Our Chilean Artist of the Week Lets Us in on Their Inspirations
Nestled beside the Straits of Magellan in Chilean Patagonia, the old port city of Punta Arenas gives rise to romantic reveries about bygone times and journeys of adventure, even for the people who live there. We learned this from the band Icarus Gasoline whose dreamy stoner rock is yet another fantastical thing arising from Punta Arenas.
Though now based in Santiago, the Chilean quartet draws inspiration in many different ways from their isolated hometown. We’re delighted to call them Artist of the Week because it means we got to learn more about their heavy psychedelic vision.
Congratulations you took the artists of the week pole by a landslide. Did you know you had such devoted fans?
Thanks! The truth is we couldn’t imagine having such devoted and focused fans, in part because we’ve never been in a popular vote like MTV Iggy’s!
You are from Punta Arenas originally, can you tell us a little bit about it? Is there a rock scene there?
Our region is the southernmost capital of the world and the port of entry to the Antarctic continent. The weather is a decisive factor every time you want to do something, but it’s not an impediment to the city having a scene and identity. Despite the fact that there aren’t a lot of bars or local places, it’s possible that bands like ours can exist. This compels the young people to feed from the existent scene, generating something of their own, something unique and profoundly held onto.
How did you form?
The band formed from an idea that Cesar Haro “Frentish” (frontman of Icarus Gasoline) had to make a band with specific musical features, linked to a particular topic that moves the soul and the mind.
Does the area in Chile where you grew up inspire your music in any way?
Being so isolated in Punta Arenas allows in a way to see the world as something far away, as full of fantasies and infinite possibilities, to observe and reflect about things and situations you ordinarily don’t think about. This way of perceiving life is exacerbated when we make music, and it has led us to the point where we are in contact with an inner identity.
What are some of your non-stoner rock influences?
Some of our influences are Pink Floyd, The Beatles, Radiohead, Spinetta, David Bowie, Victor Jara, Violeta Parra, Neil Young, Miles Davis, Folklore Latinoamericano, and we could keep going infinitely
What is your favorite Black Sabbath album and why?
Difficult question! We can’t just name one, because we love all their albums! Picking one might be sacreligious. We couldn’t agree.
How did you choose the title of your album Lo Desaparecido?
“Lo Desaparecido” [the disappeared] is that which isn’t there. It’s lost, or forgotten. Like a feeling, an artist can lose his essence, to transform him/herself into something more interesting or mystical. In this situation it might be in a song or an album title.
Are the lyrics important to you?
Of course they’re important. The lyrics and the music for us can be a perfect balance in creating the environment in the language of Icarus.
For readers who don’t speak Spanish, what are they about?
Always maintaining a strong connection to music, the lyrics reference daily life and the peculiar, life and death, as well as psychedelic experiences of awareness that we abstract from the earthly.
What is the rock scene like in Santiago?
The scene in Santiago is very elitist. With small space that is increasingly diminishing, access is difficult. There is very little guarantee for musicians. It costs a lot to be in those circles. There’s also an overvaluation of tribute or cover bands, so it’s difficult to work when you make your own music.
Besides you guys, what is the most important band from Chile that we need to know about?
We don’t know if there’s “only one” that we should name, we think that there are a lot of interesting bands that have something new, or maybe classic to offer. Some of them are: Infernal Doom, Deogenes (both from Punta Arenas), The Ganjas, Yajaira, La Floriponido, Holly Drug Couple, Watch Out, and many more.
What are you going to do next?
We have a bunch of shows in the coming months. The closest one is July 12, together with two bands from Chile. Also, we’re recording a video clip that we hope will be ready as soon as possible. Later we will concentrate on the mastering of our new material, which will be the end of a cycle for the band. We’ll probably release this album in our dear city Punta Arenas, capital of the independent republic of Magallanes.