Go in-depth with prog rock, prog metal, and electronic music
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 PhotographyEpisode 135 : The Plagued Raven's Wrath; 50 Years of Yes; and Fast =/= Best
August 23, 2018 08:26 PM PDT
The Plagued Raven's music isn't easily boxed into a word or two, but the one-time solo guitar project of Raven Kyle has branched out with its third album Celeste to add the vocals of Katie Thompson (of Chiasma, from Episode 081) to its moody soundscapes. The resulting short tracks are perhaps best described by the artistic term chiaroscuro (the contrast of light and shade), and they're probably not what you think of when you hear that only guitar and voice are involved. Kyle and Katie both describe to host Mark Ashby the circumstances that brought them together, how their creative flow is achieved since they live six hours apart, and what they tell people their music is intended to evoke. Yes-expert Roman Guzman stops in next to trade questions with Mark about various common and obscure topics relating to the band (such as which band member once provided real-time DVD commentary to Roman). Finally, a Potentially Unpopular Position that encourages you to think emotion over technique when considering who is the "best" on an instrument. Go to https://theplaguedraven.bandcamp.com/ to get digital copies of Celeste and other Plagued Raven releases.
August 02, 2018 09:48 PM PDT
Head with Wings is the sort of band you might want to set aside time to concentrate on, as with their debut full-length album From Worry to Shame, they tackle heavy topics like tragic and senseless death, coping with loss, and forgiveness. Guitarists Joshua Corum and Brandon Cousino enlisted their friends from Earthside Frank Sacramone and Jamie van Dyck for production duties, and the result is a riveting work that's timely and poignant. Corum talks with host Mark Ashby about the emotions he mined to create this work and what sorts of people he senses gravitate toward it. Next, correspondent Andrew Bennett gives his report as an American making his first trip to the Night of the Prog Festival in St. Goarshausen, Germany, telling us his highlights from the shows, what to expect if you're a first-timer, who he met, and what he'll do differently if he's able to return. And our Triple Track Special has three songs all with the theme of "sky." Head with Wings' Facebook page is www.facebook.com/HeadWithWingsband/
To hear the Progtopia archival episode featuring Earthside, go to http://progtopia.libsyn.com/episode-097-entering-the-light-with-earthside
July 22, 2018 08:10 PM PDT
Jordan Brown might be known as the driving force behind the Rube Goldberg Machine (Episode 093) or as a gigging bassist around London, but for his latest project, he's gone totally '80s. Under the name Nostromo, he's released the nine-track homage to analog synth soundtracks from that time period, Synchestral Works Vol. 1. It's everything a kid born in the early-to-mid-70s could want in a nostalgia trip through the sounds of films scored by the likes of Giorgio Moroder or Tangerine Dream, and he does so with reverence, not irony (well, not completely). Hear his interview with host Mark Ashby about the impetus for creating a different sort of album than he's ever done, the thought process for making digital technology sound analog, and how he got help for the obligatory vocal track that closes the album -- just like they did on your favorite movie scores in 1985. Next, a talk with music journalist and Innerviews founder Anil Prasad about where he sees the sorry state of artist compensation in the era of streaming music. He's long advocated for a different approach when it comes to paying musicians fairly for their creations, and he has some thoughts about how to combat the creeping demise of worthwhile art in the name of "free stuff." Finally, you'll hear "Closer," the latest single from (iam)warface, a band who is trying to use Spotify to their advantage (and profiled in Episode 120). See if you think their strategy is a good one and whether you want to assist them in reaching their goal.
July 06, 2018 09:49 PM PDT
The sea levels haven't quite risen high enough to put us all underwater yet, but until we get there, Baltimore duo Waterplanet (James Hesser and Millie Landrum) will be playing their brand of acoustic, intelligent, genre-bending music. And this July, they'll be playing songs from their album Ghost-Hypnotic and more in various parts of the US on a three-week tour. Host Mark Ashby talks with them about the way they tend to write songs solo and then turn them into something bigger, how 60s pop and punk and many other styles inform their sound, and where you'll be able to hear them out and about. Next Mark gets in on the "reaction video" trend (except it's only audio, of course) as you'll hear pieces of his in-the-moment commentary while listening to Kiss's "prog" album, Music from "The Elder." Does it pass muster? Finally, new contributor Mark Nagy has a proposition for you: Haken's masterful album The Mountain could benefit from a slight shuffling of tracks. Will you agree with his reasons why? Find Waterplanet online at www.waterplanetband.com.
To hear a previous episode featuring an interview with Richard Henshall of Haken, click this link: http://progtopia.libsyn.com/episode-038-climbing-the-mountain-with-haken
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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