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Aditus Interview (by George Rossolatos)

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    Posted: January 03 2023 at 06:11

Aditus: The formative years 1975-1980- Interview with Sandro Liberatoscioli (by George Rossolatos)

GR: When did Aditus officially form and what was the original line-up? What changes were made to the original line-up throughout Aditus’ prog/fusion period?

SL: Like with many other bands, there was no official date, no birth certificate, it was a slowly evolving process. It goes like this: In 1967, two next-door neighbors, Edgar De Sola (drums) and Carlos Atilano (guitar) started a band in my own little hometown of San Jose De Los Altos, Venezuela. Shortly before the addition of yet another neighbor, Manaure Trujillo (bass), in 1971 the band was renamed into "Aditus" and was scheduled to perform at a large beach festival not far from Caracas, the "Festival De Los Cocos" on November 18th 1971. Sadly, the festival was cancelled at the last minute and Aditus didn't get to make their debut.

In 1972, I replaced Manaure on bass. The band played mostly small, private gigs as a trio. Later that year, Nicholas Nevinczenko joined the band as a lead guitarist. In 1973, Nicholas left and was replaced by Ignacio Lares (Hammond organ). In 1974 Alvaro Falcon (guitar) joined the band and, later that year, so did George Henriquez (vocalist). Under this sextet line-up, Aditus played their first major concert in March 1975 with tremendous success: two sold-out nights amidst traffic gridlock and commotion in the otherwise quiet neighborhood of Altamira, Caracas.

I think it's fair to say that Aditus formed at the beginning of the 70s. In the following link you will find the sequence of the band line-ups thereafter.


GR: Between which years were Aditus performing in a prog/fusion vein and which albums were released during that period?

SL: I would say from the beginnings through the early 80s, when we started migrating towards Pop Rock. This link includes the band's discography:

GR: Share with us some of the most memorable moments from your early period live shows. How do live audiences compare between the 70s and your later, more pop-oriented followership?

SL: In the Venezuela of the 70s there was no infrastructure to support an aspiring band like us, so we became some sort of informal "organization" that included the musicians and their closest friends, fans and families. This enthusiastic crowd did everything involved in the production of concerts and beyond, from obtaining permits, selling the tickets, promoting the events, security name it, we did it all, the band was our beloved hobby. By the time we got to the 80s we already had some paid assistants, roadies, etc. which gave us some more time to focus on our music. After signing our first large recording contract with Sonografica, 1985, we were finally able to focus mostly on just writing and performing, they took care of pretty much everything else. Our live audiences in the 70s were, in general, more versed and discerning, many were actually musicians, they focused more on the instrumental part of our work, whereas the live audiences in our pop rock era care more about the lyrics and the overall character of the band; they are louder too.


GR: What were your main influences at the time you recorded A Traves de la Ventana?

SL: Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Oscar Peterson, Eric Clapton, Santana, Blood, Sweat and Tears, Chicago, Jimmy Hendrix...

GR: The album was self-released. How come you didn’t pursue a label contract, as with your second album that was released by WEA?

SL: At the time, no record company in Venezuela was prepared to take that risk with a band that played what was perceived to be "foreign music", a relatively small market segment.

GR: What sort of technical constraints did you face when you were recording your debut album that could be easily managed with today’s technology?

SL: Only four channels to record everything, inside a garage, that says it all!

GR: When and under what circumstances did you decide to abandon the prog-oriented path and pursue a more commercial sound? What did you lose and what did you gain in the process?

SL: We were always flexible in terms of style while keeping an eye on new trends which caused us to evolve progressively. In the early 80s, following the advent of new wave, we felt the need to include more lyrics in our work. That proved to be a good move as it expanded our audience and eventually led to our first record deal.

GR: Did you receive recognition outside of Venezuela during the 70s/early 80s prog years (e.g. gig/album reviews by the foreign press), and if yes, from which countries?

SL: Because of our style at the time, it was hard enough to get attention in the Venezuelan market, so we didn't pursue any serious initiatives abroad. I do remember us getting some coverage from a Japanese rock magazine, though.

GR: How would you describe the contribution of Pedro Castillo when he joined Aditus in catapulting the band to pop stardom? What did he bring to Aditus in artistic and image terms?

SL: Pedro was a great addition to the band. He brought a unique voice that complemented that of George as well as a talent for composing fresh, catchy melodies. He was quite enthusiastic and fitted right in.

GR: The band has remained inactive for some time now. What has each member been up to ever since your official disbanding?

SL: I left the band in 1991 and moved to the US with my family to work as a Marketing executive in NYC. I retired in 2001 and moved to Florida with my wife. I have recently started reacquainting myself with the bass guitar and the world of music which I had missed for 30 years. It makes me feel a little like Rip Van Winkle. The band has remained active all along, though.

GR: Have you been listening to emergent and by now established genres such as prog metal? Are there any neoprog bands that have attracted your attention? What do you think about the contemporary scene and the proliferation of bands compared to the 70s when only a handful were in existence? Does the quality of contemporary musicianship compare to the scene’s forerunners or gems are getting more scarce to locate amidst the hype?

SL: Nowadays, the public gets bombarded and overwhelmed with tons of musical options from multiple flanks. That's particularly challenging for the artist as it makes it harder to stand out. However, yes, the gems are still out there, they're just harder to spot.


GR: What are your perceptions about the relationship between bands and contemporary fandom, in a social media dominated age where 1-2-1 relations may be formed between individual fans and bands? Does the effacement of the distance between fans and bands contribute in any manner to the loss of an artist’s aura and the role he may perform in a fan’s life? How would you describe the pros and cons with regard to this matter?

SL: I'll let my fellow band members answer this question as they have remained active all these years and have experienced this phenomenon first hand.


GR: Some of you have pursued parallel professional lives alongside your roles as musicians with Aditus. How have you been managing your dual roles? Can you describe for us the transformative process when you were preparing to appear live?

SL: We all went through that experience together for decades. I think it made the band more interesting, many people were intrigued by that, it came up early during any interviews. We enjoyed our career duality and changed hats with the normality of those who work a second job. Not much of a transformation needed, just put on your concert attire and jump on stage, do your thing!
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