Progtopia Archives

Whether solo or in bands, Steve Hackett has had quite the career spanning over four decades in music. His best-known role, however, was as the guitarist for seminal art-rock band Genesis as part of their classic 1970s lineup. During his time working with Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford, Phil Collins, and Peter Gabriel, Hackett contributed his songwriting talents and distinctive and versatile style to such important works as Selling England by the Pound, Wind and Wuthering, and Foxtrot, which celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2012. In October of this year, Hackett released Genesis Revisited II, a star-studded double-album featuring tracks from his tenure in the band. A follow-up to 1996’s Genesis Revisited, this work hews closely to the original tracks and yet freshens them with tighter instrumentation, cleaner recordings, and inspired arrangements. Progtopia host Mark Ashby spoke with Hackett about how he handled the re-recording of a sacred track like “Supper’s Ready,” his memories of the writing process for Foxtrot, why he doesn’t tend to play his hit singles in concert, and his involvement with Yes’ upcoming Cruise to the Edge in March 2013. Visit Hackett on the web at www.hackettsongs.com, and learn more about the cruise at www.cruisetotheedge.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:

“A Tower Struck Down”
“The Chamber of 32 Doors”
“Blood on the Rooftops”
“Supper’s Ready (V. Willow Farm)”
“Dancing with the Moonlit Knight”
“Can-Utility and the Coastliners”
“Ripples”
“The Musical Box”

"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. Thanks for listening!

Originally posted 11 Nov 2012

Direct download: Progtopia_020_Steve_Hackett_Revisits_the_Classics.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:32am EST

Ask 100 different fans what their idea of “prog” is, and you’re likely to get 100 different answers. But it’s safe to say UK-based To-Mera would have to be considered progressive by any definition. The quick label for them would be prog metal, given their driving guitars and pounding rhythms, but members Richard Henshall (keyboards), Paul Westwood (drums), Julie Kiss (vocals), Tom MacLean (guitars), and Mark Harrington (bass) have synthesized a unique blend of several different musical styles that has resulted in an EP and three full-length albums, including Exile, released on Illusionary Records this September. Kiss’s gothic soprano is accompanied by a band that knows when to rock and when to back off at just the right moments, and judging from critical and fan reaction to the new album, their brand of progressive music has much to recommend it. Progtopia host Mark Ashby spoke with MacLean about the origins of the band’s unique name, the effects of early hype on their subsequent career, the pros and cons of being compared with other female-fronted bands, and why having control over their new album on their own label is so important. Visit them on the web at www.to-mera.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:
“Inviting the Storm”
“Phantoms”
“Mirage”
“Deep Inside”
“End Game”
“Surrender”

"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 To-Mera. Thanks for listening!

Originally posted 26 Oct 2012

Direct download: Progtopia_019_In_Exile_with_To-Mera.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:25am EST

If all Markus Reuter did was record and perform as a musician, he would be plenty busy. After all, he’s been a part of more recordings since 1997 than even Wikipedia can keep track of, whether solo, with the Europa String Choir, centrozoon, Tuner, or in one of his many other collaborations. But Reuter has also designed his own touch-style guitar – the U8 – and he teaches touch guitar through an approach he calls The Family. As a former student of Robert Fripp’s and as a member of the most recent incarnation of the Crimson ProjecKt, Reuter’s latest effort is Deep, the second album he’s been a part of with King Crimson alumni Tony Levin and Pat Mastelotto in the band Stick Men. Reuter’s artistry goes well beyond the touch guitar, however, and in this interview with Progtopia host Mark Ashby, you’ll learn about his varied approaches to composition, why he’d like to build a tradition with his very new instrument, his thoughts on the business model of pre-order campaigns for albums, and what he thinks about questions of whether he should (or could) fill Fripp’s shoes in Crimson. Visit www.markusreuter.com for more information and to purchase music, and go to www.touchguitars.com and www.touchguitarcircle.com for more on Reuter-designed instruments.

Featured songs/excerpts:
“Big Dog” (Stick Men)
“Further Clues to Reality” (Markus Reuter solo)
“This Life” (Ian Boddy/Markus Reuter)
“Field 3” (centrozoon)
“Flinch” (Tuner)
“This One Will Please You” (centrozoon)
“Hide the Trees” (Stick Men)
“Waterfall” (Europa String Choir)
“Time’s Insane Ashes” (Stick Men)

"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. Thanks for listening!

Originally posted 12 October 2012

Direct download: Progtopia_018_Markus_Reuter_More_Than_Just_a_Stick_Man.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:18am EST

Pete Trewavas has spent more than 30 years as the bassist and backing vocalist for British stalwarts Marillion. But in that time, he’s participated in many side projects, perhaps the most well-known of which is Transatlantic. In this episode of Progtopia, we discuss a different trans-Atlantic partnership – with New York-based guitarist/singer Eric Blackwood, formerly of Blackwood & Foti and other bands. Dubbing themselves Edison’s Children – for reasons that will become apparent in the course of the show – Trewavas and Blackwood released their debut sci-fi concept album In the Last Waking Moments… in November 2011. And Trewavas isn’t the only Marillion member to appear on the record; Messrs. Kelly, Mosley, Rothery, and Hogarth all show up in different songs, as do Robin Boult (one of Fish’s past guitarists) and DeeExpus’ Andy Ditchfield. But Edison’s Children have carved out their own niche in the prog universe, and in the process have garnered themselves a top 40 hit. Host Mark Ashby spoke with Blackwood about how he came to be involved as part of Marillion’s crew, the genesis of the collaboration with Trewavas, his job as an effects man in film and TV, and the recording session that spawned a 6.0 earthquake, plus more. Visit the band online at www.edisonschildren.com.

Featured tracks/excerpts:
“The ‘Other’ Other Dimension”
“Fracture (Fallout of the 1st Kind/The Last Refrain)”
“Outerspaced”
“A Million Miles Away (I Wish I Had a Time Machine)”
“Spiraling”
“The Awakening”

"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. Thanks for listening!

Originally posted 28 Sept 2012

Direct download: Progtopia_017_All_of_Us_Are_Edisons_Children.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:09am EST

From Montpellier, France, comes the melodic/power/prog metal quartet Venturia, whose latest album, Dawn of a New Era, will be released this September 21st on Lion Music. Band members Charly Sahona (guitars, keyboards, vocals), Lydie Lazulli (vocals), Frederic Marchal (drums), and Thomas James Potrel (bass) have put together their trademark set of strong tracks that generally clock in at around four to five minutes, making their music not only enjoyable but accessible to a broader audience for whom the longer songs of prog might be too much. Progtopia host Mark Ashby spoke with Sahona about the reasons behind having both male and female singers, the Swiss television special the band put together after their debut album, his involvement in the Guitar Idol competition, and how he got so proficient at his instrument. Visit Venturia on the web at www.reverbnation.com/Venturia and www.facebook.com/Venturia.

Featured songs/excerpts:
“Secret Dream”
“Love Gamers”
“Fallen World”
“Running Blind”
“Relieved” (Charly Sahona solo)
“What If I”
“A Land of Dreams”

"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 Venturia and hundreds of other bands in the genre, including many featured on Progtopia. Thanks for listening!

Originally posted 17 Sept 2012

Direct download: Progtopia_016_The_Dawn_of_Venturias_New_Era.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:59pm EST

If you know anything about Da Vinci or classical mathematics, you may know of a concept called the Golden Mean or, alternatively, the Divine Ratio. Without getting too technical, in practice this proportion – represented by the Greek letter phi – is why some pieces of art or music appear or sound pleasing to us. And in the case of the Virginia Beach-based band of the same name profiled in this episode, their music is going to make its divine sound known very soon to prog fans everywhere. Melding elements of Tool, Porcupine Tree, Pink Floyd and others to make their own style, the members of Divine Ratio (Charles Gray [guitars], Tripp Johnson [bass], James Roman [drums], and Bryan Knispel [vocals/guitars]) are set to release their ten-track debut Split by Unity through all the usual digital download outlets on September 1, with plans for a physical CD to follow. Host Mark Ashby talked with Knispel about what the divine ratio actually is, why science and religion have such difficulty mixing, the pivotal role their producer – Tom Gwaltney – played in this release, and what people he’d like to invite to a dinner party. You can find the band on the web at www.divineratio.com.

Featured tracks/excerpts:
“Change of Fate”
“One Less God”
“Severed”
“Regret”
“Away”

"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 artists featured on Progtopia and hundreds of other bands in the genre. Thanks for listening!

Originally posted 29 Aug 2012

Direct download: Progtopia_015_The_Sweet_Science_of_Divine_Ratio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:50pm EST

They’re a mega-sized band with a mega-sized debut. Germany’s Beyond the Bridge spent about seven years putting together their first album, The Old Man and the Spirit, released this past January on Frontiers Records, and if the reviews are anything to judge by, it was well worth the wait. Exploring the dual nature of humanity, the balance between knowledge and experience, the album is symphonic progressive metal which deserves the label “rock opera.” The band (Christopher Tarnow [keyboards], Fabian Maier [drums], Dominik Stotzem [bass], Peter Degenfeld-Schonburg [guitars], Dilenya Mar [vocals], Herbie Langhans [vocals], Simon Oberender [guitars and keyboards]) is part of this year’s ProgPower USA in Atlanta, at which they’ll perform on September 15. In this episode, host Mark Ashby speaks with Degenfeld-Schonburg about how reading Goethe and reflecting on events in his life helped him create the album’s concept, the reasons it took so long to make it, the different backgrounds of the band members, and why keeping a sense of humor is important to Beyond the Bridge. Visit them on Facebook and on the web at www.beyondthebridge.net.

Featured songs/excerpts:
“Triumph of Irreality”
“The Struggle”
“The Apparition”
“Where the Earth and Sky Meet”
“World of Wonders”

"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 Beyond the Bridge and hundreds of other bands in the genre. Thanks for listening!

Originally posted 10 Aug 2012

Direct download: Progtopia_014_The_World_of_Wonders_Beyond_the_Bridge.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:43pm EST

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