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Progtopia Planetary Premiere 18 April 2017 : MindMaze - "Drown Me"
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April 18, 2017 03:00 AM PDT
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Six months since our last Planetary Premiere show, and we're going on the heavy side with this exclusive-to-Progtopia track from Pennsylvania's MindMaze, a prog-power metal quartet that is now on the cusp of bigger and better things. With the new album Resolve coming out at the end of the month on Inner Wound, they'll be embarking on a North American tour of over a month in length in which you'd be wise to check out their high-energy sets. Host Mark Ashby talked with guitarist Jeff Teets about listening back to older material and why they chose the theme and concept for the new album, and you'll hear Resolve's fourth track "Drown Me" here before you'll hear it anywhere else. They're online at www.mindmazeband.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"Moment of Flight"
"Dreamwalker"
"Edge of Eternity"
"Sign of Life"
"Drown Me"

To hear the first episode featuring MindMaze, click the link: http://progtopia.libsyn.com/episode-063-mindmaze-walks-through-the-open-door

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia and www.facebook.com/groups/1380357308874546/) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Thanks for listening!

Episode 109 : Tom Slatter, One of the Happy People
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March 31, 2017 02:21 PM PDT
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He's been called "discomfiting" and "overly whimsical," and while those labels are debatable, there's no denying that UK singer/songwriter Tom Slatter creates the kind of music he wants to, and fans of quirky storytelling and often-progressive music have been finding him. His latest album, Happy People, was released on the 17th of March on Bad Elephant Music, with members of the Rube Goldberg Machine (Episode 093) assisting. With concepts that are reminiscent of dystopian science fiction and riffs that are alternately toe-tapping and impossible to count, Slatter has earned himself a nomination for the Prog Magazine Limelight Award in 2016, though the world will never know why he didn't win. Hear him talk with host Mark Ashby about the literary inspirations he draws on, why bad reviews can sometimes be good, and how being late on a deadline turned into a running joke among his supporters. He's on the web at www.tomslatter.co.uk.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"The Steam Engine Murders and the Trial of Seven Bells John"
"Happy People"
"Some of the Creatures Have Broken the Locks on the Door to Lab 558"
"Even Then We're Scared"
"A Name in a File"
"All of the Dark"

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia and www.facebook.com/groups/1380357308874546/) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Thanks for listening!

Episode 108 : Feels Like Home for Karnataka
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March 17, 2017 07:34 AM PDT
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We love our female-fronted symphonic rock on this show, but Karnataka transcends such a label with a blend of progressive, metal, and world music that has been entrancing fans for a couple of decades. Frequent guests at festivals like this year's HRH Prog and on their own tours like the current End II End jaunts, the band (Jimmy Pallagrosi [drums], Hayley Griffiths [vocals], Enrico Pinna [guitar], Ian Jones [bass], and Çağri Tozluoğlu [keyboards]) has built a sizeable fan base through their live shows and albums like 2015's Secrets of Angels. With influences and instrumentation that suggest areas of the world from India to Ireland and all points between, they're a must-listen for fans of intelligent yet accessible prog. Jones chats with host Mark Ashby about the early pre-Karnataka years, how the classically-trained Riverdance veteran Griffiths became their singer in 2011, and why they try to play live as much as possible. They're online at www.karnataka.org.uk.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"The Gathering Light"
"Feels Like Home"
"Your World"
"Road to Cairo"
"Forbidden Dreams"
"The Calling"

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia and www.facebook.com/groups/1380357308874546/) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Thanks for listening!

Episode 107 : Nothing Is Impossible for Damian Wilson
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March 02, 2017 06:35 PM PST
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The feeling you get when you hear a truly remarkable voice is a special one, and that's the way many prog fans feel when they find out that Damian Wilson is part of a project. And those projects over the years have been many, whether in his early years with Landmarq through fronting Threshold and Headspace, or on his own solo albums like 2016's Built for Fighting. His versatility in flowing between genres is remarkable, and in this interview with host Mark Ashby, Wilson discusses why he would actually like to be involved in more projects, the pros and cons of performing as Jean Valjean in a touring company of Les Miz, and how fans will be able to hear a piece of him in every song he's written over the years. You can find him online and learn more at www.damianwilson.net.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"Can't Heal War"
"Impossible"
"Seek for Adventure" (Wilson & Wakeman)
"Your Life Will Change" (Headspace)
"Fire"
"Road to Supremacy" (Headspace)
"Sex & Vanilla"

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia and www.facebook.com/groups/1380357308874546/) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Thanks for listening!

Episode 106 : Because Djam Karet Says So
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February 13, 2017 08:27 PM PST
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You could call them a jam band, you could call them instrumental prog, but whatever you do, don't called them commercial. California's Djam Karet has been creating their own brand of self-described "self-indulgent" music for over three decades, but a devoted following has managed to find them, anyway. Maybe that's because their excursions into improvised territory don't meander and wander in directions that nobody else can follow. Their approach comes off as focused and highly musical, as evidenced on almost 20 albums including their newest, Sonic Celluloid. Host Mark Ashby talked with founder and multi-instrumentalist Gayle Ellett about why they've never even thought about satisfying anyone but themselves when composing and recording, what allows them to have stayed together for so long, and whether or not he feels they have anything in common with bands like the Grateful Dead or Phish. They're on the web at www.djamkaret.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"Long Shot"
"The Denouement Device"
"Web of Medea"
"Saul Says So"
"Forced Perspective"
"Lower"

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia and www.facebook.com/groups/1380357308874546/) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Thanks for listening!

Episode 105 : Once Around the World with Francis Dunnery
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January 14, 2017 06:48 PM PST
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One of progressive music's true Renaissance men, singer and multi-instrumentalist Francis Dunnery will resist any attempt you or anyone else makes to classify him. Having begun his musical career in the eighties with pop-proggers It Bites, Dunnery has done much in the years since he left the band, including moving from the UK to the US and exploring all sorts of genres and endeavors within and outside of the music business. His most recent album Vampires is a collection of re-recorded It Bites tunes, and he'll be performing a few concerts from the 20th to the 22nd of January 2017. In this interview, he talks with host Mark Ashby about wanting to clear the mental clutter of the past, how his in-house concerts evolved and what you can expect if you attend one, and why he chose not to "wear the clown shoes" in his career. Find him online at www.francisdunnery.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"Old Man and the Angel"
"Once Around the World"
"Calling All the Heroes"
"Underneath Your Pillow"
"Moonflower"
"Screaming on the Beaches"

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia and www.facebook.com/groups/1380357308874546/) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Thanks for listening!

2016 Year in Review!
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December 30, 2016 11:24 PM PST
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Five years down, and hopefully many more to go. 2016 was unquestionably the program's best year for guests, with many well-known artists filling up our bandwidth with great stories, but as always, we take pride in shining the spotlight on the unsung heroes of prog, too. You'll find all of that in this hour-plus episode recapping what you heard and maybe what you missed in the past twelve months. Make sure to visit www.progtopia.com for all past episodes, and give us a like on Facebook and a follow on Twitter, please! Thanks for your support this year and in years to come.

Featured excerpts:
Introduction : "At Day's End" - Redemption
"The First" - Odd Logic (Episode 092)
"No Man's Land" - Glass Hammer (Episode 101)
"Black Wind" - Dream the Electric Sleep (Episode 098)
"Masquerade" - Profusion (Episode 099)
"Matches" - iamthemorning (Episode 090)
"The Scent" - The Barstool Philosophers (Episode 086)
"Hollow" - Circuline (Episode 094)
"Entering the Light" - Earthside (Episode 097)
"The Tallest Tree" - The Gift (Progtopia Planetary Premiere 17 October 2016)
"Surreal" - Erik Norlander (Episode 095)
"Find Your Way Back" - Jefferson Starship [Craig Chaquico] (Episode 088)
"Morning Train" - Rayburn (Episode 103)
"Thirty Silver" - Redemption (Episode 091)
"Until the Last Light Breaks In" - Dante (Episode 089)
"Man of Glass" - Rube Goldberg Machine (Episode 093)
"The Colossal Empire" - Ashby (Episode 085)
"Against the Rain" - Tilt (Episode 096)
"Eldorado - ii. The Gold" - Marillion (Backstage Pass #5)
"So Far Gone" - The Neal Morse Band (Episode 102)
"Revenge" - Doro Pesch (Episode 087)
"Evil Twin Brother" - Thomas Dolby (Episode 100)
"Venus" - Hemina (Episode 104)
Conclusion - "Sleeping Pills" - iamthemorning

Episode 104 : Down Will Come Hemina
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December 19, 2016 08:43 PM PST
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We like them so much around here, they're back for a third time. Hemina from Sydney, Australia, first appeared on Progtopia in April 2012, and now with their third album Venus, this foursome (seated l. to r. Doug Skene [guitars, keyboards, vocals], Nathan McMahon [drums, vocals], Mitch Coull [guitars, vocals]; standing Jess Martin [bass, vocals]) has created their most well-rounded work to date. With influences ranging from the most technical metal to 80s pop and funk, Venus contains plenty for fans of smart, eclectic progressive music. You'll hear from all four members about McMahon's entry into and role in the band (and which prog metal vocalist took an interest in his setup), the science behind the vocal harmonies that distinguish them from the crowd, and which of them would be most likely to make an embarrassing social media post (among other things). They're at www.hemina.com.au.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"Fantasy"
"High Kite Ride"
"Secret's Safe"
"Down Will Come Baby"
"I"

Listen to Hemina's previous episodes:
http://progtopia.libsyn.com/episode-005-and-now-to-find-hemina
http://progtopia.libsyn.com/progtopia-planetary-premiere-5-august-2014-hemina-nebulae

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia and www.facebook.com/groups/1380357308874546/) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Thanks for listening!

Episode 103 : Rayburn Is Not Going Back
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December 05, 2016 06:58 PM PST
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What were you doing in the mid-1960s? Were you even born yet? That's when the story of the Little Rock, Arkansas band Rayburn begins. As teenagers, they honed their craft and gained the attention of Chuck Berry and Levon Helm, among others, even recording demos and signing a recording contract. So what happened? Why are we only just now hearing of Rayburn and their 2016 album The Living End? The story is kind of amazing, with family drama and medical tragedy, and you'll hear the band's keyboardist and driving force Steve Stephens (pictured while recording the new album) discuss the ups and downs that have followed Rayburn for years. You'll even hear an excerpt from one of those early demos along with the band's unique blend of progressive and southern rock elements. Fans of Hammond organs, be sure to tune in! Find them online at www.rayburn.band.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"Jealous Mistress"
"Deep in Blue"
"Steam Shuffle" (early demo)
"At the Gate"
"Malachi"
"I Still Believe"
"Not Going Back"

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia and www.facebook.com/groups/1380357308874546/) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Thanks for listening!

Episode 102 : Back to the City with Neal Morse
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November 16, 2016 06:01 PM PST
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Having started over 20 years ago on his prog rock path with Spock's Beard, Nashville's Neal Morse has branched out on several different roads since then -- with Transatlantic, Flying Colors, and with the band named after him. Their newest effort, The Similitude of a Dream, is just out on Morse's Radiant Records, and it's a double-album tour-de-force based on a certain classic work of literature. Morse (center) speaks with host Mark Ashby about his many projects including those with drummer Mike Portnoy (right of Morse in photo), some of the conflict generated during the making of the new album, and how faith informs his art and his life. Find him online at www.nealmorse.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"Overture"
"Back to the City"
"In the Fire"
"Shine" (Transatlantic)
"The Man in the Iron Cage"
"Breath of Angels"

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia and www.facebook.com/groups/1380357308874546/) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Thanks for listening!

Photo: Robert Smith

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