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Jaime Rosas (Nov, 2011)

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memowakeman View Drop Down
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Joined: May 19 2005
Location: Mexico City
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    Posted: December 01 2011 at 00:36
Though there is an already existent and wonderful interview made by Torodd some months ago (see here, http://www.progarchives.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=65283&FID=47) I could not miss the chance and interviewed Jaime Rosas some days ago, in a visit he recently did to Mexico City. So once again, thank you Jaime for your time, kindness and everything.

Jaime Rosas is a trained and talented progressive rock musician from Chile who has a strong link with Mexico. Incidentally, I met him a few days ago in his last visit to Mexico City, and he kindly accepted to make an interview. This is what he told me:

Guillermo: I would like to know what you are doing here now, what is your link with Mexico? 

  • Jaime:  Well, it all started at Baja Prog, there I realized that like 95% of the musicians had another job, which was comforting and regrettable at the same time. One may live off the music, but the question is if we do what we really want, or we create music only to earn money. I studied Psychology, and I have now a coaching school, which is like therapy given by good people to increase the potential of other good people. And that is why I am here, I have a client in Chile and we have some work to do here in Mexico.

 
The Baja Prog Fest does not exist anymore; NEARfest has announced that next year will be its last year. Why are festivals disappearing?  

  • I think there are cycles; and it is really difficult to maintain a festival, more if the responsibility lies in a few people. Baja Prog had twelve editions, of course they had the help of hotels, some sponsors, but in the end is something exhausting. Also, without the deserved support it is almost imposible to continue. However, I am sure Baja Prog will comeback soon.
What’s your view regarding progressive rock, why only a few people listen to it, and tell us why did you choose it? 

  • People listen to what they know, for instance, Roger Waters is coming to Chile and Argentina next year, in my country he will offer two shows (a thing that nobody does there) while in Argentina there will be eight concerts in huge stadiums. It has to do with the mainstream, dedicating money and time in order that make your musical career taking off and being popular. It does not matter if people like you or not, but if they know your music, the market would be bigger. This requires a big effort, sometimes an intellectual one; it is important to know about music, know the lyrics, the literature, and the art. I chose progressive rock because it is the genre that explodes us the most as composers, it takes the best of us as musicians; I compare it with a tale and a novel, the tale is like something pop, more direct, while the novel is more demanding and thoughtful, so I stay with the novel. But progressive rock is not the only style I like, I also like Metallica, Guns n’ Roses, Frank Sinatra, Beethoven, The Beatles.


So you mentioned literature, have you composed anything related to a novel or any kind of literature? Do you write? 

  • Yes, I write and a lot. About the first question, I believe the only piece I’ve composed is a suite included in Entrance’s “En la tierra”, which is entitled “Lobo Estepario” (Steppenwolf). I love Herman Hesse because he is like music, after you read his books you feel that he knows something more, and in music is the same when you listen to a piece and know that there is something hidden, so you listen to it over and over and see all its elements, melody, harmony, structure, etc.
What to do to make people listening to progressive rock, to Jaime Rosas, for instance?  

  • Believe me, if I knew the answer I would dedicate even more time to music. I think festivals help a lot, but prog rock has an element that attacks it regularly, which is the media diffusion, because people at radio stations will not waste their time in a 20-minute song, they prefer the short hits. But actually it is not that bad that only a few people listen to it; if a lot of people followed it, then a demon would appear to tell you “sell more” and that is not our goal. About the clichés, if you love what you do, then you will do well in your life.


Please tell us about the musical scene in Chile, is it difficult to be a musician there? 

  • Yes it is difficult, as difficult as in any other part of the world. But that is a life’s decision, a very important one actually. You choose if you want to be a musician and what kind of musician, you decide in what time you want to compose and release albums, etc.


How did you choose keyboards as your main instrument?  

  • When I was a kid my father bought me a keyboard. I like it because visually is very logical, it helps you learning harmonies and understand better the music; it is something that simply clicked with me. When you play keyboards you have an unlimited quantity of sounds, so you can really play and experiment with all what it offers to you. Of course I have my heroes which are Chick Corea, Keith Emerson, Rick Wakeman, Jon Lord, among others.

  
Please tell us about your Baja Prog experience.

  • I’ve been there three times. The first one was in 2003 with Entrance, when we also toured for a month in several cities of Mexico, and that was an experience that left a mark on me, not only due to the musical side, but also for the interpersonal issue, I met a lot of people, some of them are still friends. My relationship with Mexico started there. I came back a year later as soloist, I also toured once again for a couple of months. In 2006 I came but not as a performer, but as part of the audience, which was not that funny like when I play. And in 2008 I was invited again with Entrance, and we introduced our last album entitled “Entre dos mundos”. What I love about Baja Prog is that interaction between band and audience, people of the staff or sellers, we all are normally hosted in one hotel so we see each other at breakfast, afternoon and night. That is what really counts, beyond the musical experience.Picture
Now please give us a brief introduction to your musical career with Entrance and with your different Jaime Rosas projects. 

  • We formed Entrance in 1997 and released our first record in 1999, a very pop album, pop prog I mean in the vein of Yes’ “90125” , but that was good because it left us a good experience, there were our first steps in this musical scene. Later we continue composing, we adjusted some pieces and in 2002 released “En la tierra” and we toured as I previously told you, it was a wonderful experience to have recorded this album. For instance, the main theme of “Lobo Estepario” is decreasing in tone, and I composed that at home at 03am, I was so tired that I went to bed with the melody in my head, and with the security that when I wake up I would still have it, of course I did not remember it, so I started playing the piano again and again and I believe the final version has some hints of the original one.

I truly enjoyed this of composing and releasing albums, so I put a personal goal that I had to reach: to release one album per year. So the next year I recoded “Virgo”, my first solo album which is the best I’ve done, but also the one with the worst sound. It is a symphonic album, with a fake computer orchestra. In 2004 now with a drummer and a bass player I recorded “Extremos”, which has a funny history because I received Alfonso Vidales’ invitation to Baja Prog in order to introduce this album, but I couldn’t do it because I had not musicians, it was a computerized thing, so I said yes anyways and we recorded it in three days, in an all-day-hard-work. I love that album by the way. Next year (2005) I released “Creciendo”, now with a guitar player so we were a quartet. We went to Argentina and Brazil and performed in another festival (we tried to tour for every album we released). In 2006 we released Entrance’s live album, and in 2007 a Jaime Rosas’ live record taken from the Brazilian tour. Picture

In 2008 with Entrance we released “Entre dos mundos”, and perform it at Baja Prog. After that I honestly got tired. So since then I started working on “Flashback” and I said to myself “I’ll take all the time it is necessary”, and it took me two years and a half. This album is an album with a look to the past, I mean, the music was either composed some years ago or based in something previously done. For instance, the first track “Primera Luz” was written when I was in the school, I had 19 years old, I recorded it with a group of friends and now I recovered it. In the first minutes of the last song “Flashback” you will listen to motifs of musicians that have inspired me, such as The Beatles, Los Jaivas, Stravinsky, Yes, Emerson, among others.

How did you come up with the decision of saving those old materials and record it for a brand new album?

  • That is one of the advantages of knowing about music, you have an idea, you develop it and then decide to record it, I have always done that. For me it was the time that I had to take it from the trunk, because it is part of closing a cycle, and at the same time opening a new one. I am really proud of this album, it is very personal, here I have several guest musicians and I don’t know if I can perform it live soon, but it would be wonderful.
When you compose which are your expectations; and which is your process? 

  • It may be a selfish answer, but my first goal is to be happy with what I compose. Steve Jobs said that Apple’s success was because they had people who wanted to create products that they wanted to use, and if they had luck, then people would buy them. With music I feel the same and it is something I can do because I don’t have a producer putting pressure on me everyday, my producer on Mylodon never listens to my music until I give him the master, so it all is my responsibility. In the compositional process it is a mixture of everything, it can be an improvisation or being walking and think of anything, or taking some concept based on literature and history. I have a project based on a mythology from the north of Chile in which people tell there are some little beings named Gentiles, in some mystic lagoons. So I want to go there soon, gather a session team, go to the Chilean plateau to see what we can take from that magic place, and to see if with that I can create some music.


With music you can share all what is hidden deep inside of you, I mean, you may have some enigmas and things that are difficult to express in everyday’s life, but that you can express through music. Has it happened to you?

  • Of course, music and composition have a big therapeutic element and one get used to it, but respecting time and space, I mean, it is not about composing just for composing something, it is like an introspection and when you are ready, then you compose, it is something really intuitive.


So where do psychology and music converge?

  • We all have a dark side, I studied psychology, and it responds to something very practical, to pay debts, to live in tranquility without demanding music the money that it cannot give me. It is about that introspective element that make you know yourself, and then it converges with music. Also, both psychology and music help people in their lives, in several ways.


What is your opinion regarding internet?

  • Yeah I know, now it is easier to reach more people and places so your music is also easy to listen. Pages like facebook or twitter have some pros and cons things, people communicate more but they don’t really know how to do it properly. Nowadays there are a lot of protest movements such as the occupy, they are communicating each other through this via, but the problem is that they don’t really know what they are communicating, and this is not good at all. Regarding piracy, it is not really a technological problem, but a cultural one.

 The artist’s point of view is very different from the distributor, if there is something positive about piracy, is that in some way the big labels have been succumbing, because they release (for instance) a new Beatles or Madonna CD and they are very expensive, it is not easy to buy them, so piracy makes to lower the a little bit. What iTunes has done is notable, really notable, because it is really easy to go, make a click and download a song, but now with them you are actually paying for the music, so it is profitable to the artist.

Two things: do you regret anything? And what are your future goals?

  • No, I don’t regret anything. Well, it is easy to regret but when you take a decision it is because in that moment you think it is the right decision, and you learn about it, which helps you a lot in your career and life. I may regret I did not give more concerts, but it was because I couldn’t, so I really don’t regret anything.

Now, my goals are to keep composing, recording and touring, I would love to tour in Europe because I have never performed there. I would like to release a new album with Entrance, and continue with my side projects such as the one I told you earlier, about Gentiles, and I have more projects that with work and luck we will be finishing soon.

 Anything you would like to add?

  • Yes, these are the moments that make anything worth it, when you meet people, places, ideas, when you realize there are people who think like you, it is wonderful. I would like to invite people to re-discover music because it is an acquired taste, like wine, you don’t like it the first time you drink it, but later you give it a chance and you enjoy it, with music it is the same, and actually with the art in general. So it would be great if you come closer to music, and then you will find the gates of a new realm before you. I also invite you to visit my sitehttp://www.jaimerosas.com/jaimerosas.com/Home.htmlto listen to my music, to write me zoom@jaimerosas.combecause it is like a brotherhood between musicians, producers, writers, press and of course fans.
  
Thank you very much!
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Edited by memowakeman - December 01 2011 at 00:40

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