Go in-depth with prog rock, prog metal, and electronic music
Episode 144 : Lobate Scarp - "Spirals and Portals"
September 18, 2019 03:10 PM PDT
Named after an obscure topographical feature, California-based Lobate Scarp has been sharing their brand of theatrical prog with the world for close to a decade, and while they haven't had a formal release for a few years since their debut Time and Space, they're back with an EP called Spirals and Portals. The release is a prelude to an upcoming Kickstarter campaign for their second full-length album, to be formally announced in October. Host Mark Ashby speaks with singer, keyboardist, and songwriter Adam Sears about that odd band name, their crowd-funding successes and shortfalls, and their addition to the bill for RoSfest 2020 in Florida. You can learn more about them online and get their music at https://www.lobatescarp.com/.
August 30, 2019 05:07 PM PDT
Some prog metal fans will know the name Jessica Lehto from her involvement in the bands Factory of Dreams (Episode 044) and Beto Vazquez Infinity. But there's a softer side to this Swedish singer/songwriter with the angelic voice, and that is reflected in her solo project, Once There Was. The style of music under this name has been fluid over the years, but the most recent release Breathe, Be, Bleed is being called "electro pop opera." Whatever you describe it as, it contains haunting vocals and harmonies, with synthesizer accompaniment ranging from driving to quietly symphonic. Host Mark Ashby speaks with her about how Once There Was has changed over the years and how it differs from other albums she guests on, why she's content being mostly a studio musician, and how digital-only releases suit artists like her. Find her online at www.jessicalehto.com.
August 14, 2019 07:57 PM PDT
We obviously can't get enough of Sydney's Hemina, who have been supporters of this program since its very early days (check the archives at www.progtopia.com if you want proof). So with the release of their fourth album Night Echoes, it's only right that we check in with band members Doug Skene and Jess Martin and see what it's all about. They talk about the chances they take with diverse influences from funk to pop to 80s retro stylings mixed in with their trademark brand of progressive metal, how a song like "What's the Catch?" and its associated video were formed and fashioned, and which country seems to be surpassing all others for streams of their music. You can order all their music at http://hemina.bandcamp.com.
To hear previous episodes featuring Hemina, as well as all archival episodes, go to www.progtopia.com.Episode 141 : Edison's Children - "The Disturbance Fields"
July 23, 2019 09:07 AM PDT
Edison's Children are no strangers to Progtopia, having been featured twice already, but this is their return to the program after a few years' absence, with their fourth album The Disturbance Fields freshly released in mid-July. Begun as the duo of Marillion's Pete Trewavas and Eric Blackwood of Blackwood & Foti, they've added members like Rick Armstrong (son of astronaut Neil), Lisa Wetton, and Henry Rogers to create a soundscape of darkened moods and messages of warning. Those warnings on the new album are for the climate changes happening around us all with alarming speed, and with the albums single track "Washed Away" spread over 14 parts, the band tells a tale of peril at the hands of a wrathful Mother Nature. Trewavas stops by to talk about the band's recent gig in Florida supporting Alan Parsons, how likely he thinks a scenario like the one depicted in the album could be to really happen, and...all right, a little bit about his *other* band, too. Find them online and get the album at www.edisonschildren.com.
To hear previous episodes featuring Edison's Children and Marillion, as well as all archival episodes, go to www.progtopia.com.Episode 140 : Zonder Wehrkamp - "If It's Real"
July 10, 2019 01:56 PM PDT
Drummer Mark Zonder and guitarist/keyboardist Gary Wehrkamp are familiar names to progressive metal fans who listen to the likes of Fates Warning, Shadow Gallery, and Warlord. So it may come as a surprise to learn that their first album as a duo, If It's Real, leans to the introspective, melodic side. Still displaying the high-quality musicianship they're known for, Zonder and Wehrkamp take listeners down some darker trails, but with a message that if you're feeling down, this doesn't have to be the end of your story. Host Mark Ashby chats with them about the pros and cons of releasing their album independently, how they deliberately chose a more scaled-back approach on the majority of the 10 tracks on If It's Real, and how they might continue this collaboration. They're online at www.zwband.com.
June 22, 2019 08:35 PM PDT
Back with their fourth album, Antenna, on Bad Elephant Music are UK sextet The Gift (Mike Morton [vocals], David Lloyd [lead and rhythm guitar], Leroy James [guitar], Stefan Dickers [bass], Gabriele Baldocci [keyboards] and Neil Hayman [drums]). This release sees the band keeping true to a progressive sound while pushing their own personal boundaries from their usual 70s-based aesthetic into new territory. Host Mark Ashby chats with Morton about the liberating feeling that comes from not feeling the need to produce epic tracks, how the band has meshed over the course of the past two albums, and the intimate motivations for the beautiful track "Snowfall," which is played in full here. Find the band online at http://http://thegiftmusic.com/
June 01, 2019 10:29 AM PDT
It's been several months since the last episode of the show, but we're back in a big way with long-time friends of the program, London's The Mariana Hollow. In this interview with members Richie Walden (rhythm guitar), Gabriel Moreira (lead guitar), and Rebecca Stanley (vocals), they talk about The Abandoned Parade, their first full-length album since 2012's Velvet Black Sky, as well as amusing names they give their songs in the demo stages, the evolution of the band since their 2009 debut Coma Heart, and the recent departure of bassist Scott Chesworth. After the interview, Mark explains the reasons why he took an eight-month break from production and what you can expect from the podcast in the future. Find TMH online and order their music at http://themarianahollow.bandcamp.com.
To listen to the previous episodes with The Mariana Hollow, go to these links:
October 12, 2018 06:05 AM PDT
The Vermont-based prog darlings Elephants of Scotland (Episode 055) might be on something of a hiatus, but luckily for us all, keyboardist/singer and founding member Adam Rabin hasn't gone into hiding. In fact, his solo album The Badger Flies at Dawn is set for release on the 26th of October, and ahead of that, he's been kind enough to grant Progtopia an exclusive premiere of the contemplative track "Trains That Never Come." Hear in his interview with host Mark Ashby about the metaphor embodied in the lyrics for this song as well as the wild idea behind the title track, why he feels like going it alone is AOK for now, and where the Elephants stand at the moment. After that, you'll hear reaction audio of Mark's first listen to the rare Vangelis soundtrack from 1970, Sex Power. How does it stand up to the Greek giant's other works? You can pre-order The Badger Flies at Dawn and learn more about Adam Rabin at his website http://imadeitup.com.
To hear the 2014 episode with Elephants of Scotland, follow this link: http://progtopia.libsyn.com/episode-055-in-the-other-room-with-elephants-of-scotland
"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 137 : Dialing It In with Shineback
September 28, 2018 09:18 PM PDT
We devote the entire episode this time to musical gadabout and Englishman-in-Philadelphia Simon Godfrey and his Shineback project. With a cavalcade of guest musicians from bands like We Are Kin and Echolyn, among others, Shineback's latest album Dial is receiving the same sort of acclaim its predecessor Rise Up Forgotten, Return Destroyed received five years ago as the first release of the Bad Elephant Music label. We thought it only fitting to have Simon and host Mark Ashby be joined by BEM's boss and frequent Progtopia guest David Elliott for something of a retrospective look at their relationship, as well as discussions about the new album, and why Shineback exists best as a collective of collaborators. Music can be streamed and purchased through https://shineback.badelephant.co.uk/.
"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 136 : ProgPower Prep with Lux Terminus; Glenn Harveston from the Archives
September 02, 2018 10:50 PM PDT
It's only a few days from the annual installment of ProgPower USA, and although your humble host won't be in attendance this year, he's still in the spirit by speaking with someone who will be shifting from attendee to performer this time. Vikram Shankar's dance card is quite full at the moment, because not only will he be on the ProgPower stage with stalwarts Redemption as their new keyboardist, he and his band Lux Terminus have just released their debut album The Courage to Be. In his chat with Mark, he runs through how Tom Englund's enthusiasm for his piano cover song videos got him the Redemption gig, his many upcoming projects, and why he wanted the only song with vocals on the new album to be voiced by his favorite singer, Anneke van Giersbergen. Then we go back to the archives with an interview with ProgPower promoter Glenn Harveston from 2015, in which he goes into detail (often forcefully!) about the challenges surrounding visas and how much he appreciates his staff and fans of the festival for supporting his efforts through thick and thin. You'll find Lux Terminus online at https://luxterminus.bandcamp.com/ and ProgPower USA at http://progpowerusa.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: Kyle Finlan Photography
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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