Interview with Javier Vargas
The music should be elevated to a higher level, especially the blues. One should try to bring something new – exciting, different, original – if that’s possible today anyhow, says the Spanish guitarist, the great music star at the latest edition of the ninth Blues & Soul Festival
One can recognize the real masters by the simplicity of the communication with them. The famous Spanish, Latino, World… and etc. blues-guitarist Javier Vargas, came to Skopje with many doubts about the public here, and about their musical knowledge and music education. He left charmed and enchanted by our hospitality and by the local blues lovers. We, at the Coloseum saw two faces of the Vargas’ band, one of them was the standard one with his usual escort-band, and the other – much more dynamic and explosive – with the most-eruptive Devon Alman. So we came clear why this original guitarist who mixes in one blend both blues and flamenco, is the favorite of Carlos Santana and why he had already shared the stage with Prince, Alvin Lee, Louisiana Red, Jack Bruce…
#2How do you feel about this warm reception at the Blues & Soul Festival? Aren’t you at least a little surprised that the people here in Macedonia already know and love your music, your songs and your beat?
– Exactly that is the power of the music! When I create music, my intention is for it to go further than my body could ever go… I often make albums in which people all over the world can enjoy, even at the places I’ve never been, or even at the places I shall never go… For me, the magic of music happens when one invests huge energy in creating something, and then, when that something goes further than one could even imagine; you see, more than 30 years I play guitar, so I’m always “on the road”. Here I am now in Skopje, and I can joyfully say that even here – I’m no some imposter, some unknown individual. That’s the real thrill of this work, you know. This is yet another wonderful experience for me – again. And I’m going to live Macedonia with that thought, and with hope that this isn’t my last coming here.
#3How did Javier Vargas discover the instrumentalist and the author within himself? How did you reach the blues itself?
– I discovered the blues in Argentina. That happened in 1967, when I was just a kid. At that time, on the radio one could listen to soul, rock & roll, bands like Fleetwood Mack… At the start, I “laid” on Cream, Jimmy Hendrix Experience, and even later I discovered the “roots” of the Blues: the blues-icons like B. B. King, John Lee Hooker, Freddy King… That was the music of that era. In that music I’ve discovered my heart-waves. The strong explosion of the white blues in Great Britain inspired me and many of my friends to play that music style. And when I listened to Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck… etc., that was like I was discovering myself as an instrumentalist and as an author. And finally, as a person indeed! Those really made my basics as a musician and as a person, and influenced very much on what I would create and play later. I throw myself upon the guitar as some maniac, trying to “catch” all that what I’ve already heard of those famous musicians. After that, I moved to Venezuela and there I heard the local musicians: extraordinary instrumentalists, magic ones. That, on its behalf, did brought me back to the specific, mighty and deeply rooted sounds of the flamenco-guitar! Than, there was my trip to Nashville, USA, where I discovered many more different bands and guitarists that fascinated me not only with their techniques, but also with the intensity of their powerful emotion within their music… So, that’s it: that’s my intro into the blues and rock & roll.
#4As a musician grown up upon the flamenco sound, but with both legs into the blues, you surely created some concept for your own performing at the stage and in studio, and in general – what kind of goals you put in front of your musical creating and performing?
– This is a good question, because there are a lot of musicians that play one same thing through all of their careers. Although very good and skilful musicians, many of them incredibly well masters of the instrument, with energy and emotions and all, but they stagnate and persistently play the same kind of music all life. I disagree with that completely! I think that the music should be elevated on higher levels – especially the blues! Everyone should try to bring something new – exciting, different, original – if that’s possible today, anyhow… To do something in a way no one has done before you! When I combine the flamenco with the blues, I – most directly – feel the bonds and connections with all the people that made both of this styles, you know… And I’m certain that that kind of fusion goes directly from (and into) the heart! You don’t have to know much about the music, one just have to listen to his own feelings. For me, this discovery was very important. I realized that the blues and the flamenco are “brothers in emotion,” and that they interweave greatly one with another. I sometimes like to play some classical riffs that everybody plays, but I persistently paint it with the layer of my own specific emotions.