Inverness: The Introspective Side of The New Chilean Music

Laced with a melancholy texture of soft reflective sounds, Inverness stand out as one of the most underground of the shoegazing bands in Santiago's emerging music scene.

Inverness singer, Rodrigo Jarque (photo by Gonzalo Morales)
Inverness singer, Rodrigo Jarque (photo by Gonzalo Morales)

Many readers will spot something familiar in the name, due to the band naming themselves after a town in Scotland. This is partly to appeal to English-speaking audiences, but also because it is very similiar to the Spanish word invierno (winter), a term which seems appropriate for their cozy music style.

While a lot of groups would be happy to make it onto a movie soundtrack, Inverness came together in 2007 with the express mission to compose the music to Lo Bueno de Llorar, a film directed by Matias Bize. However, it wasn’t until 2009 that Rodrigo Jarque (vocals, guitar and piano), Washington Abrigo (guitar and synthesizer), Angelo Agurto (bass guitar), and Rodrigo Soto (percussion), released their first disc, Illuminaciones. Their diligence soon began to pay off, earning them the spotlight in 2010 with their musical involvement in the award-winning La Vida de Los Peces, another film by Bize, who this time invited them to perform a song in the movie itself.

The band (photo courtesy of Inverness)
The band (photo courtesy of Inverness)

Another big step for the band was taking the stage at the annual week-long South by Southwest music festival in Texas which consists of more than 2,000 bands, something which happened almost by accident. One of their songs happened to be playing on the radio at exactly the moment when the SXSW promoter was driving around Santiago on a short scouting trip. He liked them and immediately tracked them down with an invitation to play at the festival, immediately exposing them to thousands of festival-goers and a much larger international audience, and even managing to wangle a spot in a BBC Scotland documentary of the festival.

They admit that choosing music has not always been easy. Jarque, vocalist, said that it has been a gradual process through which they have grown together as friends and a group. “We’ve had to get used to a great many changes, and that continues, because sometimes we need to focus more on various stable jobs that we have in addition to the band,” commented Jarque.

Despite the time that distracts the band members from their true passion of music, they are dedicated to creating songs inspired by experiences in their own lives or thoseof their friends, as well as things that just catch their eye. Slow but steady, the result is the introspective and encompassing indy sound that has seen them gain plentiful recognitionon the Santiago scene.

Rodrigo Jarque (photo by Gonzalo Morales)
Rodrigo Jarque (photo by Gonzalo Morales)

“When we get together, everyone has their unique influences—for example, some are fans of Led Zeppelin and the sounds of the 70s, mixed with noise, in the style of Sonic Youth. Others have contributed the blends of English groups from the '90s. In the end, we create a type of fusion, and for that reason we don’t have many parameters. We make the music that comes out of us,” Jarque said with a smile.

He agrees that Inverness differ from the majority of emerging groups in Chile, considering that their sound is not typically danceable nor do they have that party-track vibe so popular throughout Santiago. However, Jarque stresses that they are not closed to anything and that they’d rather not be pigeonholed into any one style.

“Right now we’re working on the new disc, in which we hope to try something more ‘pop,’ but we’ll never be a pop band. We just like to experiment,” says the musician. The new album will be accompanied by a national tour, as they seek to consolidate their Chilean fanbase before spreading their wings into the international scene. It's an exciting time for the band and their growing following of dedicated fans.

For more information about the group Inverness, visit facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/invernessbanda

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