Progtopia Archives

For the previous podcast, we featured Soul Secret, who just played a few dates in Germany. For this podcast, we feature the headliner from that tour – Subsignal (Ralf Schwager [bass], Arno Menses [vocals], Roel van Helden [drums, recently replaced by Danilo Batdorf], Markus Steffen [guitar], and David Bertok [keyboards]). The band formed from the breakup of prog rock stalwarts Sieges Even has released two albums to date – their debut Beautiful & Monstrous in 2009 and Touchstones in September 2011 – both of which showcase their high level of musicianship and keen sense of melody, not always a given in the prog rock realm. Progtopia host Mark Ashby caught up with singer Arno Menses following a successful tour to talk about breaking in a (sort of new) drummer right before the recent concerts, the differences between the days of Sieges Even and now, how he made the transition from being a drummer in other bands to the frontman of this one, and upcoming solo and band projects, including the exclusive revelation of the first song title from the next Subsignal album! Be sure to visit the band’s website at www.subsignalband.com for more information, photos, and merchandise.

Featured songs/excerpts:
“The Essence Called Mind”
“Eyes Wide Open” (Sieges Even)
“Walking with Ghosts”
“Beautiful & Monstrous”
“Wingless”
“The Size of Light on Earth”

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/Progtopia) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send me a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Please also visit our partner station PRM Radio at www.progrockandmetal.net to listen to and request songs by Subsignal and hundreds of other bands. Tell them Progtopia sent you!

(Originally posted 10 May 2012)

Direct download: Progtopia_007_The_Essence_Called_Subsignal.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:37pm EST

It's back to Europe for this episode of Progtopia, specifically to Naples, Italy, to feature the prog metal band Soul Secret. Having been around since 2004, the band has gone through a few lineup changes before settling on the current group of Luca Di Gennaro (keyboards and programming), Claudio Casaburi (bass), Fabio Manda (vocals), Antonio Mocerino (drums), and Antonio Vittozzi (guitars). In November of 2011, they released the album Closer to Daylight, featuring guest musicians like guitarist Marco Sfogli of the James LaBrie band and singer Arno Menses of Subsignal (a band that Soul Secret will be touring with next month). Host Mark Ashby speaks with Luca Di Gennaro about the many changes in singers the band has had in its short life, its members' influences from diverse styles such as fusion, his choice of gear and the fun he has creating his own sounds, and how their manager Davide Guidone has helped them work with some heavyweights in the prog rock realm. Their website is www.soulsecret.net, where you can find links to bios, tour info, and merchandise.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"Aftermath"
"First Creature"
"River's Edge"
"Pillars of Sand"
"Checkmate"
"If"

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/Progtopia) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send me a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Please also visit our partner station PRM Radio at www.progrockandmetal.net to listen to and request songs by Soul Secret and hundreds of other bands. Tell them Progtopia sent you!

(Originally posted 21 Apr 2012)

Direct download: Progtopia_006_Getting_Closer_to_Daylight_with_Soul_Secret.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:28pm EST

To prove that prog rock and metal can be found in all corners of the globe, for this episode, Progtopia travels down under to Australia to profile Hemina, a fairly new band whose debut full-length album – Synthetic – was released in October in Oz and in March everywhere else. The 80-minute concept album contains echoes of bands like Dream Theater and Vanden Plas, but even at this early stage in their career, Hemina (l. to r. Jessica Martin [bass/vocals], Phill Eltakchi [keyboards/vocals], Mitch Coull [guitars/vocals], Matthew Irsak [drums], Douglas Skene [guitars/vocals]) is carving out a unique sound that promises a strong future. Host Mark Ashby speaks with principal songwriters Skene and Coull to talk about the new album, their deal with Nightmare Records and collaboration with famed recording engineer Tommy Hansen, what the prog scene is like in their part of the world, and their desire to play internationally in the years to come. Find them online at www.hemina.com.au for the story of Synthetic, lyrics, and merchandise.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"To Conceive a Plan"
"And Now to Find a Friend"
"With What I See"
"For All Wrong Reasons"
"Haunting Me!"
"Divine"

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Please also visit our partner stations IAAM Radio at www.itsallaboutmusic.net and PRM Radio at www.progrockandmetal.net, where you can listen to and request songs hundreds of bands in the genre, including many featured on Progtopia like Hemina. Thanks for listening!

(Originally posted 9 Apr 2012)

Direct download: Progtopia_005_And_Now_to_Find_Hemina.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:58pm EST

Germany has given the world a lot of great music ever since the days of the Bach family, but for us prog rock fans, perhaps the prime example of excellence emerging from the country these days is the Hamburg-based quintet Sylvan. Having been around since the mid-‘90s with most of the same members, this thematically-strong group has eight studio albums, a live album, and a concert DVD to their credit. On the most recent of these – Sceneries, released in January of 2012 – each of the band members (Volker Söhl [keyboards], Matthias Harder [drums], Jan Petersen [guitar], Sebastian Harnack [bass] and Marco Glühmann [vocals]) served as the “godfather” of an epic-length song, with the full 90-minute work showcasing all of their considerable talents within each other’s tunes. Progtopia host Mark Ashby speaks with members of the band about the process of conceptualizing and recording such an album, the story album Posthumous Silence and the effect the live show has on the audiences, as well as the joys and trials of making a concert DVD on a budget, the difficulty of writing and recording two albums at once, and much more. Visit them online at www.sylvan.de (site in both German and English).

Featured songs/excerpts:
“Timeless Traces”
“Deep Inside”
“Belated Gift”
“A Kind of Eden”
“The Fountain of Glow”
“Farewell to Old Friends”

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/Progtopia) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Please also visit our partner stations IAAM Radio at www.itsallaboutmusic.net and PRM Radio at www.progrockandmetal.net, where you can listen to and request songs by Sylvan and hundreds of other bands in the genre. Thanks for listening!

(Originally posted 31 Mar 2013)

Direct download: Progtopia_004_Enjoying_the_Sceneries_with_Sylvan.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:43pm EST

It doesn’t matter whether or not you’ve heard of Larry Fast before. If you’re a fan of any sort of music that was on the radio in the 1970s and 1980s, chances are you’ve heard his keyboard and production work. While the names of acts both well-known and more obscure that he's worked with are numerous, the two ventures for which he’s best known are his solo albums under the Synergy name and as sideman for Peter Gabriel on the former Genesis frontman’s first four records. In this Progtopia podcast, host Mark Ashby – a long-time fan – speaks with Fast by phone from his home base in New Jersey. You’ll learn what it took to be an electronic musician in the early days of the technology, the interesting story behind his linking up with Gabriel and how he contributed to some of the singer’s more popular tracks, why his music at times sounds quite Gershwin-esque, and what projects he’s been up to (some of them anonymously) in the ten years since the most recent Synergy album. Visit him on the web at www.synergy-emusic.com.

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/Progtopia) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Please also visit our partner stations IAAM Radio at www.itsallaboutmusic.net and PRM Radio at www.progrockandmetal.net, where you can listen to and request songs by hundreds of bands in the genre, including many featured on Progtopia. Thanks for listening!

 

Featured tracks/excerpts:

As Synergy:
“Delta Four”
“Legacy”
“Slaughter on Tenth Avenue”
“Classical Gas”
“The World After April”
“The Jupiter Menace”
“Metropolitan Theme”

With Peter Gabriel:
“On the Air”
“Games Without Frontiers”
“No Self Control”

(Originally posted 4 Mar 2012)

Direct download: Progtopia_003_Synthesizers_and_Synergy_with_Larry_Fast.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:35pm EST

London-based quintet The Mariana Hollow is an alternative-metal band whose members describe themselves as having a “dark, progressive sound” that “endeavour[s] to create rock music that offers something truly different from everything around it.” With their 2009 debut, Coma Heart, as well as their just-released sophomore effort Velvet Black Sky, they’re gaining fans across the world despite having no backing from a label. But really, with the quality of the music and production on TMH’s albums, you’d never know they’re unsigned – at least for now. Progtopia thinks it’s only a matter of time before the world learns of the excellence of this musically-powerful and lyrically-intelligent group (l. to r. Richie Walden [rhythm guitar], Adam Stanley [drums], Rebecca “Spinky” Spinks [vocals], Danny Russell [lead guitar], Scott Chesworth [bass]). In this episode, you’ll hear about why from the start the band’s founders wanted a female vocalist, their approach to gigs both plugged and unplugged, a potential Chinese fanbase (?!), and how the bandmates describe each other in what turns out to be an amusing sort of mutual admiration society! Visit their website – www.themarianahollow.com – for information, merchandise, and tour dates (starting on February 29th) if you’re lucky enough to live in the UK. Someday, you’ll say “I knew of them when…”

To listen to a 2013 interview with the band on Progtopia, click here: http://progtopia.podomatic.com/entry/2013-08-16T05_00_00-07_00

Featured songs/excerpts:
“Enemy Lines”
“Paperplane”
“Come Undone”
“Your Halo”
“Weight of the World”

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Please also visit our partner stations IAAM Radio at www.itsallaboutmusic.net and PRM Radio at www.progrockandmetal.net, where you can listen to and request songs hundreds of bands in the genre, including many featured on Progtopia like The Mariana Hollow. Thanks for listening!

(Originally published 23 Feb 2012)

Direct download: Progtopia_002_Diving_Deep_into_the_Mariana_Hollow.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:58pm EST

Europe is the home of a lot of powerful progressive metal music, and the small Scandinavian country of Denmark is home to one of the best of those bands – Anubis Gate. Combining prog rock sensibilities with science fiction concepts and driving guitars, drums, and vocals, paying attention to the details that make a good recording great and a great recording outstanding, members (l. to r.) Morten Sørensen (drums), Kim Olesen (guitar/keyboards), Jesper M. Jensen (guitar), and Henrik Fevre (bass/vocals) have released five full-length albums since 2004, the most recent being their self-titled release from September 2011. In this episode of Progtopia, host Mark Ashby speaks with Kim Olesen about the band’s past, present, and future, their influences, how they approach composition, changes in vocalists, cover songs, and much more. You can find them on the web at www.anubisgate.com, where you can purchase music and merchandise, as well as watch a video from their latest album.

Featured songs (in order of appearance):
“Hold Back Tomorrow”
“Pyramids”
“Future Without Past”
“The Final Overture”
“Lost in Myself”
“Golden Days”

Follow Progtopia on Twitter, @Progtopia, or find us on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/Progtopia) to connect with us and tell us what you think, as well as other progressive rock, metal, and electronic artists you would like to see profiled!

(Originally posted 6 Feb 2012)

Direct download: Progtopia_001_Opening_the_Anubis_Gate.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:34pm EST

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