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Episode 122 : Sydney's Progfest; Girls Need Not Apply; and No Edgar, No Problem
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January 28, 2018 07:47 PM PST
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Australia's prog scene is by all accounts booming, and one indication of that was the Progfest show held in Sydney on the 20th of January. Several-time guests Hemina were part of the Poseidon Stage there, and guitarist/singer Doug Skene checks in as a correspondent about the bands that were part of the festival -- most of which are new to us at Progtopia. Jason, David, and Mark chat in the Prog Squad about a UK pub's policy of not booking female-fronted bands and other subjects. Finally, Mark debuts the Potentially Unpopular Position (PUP) to explain why he thinks it's all right that Tangerine Dream pressed onward without their late founding member Edgar Froese.

Featured song excerpts:
"Moonlight Bride" (Hemina)
"The Fragile Serene" (Voyager)
"Proton Bonfire" (Tangerine Dream)
"It Is Time to Leave When Everyone Is Dancing" (Tangerine Dream)
"When Isis Starts to Cry" (Breaking Orbit)

"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 121 : Adam Wakeman, Galactic Cowboys, and Big Big Train
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January 11, 2018 07:25 PM PST
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Our first episode with the new format features host Mark Ashby's interview with keyboardist, guitarist, and singer/songwriter Adam Wakeman. Last heard from in Episode 030, Wakeman is releasing a new album with Headspace bandmate Damian Wilson (interviewed in Episode 107 last year), their second. Hear about the Kickstarter for the album and its unique perks, how he went about booking their tour, and exclusive first listens to excerpts from tracks from their sophomore effort. Next, Lady Obscure editor Lacy Mucklow checks in with her report on the Galactic Cowboys reunion and album release show in Houston on December 1st. Then, the roundtable Prog Squad returns to the airwaves with Mark, Jason Spencer, and David Elliott discussing Big Big Train, the Security Project, and veteran bands they do and don't necessarily need to see live again. Finally, a call to all bands and artists out there for our 30-Second Sales Pitch segment. We want to hear from you so that the world will hear from you, too!

Adam Wakeman's websites: www.wilsonwakeman.com, www.adamwakeman.co.uk

Featured song excerpts:
"Blackpool Clip Joint Racket" (Wilson/Wakeman)
"Kill You with Kindness" (Headspace)
"Always the Lonely One" (Wilson/Wakeman)
"In the Clouds" (Galactic Cowboys)
"Hate Me" (Galactic Cowboys)
"Merry Christmas" (Big Big Train)
"I Have the Touch" (The Security Project)
"On This Battlefield" (Wilson/Wakeman)

"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!

2017 Year in Review!
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December 29, 2017 09:52 PM PST
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Six years down, and while there are some changes in store for the show in 2018, it's that time in the calendar when we look back on what has come in the previous 12 months. You'll not only hear clips from interviews and songs from all the guests we've had on the show in 2017, you'll also learn the winners of Progtopia's year-end awards in eight categories (in no particular order): Best Newcomer, Best Bass Performance, Best Drums Performance, Best Keyboard Performance, Best Guitar Performance, Best Vocal Performance, Best Song, and Best Album. Who wins? Oh, come now. You'll have to listen to find out! When you're finished, catch up with all the full episodes at www.progtopia.com. Thanks for your support and making this another wonderful year!

Featured songs/excerpts:
Introduction : "Beneath Enriya" - Prospekt
"You Don't Love Me Anymore" - (iam)warface (Episode 120)
"Black Rabbit" - Vangough (Episode 116)
"Ashes Are Burning" - Renaissance [Annie Haslam] (Episode 115)
"A Journey to Nowhere" - Anubis Gate (Episode 117)
"Hold On" - Bobby Kimball (Episode 110)
"Drown Me" - MindMaze (Progtopia Planetary Premiere 18 April)
"Entering the City of Gods" - Soul Secret (Progtopia Planetary Premiere 12 July)
"Made in Space" - Francis Dunnery (Episode 105)
"Fire Flower Heart" - Tom Slatter (Episode 109)
"Titan" - Prospekt (Episode 114)
"Starless" [featuring John Wetton] - District 97 (Episode 118)
"Thrill Me" - Damian Wilson (Episode 107)
INTERMISSION - Best Song of the Year (???)
"Au Revoir au Reve" - Djam Karet (Episode 106)
"Mirage" - Nicolas Waldo (Episode 113)
"Ascension" - Voyager (Episode 111)
"Beyond the Barbed Wire" - Galahad (Episode 112)
"Borderline" - Karnataka (Episode 108)
"Fractured" - Iris Divine (Episode 119)
FINALE - Best Album of the Year (???)

Episode 120 : Say Their Name - (Iam)warface
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November 13, 2017 08:10 PM PST
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"Rocktronica" is the preferred term for the brand of music created by singer/songwriter Matt Warneford and the band he fronts, (Iam)warface. Drawing on influences as diverse as film scores, grunge, hip hop, and progressive rock, Warneford has forged something that sounds like music you'd hear at the club but would also enjoy in the dark over headphones at home. The industrial bombast combined with incisive lyrical content is not to be missed in the singles they have released so far, including their latest on 17 November, "U Don't Love Me Anymore." Host Mark Ashby spoke with Warneford about where that odd-looking name comes from, how those disparate influences come into his songwriting (or not), and the support they received from a well-known 80s electronic rocker on their shared tour dates. They can be found online at www.iamwarface.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"Trigons"
"Golden Army"
"Bleed Out"
"U Don't Love Me Anymore"
"Say My Name"
"Closer"

"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 119 : Iris Divine Takes Back the Fall
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October 16, 2017 01:59 PM PDT
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Despite being separate by a time zone or two for most of the year between Virginia and Colorado, the members of Iris Divine (Kris Combs [drums and keyboards], Navid Rashid [guitar and vocals], and Brian Dobbs [bass]) are a healthy, happy prog metal trio that is continuing to gain fans and favorable critical reception. Their second, crowdfunded album The Static and the Noise was released in early October, and their sound has evolved since debut effort Karma Sown to become simultaneously more technical and more melodic when both approaches are needed. Making a repeat appearance on the show, Combs chatted with host Mark Ashby about how the recording and writing for the second album required open communication over such long distances when they couldn't jam together, why they've so far stayed away from long, so-called "epic" albums and songs, and why his and Navid's differing personalities combine so well on record and in life. They're online at www.irisdivineband.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"The Acolyte"
"The Static and the Noise"
"Taking Back the Fall"
"We All Dissolve"
"Like Glass"
"Catalyst"

To hear the previous episode featuring Iris Divine, follow this link: http://progtopia.libsyn.com/episode-076-sowing-karma-with-iris-divine

"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 118 : Through the Snow Country with District 97
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October 01, 2017 09:17 PM PDT
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They're a Chicago-based band with an American Idol for a singer, but trust us: District 97 is as prog as they come. With three studio albums under their belts, the group (l. to r. Jonathan Schang [drums], Tim Seisser [bass], Leslie Hunt [vocals], Jim Tashjian [guitar], and Andrew Lawrence [keyboards]) has been critically-acclaimed by the likes of Bill Bruford and John Wetton, with whom they collaborated on their own songs and classic King Crimson material. They're setting out this October on the Static Vaults tour with their friend Dave Kerzner and his band, so host Mark Ashby caught up with Schang for a discussion about that Idol connection, how the band has moved from being largely made up of his compositions to a group effort, and how Wetton impacted them in many ways. Find the tour dates online at www.district97.net.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"Snow Country"
"All's Well That Ends Well"
"The Perfect Young Man" (featuring John Wetton)
"On Paper"
"Death by a Thousand Cuts"
"The Thief"

"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 117 : Anubis Gate Goes Black, Blacker, Blackest
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September 18, 2017 10:11 PM PDT
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They were our first featured band ever. They gifted us with a world premiere a couple of years later. Of course we love Denmark's Anubis Gate, and so do tens of thousands of other prog metal fans the world over. Through three changes in lead vocalists, the band currently consists of (l. to r.) Morten Gade Sørensen (drums), Michael Bodin (guitars), Henrik Fevre (bass, vocals), and Kim Olesen (guitars, keyboards), and their newest album Covered in Black is a descent into some even heavier territory than they've gone through in the past -- call it the analogue to Pink Floyd's Animals album. With subject matter inspired by Olesen's personal struggles, it's perhaps the most intimate Anubis Gate album yet. You'll hear Olesen discuss those inner demons and his rise above them, the Orbits box set which came to fruition in 2016, and some possible new directions the band might want to investigate. They can be found on the web at www.anubisgate.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"Too Much Time"
"The Combat"
"Hear My Call"
"Black"
"Operation Cairo"
"Psychotopia"

"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 116 : Vangough and the Tale of the Black Rabbit
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August 28, 2017 03:00 AM PDT
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In the heart of Tornado Alley in the United States, a trio named after a mentally-ill Dutch painter has been creating quite a few storms of their own for nearly a decade. Oklahoma City-based Vangough is comprised of (l. to r.) Jeren Martin on bass, Clay Withrow on guitar and vocals, and Kyle Haws on drums, and their latest album Warpaint was released back in March of this year. With elements of Tool and Opeth, they've crafted a gritty, down-to-earth brand of progressive metal that has gotten them supporting slots for Fates Warning and Pain of Salvation. Host Mark Ashby talked with Withrow about the reasons behind the band's name and altered spelling, where musical inspiration comes from, why rabbits are such an important part of his creativity and life in general, and why they might leave the album format behind with forthcoming releases. They can be found on the web at www.officialvangough.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"Morphine"
"Black Rabbit"
"Christmas Scars"
"Schizophrenia"
"Dust"
"Knell"

"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 115 : Spare Some Love for Annie Haslam
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August 15, 2017 09:41 PM PDT
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In a Brazilian artist's depiction of progressive music's Last Supper, among the likes of Ian Anderson and Roger Waters, the placid figure at the center of it all is the owner of perhaps the most soaring voice in the genre: Annie Haslam of Renaissance. Since the early 70s, Haslam and the band have been delighting audiences with their brand of symphonic rock that features her five-octave vocal range. While still an active musician who will be touring with the band this autumn, Haslam has branched out into the visual arts, as well. Host Mark Ashby speaks about those endeavors as well as the process of adding a 10-piece chamber orchestra to four dates on the upcoming eastern US jaunt, what advice she gives younger musicians, and the recent moment in Rio de Janeiro that nearly brought her to tears on-stage. Visit her and the band online at www.renaissancetouring.com and www.anniehaslam.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"Can You Understand?"
"Spare Some Love"
"Mother Russia"
"At the Harbour"
"Turn of the Century" (w/Steve Howe)
"Going Home"

"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 114 : Illuminating the Sky with Prospekt
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July 26, 2017 09:05 PM PDT
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They're a UK band that spells their name in a Russian way, but make no mistake: Prospekt is full-on progressive metal that is neither formulaic nor derivative. With their second album The Illuminated Sky just released, band members Lee Luland (guitars), Rox Capriotti (keyboards), Phil Wicker (bass), Black Richardson (drums), and Michael Morris (vocals) have crafted a science-fictional framework to guide the ten songs within it. Luland speaks with host Mark Ashby about influences ranging from Dream Theater to John Williams, the changes in personnel and style between albums 1 and 2, and how he got one of his favorite artists to do a guest spot on the new album. Catch up with them on social media at www.facebook.com/ProspektUK.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"Ex Nihilo"
"Akaibara"
"Dissident Priests"
"Alien Makers of Discord"
"The Illuminated Sky"
"Beneath Enriya"

"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!

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