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The music of Jime and Aaron is the sound of Jime's Paraguayan heritage mixed with Kansas City native Aaron's electric and upright bass. A duo since 2011, Jime and Aaron have toured widely both domestically and internationally. The music they create together is a true cultural hybrid of lyrics sung in English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Guarani, combined with elements of Jazz, Blues, Rock, Classical, Latin, and Country. It's a pleasure to welcome Jime and Aaron to Listen Local.
Please introduce yourselves. With such diverse backgrounds, how did you unite as a duo in Kansas?
Jime: My name is Jime and I am from Paraguay. As part of the duo, I play the guitar, the ukulele and the piano. I am also the singer/songwriter. I moved to the US in 2011 to pursue my musical career. At the time I was living in Topeka KS and going to Washburn University. At night, I would always try to go to jam sessions and get up on stage and play. On one of those nights I happened to be a this awesome band's concert. They sounded really good and besides the awesome vocals I was really impressed by their bass player. After the gig I made a point of taking to Aaron and let him know how great he was. In the months to come we would bump into each other and always play on stage. I really like Aaron's style as well as his personality. One day after jamming he said: I would like to be your bass player. I was really flattered and that was the beginning of Jime & Aaron in 2011.
Aaron: My name is Aaron and I am the bass player for Jime & Aaron. I play electric and upright bass. I was born and raised in Kansas City (KS) and started playing music ever since I was a teenager. I went to school for music education at Emporia State university. In 2009 I joined the 312th Army Band and have had the privileged to be part of this amazing band ever since.
Describe the nature of your musical collaboration. Who writes the music, the words, and how do you agree on a “finished product”?
Jime: I will usually write the foundation of the song: the melody and the lyrics. Once I have something decent Aaron will usually jump in and add his collaboration to the song. This sometimes includes the bass line or modifying melodies, rhythms, etc. We agree on a finished product once we are really content with the song. This comes after trying many different things and agreeing that this is the best possible version.
You both have toured extensively, both as a duo and separately. Where are your favorite places to perform and why?
Aaron: I think outdoor gigs are my favorites. People are there to relax and have a good time and we're adding to the experience. I also enjoy the smaller and more intimate venues where you get to connect deeper with your audience; they get to know you better and you get to know them better as well.
Jime: I definitely enjoy playing at music venues more than anything. Coming from a very warm culture, I really enjoy playing in South America. My two favorite concerts took place in Asuncion (Paraguay) and Montevideo (Paraguay). I have to admit that I love playing in the US as well because people are so reactive and supportive of our music. We live for our audience, so anytime a person is there to hear us play that's already a great gig.
What do you struggle with the most creatively and how do you push through those struggles?
Aaron: For me the struggle comes from not sounding original when I am trying to write. There is so much that has already been done musically that it is hard to come up with something that is fresh. I push through those struggles working hard on them, collaborating with Jime in the creative process to give life to something completely new.
Jime: My main struggle with creativity is time. When I sit and play I can finish a song in a matter of an hour or two. With the working schedule and family time it is very hard for me to find this time. I wish I could spend more time writing lyrics and melodies, I know many songs could come out. Even with a busy schedule I need to find some minutes to create and I am certain that eventually that will pay off. I also feel like melodies are easier for me to write than lyrics. I don't want to have empty lyrics so I spend a lot of time thinking about what to say and how to express it.
Who or what inspires you? How does this relate to the covers you choose to perform?
Both: Our experiences are what inspire us the most along with our faith. All of our songs are written about something that happened or is happening. There are stories inspired by people that don't know that a song was written for them. This is entirely connected to the songs we cover; some of them are just because we like the melody/lyrics and some because we truly love the stories behind them. We know that people enjoy our original songs much more when we give them snippets of the story behind the song. That also happens to us when we cover some tunes: we read or heard why the artist wrote it and so we load up our cover with a lot of emotions.
Jime and Aaron's Recommendations:
Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
This is one of our favorite books and stories by far. I have actually read it all and am in love with the characters, the style of writing. Dumas is a genius! I also went to French my whole life so I feel so comfortable with all the French places and names. I fell in love with the movie first and then decided to ready book. Needless to say there is so much more one discovers reading the book. This is such an awesome story! It's hard for me to believe someone can ever create such a masterpiece.
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
This is one of my favorite books too. I love Tolstoy as well Dostoievski. What I like the most is the period of time and the stories behind every family, every character. Such an amazing and intense novel. This book too has many French lines that I really enjoy. I always tell myself I need to read it again to refresh my memory; it's a little lengthy though so I'm not sure I will do it. Definitely worth it though.
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
This is one of the latest classics I've read. Famous as it is it took me years to actually get to it. This too is one of my favorite stories because of all the emotional implications in the lives of the characters. I am fascinated by the portrayal of the suffering in poverty, loneliness and falling in disgrace. I actually read this one in French. Hugo is also one of my favorite writers!
The Red And The Black by Stendhal
I found this book easy to read despite the complexity of the story. I read it many years ago and until this day I keep it as one of those books that I'll never forget. I think like the Miserables I also love the French background surrounding the story. I am also very attracted to the shy and poor Julien that arrives to this wealthy family and everything that takes place while living with them. The passion in this book becomes physical it is so real.
The perfume by Süskind
This book impressed me by the details on describing smells that the character was so sensitive. Needless to say I did not expect him to be what he was, it was very shocking to discover what he was capable of doing. Very different from the other 4 I've mentioned before, but definitely a one of a kind book.