Go in-depth with prog rock, prog metal, and electronic music
Episode 102 : Back to the City with Neal Morse
November 16, 2016 06:01 PM PST
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.
"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 SmithProgtopia Backstage Pass #5 : Marillion Risks Melting Their Guns As a Show of Strength
November 01, 2016 03:00 AM PDT
When you're a well-respected and veteran progressive band like Marillion, perhaps it's not a risk to make one of the words in the title of your 18th album an expletive. But context is everything, as the band's bassist Pete Trewavas explains in the interview you'll hear as the latest Backstage Pass episode of Progtopia. Touring North America and Europe from October through December in support of "F E A R" (or "F*** Everyone and Run"), Marillion still captures an audience as perhaps no other progressive act can these days, as the many fans who travel the country and even the world to follow them can attest. Trewavas talks with host Mark Ashby about the band's friendship and longevity (and whether they've discussed what they would do if one member would say they couldn't continue), the fickle promotional habits of labels past, and that potentially-controversial album title. Check for more tour dates at www.marillion.com
"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!Progtopia Planetary Premiere 17 October 2016 : The Gift - "Tuesday's Child"
October 17, 2016 07:03 AM PDT
When last we heard from Mike Morton, singer for The Gift out of the UK, their acclaimed second album Land of Shadows was relatively new and the band's star was on the rise after a lengthy hiatus following their first album Awake and Dreaming. Now solidified as a six-piece lineup including Morton (vocals, flute and acoustic guitar), David Lloyd (lead and rhythm guitar), Leroy James (guitar), Stefan Dickers (bass), Gabriele Baldocci (keyboards), and Neil Hayman (percussion), their third album Why the Sea Is Salt will be released on 28 October through Bad Elephant Music. You'll get an exclusive first listen on this show to the track "Tuesday's Child," as well as a wide-ranging interview with Morton about the virtuosity now found among his bandmates, the recurring lyrical themes among The Gift's albums, and a game of "Choose the Best Genesis Song" from among eight tracks for this former tribute band vocalist. Find them online at http://thegiftmusic.com.
To listen to the first episode featuring The Gift, go to http://progtopia.libsyn.com/episode-058-walk-into-the-water-with-the-gift
"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 101 : Glass Hammer Smashes Through the Fog of War
October 07, 2016 10:09 PM PDT
Born out of a love for fantasy literature, Chattanooga, Tennessee's Glass Hammer has survived the ups and downs of the prog landscape since the early 90s with 17 consistently listenable, and occasionally classic, albums. Now with 2016's concept album Valkyrie out there to rave reviews, members Fred Schendel (keyboards, guitars, vocals), Aaron Raulston (drums), Steve Babb (bass, keyboards, vocals), Kamran Alan Shikoh (guitars), and Susie Bogdanowicz (lead vocals) are telling the tale of the horrors of war and dealing with the mental trauma that follows the battle. Host Mark Ashby spoke with Schendel and Babb about the way the band has utilized the many vocalists that have come their way, "epic" prog tracks (which they're no strangers to), and the opportunities their hometown provides despite what outsiders might think. Go to www.glasshammer.com for more information and ordering links.
Photo: Julie BabbEpisode 100 : Breaking the Speed of Sound with Thomas Dolby
September 14, 2016 07:02 PM PDT
With this milestone episode of the show, it's only fitting that we mark it by inviting to the program one of the most innovative musicians of his generation. Thomas Dolby is often pigeonholed by those who haven't delved into his output as a one-hit wonder, new wave technogeek, but when you get past "She Blinded Me with Science," you'll hear an artist who has dabbled in almost every style of popular music there is. Having taken a hiatus from music of nearly two decades to start a tech company and become the music director for the TED talks, he burst back on the scene in 2011 with an album and interactive online game called A Map of the Floating City. Since then he's taken a position as professor in the arts at Baltimore's Johns Hopkins University, following in the academic footsteps of his parents and siblings. Host and long-time fan Mark Ashby talks with Dolby about his formative years listening to prog rock bands (and which soon-to-be-famous youthful comrade of his later insisted punk was the real deal), the doors that his most well-known hit opened for him, how he creates his own sense of home away from his actual homebase of East Anglia, and his upcoming memoir The Speed of Sound. You can locate him online at www.thomasdolby.com.
Photo credit: Laura WeylEpisode 099 : A Free Fall with Profusion
September 04, 2016 09:49 PM PDT
If you combine "progressive" with "fusion," the resulting word you would come up with would probably be "Profusion." And the band in this episode certainly takes both of those words seriously. Hailing from Siena, Italy, band members Vladimer Sichinava (drums), Gionatan Caradonna (keyboards), Davide Pepi (guitars), Jury Maccianti (bass), and Luca Latini (vocals) combine many styles on their three albums, the most recent of which is 2015's Phersu. With influences including traditional music from Georgia, where Sichinava has roots, Profusion challenges and excites with their brand of Rock Progressivo Italiano. Host Mark Ashby taled with Caradonna about why they enjoy American prog so much, their support of AIMA (the Italian Alzheimer's Disease Association), and how a little bit of alcohol (or maybe a lot) can create some fun in the studio. Visit the band online at www.profusion.it.
August 17, 2016 09:49 PM PDT
They've played festivals like RoSfest, although they don't wear their progginess on their sleeves. Dream the Electric Sleep (l. to r. Matt Page [guitar, vocals], Joey Waters [drums], and Chris Tackett [bass]) has three albums out in the world, including their most recent called Beneath the Dark Wide Sky, and their sound might best be described as falling somewhere on the overlap of the Venn diagram of prog, grunge, and AOR. Perhaps like host Mark Ashby, you'll get so caught up in the hooks in their music that you don't even notice that the songs you're listening to aren't in 4/4. You'll hear from Page about how photographs from the 1930s informed the concepts behind the songs on the newest album, how Tori Amos and other women singers are influential to him, and what it might take for them to become more of a fixture on the touring scene. Find them online at www.dreamtheelectricsleep.com.
July 25, 2016 10:56 PM PDT
Maybe it slipped under your radar, too, but Connecticut's Earthside (Frank Sacramone [keyboards], Jamie van Dyck [guitar], Ryan Griffin [bass], and Ben Shanbrom [drums]) released what might have been one of the most powerful albums of 2015, A Dream in Static. In the process, they earned themselves a nomination for Prog magazine's Vanguard award. While they resist the term prog metal in favor of cinematic rock, you'll find plenty to like here if you're into the heavier stuff. Using vocalists from bands like Tesseract and Sevendust as well as the Moscow Studio Symphony Orchestra, they've got a good thing going. Host Mark Ashby spoke with Sacramone about the band members' musical educations, writing for orchestra, and their upcoming tour with Leprous. Check them out online at www.earthsideband.com.
Photo Credit: Ian Christmann - Catalyst PhotographyEpisode 096 : No Supermen, but Tilt Is a Super Band
July 10, 2016 09:17 PM PDT
It's a veritable feast of consequences. A couple of blokes who have worked with ex-Marillion frontman Fish, Steve Vantsis (bass) and Dave Stewart (drums), have recently recruited guitarist Paul Humphreys and singer PJ Dourley to create a band called Tilt, in homage to the medieval hero Don Quixote. After having produced an earlier EP with a plethora of guests, they've kept the cameo appearances to a minimum on their debut full-length album Hinterland, just out at the end of June. With all the hallmarks of Fish's best output, you know you're in for a treat with this one. Host Mark Ashby speaks with Stewart and Humphreys about the way the band came together, why this may or may not be a prog album, and how Brexit might affect a band like them -- part English and part Scottish. They're online at www.tiltband.co.uk.
June 28, 2016 09:56 PM PDT
Digital synthesizers are all well and good -- who doesn't love a nice Korg Wavestation, am I right? -- but there's just something warm and reassuring about that old analog sound that we grew to love in the classic 70s prog and electronic music. If you're a fan of that sort of thing, and if you don't already know about Erik Norlander, you'll probably want to check him out after hearing this episode. One-third of the previously-profiled Rocket Scientists (Episode 067), the prolific Norlander has just released his latest solo album, Surreal, and he's here to talk about it. Host Mark Ashby discusses his evolution as a songwriter, why the definition of progressive music might actually mean you can't do a short "prog" song very easily, and what two instruments he might take with him to a magical desert island with electricity. He's on the web in many places, but you can try www.eriknorlander.com.
To hear the Rocket Scientists episode of Progtopia, go to http://progtopia.libsyn.com/episode-067-refuel-and-regenerate-with-the-rocket-scientists
A podcast dedicated to progressive music in its various forms, including interviews with the musicians themselves.
I'm a fan of all sorts of music, but primarily progressive rock, progressive metal, and electronic. I also run a voiceover/audio recording business, Sound Mind Voiceovers (www.soundmindvoiceovers.com). As a narrator for the Library of Congress National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, I've recorded almost 400 audiobooks. You can also find titles I've narrated for the commercial audio market on audible.com.
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