The national interpreter spoke with Reggae Chalice on his bitter second time with Gondwana; his first steps in music, The effects of the pandemic on the artistic world, the reggae scene in Chile and its projects for the remainder of the year.
The national singer-songwriter is experiencing a revival in his musical career Maxi Vargas after the pandemic and his second step as a vocalist for Gondwana, in a nexus with the group that extended between 2019 and early 2022, when they parted ways again.
Before he was with the band on records Resilient (2007), contributing with three themes of his authorship –“Jah area”, “You Better Try Again” Y “The Door is still Open”– and collaborating in at least “half of the melodies of the songs on the album”, as well as he was the vocalist on the DVD Live in Buenos Aires (2010), after which he began his solo career with two albums to his credit: Journey home (2011) Y Reggae Music (2015).
A few years later, his new adventure began with the most important reggae group in the country and, in dialogue with Reggae Chalice, Vargas tells how that step was -which coincided with the coronavirus pandemic-, as well as shared his feelings for his return to the stage, his experiences in music, their learnings, his close projects and his vision of the scene in Chile.
“at that time (pandemic) I was playing with Gondwana and I had a very strange contract, I don't know how I came to have it. I couldn't release music like Maxi Vargas. ‘No’, 'that waits', 'Don't release music because we're going to release something so it doesn't crash', and in the end it was like they were scamming me, it was like a scam (…) In the end we spent like two years in a pandemic without doing anything, without removing things”, expresses the artist.
“I recorded anyway, I was in the studio a lot and I set up a studio at home and I was there day and night. I recorded a lot, I have a lot of material, but I think that at that time more things could be done and with them I did nothing”, Add.
publicly, through their social networks, Maxi Vargas announced his separation from the band in January of this year due to a unilateral change in his salary conditions., although he somehow assumes some responsibility for the uncomfortable situation he faced, Although he already considers this stage over and looks to the future.
“Now I think about how I let myself be carried away like this (…) I gave myself half a fifteen year old to a deal and all I did was waste my time, I have been 2 O 3 years without generating, extinguishing myself in my nets, because one has to be active regularly and that could be done in a pandemic. Now fortunately all that music has a north, has a future release”, manifest.
“I felt very trapped, uncomfortable, but it was my fault, I accepted a deal that was very slave, I don't think it should have been like this. They were two years of being slowed down and now it weighs on me, because I had to start everything from scratch, new contacts, because I couldn't do many things and then you disappear. Now I've been just kickin', starting the dates again and fortunately we have already had the opportunity to share our music”, stresses.
Return to live performances: “It's nice to play the songs you composed”
With the normalization of the health situation and the return of live events, little by little the Chilean artist is returning to the stage, now as soloist.
—How did you feel going back on stage and meeting your followers again??
—I have felt very good, It's nice to play the songs you composed, that you know how it has reached people, It's different when they're your songs, it is very rewarding. On the movement side everything is slower, due to a pandemic and also because I had not been releasing new material, but it is activating. something very nice is happening, people have been attending the events, he had a good time, I have had a good time, there has been connection, I think that's good and it's the main thing.
Let's go to the beginning of everything. Since when did your taste for reggae arise??
—When I was like 13 years reggae began to sound fed up. There were the Gondwana, before it was sounding fed up on the radios Big Mountain, Inner Circle. I have friends on Easter Island and then they listened a lot to Alpha Blondy, Lucky Dube it was the best. I listened to Peter Tosh before to Bob Marley. I think that Big Mountain was the first thing i said “I like this music”. They came to Viña the 95 and they sounded on the radio. A The CAFRES I also met them at that time. In Chile, that was happening with the Gondwana, as they were playing a lot on the radio and a reggae scene began to form.
—And your taste for singing, for the music?
—When I was a kid I was a stray, I didn't have very good meetings and the music was like a rescue. In a way, I never thought about being a musician before.. In my house my dad always sang, my mom and my sister too, it was played to sing in the house, make vocal harmonies, one sang, another made a voice, it was a game, we didn't know more than that. When I heard reggae and began to understand it in a certain way, that's when I wanted to make a band..
—a reggae band?
—We met at school with the bass player I've always played, we had 13 years, and we said: “let's make a reggae band”. I sang of everything, I always sang what was playing on the radio, since I can remember I sing. He tells me that he would like to play bass, but we didn't have a bass or an instrument or anything. There was always a guitar in the house, but I didn't take it much into account. I remember that I picked up my dad's guitar and I would pass it on to my friend and he learned to play bass on the guitar and I invented a drum set and with that we sang. We played the cimarra and went to rehearse at his house. so playing, it was a game, and in the end I didn't get out of there anymore, I got into music and then I didn't hang out with thugs anymore. The worst thing I ever did was not go to school..
“In Chile there are artists, but there is no reggae scene”
“In Chile there is no reggae scene”, sentence with regret Maxi Vargas, lamenting the little cohesion between the artists of the genre, a criticism that is repeated among various exponents, as well as the lack of support from those who are more well-known and successful towards the newer ones.
“I think there is no reggae scene, I'm answering something that I don't even understand. there are artists, but there is no scene, no movement. The things that one has to do, one has to do alone, there are festivals where in the end they always play the same. there are good artists, the Tiano Bless, Jimmy Rivas, I like them very much, but there is little, hay 5 groups, there is not much”, holds.
He also delves into his criticism regarding the little support of artists and bands with greater diffusion and popularity with those who are just starting out and are less known..
“They could tell you how things worked and how other bands were asked not to play, that has always existed, so now it is different it is very difficult, when the base has always been the same, when big bands have never recorded new artists to lift them up, or for them to listen”, emphasizes.
Regarding your projects, the singer anticipates a production that will be available before the end of the year, Although at the end of September some new songs are coming.
“I was in Argentina two months ago and I recorded a live performance with a band and some tremendous artists., as the historic drummer of Los Cafres, the onion’ (Sebastian Paradisi), who has his band called 303 Band. I went to record 4 songs with their musicians, it was audio and video. Now in a few more weeks it should come out. this stuff is beautiful, because it will be an EP, but live, with new songs, I don't think I've ever done that before”, poses.
Two songs will be released from that EP “now at the end of september”, further reveals the singer.
He also has a concert scheduled in Buenos Aires for the beginning of October and announces that he will soon have more news about other presentations..
“The 7 October I'm going to play there in Argentina, in Buenos Aires, with Pelagatos, an event that I will play with the 303 Band and with The Guardians of Gregory, a band that is moving a lot and they are very good, I like them”, express.
—Do you want to give a message to your followers??
—Thank you also to all the people who follow us, who supports me and is always there, know that we are working for you and soon you will be able to find a lot of music and new material. Take care in this uncertain time, lean on those who love you, there is always someone who is there for you and sometimes you don't see it, wants to see further and in a certain way distances itself from reality.