Aisles Share Moody New Video for “Thanks To Kafka”
What does Franz Kafka have to do with the world today? According to Aisles, quite a lot.
The Chilean progressive rock band’s latest single and video, “Thanks to Kafka,” takes fans on a dark journey through the mind of one of history’s greatest writers. It’s the latest cinematic trip into the world of their new album, the group’s fifth full-length, due out in early 2022.
We spoke to the band’s guitarist, Germán Vergara, about writing “Thanks to Kafka” and things to come for the band.
How did you conceptualize this new song?
I wanted to write the lyrics as if it was a goodbye letter, a suicide letter. What would someone write in that suicide letter? Probably they would show gratitude, maybe they would give recognition to those that like them. And so I began writing the lyrics as if I was writing myself a definitive goodbye.
Felipe (Candia, drummer) and I wrote the music, and the lyrics came out almost spontaneously as I wrote the melody lines. I wrote the lyrics in one night. It’s never been like that for me, I usually struggle with the lyrics, try things, change things, improve until I think it’s ready. I think I had this feeling in me and I was inspired by events of people that were very close to me that had experiences close to suicide.
Why are you giving thanks to Kafka? What is significant about him to you?
Kafka is my favorite writer, and Kafka is the writer of the absurd. And if I was in that dark place I would remember him, because when I was a teenager and I discovered him, I truly think that he saved my life, I see myself in his stories. The other reason I chose him is because he lived his art, he wrote only for passion at night and had a day job that he hated. Kafka is the best writer describing the human situation when trying to find meaning and a rather chaotic and indifferent universe.
What is your favorite piece of writing by Kafka?
Kafka is probably one of the greatest short story writers of all time. There is one story called “The Silence of the Sirens” that I love because it’s an examination and new interpretation of the episode from classical literature when Ulysses escapes the deadly sirens that could kill with their singing. Ulysses put wax in his ears to protect himself from the Sirens and had himself bound to the mast of his ship.
In Kafka’s version, unlike the original by Homer, the silence of the sirens was even more fatal than their song, but Ulysses was so smart and full of guile that he pretended he was believing that they were singing, and that his stratagem of the wax in his ears was working. He made them believe that he thought they were singing when they weren’t. In that way he tricked the sirens and the gods.
When Kafka describes the look of bliss on his face and the sirens couldn’t resist the radiance that fell from Ulysses’ great eyes, for me it’s one of the most beautiful sections of human literature.
It’s probably the only story he has with a happy ending. But again we’re talking about Ulysses, no one else could have survived the silence of the sirens.
Tell us about the video for the song.
We wanted to create a Kafkaesque situation where a person who is looking for his car in a parking building doesn’t find it and he is stuck in there. He stays there, never leaves, becomes an inhabitant of that gloomy place. The end of the video is something I can’t reveal, but I love it because it’s really devastating. In a story by Kafka an ending wouldn’t be any brighter than that. We wanted to get close to the aesthetics of those large buildings described in The Trial, and convey the feeling of a truly bizarre and absurd story where the main character is trapped and no one knows why.
“Thanks to Kafka” is taken from your upcoming album. Is there any kind of structure or concept for the new LP?
Crisis, loneliness, the end of the world, suicide, break-ups, hopelessness, and the feeling that there is one last attempt that needs to be without return. The pandemic and the context of the world we’re living in these days is present in the album.
You’ve gone for a more direct and powerful sound for this album. What made you want to go in this direction?
We wanted to make a totally different album from (our last album) Hawai’i. We wanted it to be heavier and more direct, we wanted it to feel very present in the context of these times. Now we want the message loud and clear as soon as our new music plays.
What kind of stylistic changes have you made from your last album, Hawai’i?
Hawai’i was a science fiction story 300 years in the future. This time we wanted to write an album about what we were living. Now we play heavier guitars, we incorporated 8 string guitars, more electronic sounds, more sequences. Hawai’i was a more “live” and analog album like the albums that were recorded in the ’70s. Now we are using 21st century production techniques, urban sounds, sequences, and more electronic ideas.
Are you hoping to tour again behind this album?
Absolutely, we are preparing ourselves for that. We hope to tour Europe, the U.S., and Latin America again with this album, and if we can go even farther we will be there. Promoting our new album will be our mission for 2022.
TEXT BY DOUGLAS MARKOWITZ
PHOTO BY IGNACIO GALVEZ