[Interview] Exclusive interview with Eternidad (ARG)

Dear readers, we are pleased to offer in this article an interview with an Argentinian band that has released an album much sought after by Prog music fans and collectors. We welcome Etrernidad.

Hello, how are you?

Claudio: “Very good and very pleased that a work we did 45 years ago has significance in this time and is appreciated as representative of a musical era in our country. That’s why I thank you Jacopo, for this opportunity that you give us from your space.

Your band was born in the 70s, offering a mixture of Prog and Folk Rock, how did the project and your passion for these sounds come about?

Claudio: “We got together in 1975 with the brothers Daniel and Roberto Mendez to start making music. With Daniel we knew each other from high school and with Roberto in that year we began to study Medicine at the University of Buenos Aires. By then, they had a significant output of folk-style songs that we started with. Then we added Pablo Gonzalez on drums and Roby Massarotto on bass with which the band gained much more strength. Each one of us brought a musical influence that was reflected in the arrangements we
made to those songs that were already composed and to those that were added. They have been composing ever since. Personally, I was very impressed with the symphonic rock of that time: Yes, ELP, Pink Floyd, Genesis and all of us also had a strong imprint of the Argentine rock of that time: Sui Generis, Arco Iris, Aquelarre, Spinetta, Litto Nebbia. And from that fusion of tastes and influences came the sound that appears on the Apertura album.

Argentina is among the countries of South America one of the main countries in the Rock scene, what memories do you have of the music scene of the 70s?

Claudio: “The 70’s were foundational for rock and Argentine progressive. Musicians like Litto Nebbia, Luis Alberto Spinetta, Charly Garcia, Gustavo Santaolalla, Pappo Napolitano, Ricardo Soule, through the various formations they formed, were the spearhead for many other musicians, including us, to have the opportunity arriving on stage or in a recording studio. There were contemporary bands of the highest level such as Crucis, Pastoral, Espiritu, Vivencia, Alas, who had no projection over time like us, but left their mark on the
time. Also at that time, those who would later be the stars of the 80s began to take shape: Soda Stereo, Patricio Rey y los Redonditos, Virus, Fito Paez and many others who represented the following decade to this day.

Your only album “Apertura” is a fine example of Latin American Prog, how would you describe the sounds of this work?

Claudio: “At that time there were experiences of fusion of folk music with Latin touches and appearances of tango airs (there were bandoneon musicians like Daniel Melero and the group Alas working on it) and on the other hand Santaolalla with his group Arco Iris more towards the fusion of folk music and rock. We recorded our album from a producer from the discographic Cabal who heard the band’s presentation in a theater in Buenos Aires, in a concert with Litto Nebbia in April He proposed a production with everything we needed and We recorded that same year between October and November. Previously we adjusted all the vocal and
instrumental arrangements and by then Pablo was no longer on drums so we added Luis Yanes. In one of the songs, “Ciudad mirame” which had an air of tango, we incorporated a bandoneon arrangement that was in charge of Dino Saluzzi, a first class bandoneon player of those years. For the song “Closer to the Eternal Horizon” I wrote an arrangement for string quartet and we summoned Antonio Agri, who was none other than Astor Piazzolla’s violinist, along with other string musicians. The last track on the album “Pausa para una ciudad que espia” is an appendix to “Ciudad mirame” that brings together the bandoneon and violin of these brilliant musicians. The great symphonic effect of “Suite Pensamiento y Vida” or “Cuento de una Niña” was achieved with the keyboards that were rented for the recording and that I had the pleasure of playing: Steinway piano, Hammond organ, Mini Moog synthesizer, Roland strings and Rhodes piano. A luxury combo.

Both the music and the vocals are very intense and elaborate, what themes do the lyrics deal with?

Claudio: “The three-voice arrangements bring together the quality and talent of Daniel and Roberto, highly complemented by Roby’s voice. The voices were always central and the sounds of Crosby Still Nash &Young; Cat Stevens sounded all around us. The lyrics were mostly written by Daniel Mendez, with the exception of “Cuento de una Niña” written by Roby, and “Empezando por uno mismo”, Ciudad mirame y la Suite: Pensamiento y vida written in collaboration with Roberto Méndez. The lyrics focus on the daily experiences of a young person, located at a historical moment in our country and in Latin America (remember that the 70s were marked by military dictatorships and this largely influenced the theme of those bands). This is the
case of “Empezando por uno mismo” or “Suite”. They also refer in some cases to the love of a couple such as “Ahora que estamos solos” or “Cuento de una Niña”, as well as to more spiritual poetics as in “Mas cerca del horizonte eterno”

The album was recently re-released in several countries around the world, giving the project visibility, will there be a chance to hear your music live?

Claudio: “We were very surprised by the re-releases that the plate had during 2022, since there was a precedent in the 90s of an appearance on cassette and then at the beginning of 2000 on CD. In none of the cases were we consulted, and obviously we do not charge any royalties from the authors of the work either.
In 2010 Daniel, Roberto, Pablo and me met again and some time later we recorded a CD Eternidad MGPM with new songs that can be heard on the Spotify platform. We also did some live performances of that material. Then in 2014 we recorded Eternidad MGPM II with some remakes of songs from “Apertura”
Of course, if someone invited us to do it, we would gladly do a live presentation. It’s great to see the same ideas carried out with another experience on top without forgetting the essence of them.

What advice would you give to young artists approaching music with prog sounds?

Claudio: “To our satisfaction, there are many young people who explore and discover the music of the 70s. I have the possibility of being in contact with young people, even my children are young and appreciate the music of that time. The interest in sound and sound is surprising. the theme (from the social in Argentina many letters still reveal the relevance of their experiences. My advice would be to listen to what happened musically at that time, since the creativity currently displayed by young musicians and the influence they could receive from that music would produce wonderful works

How has the music scene in Argentina evolved since then and which modern bands do you find closest to your sound?

Claudio: “Referring to the evolution of the Argentine musical scene during the last 50 years in progressive rock, requires writing a whole treatise of several volumes. At least one for every decade. And each decade has had its great bands and figures, however, to this day, there are very interesting projects with excellent musicians such as El Kuelgue, the former Redondos (Los Fundamentalistas del Aire Acondicionado), Ciro y los Persas, Guasones, Tan Bionica, Los Tipitos and other more “under” that have no press but are excellent.

After the band’s disbandment, how has your artistic career evolved?

Claudio: “Each one of us took different paths in music, as I told you before, we met with Eternidad between 2007 and 2014 with the recordings and some performances with Pablo Gonzalez, who was our first drummer. There were always musical side projects with rock and blues bands. Currently, in my case, I am part of two projects: a Pink Floyd tribute band and another with an international cover band from the 70s, 80s and 90s called Red Angel. Roberto has played as a musician accompanying other singers and with different formations presenting new songs of his authorship. Dani and Roby did a job together in 1982 entitled Free Passes. Pablo is currently one of the most important Argentine jazz drummers.

The last question, as usual, I leave it free to talk about any topic not covered in the previous ones.

Claudio: “Here I would like to highlight the brilliant work on the Eternidad vinyl cover art, which was even respected in all reissues. The drawing of the cover and back cover was made by Marcelo Fernandez, a dear friend of ours who achieved a very attractive composition. And the photograph of the inside of the cover was the work of another dear friend Jorge Malinverni, who took photos of all the band’s eras and with whom we shared wonderful moments of creativity and friendship. The leitmotiv theme of the works maintains the hope of collective changes despite the social and the theme of nature versus cement when reflected even today with climate changes since the experience of quarantine and the Covid resignified and revalued the
importance of green spaces and free walking.

I would like to thank the band for the interview and for taking the time to dedicate to our

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Author: Jacopo Vigezzi

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