composition at the National Conservatory in Chile and Electronic Music at the Manhatttan School of Music. He has composed over 100 musical works, including 5 symphonies and 4 string quartets. In his academic life he has been Senior Professor in the Universidad de Chile and Professor Extraordinary in the Universidad Catolica de Valparaiso. From 1971 till 1992 he was Visiting Professor in the University of Missouri (USA), where he was appointed Honorary Professor in 1989. His music could be defined as experimental, atonal, with many sonic color contrasts; he is what one could define as a true contemporary classical composer. Roberto has published several books about music and philosophy as well.
What kind of work was the novel you wrote in your psychology days?
It is called The Story of a Man, is a narration about the key moments of a man’s life in which he understands his purpose in this world as he helps other people to overcome difficult situations, such as drug abuse, abortion and delinquency. As you would expect from a first novel, it is very autobiographic in terms of dreams, intentions, and ambitions. It’s has never been published yet.
How has the prog rock in Chile grown?
My generation almost never saw major international artists live (artists outside latin america to be more precise) when we were teenagers or even young adults. For economic and political reasons too, the bands didn't come to Chile. With chilean economic growth in the eighties, that began to change and suddenly every single artist you really liked was in front of you. I remember the very first big concert (maybe since day one) was Rod Stewart in 1987. It was a very good show with 70.000 people. After that, every artist began to consider Chile on their agendas and the quantity of international live shows increased dramatically in every style: Chick Corea, Jean Luc Ponty, Bon Jovi, Deep Purple, Aerosmith, Peter Gabriel, Michael Jackson, Elton John, Paul McCartney, etc. This produced an outstanding amount of energy in music lovers and many bands, labels, radio shows and magazines were formed since then. In the mid nineties, most of active prog bands came to Chile, like ELP, Yes, Marillion, Rick Wakeman, Jethro Tull, IQ, etc., and that was a boost for chilean prog rock. We are a small country, with 16 million people, but we have so many excellent prog bands. So I would say that in the last ten years, prog rock in Chile has grown dramatically. Needless to say, is not mainstream but is very respected and has a solid audience.
Under the military regime, could rock be active?
Very active, because rock has always been a way of rebelling against authority figures and a military regime is indeed one. But since it was not as hard regime as the ones in Cuba, North Korea, The Soviet Union, or others, these bands could actually exist and many of them in a mainstream way, especially in the eighties. There were labels, magazines, radio shows and a lot of concerts. Rock bands with direct messages against the government were banned from TV though (but that gave them more popularity, as it always happens when you ban artists). We were isolated because of political and economic reasons, so very few bands came to Chile. That meant that a very big movement of rock bands was born in Chile and four or five actually made it outside Chile to the whole latin american market, which is about 500 million people.
In Japan, only Los Jaivas was known among earnest rock maniacs. Were they popular? Was there any other band with nation-wide popularity?
They still are very popular because their style is a mix of progressive and folk. They use chilean and latin american instruments and have deep roots of the continent music elements on their compositions. There is another band called CONGRESO, which has a similar approach on their style but with a jazzy feeling and with more virtuosity. Both bands have been active since the late 60s and are still playing.
Had there been any prog rock label before Mylodon was formed?
Mylodon (which is named before a dinosaur that lived in southern Chile), is the first prog rock label in Chile. Although before Mylodon you could still rely on big labels that had specialized small labels within them, the work Juan Barrenechea (the label's CEO) has done is absolutely remarkable. He is one of the main responsible of the growth of prog, not only in Chile, but through out the continent.
Tell us about Santiago Art Rock Festival (promoter, scale, number of audience, etc.)
Santiago Art Rock is a two day festival held in Santiago every year. It is still a rather small festival, with audiences ranging between 200-400 people per night. Typically, 4 to 6 bands play in each festival. I believe that only bands from latin america have performed there, from Mexico, Argentina and Chile.
In South America, Brazil and Argentina may be known as the developed country in terms of rock. Do you have any exchange with artists in neighboring countries?
Yes, actually I have toured Argentina and Brazil in my solo career, and we have played with musicians from Argentina and Brazil in those countries, Chile and Mexico. I am afraid though, that progressive rock has not the strength you could expect from Argentina and Brazil, that have such solid musical heritage. Argentina had one of the biggest prog bands of the continent: Seru Giran, their records are full of all the musical elements every prog fan expects.
Chile has many earthquakes like Japan, which makes me familiar with the country. What impression do you have about Japan?
I associate Japan, first of all, with two major concepts: wisdom and resilience. Wisdom, because you have a wider view of life, respect for the elder, the ability of being both work oriented and good planners and the ability to observe. Resilience (the capacity of people to cope with stress and catastrophe), because the time between the end of the Second World War and the leadership you took in the world, was extremely short; that says a lot about the rare ability of learning fast, looking to the future, not letting hate rule your life and working towards a shared goal. In my humble opinion you have a kind of balance that is rarely seen in human history. Maybe earthquakes has something to do with it. In Chile we have majors earthquakes every decade and we are used to it, not only in terms of not having fear to earthquakes, but we, as chileans, are used to reconstruct parts of the country every now and then, so we have developed a very high sense of solidarity, shared goals and mutual support. Other impressions I have about Japan is the high tech and excellence-oriented workforce: Toyota, Sony, Korg, Yamaha, Honda, Nintendo, Konica, Minolta, Nissan, Subaru, Mitsubishi, Casio, etc. are examples of remarkable achievements, that have brought positive things not only to you, but to the whole world. And not only in terms of products but best practices as well, for example, in Chile some companies have adopted the Toyota Method for quality. Other personal keywords for Japan: Karate, Ultraman, Ultraseven, Godzilla, Akira Kurosawa, Budokan, high speed trains, sushi, Mount Fuji, Toshiro Mifune and Ken Watanabe.
Do you know any Japanese artist?
Ars Nova, Isao Tomita, Gerard, Kitaro, Makoto Ozone, Seiji Ozawa and KBB. In our first mexican tour with Entrance, we met Ars Nova, at the Baja Prog Festival. Talented, nice and wild girls. I like their music, full of tension, virtuosity and strength.
Juan told me that you are preparing a new studio solo album. Can you tell more about this as well ? Title, planned date, musical direction etc.?
It is called Flashback, and its direction has changed since I first started the composition process. It was going to be a full keyboard and computer album and I was really happy with the sound, but I have never been a fan of playback and sequencing on live situations. So the original keyboard parts was divided into keyboards and guitar; and all the computer based drum programming is now being recorded by a real drummer (at least through most of the record).
I recall that in 2006 Entrance did one off re-union gig as your farewell concert. Please tell your memory upon this concert.
Well, we never had the chance to play a farewell concert mainly because we didn’t want to play at all; you know, maybe the one thing that has sustained this band is friendship and in mid 2004, our personal relations were not as we liked, so a farewell concert was not something we were looking forward. But time heals most of things and it certainly does that to human relations, so in 2006 everything was different: we have had some time without seeing each other and, as friends, we kind to began to miss each other, and certainly some fans began to miss us as well. In fact, this concert was organized by fans and it was an opportunity to show what we have been doing since 2004. It was a very special evening indeed. The show began with Jaime Scalpello (Entrance’s singer) showing his solo album with Alex von Chrismar, Entrance’s drummer in the band. Then Astralis, the solo project led by Richard Pilnik played (with me on keyboards). Later on, JRC (my solo band played (with Entrance’s drummer and bassist). So when Entrance finally played everything was friendship and rock n’ roll. The audience was so pleased and we all were extremely happy.
How did the Entrance reunion in 2008 happened?
This farewell concert was indeed a pre reunion concert, because it really settled things up among us. For me it meant a sign of putting thing back and working towards a shared future, so a couple of weeks later I told my Alex and Rodrigo, my bandmates in my solo project (and former Entrance’s drummer and bassist) their opinion of putting on hold JRC and playing again with Entrance; they both agreed and it was as simple as that. I remember we discussed the reunion with Richard Pilnik (guitarist) and everything went smooth. Later on I phoned Jaime Scalpello (vocalist) and he said something like I was waiting for this call for some time now, let’s do it.
Please tell how the making process of the Entre Dos Mundos went, and how do you think about the album. Many fans in Japan consider Entre Dos Mundos as the best Entrance album. How do you feel about this opinion?
I am extremely happy with this album, I also consider that is our best work, for many reasons. First, it is an honest album, as we declare without any complex that our band has a double style, progressive and direct-rock oriented; we can play a 15 minute opus or a 3 minute song having fun, enjoying and fulfilling our musical needs. Second, we have matured as musicians, I think it is a well performed work. Third, we recorded this album for ourselves, staying true to our own musical vision and when we play live, the audience can sense that, you know watching musicians honestly enjoying their performance is a good thing to see. The recording process was somehow different to other recordings as we didn’t record the drums first in most of the album. In Voces Ahogadas and Magica (my two compositions, 15 minutes each) and Hijos de Bagdad (Scalpello’s songs), the keyboards were recorded first. I recorded the tempo tracks and then I added all the keyboards, including solos, in my Logic-based home studio. I tend to be a control freak composer and I wanted to set the exact tempos and accents for my music. I also wanted to set a difference between tight-up-studio recording and loosen-up live performance.
Progresiva 70s - Argentina (by Humberto Luna)
Tell us about the origins of Entrance
The band was born in late 1997 and since then, we promise to make progressive music, there was a special magic because everyone wanted to do more or less the same, we had a common way of feeling the music. The first thing we did was some covers, I remember we played Deep Purple ‘s Child in Time, ELP’s Fanfare for a Common Man, Dream Theater’s Pull Me Under, Tom Sawyer by Rush and some songs from Queen and Journey. In parallel to that, we started working on songs for our first album. It was a long and exhausting process, since the new album was released in early 2000. In the first three years of Entrance each one of us defined our musical priorities; during that period our drummer decided to leave the band to spend more time with his family and our singer and bassist left as well, looking for a musical style that could compensate them financially. In a sense, our first album and the first years of life were transitional to finally reach what is now Entrance. With the composition of our second record (En la Tierra, 2002) the process of reforming the band made sense: we get along musically and interpersonally; each one of us has a place in the group, everyone is very happy with the results; and we all hope to project that in the future. With this training we have also defined our style: progressive rock in a classic sense, with experimental structures, in harmony, orchestration, in counterpoint and composition in general, instrumental virtuosity, and short stories in letters.
What are your favorite keyboard players and composers?
My favorite keyboard players are quite varied: of course Keith Emerson and Rick Wakeman, but perhaps more important than how they play, I profoundly admire their respect for the historical tradition -Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Sibelius, Copland, Prokoffiev, etc; and their attitude towards music: against-all-odds personality and thinking big. Then there's Jon Lord, Chick Corea, Tony Banks, Kevin Moore (first keyboardist of Dream Theater) and Vangelis. My favorite composers are Beethoven and Stravinsky certainly; in the so-called classical music I think we can find the biggest contribution in composition. My opinion is that music has never have a more more important pinnacle than with Beethoven, he is the climax of creation and thanks to him, music returned for a while the gods themselves. John Williams and Danny Elfman have also been big influences; and of course, The Beatles. I think the vast majority of popular music is a reinterpretation of the work of the Beatles, they, largely completed this genre; they composed everything that could be composed within the framework of popular music, after them, popular music moved elsewhere, to new sounds, studio work, orchestrations, lyrical themes, the look of the musicians, dancing, video clips, etc. I think the Beatles paved the way for progressive music, after them, the logical evolution was to continue experimenting with structure, adding a little bit of classic music but not ignoring the rock instrumentation, direct lyrics, solos and that attitude of hero that commonly have rockers like Hendrix, Emerson, Ozzy, Van Halen, Cliff Burton, and Portnoy, for mention a few.
Do you listen to music outside prog?
Of course, I mentioned some, Beethoven, Stravinsky, The Beatles, Chick Corea, Deep Purple, Vangelis. I quite like Electric Light Orchestra, Boston, Frank Sinatra, Elton John, John Denver, Billy Joel, Neil Diamond, Mahler, Led Zeppelin, Rod Stewart, Journey, Queen, Toto, Pat Metheney; besides my favorites of the region, as Seru Giran, Sui Generis, Los Jaivas, Congreso; and things politically incorrect for progressive musician like Guns and Roses, Bon Jovi and Europe. I believe in diversity and even more in a progressive musician, because this style comes together harmoniously in the most varied styles of music.
A few days ago you told me something that stayed in my head "making a living with music means a commercial approach we don’t want to take" ... please explain this interesting concept.
The eternal conflict of art and money could not be absent. I think the healthiest thing for a musician is to stay away from the music industry, large corporations, and by musician, I mean a creator or performer, an artist, someone who needs to expand his consciousness through art, constantly seeking for new forms of expression. This has a paramount importance Art rarely goes hand by hand with money, remember for example, that Van Gogh did not sell a single work in his life, of course, he could have painted portraits for the aristocracy to have a better life, but art is not about that. It is about being responsible with the talents you have received. And music industry cares about one thing: to sell. And it really is little you can do against it, only you can decide if you are inside or outside the industry. If you choose to be in and the music you choose to make, sells, very well. That has happened for example with "La Ley"; they, I assume, have created music that they honestly feel they must compose and have managed to sell. It was fortunate for them that what they like to do has a important niche. The question that should be asked is: if we stop selling, what are they going to do? Are we going to make a different kind of music so we can sell again or we will compose to follow the mandates of our spirits? That's the central conflict, if we, Entrance, would like to live from music, we should compose a commercial prog like 90125 from YES, Three (Emerson and Palmer), or Invisible Touch, and that's not what we want. Not what we should do. The music is too serious to be dependent on money. Music is not about money. We have therefore chosen to work on other things, in my case I'm a psychologist, to maintain the purity of creation. Sometimes people ask me if music is a hobby for me. For me, music is much closer to the religion than to philately.
How is that statement of Entrance: making music with the spirit of the 70s, but with a contemporary sound and attitude?
What is particularly appealing to the music of the 70s is freedom in creation, that absolute autonomy those musicians had, to express in a way they honestly felt. Contracts, records and fame came by extension, as a natural culmination of a well-made process. That is the spirit that our mission statement refers. Of course it would be absurd to stay in the 70's, the world has changed too much: pollution, AIDS, globalization, depression and anxiety. For better and for worse. We are trying to rescue the creative freedom of the 70s and contextualize it today with our problems, our fears, our hopes and our dreams.
Chile is one of the latin american countries with more force in the progressive scene. Are these isolated efforts or there is an interrelationship between the bands?
The case of Chile is very particular. Chile was far away from the world music scene, very few artists came mainly for economic and political reasons, until 1987, when Rod Stewart played at the National Stadium in front of 70,000 people. That impresses a lot. We were so impressed because I am part of a generation that knew their artists through the records, radio and, in a few cases, television. When I would imagine in my teenage years that I would be five meters away from Chick Corea? Or that I was going to meet Keith Emerson and Rick Wakeman? So we had many years with no mainstream concerts at all, to going to see Herbie Hancock, Yes, ELP, Jean Luc Ponty, Paul McCartney, Guns n 'Roses, Bon Jovi, Toto, Deep Purple , Eric Clapton, Pat Metheney. That marked a generation heavily, and that generation has responded with the formation of many bands in many styles. And certainly progressive rock has been no exception to this. There are many bands that in Chile, and several of them have excellent quality. Over time we have been learning and working together, doing cycles of progressive music, festivals, opening spaces in radios and magazines, creating web sites, etc. Progressive Rock united will never be defeated.
Fancy Music - Chile (by Jose Miguel Rosas)
Personally, I am very happy to see a keyboard player as an outstanding guest here at Fancy Music. There are so few outstanding rock keyboardists in the national scene, that the presence of Jaime Rosas in this space is nothing but a joy. Besides, what a better time to talk with him, since he is promoting his latest work "Creciendo". Let’s see where Jaime will grow to with this wonderful new work. How does the new album "Creciendo" with your previous works?
"Creciendo" follows the line of "Extremos" and "Virgo" in the sense of composing music in a rather broad spectrum, from really heavy things like "Gravedad" and "Imprudencia" to more calm music like "Ocaso" or "La Hermandad del Fin del Mundo" to finally reach a classic symphonic progressive track, like "El Mito del Eterno Retorno". I love being so varied, because for me, the musical style does not depend on the strength of the composition, or duration, even the instrumentation. To me, the hallmark of a composer's style relies in other things: harmonic structures, melodic themes, use of specific metric variations, etc. "Creciendo" is undoubtedly a very important step for four reasons: with the arrival of Javier Sepulveda on guitar, we formed a complete group instrumentally and now the band sounds fuller, with more sonic possibilities, especially when we play live. Another important aspect of this album, is that this work represents a step forward in the composition. Personally I feel very happy and proud of this work. Third, we have also grown as people, as friends, which is something essential and absolutely necessary for me; and finally, with the release of this record we have become the most prolific musicians of the scene, as we are releasing one album a year and if we add the Entrance records, we have 5 albums since 2000.
Tell us about the longer cut of the album, "El Mito del Eterno Retorno". What is it? How was the songwriting process?
"El Mito del Eterno Retorno" is a very complex composition, both in lyrics and in music. The lyrics are based on the greek myth and explore such concepts like linear time and circular time, returning home and the energy of southern Chile. As for the music, the thing is no less complex; strictly speaking, the album begins with "Invocacion" that opens the album. We hear the three main themes, very subtly, suggested first by the keyboards, then by the bass and finally by the guitar. After that, the orchestral part begins and finally the keyboards introduce a musical theme called "The Journey" at 1:51, the texture grows slowly with the entry of the bass and the guitar, then a very interesting contrapuntal dialogue occurs. Finally comes the drums and everything becomes more rock oriented with solos and unison parts. We leave that musical idea to introduce the rest of the album: "Creciendo", which is a very and rock oriented song; then “Un Volcan en las Nubes," a composition for organ and electric guitar, more in the vein of classical music; then comes "Gravedad" which is very heavy instrumental rock. The record continues with “La Hermandad del Fin del Mundo", for piano, acoustic guitar, soft percussion and wordless vocals, all very relaxed and reassuring. Enough for calmness, so “Imprudencia” starts, a taut instrumental piece. Then we go back to the initial musical themes of the album as “El Mito del Eterno Retorno” begins, developing the themes in a different way, but trying to have an “return home” effect. That was what we wanted to produce, a sense of return, return to the start after an extensive and diverse journey.
What about the composition?
The process was rather long too, in fact, the first version of this track exists since 2003 and it was composed thinking in "Entrance"; when we recorded this album in January 2005, I was not completely satisfied, so I composed "Invocation", as an intro. Still, after a full listen, something was still missing so the whole middle section was composed (between 9:55 and 12:58 ) and then, about three months after recording the first version, it was finally ready
What is your goal with this new album and in general with your music?
This album is a step towards to a big goal: to make a real and valuable contribution to music worldwide. I have recorded 5 albums: "Entrance", “En la Tierra", "Virgo", "Extremos" and “Creciendo”. We have had 2 big tours through Mexico, we’ve played through all Chile and did a very important gig in Argentina. In November we will do a small tour to Brazil and it is quite possible that we return to Argentina. For 2006 we plan to go to Europe to record another album with the JRC, it will likely be a concept album based on a classic novel by Chilean writer. The idea is to keep playing and continue making records. In advance, I can tell you that there are plans this year to record three CDs: these days we are working with Rodrigo Godoy and two Mexican musicians -Poncho Vidales and Kiko King of CAST- to record a conceptual work; then in September, I'll do a more relaxed drive, with a greater emphasis on the orchestration and finally in October-November I will record another with William Kopecky, a very talented American bassist.
The musical approach of your discs is especially rich in keyboards, therefore, how you play live?
Much depends on the recird; "Virgo" (2003) is a purely symphonic album, in the ultimate sense of the term, ie, there is an orchestra (although is virtual) that is present in the 80% of the music, so when we play some of that work, we use recorded tracks and I only play the part of keyboards or just make an arrangement. During 2004, we began the concert with "Plegaria," which opens the album and worked very well as an introduction: we used tracks with the orchestra and I played the leads. In "Lluvia," which is another song from "Virgo", we made an arrangement to play it live, an acoustic version with piano, guitar and vocals. Someday I'll play the symphony, which is the central part of Virgo, with a real orchestra.
And what happened to your next work?
For "Extremos" (2004) we had no problem, since that record, from its inception, was intended to be performed live. I have a lot of work because the keyboard parts are rather complex, I use split keyboards and have to make sound changes all the time. Sometimes I missed the button and nothing sounds like it should, in those times I really appreciate to play with excellent musicians, because far from getting nervous, Rodrigo (bass and vocals), Alex (drums) and Javier (guitar) just come up some solo. In “Creciendo" (2005), I have even more work live, the keyboard parts are quite difficult and I require to be focused, I think I'll have to add another keyboard to the setup so my life will be easier.
Are you going keep playing as "Jaime Rosas Cuarteto" or you're going to add more musicians to the band?
I think we got to a sweet spot in both musical and human terms. Rodrigo Godoy (bassist, guitarist, singer and producer) is a very talented musician, with an enviable musical sense. Alex von Chrismar (drums) has a powerful playing style, mixing a rock style with a latin vibe, in terms of rhythmic richness, and that's a very big contribution to the whole sound. Javier Sepulveda (guitar), despite being very talented, he keeps studying which is remarkable, that largely guarantees he will become a very good musician; the worst thing is believing that one knows everything and there is no room for further learning. Then, we have managed to form a close team of excellent musicians and good friends. The idea is to keep playing and recording together for the near future. But I also think we should take advantage of the opportunities we can have, as a group or individually, to play and record with other musicians. That's part of the development each one should have, and far from avoiding it, I strongly encourage it.