Progtopia Archives (general)

Two years ago, when Soul Secret keyboardist and story-writer Luca Di Gennaro was last on Progtopia, host Mark Ashby asked him (off-air) if the band would be willing to provide an exclusive track for a world premiere when their next album would be released. Di Gennaro agreed, and now we know he is an honest man. In this episode, you'll get a listen to a song from their upcoming conceptual work Babel, due for release on 28 July. The early-prog enthusiast also talks about why he prefers the focus of writing to a concept, the philosophical and literary bases for Babel, and their performance this weekend in support of Mike Portnoy at the Night of the Prog Festival. They can be found online at www.soulsecret.net.

Featured songs/excerpts:

"Newton's Law"

"Awakened by the Light"

"What We're All About"

"Entering the City of Gods"

"Will They?"

To hear the previous two episodes featuring Soul Secret, click these links: http://progtopia.libsyn.com/episode-006-getting-closer-to-daylight-with-soul-secret (2012) http://progtopia.libsyn.com/episode-071-climbing-the-white-stairs-with-soul-secret (2015)

"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! 

Originally posted 12 July 2017


The air guitar was invented because of musicians like Bogotá, Colombia's Nicolas Waldo. With blisteringly-fast technique that has gotten him compared to John Petrucci and Joe Satriani, Waldo has released several solo albums showcasing his shredding style that is still firmly rooted in progressive elements. With the recent releases of his solo album Equilibrium and band project Energema's The Lion's Forces (based on the Chronicles of Narnia), Waldo has been busy this spring. Host Mark Ashby speaks with him about how long it took him to practice to become this fast, his work as a guitar teacher and who can train with him, and which guitarist he'd most like to share a stage with. Waldo's Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/nicolaswaldo/.

Featured songs/excerpts: "Mirror of Madness" "The Final Code" "Multiverse" "Equilibrium" "Ancient Rebellion" (Energema)  "Mystic Fingers" "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! Originally posted 24 June 2017

Direct download: Progtopia_113_In_Equilibrium_with_Nicolas_Waldo.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:33pm EDT

Thirty-two years in the business, and still going through the changes in personnel, the ups and downs in the sizes of prog audiences, and all the creative challenges that come with that sort of longevity, Galahad are true survivors. Owing much of their early sound to Gabriel-era Genesis and 70s Yes, they've since carved out their own personality, which often includes extensive reworkings and reimaginings of their past tracks. Some of that is on display on their latest release, Quiet Storms, which also contains several new songs with a more contemplative feel overall. Host Mark Ashby chatted with singer Stu Nicholson about the inspiration he draws from a band that is very different from them -- Rammstein -- changes in guitarists, and why certain tracks might be more logical for reworkings than others. They're on the web at www.galahadonline.com.

Featured songs/excerpts: "Melt" "Don't Lose Control" "Mein Herz Brennt" "Guardian Angel (Hybrid)" "Weightless" "Marz (and Beyond)" "Termination" To hear the previous episode featuring Galahad, click this link: http://progtopia.libsyn.com/episode-024-galahad-battle-scarred-but-euphoric

"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! Originally posted 3 June 2017

Category:general -- posted at: 11:32pm EDT

"This is real cream!" So says a YouTube commenter about the music of Perth, Australia's Voyager (Simone Dow, guitar; Ashley Doodkorte, drums; Danny Estrin, vocals and keyboards; Scott Kay, guitar; and Alex Canion, bass and backing vocals). Seems as good of a description as any of the powerful (and tasty) blend of metal, pop, and prog that they've been banging out for six albums now. The most recent of those, Ghost Mile, is just out, and host Mark Ashby catches up once again with Canion about the crowds they've been playing for, including in their hometown, how it's possible to be close friends and still make a band work together without either suffering, and if djent is an appropriate word to apply to them. Visit www.voyager-australia.com for more information.

Featured songs/excerpts:

"Disconnected"

"Misery Is Only Company"

"Ghost Mile"

"As the City Takes the Night"

"Lifeline"

"What a Wonderful Day"

To hear previous episodes featuring Voyager, click these links: http://progtopia.libsyn.com/episode-051-breaking-down-voyager and http://progtopia.libsyn.com/backstage-pass-4-progpower-usa-xvi-retrospective

"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! 

Originally posted 21 May 2017

Direct download: Progtopia_111_Riding_the_Ghost_Mile_with_Voyager.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:18am EDT

Six months since our last Planetary Premiere show, and we're going on the heavy side with this exclusive-to-Progtopia track from Pennsylvania's MindMaze, a prog-power metal quartet that is now on the cusp of bigger and better things. With the new album Resolve coming out at the end of the month on Inner Wound, they'll be embarking on a North American tour of over a month in length in which you'd be wise to check out their high-energy sets. Host Mark Ashby talked with guitarist Jeff Teets about listening back to older material and why they chose the theme and concept for the new album, and you'll hear Resolve's fourth track "Drown Me" here before you'll hear it anywhere else. They're online at www.mindmazeband.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:

"Moment of Flight"

"Dreamwalker"

"Edge of Eternity"

"Sign of Life"

"Drown Me"

To hear the first episode featuring MindMaze, click the link: http://progtopia.libsyn.com/episode-063-mindmaze-walks-through-the-open-door

"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! 

Originally posted 18 April 2017

Direct download: Progtopia_Planetary_Premiere_18_April_2017_Mindmaze_Drown_Me.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:53pm EDT

You know him mainly from his vocal work with classic rockers Toto, particularly on big hits like "Hold the Line" and "Rosanna," but did you know he's the guy singing backup on the Tubes' "She's a Beauty," or albums from the likes of Diana Ross, Barbra Streisand, and Quiet Riot? Bobby Kimball is in his seventh decade but still sounding like a singer half his age, and his latest solo album We're Not in Kansas Anymore has just been released in the US after a November release overseas. AOR listeners everywhere will have plenty to love about this record, and he speaks with host Mark Ashby about his early musical development and cross-racial friendship with a man nicknamed Tanner, his pride in the Grammy Awards Toto garnered with their smash album Toto IV, and how he keeps his vocals in shape after all these years. He's online at www.bobbykimball.com

Featured songs/excerpts:

"Flatline"

"Hey It's Me"

"Good for You" (Toto)

"On My Feet"

"Scam"

"Africa" (Toto)

"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! 

Originally posted 02 May 2017

Direct download: Progtopia_110_Hey_Its_Bobby_Kimball.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:14pm EDT

He's been called "discomfiting" and "overly whimsical," and while those labels are debatable, there's no denying that UK singer/songwriter Tom Slatter creates the kind of music he wants to, and fans of quirky storytelling and often-progressive music have been finding him. His latest album, Happy People, was released on the 17th of March on Bad Elephant Music, with members of the Rube Goldberg Machine (Episode 093) assisting. With concepts that are reminiscent of dystopian science fiction and riffs that are alternately toe-tapping and impossible to count, Slatter has earned himself a nomination for the Prog Magazine Limelight Award in 2016, though the world will never know why he didn't win. Hear him talk with host Mark Ashby about the literary inspirations he draws on, why bad reviews can sometimes be good, and how being late on a deadline turned into a running joke among his supporters. He's on the web at www.tomslatter.co.uk.

Featured songs/excerpts:

"The Steam Engine Murders and the Trial of Seven Bells John"

"Happy People"

"Some of the Creatures Have Broken the Locks on the Door to Lab 558"

"Even Then We're Scared"

"A Name in a File"

"All of the Dark"

"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!

Originally posted 31 March 2017

Direct download: Progtopia_109_Tom_Slatter_One_of_the_Happy_People.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:22am EDT

We love our female-fronted symphonic rock on this show, but Karnataka transcends such a label with a blend of progressive, metal, and world music that has been entrancing fans for a couple of decades. Frequent guests at festivals like this year's HRH Prog and on their own tours like the current End II End jaunts, the band (Jimmy Pallagrosi [drums], Hayley Griffiths [vocals], Enrico Pinna [guitar], Ian Jones [bass], and Çağri Tozluoğlu [keyboards]) has built a sizeable fan base through their live shows and albums like 2015's Secrets of Angels. With influences and instrumentation that suggest areas of the world from India to Ireland and all points between, they're a must-listen for fans of intelligent yet accessible prog. Jones chats with host Mark Ashby about the early pre-Karnataka years, how the classically-trained Riverdance veteran Griffiths became their singer in 2011, and why they try to play live as much as possible. They're online at www.karnataka.org.uk.

Featured songs/excerpts:

"The Gathering Light"

"Feels Like Home"

"Your World"

"Road to Cairo"

"Forbidden Dreams"

"The Calling"

"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!

Originally posted 17 Mar 2017

Direct download: Progtopia_108_Feels_Like_Home_for_Karnataka.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:22pm EDT

The feeling you get when you hear a truly remarkable voice is a special one, and that's the way many prog fans feel when they find out that Damian Wilson is part of a project. And those projects over the years have been many, whether in his early years with Landmarq through fronting Threshold and Headspace, or on his own solo albums like 2016's Built for Fighting. His versatility in flowing between genres is remarkable, and in this interview with host Mark Ashby, Wilson discusses why he would actually like to be involved in more projects, the pros and cons of performing as Jean Valjean in a touring company of Les Miz, and how fans will be able to hear a piece of him in every song he's written over the years. You can find him online and learn more at www.damianwilson.net.

Featured songs/excerpts:

"Can't Heal War"

"Impossible"

"Seek for Adventure" (Wilson & Wakeman)

"Your Life Will Change" (Headspace)

"Fire"

"Road to Supremacy" (Headspace)

"Sex & Vanilla"

"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!

Originally posted 02 March 2017

Direct download: Progtopia_107_Nothing_Is_Impossible_for_Damian_Wilson.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:22pm EDT

You could call them a jam band, you could call them instrumental prog, but whatever you do, don't called them commercial. California's Djam Karet has been creating their own brand of self-described "self-indulgent" music for over three decades, but a devoted following has managed to find them, anyway. Maybe that's because their excursions into improvised territory don't meander and wander in directions that nobody else can follow. Their approach comes off as focused and highly musical, as evidenced on almost 20 albums including their newest, Sonic Celluloid. Host Mark Ashby talked with founder and multi-instrumentalist Gayle Ellett about why they've never even thought about satisfying anyone but themselves when composing and recording, what allows them to have stayed together for so long, and whether or not he feels they have anything in common with bands like the Grateful Dead or Phish. They're on the web at www.djamkaret.com.

 

Featured songs/excerpts:

"Long Shot"

"The Denouement Device"

"Web of Medea"

"Saul Says So"

"Forced Perspective"

"Lower"

 

"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!

 

Originally posted 13 February 2017

Direct download: Progtopia_106_Because_Djam_Karet_Says_So.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:37pm EDT

One of progressive music's true Renaissance men, singer and multi-instrumentalist Francis Dunnery will resist any attempt you or anyone else makes to classify him. Having begun his musical career in the eighties with pop-proggers It Bites, Dunnery has done much in the years since he left the band, including moving from the UK to the US and exploring all sorts of genres and endeavors within and outside of the music business. His most recent album Vampires is a collection of re-recorded It Bites tunes, and he'll be performing a few concerts from the 20th to the 22nd of January 2017. In this interview, he talks with host Mark Ashby about wanting to clear the mental clutter of the past, how his in-house concerts evolved and what you can expect if you attend one, and why he chose not to "wear the clown shoes" in his career. Find him online at www.francisdunnery.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:

"Old Man and the Angel"

"Once Around the World"

"Calling All the Heroes"

"Underneath Your Pillow"

"Moonflower"

"Screaming on the Beaches"

"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!

Originally posted 14 Jan 2017

Direct download: Progtopia_105_Once_Around_the_World_with_Francis_Dunnery.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:10am EDT

We like them so much around here, they're back for a third time. Hemina from Sydney, Australia, first appeared on Progtopia in April 2012, and now with their third album Venus, this foursome (seated l. to r. Doug Skene [guitars, keyboards, vocals], Nathan McMahon [drums, vocals], Mitch Coull [guitars, vocals]; standing Jess Martin [bass, vocals]) has created their most well-rounded work to date. With influences ranging from the most technical metal to 80s pop and funk, Venus contains plenty for fans of smart, eclectic progressive music. You'll hear from all four members about McMahon's entry into and role in the band (and which prog metal vocalist took an interest in his setup), the science behind the vocal harmonies that distinguish them from the crowd, and which of them would be most likely to make an embarrassing social media post (among other things). They're at www.hemina.com.au.

Featured songs/excerpts:

"Fantasy"

"High Kite Ride"

"Secret's Safe"

"Down Will Come Baby"

"I"

 

Listen to Hemina's previous episodes: http://progtopia.libsyn.com/episode-005-and-now-to-find-hemina

http://progtopia.libsyn.com/progtopia-planetary-premiere-5-august-2014-hemina-nebulae

"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!

 

Originally posted 19 December 2016

Direct download: Progtopia_104_Down_Will_Come_Hemina.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:14pm EDT

What were you doing in the mid-1960s? Were you even born yet? That's when the story of the Little Rock, Arkansas band Rayburn begins. As teenagers, they honed their craft and gained the attention of Chuck Berry and Levon Helm, among others, even recording demos and signing a recording contract. So what happened? Why are we only just now hearing of Rayburn and their 2016 album The Living End? The story is kind of amazing, with family drama and medical tragedy, and you'll hear the band's keyboardist and driving force Steve Stephens (pictured while recording the new album) discuss the ups and downs that have followed Rayburn for years. You'll even hear an excerpt from one of those early demos along with the band's unique blend of progressive and southern rock elements. Fans of Hammond organs, be sure to tune in! Find them online at www.rayburn.band.

 

Featured songs/excerpts:

"Jealous Mistress"

"Deep in Blue"

"Steam Shuffle" (early demo)

"At the Gate"

"Malachi"

"I Still Believe"

"Not Going Back"

 

"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!

 

Originally posted 5 December 2016

Direct download: Progtopia_103_Rayburn_Is_Not_Going_Back.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:09pm EDT

Having started over 20 years ago on his prog rock path with Spock's Beard, Nashville's Neal Morse has branched out on several different roads since then -- with Transatlantic, Flying Colors, and with the band named after him. Their newest effort, The Similitude of a Dream, is just out on Morse's Radiant Records, and it's a double-album tour-de-force based on a certain classic work of literature. Morse (center) speaks with host Mark Ashby about his many projects including those with drummer Mike Portnoy (right of Morse in photo), some of the conflict generated during the making of the new album, and how faith informs his art and his life. Find him online at www.nealmorse.com.

 

Featured songs/excerpts:

"Overture"

"Back to the City"

"In the Fire"

"Shine" (Transatlantic)

"The Man in the Iron Cage"

"Breath of Angels"

 

"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!

 

Originally posted 16 November 2016

Direct download: Progtopia_102_Back_to_the_City_with_Neal_Morse.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:04pm EDT

When you're a well-respected and veteran progressive band like Marillion, perhaps it's not a risk to make one of the words in the title of your 18th album an expletive. But context is everything, as the band's bassist Pete Trewavas explains in the interview you'll hear as the latest Backstage Pass episode of Progtopia. Touring North America and Europe from October through December in support of "F E A R" (or "F*** Everyone and Run"), Marillion still captures an audience as perhaps no other progressive act can these days, as the many fans who travel the country and even the world to follow them can attest. Trewavas talks with host Mark Ashby about the band's friendship and longevity (and whether they've discussed what they would do if one member would say they couldn't continue), the fickle promotional habits of labels past, and that potentially-controversial album title. Check for more tour dates at www.marillion.com

 

Featured songs/excerpts:

"Eldorado"

"White Paper"

"The Leavers"

"Living in F E A R"

 

"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!

 

Originally posted 1 November 2016


When last we heard from Mike Morton, singer for The Gift out of the UK, their acclaimed second album Land of Shadows was relatively new and the band's star was on the rise after a lengthy hiatus following their first album Awake and Dreaming. Now solidified as a six-piece lineup including Morton (vocals, flute and acoustic guitar), David Lloyd (lead and rhythm guitar), Leroy James (guitar), Stefan Dickers (bass), Gabriele Baldocci (keyboards), and Neil Hayman (percussion), their third album Why the Sea Is Salt will be released on 28 October through Bad Elephant Music. You'll get an exclusive first listen on this show to the track "Tuesday's Child," as well as a wide-ranging interview with Morton about the virtuosity now found among his bandmates, the recurring lyrical themes among The Gift's albums, and a game of "Choose the Best Genesis Song" from among eight tracks for this former tribute band vocalist. Find them online at http://thegiftmusic.com.

 

Featured songs/excerpts:

"At Sea"

"Sweeper of Dreams"

"The Tallest Tree"

"Tuesday's Child"

"All These Things"

 

To listen to the first episode featuring The Gift, go to http://progtopia.libsyn.com/episode-058-walk-into-the-water-with-the-gift "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!

 

Originally posted 17 October 2016

Direct download: Progtopia_Planetary_Premiere_17_October_2016_The_Gift_Tuesdays_Child.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:52pm EDT

Born out of a love for fantasy literature, Chattanooga, Tennessee's Glass Hammer has survived the ups and downs of the prog landscape since the early 90s with 17 consistently listenable, and occasionally classic, albums. Now with 2016's concept album Valkyrie out there to rave reviews, members Fred Schendel (keyboards, guitars, vocals), Aaron Raulston (drums), Steve Babb (bass, keyboards, vocals), Kamran Alan Shikoh (guitars), and Susie Bogdanowicz (lead vocals) are telling the tale of the horrors of war and dealing with the mental trauma that follows the battle. Host Mark Ashby spoke with Schendel and Babb about the way the band has utilized the many vocalists that have come their way, "epic" prog tracks (which they're no strangers to), and the opportunities their hometown provides despite what outsiders might think. Go to www.glasshammer.com for more information and ordering links.

 

Featured songs/excerpts:

"Fog of War"

"The Fields We Know"

"Bandwagon"

"Golden Days"

"Dead and Gone"

"Valkyrie"

 

"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!

 

Originally posted 7 October 2016

Direct download: Progtopia_101_Glass_Hammer_Smashes_Through_the_Fog_of_War.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:47pm EDT

 

With this milestone episode of the show, it's only fitting that we mark it by inviting to the program one of the most innovative musicians of his generation. Thomas Dolby is often pigeonholed by those who haven't delved into his output as a one-hit wonder, new wave technogeek, but when you get past "She Blinded Me with Science," you'll hear an artist who has dabbled in almost every style of popular music there is. Having taken a hiatus from music of nearly two decades to start a tech company and become the music director for the TED talks, he burst back on the scene in 2011 with an album and interactive online game called A Map of the Floating City. Since then he's taken a position as professor in the arts at Baltimore's Johns Hopkins University, following in the academic footsteps of his parents and siblings. Host and long-time fan Mark Ashby talks with Dolby about his formative years listening to prog rock bands (and which soon-to-be-famous youthful comrade of his later insisted punk was the real deal), the doors that his most well-known hit opened for him, how he creates his own sense of home away from his actual homebase of East Anglia, and his upcoming memoir The Speed of Sound. You can locate him online at www.thomasdolby.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"I Love You Goodbye"
"Hyperactive!"
"Hot Sauce"
"Nuvogue"
"A Jealous Thing Called Love"
"The Toadlickers"
"Airhead"
"The Key to Her Ferrari"
"She Blinded Me with Science"
"Flying North"
"Neon Sisters"
"Spice Train"
"Oceanea"
"Cloudburst at Shingle Street"

"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!

 

Originally posted 14 September 2016

 

Direct download: Progtopia_100_Breaking_the_Speed_of_Sound_with_Thomas_Dolby.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:11pm EDT

 

If you combine "progressive" with "fusion," the resulting word you would come up with would probably be "Profusion." And the band in this episode certainly takes both of those words seriously. Hailing from Siena, Italy, band members Vladimer Sichinava (drums), Gionatan Caradonna (keyboards), Davide Pepi (guitars), Jury Maccianti (bass), and Luca Latini (vocals) combine many styles on their three albums, the most recent of which is 2015's Phersu. With influences including traditional music from Georgia, where Sichinava has roots, Profusion challenges and excites with their brand of Rock Progressivo Italiano. Host Mark Ashby taled with Caradonna about why they enjoy American prog so much, their support of AIMA (the Italian Alzheimer's Disease Association), and how a little bit of alcohol (or maybe a lot) can create some fun in the studio. Visit the band online at www.profusion.it.

 

Featured songs/excerpts:

"Free Fall"

"Vanity Fair"

"Chuta Chani"

"Nomen"

"Forgetful Hero/Wrinkled Maiden"

"Forbidden"

 

"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!

 

Originally posted 4 September 2016

 

Direct download: Progtopia_099_A_Free_Fall_with_Profusion.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:02pm EDT

 

They've played festivals like RoSfest, although they don't wear their progginess on their sleeves. Dream the Electric Sleep (Matt Page [guitar, vocals], Joey Waters [drums], and Chris Tackett [bass]) has three albums out in the world, including their most recent called Beneath the Dark Wide Sky, and their sound might best be described as falling somewhere on the overlap of the Venn diagram of prog, grunge, and AOR. Perhaps like host Mark Ashby, you'll get so caught up in the hooks in their music that you don't even notice that the songs you're listening to aren't in 4/4. You'll hear from Page about how photographs from the 1930s informed the concepts behind the songs on the newest album, how Tori Amos and other women singers are influential to him, and what it might take for them to become more of a fixture on the touring scene. Find them online at www.dreamtheelectricsleep.com.

 

Featured songs/excerpts:

"Drift"

"Flight"

"Headlights"

"Culling the Herd"

"The Good Night Sky"

 

"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!

Originally posted 17 August 2016

 

 

Direct download: Progtopia_098_Dream_the_Electric_Sleep_Under_the_Good_Night_Sky.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:54pm EDT

Maybe it slipped under your radar, too, but Connecticut's Earthside (Frank Sacramone [keyboards], Jamie van Dyck [guitar], Ryan Griffin [bass], and Ben Shanbrom [drums]) released what might have been one of the most powerful albums of 2015, A Dream in Static. In the process, they earned themselves a nomination for Prog magazine's Vanguard award. While they resist the term prog metal in favor of cinematic rock, you'll find plenty to like here if you're into the heavier stuff. Using vocalists from bands like Tesseract and Sevendust as well as the Moscow Studio Symphony Orchestra, they've got a good thing going. Host Mark Ashby spoke with Sacramone about the band members' musical educations, writing for orchestra, and their upcoming tour with Leprous. Check them out online at www.earthsideband.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:

"Entering the Light"

"Crater"

"The Closest I've Come"

"Mob Mentality"

"A Dream in Static"

"Skyline"

"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!

Originally posted 25 July 2016

Direct download: Progtopia_097_Entering_the_Light_with_Earthside.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:57pm EDT

It's a veritable feast of consequences. A couple of blokes who have worked with ex-Marillion frontman Fish, Steve Vantsis (bass) and Dave Stewart (drums), have recently recruited guitarist Paul Humphreys and singer PJ Dourley to create a band called Tilt, in homage to the medieval hero Don Quixote. After having produced an earlier EP with a plethora of guests, they've kept the cameo appearances to a minimum on their debut full-length album Hinterland, just out at the end of June. With all the hallmarks of Fish's best output, you know you're in for a treat with this one. Host Mark Ashby speaks with Stewart and Humphreys about the way the band came together, why this may or may not be a prog album, and how Brexit might affect a band like them -- part English and part Scottish. They're online at www.tiltband.co.uk.

Featured songs/excerpts:

"Bloodline"

"No Superman"

"Growing Colder"

"Hinterland"

"Strontium Burning"

"Disassembly"

"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!

Originally posted 10 July 2016

Direct download: Progtopia_096_No_Supermen_but_Tilt_Is_a_Super_Band.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:14pm EDT

Digital synthesizers are all well and good -- who doesn't love a nice Korg Wavestation, am I right? -- but there's just something warm and reassuring about that old analog sound that we grew to love in the classic 70s prog and electronic music. If you're a fan of that sort of thing, and if you don't already know about Erik Norlander, you'll probably want to check him out after hearing this episode. One-third of the previously-profiled Rocket Scientists (Episode 067), the prolific Norlander has just released his latest solo album, Surreal, and he's here to talk about it. Host Mark Ashby discusses his evolution as a songwriter, why the definition of progressive music might actually mean you can't do a short "prog" song very easily, and what two instruments he might take with him to a magical desert island with electricity. He's on the web in many places, but you can try www.eriknorlander.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:

"The Party's Overture"

"Unearthly"

"The Galaxy Collectors"

"Surreal"

To hear the Rocket Scientists episode of Progtopia, go to http://progtopia.libsyn.com/episode-067-refuel-and-regenerate-with-the-rocket-scientists

"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!

Originally posted 28 June 2016

Direct download: Progtopia_095_The_Surreal_Soundscapes_of_Erik_Norlander.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:28pm EDT

New bands aren't all 20-somethings searching for their musical identities. Some recently-formed groups are made up of veterans who have performed with rock heavyweights and even musical theater and have the same attorney as King Crimson. That's the case for New York State's Circuline, comprised of singers Billy Spillane and Natalie Brown with Andrew Colyer on keyboards and vocals, Darin Brannon on drums, Beledo on guitars, and Paul Ranieri on bass. Last month they appeared as part of RoSFest in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, as well as releasing their sophomore effort Counterpoint. You'll hear in the interview with host Mark Ashby about how they came together out of some of the members being in a cover band called Downing Grey, their recent nomination for Prog Magazine's Limelight Award, and some insider dirt on each band member, so even you hardcore fans won't want to skip this one! They're online at www.circulinemusic.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"Stay (Peter Frankenstan)"
"Forbidden Planet"
"Return"
"Who I Am"
"Nautilus"
"Inception"

"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!

Originally posted 17 June 2016

Direct download: Progtopia_094_On_Circulines_Forbidden_Planet.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:58am EDT

His name became synonymous with making simple tasks extremely complicated. Sounds like progressive music at times, too, doesn't it? Well, in the case of the late Rube Goldberg, his name and concepts live on in the UK band The Rube Goldberg Machine (Elliot Coombs: Guitars, keyboards, lead vocals; Dan Bowles: Guitars, keyboards, backing vocals; Jordan Brown: Bass, keyboards, backing vocals). Their debut Fragile Times was released in April on Bad Elephant Music, and if you're a fan of the lighter side of Porcupine Tree and Steven Wilson, you have some idea of where the band's prog/pop comes from. Host Mark Ashby spoke with Brown and Coombs about the strong reason behind the band's name (and cover art), the songwriting process and the yin-yang personality types that inform different tracks on the album, and something we'll only refer to as the Mother of Pain. They're online at www.trgmachine.co.uk.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"Times Square"
"The Captain's Blackjack"
"Fragile Times"
"In Symmetry"
"Background Noise"
"Little Funerals"

"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!

Originally posted 28 May 2016

Direct download: Progtopia_093_The_Rube_Goldberg_Machine_Is_Not_Background_Noise.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:57am EDT

Progressive rock and metal lend themselves perhaps more than any other genre to the telling of stories across the arc of an album. For Odd Logic, from the state of Washington, that's been the approach from the beginning. With albums like the two-part Legends of Monta, Over the Underworld, and the brand-new Penny for Your Thoughts, Sean Thompson (guitars, keys, vocals) has crafted tales that range through fantasy and science fiction and satisfy on a musical level, as well. After having been a solo project for years, Thompson has now brought on Mike Lee on bass and Pete Hanson on drums to create a true band that has even managed to play some live dates. Host Mark Ashby talked with the trio about the literary approach the band employs, where the unique album ideas come from, and if the Seattle area can support progressive music. Look for them and the new album on their Bandcamp page: http://oddlogicrock.bandcamp.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"Secrets"
"Court of Ancient Rulers"
"Not Anymore"
"Life, Lore, and Love"
"Lighthouses"

"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!

Originally posted 09 May 2016

Direct download: Progtopia_092_Life_Lore_and_Odd_Logic.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:55am EDT

From Los Angeles comes a blended prog metal band that has been storming through speakers everywhere since 2000 with a series of consistently powerful releases. Led by Nick van Dyk on guitars and with Fates Warning's Ray Alder behind the microphone, Redemption has recently come out with their newest album The Art of Loss, and in it they cover territory ranging from straightforward hard rock to cover tunes and 20-minute-plus epics. Host Mark Ashby spoke by phone with van Dyk about the thematic elements that pervade Redemption's albums, health issues that he and guitarist Bernie Versailles have been facing, and how he looks back on the music he created in the wake of his cancer diagnosis several years ago. They're online at www.redemptionweb.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:

"Slouching Towards Bethlehem"

"Love Kills Us All/Life in One Day"

"Walls"

"The Art of Loss"

"Love Reign O'er Me"

"Hope Dies Last"

"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!

Originally published 21 April 2016

Direct download: Progtopia_091_Slouching_Towards_Redemption.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:44pm EDT

St. Petersburg, Russia, is a city known for many things, but don't be surprised if someday it's also known as the home of iamthemorning, who could be called, for lack of a better term, "chamber prog." Singer Marjana Semkina and pianist Gleb Kolyadin compose music that ranges from conservatory-style pieces to guitar-and-drum-driven rockers and all points between. Their new album Lighthouse features the likes of Gavin Harrison, Colin Edwin, and Mariusz Duda as guests on their often ethereal, always interesting tracks. Host Mark Ashby spoke with Semkina about the challenges of being from Russia and trying to get noticed by a label like Kscope, how they are received in live settings that might not be thought at first to suit their style, and who wins in a tournament of four male and four female vocalists between whom she must choose -- sometimes painfully. They're online at http://iamthemorning.com/.

Featured songs/excerpts:

"Harmony"

"Clear Clearer"

"To Human Misery"

"Lighthouse"

"Chalk and Coal"

"Post Scriptum"

"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!

Originally published 6 April 2016

Direct download: Progtopia_090_The_View_from_the_Lighthouse_with_iamthemorning.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:42pm EDT

There's no rule that says a German band can't name themselves after an Italian author. So Augsburg's Dante has spent the past decade or so releasing albums, including their most recent called When We Were Beautiful. Members Alexander Göhs (vocals), Markus Maichel (keyboards), Christian Eichlinger (drums), and Julian Kellner (guitars) are firmly prog metal in style, with long songs and complex time signatures alongside more accessible beats that are - dare we say - danceable? Host Mark Ashby talked with Maichel about the band's origins, how Augsburg rates as a place for their sort of music, and the death of founding member Markus Berger and its aftermath. They're online at www.danteband.de.

Featured songs/excerpts:

"Rearrangement of the Gods"

"Let Me Down"

"Finally"

"Ambitious"

"Beautiful Again"

"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!

Originally posted 18 Mar 2016

Direct download: Progtopia_089_Dante_Is_Feeling_Beautiful_Again.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:39pm EDT

What would you think if something special to you that had been lost for over 30 years suddenly turned up seemingly unharmed? But then what if, so tantalizingly close to getting this item back, the person who now possessed it decided to lawyer up? That's the scenario that faced Jefferson Starship's guitarist Craig Chaquico and two classic Les Paul instruments that were assumed destroyed in a riot in 1978. The tale of how one of the two was found is almost too perfect to believe, but sadly that guitar isn't back with its rightful owner yet. The courts are involved, and on June 13, 2016, Chaquico will know if he can reunite with his "girlfriend." Host Mark Ashby got the scoop on the whole saga including how the Star Wars Christmas Special figures into it, as well as some insights into his career both solo and with (Jefferson) Starship, including a discussion specifically about that 80s staple "We Built This City." Find him online at www.craigchaquico.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:

"Fast Buck Freddie"

"Find Your Way Back"

"Jane"

"We Built This City"

"El Gato"

"Acoustic Highway"

"Dance with the Dragon"

"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!

Originally posted 29 February 2016


If anyone truly deserves to wear the crown of the Metal Queen, Doro Pesch is worthy of the title. From her days fronting Warlock in the 80s through her solo career, she's spent better than 30 years rocking out in front of audiences worldwide and never wavering from her mission of bringing metal to the masses. With a voice that can cut sharper than a samurai sword, Doro will be touring the eastern US this February and March with plans for more dates later in the year, but first a cruise from Miami on the Monsters of Rock cruise alongside the likes of Tesla, Queensryche, and more. Before soaking up some sun, she talked with host Mark Ashby about how she managed to get through the 90s when record labels and fans alike were turning away from metal, new music that's forthcoming this year and next, and how the late Lemmy Kilmister "saved [her] life." Go to www.doropesch.com for information in both English and German.

Featured songs/excerpts:

"Take No Prisoner"

"Rock Till Death"

"The Night of the Warlock"

"Freiheit (Human Rights)"

"It Still Hurts" (featuring Lemmy)

"Raise Your Fist in the Air"

"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!

Originally posted 18 February 2016

Direct download: Progtopia_087_Rock_Till_Death_with_Doro_Pesch.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am EDT

Many ideas have begun while two or more friends have drunk an alcoholic beverage of their choice -- some are good, some are not. In the case of the Netherlands' Barstool Philosophers (Bas Hoebink [bass], Martin Kuipers [drums], Peter Van Asselt [vocals], René Kroon [keyboards], and Ivo Poelman [guitar]), it was a very good idea, indeed. They have crafted two albums' worth of songs that lean progressive without going so far that fans of a more classic-rock sound aren't turned off. The most recent album, Crossing Over, features six different singers -- including three tracks with Van Asselt. Host Mark Ashby talked with Kroon about the band's positive philosophy, why they used so many singers on this album after parting ways with their first vocalist, and what concept connects all the songs on Crossing Over. They're online at www.thebarstoolphilosophers.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:

"'Till We Meet Again"

"Tedious"

"Freeway"

"Beyond the Stars"

"Crossing Over"

"The Scent"

"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!

Originally posted 31 January 2016

Direct download: Progtopia_086_Share_a_Pint_with_The_Barstool_Philosophers.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:56am EDT

Don't worry -- your humble host hasn't lost his mind and started talking to himself. Host Mark Ashby tracked down a German prog-metal band also called Ashby, whose debut album Fragmental was released in November 2015. The quintet usually goes only by their first names (Joel [keyboards], Jan [guitar], Sabina [vocals], Chris [bass], and Rik [drums]), and their sound is already an emotional mix of power and vulnerability that feels familiar without being a carbon copy of other similar bands. In this interview, you'll hear more about how they came up with their name, their writing process, and Sabina's time as a contestant on the German version of The Voice. Find the band online at www.ashbyofficial.de.

Featured songs/excerpts:

"Aether - A Lunar Year"

"Ashes Decay"

"The Faceless and the Shore"

"Pax"

"Holy Water"

"A Question Never Heard"

"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!

Originally posted 14 January 2016

Direct download: Progtopia_085_Ashby_Interviews_Ashby.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:32am EDT

From the northern reaches of Europe to the lower regions of South America, the multi-national project Full Nothing released their debut self-titled album in August and has already gained over 10,000 Facebook followers despite not (yet) having a physical CD version of the album. Conceived by Argentinian musicians Nicolas Marcos (guitars) and Guillermo de Medio (keyboards), several singers collaborated on the 14 tracks, including Finland's Juha Kylmänen, who spoke with host Mark Ashby in this episode. You'll hear about the way he connected with a project begun so far away, what kinds of music he does (and doesn't) listen to, and an exclusive about the second Full Nothing album, on which work has already started. Find them online at www.fullnothing.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:

"In Nothingness We Trust"

"Sunlight"

"The Claim Forgotten"

"Return"

"Epitaph"

"The Book of Fears"

"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!

Originally posted 05 December 2015

Direct download: Progtopia_084_In_Full_Nothing_We_Trust.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:28am EDT

"A metal album with a trombone player" is roughly how brassman Jacob Garchik describes his latest effort Ye Olde. With interweaving Frippian guitars and sometimes-blaring, sometimes-melodic horn work, Garchik and his collaborators have crafted an instrumental tale of an alternate-reality Brooklyn where vinyl siding is the enemy. As if that weren't enough, he's also been a part of the Latin-flavored Banda de los Muertos this year, and he's collaborated with the likes of the Kronos Quartet and Henry Threadgill, among many others. Host Mark Ashby spoke with Garchik about his myriad influences from classical to jazz to prog, why humor is an important part of his approach, and how his nuanced views on religion informed his 2012 work The Heavens: The Atheist Gospel Trombone Album. He's online at www.jacobgarchik.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:

"The Lady of Duck Island"

"Ye Olde of Flatbush"

"The Problem of Suffering"

"Tu Recuerdo y Yo"

"And Meanwhile"

"Post-Modern Revival"

"The Battle of Brownstone Bulge"

"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!

Originally posted 24 November 2015

Direct download: Progtopia_083_And_Meanwhile_Its_Jacob_Garchik.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:26am EDT

Have you ever just known that an underrated band you enjoy is poised for a breakthrough? Melbourne, Australia's Teramaze could very well be that group. Comprised of Nathan Peachey (vocals), Luis Eguren (bass), Dean Kennedy (drums), and Dean Wells (guitar, backing vocals), the band's latest album Her Halo was released in late October to wide acclaim, as was their 2014 effort Esoteric Symbolism. Since their rebirth several years ago, the band's direction has become more progressive and has steadily gained new fans around the world. In this interview with host Mark Ashby, Wells and Peachey talk about the balance in writing challenging music that still contains accessible elements, how they deal with haters, and the support Mascot Label Group has been giving them surrounding Her Halo. Find the band online at www.teramaze.com.au.

Featured songs/excerpts:

"Trapeze"

"Out of Subconscious"

"Her Halo"

"An Ordinary Dream (Enla Momento)"

"To Love, a Tyrant"

To hear the first Progtopia episode featuring Teramaze, go to http://progtopia.libsyn.com/episode-008-through-the-madness-of-teramaze

"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!

Originally posted 07 Nov 2015

Direct download: Progtopia_082_Out_of_Teramazes_Subconscious.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:08am EDT

Just another female-fronted prog-metal band? Not exactly. Indianapolis' Chiasma aren't very far into their career, but they're already carving a niche for themselves with a sound that includes the standard symphonic instrumentation and occasional growls, but also vocoders and a willingness to experiment with sound. Members Katie Thompson (vocals and keyboards), Derek Steele (guitar), Ian Inman (guitar), Dan Gugenheim (bass), and Dustin Weddle (drums) have one album, Synthesis, out already and are planning to release their second within the next few months. Host Mark Ashby chats with Thompson and Weddle regarding the piecing-together of the band, what Indiana is like as a progressive destination, and how cats figure into their music-making (or maybe the blocking thereof). Find them online at http://chiasmatheband.bandcamp.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:

"Phajaan"

"Walls"

"Adventure Through Armenia"

"Cry for the Dream"

"Starboard"

"Impetus Lost"

"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!

Originally posted 30 Oct 2015

Direct download: Progtopia_081_A_Turn_to_Starboard_with_Chiasma.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:03am EDT

Ask anyone who has been there: The premiere progressive and power metal festival in the United States takes place every September in Atlanta, Georgia. In 2015, ProgPower USA experienced its sixteenth installment, with four days of events with bands from around the world entertaining sold-out crowds at the Center Stage venue. Headliners this year included the likes of Anathema, Falconer, and Angra, but other up-and-comers like Helker and Native Construct were also received well by the ProgPower faithful. Host Mark Ashby attended for the first time, and he brings you interviews with a few festival attendees, Voyager's Alex Canion, and festival promoter Glenn Harveston, who talks about the visa issues that plagued him this year and his team's quick responses to it, how much time he has to watch the bands he books, and what makes ProgPower the festival that sells out its thousand tickets in nine hours (for next year's shows). And you hear Mark's ideal "ProgtopiaPower USA" lineup, four days of shows comprised entirely of past Progtopia guests. Learn more about the festival at www.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!

Originally posted 12 Oct 2015

Direct download: Progtopia_Backstage_Pass_4_ProgPower_USA_XVI.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:57am EDT

The U8 Touch Guitar is quite the versatile instrument. Creator Markus Reuter uses it as part of the dynamic group Stick Men but also in the avant-garde centrozoon. Another minimalist-style composer who employs the U8 is French-born, Austin-based Cédric Theys. Founder of Mad Ducks Records, Theys has already released two albums this year -- Imagur as part of the duo Dim13nsion (pronounced Dimension 13) and his solo effort Eternity's Antechamber -- and both will appeal to those who enjoy ethereal soundscapes. Host Mark Ashby talked with Theys about his preference of the U8 to the Chapman Stick, his spontaneous composition style, and the other acts on his record label, which you can find at www.madducksrecords.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:

"We Can't Use the Sun Anymore"

"A Small Stretch of Eternity"

"Atomic Fission"

"Stepping Through Existence"

"Peaceful Plains"

"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!

Originally posted 30 Sept 2015

Direct download: Progtopia_080_Stepping_Through_Existence_with_Cedric_Theys.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:52am EDT

Are they prog? Are they punk? Are they post-rock? Whatever box you put them in, The Fierce and the Dead will probably squeeze into it. This instrumental four-piece with guitarists Matt Stevens and Steve Cleaton, bassist Kev Feazey, and drummer Stuart Marshall have indeed created a cult following beyond their UK home, vocals be damned. Their newest EP Magnet has just been released on Bad Elephant Music, and they've been making the festival circuit in the late summer/early fall. Host Mark Ashby speaks with Stevens about the unclassifiability of TFATD, the scientific ideas that went into their album Spooky Action, and why they embrace the EP as a medium for releasing their songs. Visit them online at www.fierceandthedead.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:

"I Like It, I'm Into It"

"Let's Start a Cult"

"Part 1."

"Ark"

"Part 6 (The Eighth Circuit)"

"Palm Trees"

"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!

Originally posted 9 Sept 2015

Direct download: Progtopia_079_Lets_Start_a_Cult_with_The_Fierce_and_the_Dead.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:47am EDT

For the second show in a row, we feature a band with a powerful woman at the microphone, although this time, the music is decidedly heavier. Stockholm's The Murder of My Sweet (Daniel Flores [drums, keyboards, vocals], Christopher Vetter [guitar], Angelica Rylin [vocals], and Patrik Jonson [bass]) released their third album Beth Out of Hell this month, and it's a dark concept album about the interplay between good and evil that shows how the world and the forces many believe control it are not necessarily black and white. Host Mark Ashby talks with Flores about the research that went into the story for the album, their acceptance of the "cinematic metal" label that was applied to them early on, and what it means to be a female-fronted band that doesn't subscribe to all the conventions many expect from that genre. Find the band online at www.themurderofmysweet.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:

"Euthanasia"

"Always the Fugitive"

"Bleed Me Dry"

"The Awakening"

"Requiem for a Ghost"

"The Humble Servant"

"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!

Originally posted 27 August 2015

Direct download: Progtopia_078_Awakening_to_The_Murder_of_My_Sweet.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:42pm EDT

"Full and fat." That's how Landmarq keyboardist Mike Varty (at far right) describes his band's sound. Joined by bandmates Steve Gee [bass], Uwe D'Rose [guitar], Tracy Hitchings [vocals], and Daniel Martin [drums], Landmarq has been around since the late 80s and is therefore solidly in the neo-prog realm inhabited by IQ or Pendragon. Initially fronted by Damian Wilson, the band made the switch to a woman singer in the late 90s, a move seen as daring by some. Host Mark Ashby talked with Varty about what Hitchings brings to the group, her cancer diagnosis and recovery, and the new CD/DVD RoadSkill: Live in the Netherlands. He also plays the Tournament of Prog Keyboardists -- Who is the winner? Find them online at www.landmarq.net.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"Thunderstruck"
"Turbulence"
"Entertaining Angels"
"Glowing"

"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!

Originally posted 9 August 2015

Direct download: Progtopia_077_Riding_Out_the_Turbulence_with_Landmarq.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:58pm EDT

The term "power trio" has become a hallowed lineup formation among prog fans who revere bands like Rush, the Jimi Hendrix Experience, and King's X, among others. Centreville, Virginia's Iris Divine (guitarist/vocalist Navid Rashid, bassist Brian Dobbs, and drummer/keyboardist Kris Combs) are a prog-metal three-piece that has come out of the gate about as powerfully as a band can with their debut Karma Sown. With echoes of some of the previously-mentioned groups as well as Alice in Chains and Pantera, Iris Divine is starting to get some attention outside of the mid-Atlantic and will be touring in late July and early August on the east coast. Host Mark Ashby talked with Combs about the switch from the early days as a quartet, the interesting perks they offered for their Kickstarter campaign, and his winner in an eight-band tournament of famous power trios past (it might not be who you think!). Find the album at https://lasersedge.bandcamp.com/album/karma-sown

Featured songs/excerpts:

"Prisms"

"A Suicide Aware"

"The Everlasting Sea"

"In Spirals"

"Mother's Prayer"

"Fire of the Unknown"

"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!

Originally posted 14 July 2015

Direct download: Progtopia_076_Sowing_Karma_with_Iris_Divine.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:51pm EDT

Is art rock progressive rock, or vice versa? Or are they different styles altogether? For UK multi-instrumentalist Grice Peters, the distinction has some meaning, although his brand of melodic yet atmospheric music isn't easily classified, anyway. With leanings toward the sound of David Sylvian and his associated projects, largely because of the involvement of Sylvian's ex-bandmates Richard Barbieri and Steve Jansen, Grice's new album Alexandrine is a musical journey through space from the North African dunes to the shores of the British Isles. In this interview with host Mark Ashby, Grice gives his take on the art rock label, how his youth in London prepared him for the musical path he'd later follow, and the plethora of guest musicians and producers who have helped shape the sound of his albums. Catch up with Grice on the web at www.gricemusic.co.uk.

Featured songs/excerpts:

"Flaw 2 (Silica)"

"12 Syllables"

"Alexandrine"

"Frozen Water"

"Leftside"

"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!

Originally posted 27 June 2015

Direct download: Progtopia_075_12_Syllables_Maybe_More_with_Grice.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:49pm EDT

Progressive filmmaking? You might be able to apply that label to Mathew Miller, who has turned the classic IQ double-album Subterranea and turned it into a feature film that he wrote and directed. Currently making the rounds of various festivals, the film Subterranea stars an Emmy Award nominee and other Hollywood names depicted in gorgeous Montana settings to tell this tale of a twisted social experiment and its aftermath. Host Mark Ashby chatted with Miller about what brought him to this particular prog rock album when there are so many concepts out there, the band's reaction to and involvement in his project, and what else from the prog realm he'd like to be a part of bringing to a visual medium in the future. Keep up with the film at www.subterranea-movie.com and with IQ at www.iq-hq.co.uk.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"Failsafe"
"Capricorn"
"Subterranea"
"Unsolid Ground"

"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!

Originally posted 13 June 2015

Direct download: Progtopia_074_Mathew_Millers_High_IQ.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:06am EDT

If you're a fan of audiobooks, radio plays, and the like, Hibernal out of Brisbane, Australia, might just be the type of prog rock project you're looking for. Mark Healy not only composes and performs the music on these albums, he writes the scripts that provide the spoken-word narration to the science-fiction stories contained on the three albums to date. The latest of these, After the Winter, is also the first in a trilogy of books that can be purchased, making Hibernal truly a cross-platform phenomenon. Host Mark Ashby spoke with Healy about the stories that drive Hibernal's albums, how he finds the voice talent to bring the stories to life, and whether he thinks his work could ever be performed live. The albums can be found at http://hibernal.bandcamp.com, and the books at www.amazon.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"A View of the World"
"After the Winter"
"Losing Touch"
"Evasion"
"Worn"
"Beginnings"

"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!

Originally posted 29 May 2015

Direct download: Progtopia_073_Hibernals_View_of_the_World.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:04am EDT

Their band name is a standalone sentence, full-stop. Their music bridges genres, incorporating spoken word, various vocalists, and stylistic touches reminiscent of the golden age of prog. Manchester, UK's We Are Kin (l. to r. Lee Braddock [bass], Lauren Smith [vocals], Adam McCann [guitar], Dan Zambas [keyboards, guitar, vocals], and Gary Boast [drums]) have just released their debut album Pandora on Bad Elephant Music, and it's a mindbender that will either carry you along on their story arc or have you making up a tale of your own. Host Mark Ashby talked with four of the band members about the reason behind their unusual name, their compositional process and how Zambas and Boast keep each other's more extreme tendencies in check, and the politics that creeps into their music, at least in Zambas's case. Look for them online at https://wearekin.bandcamp.com/.

Featured songs/excerpts:

"Faith"

"Home Sweet Home"

"The Door"

"The Speech"

"The Hard Decision"

"Without Them"

"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!

Originally posted 15 May 2015

Direct download: Progtopia_072_Hard_Decisions_from_We_Are_Kin.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:37am EDT

Naples, Italy, has a secret, but we think everybody should know about it. The quintet Soul Secret, previously profiled in Episode 006, is back with their first concept album, called 4, and members Luca Di Gennaro (keyboards), Antonio Vittozzi (guitars), Antonio Mocerino (drums), Lino Di Pietrantonio (vocals), and Claudio Casaburi (bass) - pictured here with Neal Morse - are picking up sonically where they left off with 2011's Closer to Daylight. Combining influences into their own progressive style that includes metal, fusion, and more, this album has already received worldwide critical acclaim. Host Mark Ashby talks to Di Gennaro about the new album, its story, and how their new vocalist came to the band, among other topics. Visit them online at www.soulsecret.net.

Featured songs/excerpts: "On the Ledge" "Our Horizon" "K" "The White Stairs" "Downfall"

To listen to the first episode featuring Soul Secret, go to http://progtopia.libsyn.com/episode-006-getting-closer-to-daylight-with-soul-secret

"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!

Originally posted 29 April 2015

 

Direct download: Progtopia_071_Climbing_the_White_Stairs_with_Soul_Secret.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:56pm EDT

With a name inspired by an early Marillion song, you might be surprised to know that Lisbon, Portugal's Forgotten Suns sound more like a combination of Pink Floyd and Symphony X. Members Ernesto Rodrigues (keyboards), João Samora (drums), Ricardo Falcão (guitars), Nuno Correia (bass), and Nio Nunes (vocals) play a brand of progressive metal that is refreshing in its stress on melody instead of overly-complex technique and its liberal use of spoken word samples to create often-epic-length works that include their newest album When Worlds Collide, released in March on Premiere Music. Host Mark Ashby talked with Falcão about the change in style for the band from their first two albums until now, why their songs tend to be longer, and what are the advantages and disadvantages of being located in out-of-the-way Portugal as a prog band. Find them online at www.premiere-music.net.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"When Worlds Collide"
"Doppelganger"
"Mind Over Matter"
"News"
"Rise & Fall"
"Fortress of Silence"
"The Road to Nowhere pt. 1"

"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!

Originally posted 13 April 2015

Direct download: Progtopia_070_Inside_Forgotten_Suns_Fortress_of_Silence.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:35am EDT

It's not that difficult, we promise. This Swedish sextet currently comprising Jonas Engdegård and Tord Lindman on guitars, Johan Brand on bass, Anna Holmgren on flute and saxophone, Linus Kåse on keyboards and Erik Hammarström on drums is set to tour Europe in April with their style of progressive rock that hearkens back to the classic sound of early King Crimson and Genesis with modern production values (but still with mellotrons!). Host Mark Ashby chatted with Engdegård and Brand about the upcoming concerts, why they chose not to translate their song titles into English (or any other language), and which country they think has a great set of fans, and why. They're online at www.anglagardrecords.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"Ur Vilande"
"Jordrök"
"Sorgmantel"
"Längtans Klocka"

"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!

Originally posted 29 March 2015

Direct download: Progtopia_069_Everyone_Say_Anglagard.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:11am EDT

The name makes them sound like they should be a Norwegian doom outfit with long blond hair and indecipherable growling vocals. While they are somewhat heavy, Odin's Court can best be described as fitting into the niche where Pink Floyd and Iron Maiden meet. The Maryland quintet comprises Dimetrius LaFavors on lead vocals, Jeff Pierpont on bass, Matt Brookins on guitars, keys, and backing vocals, Rick Pierpont on guitar, and Gary Raub on drums (Jeff Sauber - pictured), and their new album Turtles All the Way Down has just been released. Host Mark Ashby talked with Brookins about their influences, the reason that he recently brought in a new lead vocalist when he had been handling those duties for years, and the concepts behind the current and past albums. You'll find them online at www.odinscourtband.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"Back Where the Daffodils Grow"
"The Warmth of Mediocrity"
"Mammonific"
"...But What's the Question?"
"Box of Dice (Does God Play?)"
"Turtles All the Way Down Part 3"

"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!

Originally posted 19 Mar 2015

Direct download: Progtopia_068_All_the_Way_Down_with_Odins_Court.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:45am EDT

Twenty years is a long time for any band to be together, but to keep the same lineup over that time is rarer still. In the case of California's Rocket Scientists (Erik Norlander [keyboards/vocals], Don Schiff [bass, stick, bowed string instruments], Mark McCrite [guitar/lead vocals]), their cohesiveness is attributable, they say, to mutual respect and a disinclination to reject each other's ideas. They released two albums in 2014, the all-instrumental EP Supernatural Highways and the full-length Refuel, with traces of Yes, the Moody Blues, Pink Floyd, and other more pop elements present in a toe-tapping mixture. Host Mark Ashby spoke with Norlander and Schiff about how they all met and began making music together, the reason behind all the videos they've released recently, and the lucky break Schiff got when looking to buy a cello. You'll find the band online at www.thetank.com. Featured songs/excerpts: "Galileo" "Regenerate" "Traveler on the Supernatural Highways" "She's Getting Hysterical" "It's Over" "Cheshire Cat Smile" "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!

Originally posted 28 Feb 2015

Direct download: Progtopia_067_Refuel_and_Regenerate_with_the_Rocket_Scientists.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:20pm EDT

A producer for Pink Floyd striking out on his own with a work bearing his name. Is this 1976 and Alan Parsons we're talking about? No, indeed. We're in the present day, and the twice-Grammy-nominated producer (A Momentary Lapse of Reason, The Division Bell) that we're talking about is Andy Jackson. Fresh off his production work on the band's latest (and likely last) effort The Endless River, Jackson has released a new album of his own, perhaps appropriately for a recording engineer titled Signal to Noise. While not his debut solo work, it is his first in years, and host Mark Ashby spoke with Jackson about the new work and the influences he brought to bear on it, the challenges of putting together The Endless River from pre-existing work without the benefit of the late Richard Wright being around to record new parts, and what it was like to work with Pink Floyd during Roger Waters' final years with the band. He can be found online at www.andyjacksonmusic.com. *** "Whilst the ethos of the engineer does make a difference to the sound of the final thing ..., what really makes [Pink Floyd] sound like them is their choices and their arrangements and their aesthetic. ... We are enablers." Featured songs/excerpts: "Brownian Motion" "One More Push" "Spray Paint" "The Boy in the Forest" "Herman at the Fountain" "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!

Originally posted 14 January 2015

Direct download: Progtopia_065_Spray_Painting_with_Andy_Jackson.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:25pm EDT

The world of progressive music is truly global, as interesting, challenging, rewarding songs can be found everywhere. Israeli stringed-instrumentalist Yossi Sassi is a shining example of that, as he not only incorporates Mediterranean sounds into his work, but as he's said elsewhere, no matter where a stringed instrument can be found in the world, "I will find you, and I will play you." A founding and long-time member of oriental metal pioneers Orphaned Land (profiled in Episode 034), Sassi recently struck out on his own, this year releasing his second solo album, Desert Butterflies. Host Mark Ashby talked about his eclectic style, the connection between his family roots and the kind of music he creates and seeks out (and why he won't move away from his native land for bigger opportunities), and his own unique instrument, the bouzoukitara, among many other topics. Find him online at www.yossisassi.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"Orient Sun"
"Cocoon"
"Drive"
"Fata Morgana"
"Believe"

To hear the interview with Orphaned Land's vocalist Kobi Farhi, go to http://progtopia.libsyn.com/episode-034-for-orphaned-land-all-is-one

"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!

Originally posted 12 December 2014

Direct download: Progtopia_064_Yossi_Sassi_and_the_Rise_of_the_Orient_Sun.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:42pm EDT

Female-fronted metal bands are often expected to have a certain sound. Their singers are expected to cite the likes of Cristina Scabbia or Sharon den Adel as their main influences. That's not what you'll find from Whitehall, Pennsylvania's, MindMaze. Joining sibling duo Sarah (vocals) and Jeff (guitar) Teets are drummer Kalin Schweizerhof and live bassist Rich Pasqualone in a combo that is forging its own identity with its two albums to date, Mask of Lies (2013) and this October's Back from the Edge. Symphony X bassist Mike LePond sat in on the new album, which is one of the topics host Mark Ashby talked about with Sarah and Jeff, as well as their early days under a different name, what it's like being family members who write together, and the double-edged sword that is the existence of a metal band with a woman at the microphone. You can find them online at www.mindmazeband.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"Back from the Edge"
"The Machine Stops"
"This Holy War"
"Through the Open Door"
"Onward (Destiny Calls 2)"
"Consequence of Choice"

"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!

Originally posted 23 November 2014

Direct download: Progtopia_063_MindMaze_Walks_Through_the_Open_Door.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:13pm EDT

Ambient music is often misunderstood. Since the songs often deviate from traditional compositional forms, some might think it's easy to create it. German/Swiss trio centrozoon prove that when musicians go beyond improvisation to "composing in the moment," the result is anything but simple or repeatable. Tobias Reber (electronics), Markus Reuter (touch guitar), and Bernhard Wöstheinrich (synthesizers, electronics) create tonal sculptures that challenge and engage in ways that traditional music cannot. Host Mark Ashby talked with Reber and Wöstheinrich about their enjoyment in wordplay, what it means to "play the wrong notes," how to turn a laptop into an instrument, and news about their brand new album The Room of Plenty. Find them an www.centrozoon.de and www.centrozoon.bandcamp.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"Paalm"
"Aarooma"
"tales of children in trees"
"Hoorn"
"Tooong"
"Plaan"

For previous episodes featuring centrozoon's Markus Reuter, go to http://progtopia.libsyn.com/episode-018-markus-reuter-more-than-just-a-stick-man and http://progtopia.libsyn.com/backstage-pass-1-markus-reuter-more-than-just-a-stick-man-part-2

"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!

Originally posted 10 Nov 2014

Direct download: Progtopia_062_centrozoons_Room_of_Plain_Tea.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:56pm EDT

Every band claims at least some degree of uniqueness. Few actually achieve it. New York's Braindance not only sound like little else out there, they coined a new term to describe their sound: progressive darkwave. Melding elements of prog metal, goth, new age, and more, guitarist Vora Vor and vocalist Sebastian Elliott have been building a devoted fan base since the early 90s, and although they only have four releases, they obviously believe in quality over quantity. Their newest concept album, Master of Disguise, was released recently in an eye-catching package complete with 16-page comic, and features their signature blend of styles plus samples from film and television to advance the story of an alternate reality from our own. Mark Ashby spoke with Elliott about the multiple terms he once used to describe the band before landing on progressive darkwave, the finances involved in being an independent artist marketing his own work, his take on the differences between New York's and LA's progressive metal music scenes, and the type of fans that "get" Braindance's music. They're online at www.progressivedarkwave.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"Valley of the Kings Chapter I: Beyond"
"Written in Stone"
"Only a Moment"
"The Game"
"Lost"
"Entombed"

"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!

Originally posted 29 Oct 2014

Direct download: Progtopia_061_Only_a_Moment_with_Braindance.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:53am EDT

As collaborator to some of the luminaries in prog (Wetton, Downes, Emerson, etc.), guitarist Dave Kilminster has been able to participate in some incredible tours while still remaining somewhat anonymous. But as part of Roger Waters' latest incarnation of the band performing his classic The Wall, he's played in front of hundreds of thousands of fans around the world. But he's no simple hired gun playing parts David Gilmour originated: he's an accomplished composer in his own right. His newest album, ...And the Truth Will Set You Free, was released in late September, and its combination of prog, pop, and soul is a melodic and lyrical tour-de-force worthy of inclusion in any collection. Host Mark Ashby spoke with Kilminster about his somewhat stripped-down and old-school approach to writing and production, the pros and cons of playing in venues large and small, what he thinks about the Gilmour comparisons, and why you don't necessarily want to play perfectly in sync with a click track. You can visit him online at www.davekilminster.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"Thieves"
"Circles"
"Addict"
"Stardust"
"The Fallen"

"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. 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. Thanks for listening!

Originally posted 10 Oct 2014

Direct download: Progtopia_060_Dave_Kilminster_Will_Set_You_Free.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:05pm EDT

With this show, let's get back to bass-ics. (Okay, sorry for the bad pun.) In Episode 052, Progtopia featured two bassists and their project as a duo, one of whom (Marco Machera) is from Italy. Perhaps it's something in the water in that country, because there's another phenomenal bassist from there named Alberto Rigoni, whose fourth studio album, "Overloaded," is out on 1 October. An all-instrumental work that explores various aspects of our high-tech, information-heavy society, Overloaded benefits not only from Rigoni's eclectic mix of playing styles, but also from guests like guitarist Simone Mularoni of DGM and others. Host Mark Ashby talked with Rigoni about why he chose the bass as his instrument (and what he actually tried to play first), how he balances the need to use social media to promote his music and his life outside of computers and mobile devices, and what other projects he's working on, even a bit about the top secret ones. He's on the web at www.albertorigoni.net.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"Chron"
"Ubick"
"Floating Capsule"
"Overloaded"
"Liberation"

"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. 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 Alberto Rigoni. Thanks for listening!

Originally posted 28 September 2014

Direct download: Progtopia_059_Alberto_Rigoni_Will_Overload_You.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:42pm EDT

Powerful prog music comes in many flavors. Sometimes you want that power to come from virtuosic instrumental displays, and sometimes you want that power to be more understated and goosebump-inducing. The Gift, from the UK, fall in the latter camp. Vocalist Mike Morton has served as the muse for the band since its inception in the early 2000s and two albums, 2006's Awake and Dreaming and this year's Land of Shadows. Joined by guitarist David Lloyd, bassist Stefan Dickers, keyboardist Samuele Matteucci, and drummer Scott James, Morton isn't afraid to tackle heady subjects like war and religion through melodically-driven music that is reminiscent of the likes of Roger Waters and Alan Parsons. Host Mark Ashby talked with Morton about those challenging subjects and his philosophy on them, which band first stirred his interest in progressive music (which is the same as the host's), and his involvement in the recent Resonance festival. They can be found on the web at www.thegiftmusic.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"Dark Clouds Gathering"
"The Willows"
"Awake and Dreaming"
"The Comforting Cold"
"Walk into the Water"

"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. 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. Thanks for listening!

Originally posted 16 September 2014

Direct download: Progtopia_058_Walk_Into_the_Water_with_The_Gift.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:54pm EDT

The Socceroos may not have gotten far in the recent World Cup, but in our humble opinion on Progtopia, Australia is destroying the competition in 2014 when it comes to progressive music. Teramaze, Anubis, and Voyager have already been featured in interview or Friday Finds episodes this year, and now, Hemina has returned with an even stronger effort than their debut Synthetic. The ten songs on Nebulae (due out 19 August) are connected to the concept of lucid dreaming, and stylistically the band is now incorporating elements of funk and 80s pop with their brand of progressive metal that's full of lush vocal harmonies and multiple dimensions. Host Mark Ashby spoke with guitarists/vocalists Doug Skene and Mitch Coull, and bassist/vocalist Jessica Martin (also pictured, keyboardist/vocalist Phil Eltakchi) about what's been happening since we last heard from the band in Episode 005, the connections among all Hemina's albums (including one that's not even finished yet), and the story behind the making of the video for their song "Freedom." You'll also hear the world premiere of the track "Strength"! Find the band online at www.hemina.com.au.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"Before"
"Lust"
"Freedom"
"Strength"
"Soulmates"

To listen to Hemina's first Progtopia appearance from April 2012, click here: http://progtopia.libsyn.com/episode-005-and-now-to-find-hemina

"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. 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 Hemina. Thanks for listening!

Direct download: Progtopia_Planetary_Premiere_5_August_2014_Hemina_Nebulae.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:00pm EDT

It's been a few years since Swedish power-metal quintet Seventh Wonder released their most recent album The Great Escape, but Johan Liefvendahl (guitar), Andreas "Kyrt" Söderin (keyboards), Tommy Karevik (vocals), Stefan Norgren (drums), and Andreas Blomqvist (bass) are about to take ProgPower USA by storm. At the fourteenth installment of the Atlanta festival, as part of their set, Seventh Wonder will perform their classic 2008 album Mercy Falls in its entirety, with plans for a DVD release to follow. Long recognized as among the most-respected bands in the genre, they've also put out a new video for a song called "Inner Enemy," and a full album is in the works. Host Mark Ashby talked with Blomqvist about the band's origins and move toward progressive elements, the emotional impact behind Mercy Falls, the way the band handled Karevik's induction into Kamelot while remaining Seventh's Wonder's singer, and more. Find them online at www.seventhwonder.se, and ProgPower USA at www.progpowerusa.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"The Angelmaker"
"One Last Goodbye"
"Unbreakable"
"Welcome to Mercy Falls"
"The Black Parade"
"The Great Escape - VI: A New Balance/VII: Death of the Goddesses"
"Alley Cat"

"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. 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 Seventh Wonder. Thanks for listening!

Originally posted 20 August 2014

Direct download: Progtopia_057_Unbreakable_Seventh_Wonder.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:33pm EDT

Now that the dust has settled from the lawsuit surrounding veteran rockers Queensryche and the parties involved can go their separate ways, former singer Geoff Tate is back for his second appearance on Progtopia. Host Mark Ashby talked with him about his feelings in the aftermath of it all, plans for new material with a hoped-for release date of early 2015, the music-history-meets-comedy Rock and Vaudeville show that he's a key part of, and if he ever considered his and Queensryche's music "progressive" (including some of the influences he grew up with). Fans have one last chance to catch Tate's version of the band in concert during August with the month-long "Farewell to Queensryche" tour. Find out if it's coming near you by visiting www.queensryche.com. You can also catch up with Tate online at www.geofftate.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"Freiheit Ouverture"
"Suite Sister Mary"
"Eyes of a Stranger"
"The Hands"
"The Weight of the World"
"Resistance"

To listen to Geoff Tate's first Progtopia appearance from June 2013, go to http://progtopia.libsyn.com/episode-032-in-the-hands-of-geoff-tate

"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. 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 Queensryche. Thanks for listening!

Originally posted 25 July 2014

Direct download: Progtopia_056_Geoff_Tates_Farewell_Is_a_New_Beginning.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:29pm EDT

In a testament to the idea of following one's muse, the Burlington, Vermont-based Elephants of Scotland (Adam Rabin [keyboards, vocals], Dan MacDonald [bass, vocals], John Whyte [guitar, vocals], and Ornan McLean [drums]) have defied the jam-band ethos of their area and forged ahead with their progressive sounds and memorable tunes. With two albums already in their discography and a live album planned, the group played this year's RoSfest in Pennsylvania and are looking to perform more widely, especially in Montreal. Host Mark Ashby talked with MacDonald, Rabin, McLean, and lyricist Greg Skillman about the reasons behind the fast pace of album releases, what old and new prog bands have commanded their attention, and how an encounter with the singer from Toad the Wet Sprocket inspired a track from their newest work Execute and Breathe. They can be found online at www.elephantsofscotland.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"Starboard"
"Home Away from Home"
"Geograph"
"The Other Room"
"Mousetrap"
"Boxless"

"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. 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. Thanks for listening!

Originally posted 21 July 2014

Direct download: Progtopia_055_In_the_Other_Room_with_Elephants_of_Scotland.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:58pm EDT

As Arjen Lucassen has proven, you can indeed make a career out of concept albums. With three works under their belts, Australia's Anubis is well on its way to doing the same. The seven-piece monster (Dean Bennison [guitar], Martyn Cook [wind instruments], David Eaton [keyboards], Robert James Moulding [vocals], Steve Eaton [drums], Douglas Skene [guitar], Anthony Stewart [bass]) released their most recent album, Hitchhiking to Byzantium, in May 2014, and while not plot-driven like their previous efforts 230503 and A Tower of Silence, it is still a series of connected songs, as host Mark Ashby learned in his interview with Moulding, David Eaton, and Skene. They also talked about the night of drinking that led to the initial idea for honoring a lost friend that became 230503, why they choose to write thematically, and upcoming live shows like their supporting slot with Anathema. You can find them online at www.anubismusic.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"A Room with a View"
"Partitionists"
"Leaving Here Tonight"
"Hitchhiking to Byzantium"
"A King with No Crown"
"Dead Trees"

"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. 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 Anubis. Thanks for listening!

Originally posted 6 July 2014

Direct download: Progtopia_054_Anubis_Hitchhikes_to_Byzantium.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:27am EDT

While by no means a common instrument in progressive circles, the violin has still been part of many influential bands over the years as more than just occasional coloration. A good case in point is the UK band Curved Air, whose 1970s lineup included violinist Darryl Way as a key contributor. While Way has since moved on from the group to projects like his classical band Verisma, he's also released a couple of solo projects in recent years that showcase his talents in different settings: 2013's Ultra Violins being more of a traditional classical work, and this spring's Children of the Cosmos a return to his progressive roots. Way spoke with host Mark Ashby about his earlier years as member of Curved Air, his collaborative projects with the likes of Sting and Tim Rice, how he views composition in the various genres he works in, and more. He can be located online at www.darrylway.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"Lagan Love"
"Children of the Cosmos"
"It Happened Today" (Curved Air)
"Polovtsian Dances"
"Spooks"
"Summer of Love"

"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. 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. Thanks for listening!

Originally posted 22 June 2014

Direct download: Progtopia_053_Darryl_Way_Child_of_the_Cosmos.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:59pm EDT

Who says the bass player gets no respect? Certainly not Julie Slick and Marco Machera, otherwise known as J + M, who will be releasing their first album - Fourth Dementia - within the next month or so. Slick, member of the Adrian Belew Power Trio and the Crimson ProjecKt, has teamed up with Machera (previously featured on a Progtopia Friday Finds show) to create eight instrumental tracks that span progressive, jazz, and experimental styles that often remind a listener of King Crimson but also contain much that is unique to this talented pairing. Host Mark Ashby talked with both bassists about how their long-distance partnership came to be, what it's like to be a part of the Crimson family tree, and if there's a glass ceiling in the rock music business or not. Their websites are www.julieslick.com and www.marcomachera.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"Esteem"
"Infinity x 1"
"Feck You Op"
"1986"
"Krush"

"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. 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. Thanks for listening!

Originally posted 10 June 2014

Direct download: Progtopia_052_Krushing_Grooves_with_J__M.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:16pm EDT

Flutes and yodels don't find a home in many genres, but luckily for fans of those musical expressions, prog rock is open to them, perhaps never exemplified better than in the music of Dutch quartet Focus. Having been around for over 40 years with some breaks in between, the current lineup consists of Menno Gootjes (guitar), Bobby Jacobs (bass), Pierre van der Linden (drums), and Thijs van Leer (keyboards, flute, vocals). They've just released an album of reimagined takes of past songs called Golden Oldies (though some aren't so old), and they're touring this year in support of it. Host Mark Ashby talked with original member van Leer about the making of their iconic song "Hocus Pocus," influences from classical and classic rock musicians, and why only one band really counts as progressive rock in his view -- and it's not his own. Find them on the web at www.focustheband.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"House of the King"
"Focus 1"
"Hocus Pocus"
"Sylvia"
"Aya Yippie Hippie Yee"
"Brother"

"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. 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. Thanks for listening!

Originally posted 6 May 2014

Direct download: Progtopia_050_Forty_Years_in_Focus.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:59pm EDT

Many classic bands, prog and otherwise, got their start in the late '60s; very few have made a continuously successful run from then until now. Among those fortunate and talented few are the UK quartet Wishbone Ash, whose latest studio album Blue Horizon has recently been released. The foursome (Joe Crabtree [drums], Muddy Manninen [guitar], Bob Skeat [bass], and founding member Andy Powell [guitar]) are mounting a tour of parts of the US beginning on the 15th of April in support of the album. In advance of that, host Mark Ashby spoke with drummer Crabtree about his arrival in the band several years ago as someone who had been alive less time than the band had been active, the diverse styles exhibited through their catalog and even within one album, and the recently-decided lawsuit against former member Martin Turner, among many other topics. Find the band online at www.wishboneash.com and Crabtree at www.joecrabtree.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"All There Is to Say"
"American Century"
"Warrior"
"Take It Back"
"Being One"

"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. 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. Thanks for listening!

Originally posted 10 April 2014

Direct download: Progtopia_049_Wishbone_Ash_Takes_It_Back.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:51pm EDT

Singer, label CEO, even coffeemaker. Nightmare Records' head honcho Lance King fits all these labels and more, but despite that, he's not easily labeled at all. Vocalist for Pyramaze, Balance of Power, and others, since 1990 he's been at the helm of his own company, signing more awesome bands than you can shake a microphone at. Along with members of Anubis Gate (Episode 001), King released his first (and so far only) solo album A Moment in Chiros in 2011, a conceptual work that leans heavily on numerology and spiritual enlightenment yet still rocks hard. Host Mark Ashby talked with King about the sequence of events that led him to start Nightmare Records, the thought process that went into his solo album (and when there might be another one), and how he progressed from a New Age-type of upbringing to a brand of Christianity that, while perhaps not mainstream, is no less deeply felt. The websites to visit are www.nightmarerecords.com and www.lancekingvox.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"Infinity Divine"
"Sacred Systems"
"A Moment in Chiros"
"Awakening"
"Joy Everlasting"

"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. 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 Lance King and many other Nightmare Records artists. Thanks for listening!

Originally posted 5 March 2014

Direct download: Progtopia_048_Lance_King_Living_on_Chiros_Time.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:30pm EDT

Steve Hackett is at it again. Back by popular demand, he's on the road with his bandmates on what he calls the Genesis Extended tour, bringing sell-out crowds classic songs from his time with the seminal art-rock band, including "Dancing with the Moonlit Knight," "The Lamia," and "Supper's Ready," plus a few tracks not heard on his previous tour stops. Host Mark Ashby spoke with Hackett prior to the opening show of the tour in Washington about the kinship progressive rock has with classical and jazz music, why it's important - but difficult - to surprise himself musically (and why it's hard not to "steal"), and those pesky Genesis reunion rumors that seem to crop up from time to time. Visit www.hackettsongs.com for tour dates in the US and Europe through 2014.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"...In That Quiet Earth"
"Fly on the Windshield"
"The Return of the Giant Hogweed"
"Shadow of the Hierophant"
"Horizons"

To listen to the first Progtopia interview with Steve Hackett, go to http://progtopia.libsyn.com/episode-020-steve-hackett-revisits-the-classics

"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. 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. Thanks for listening!

Originally posted 30 March 2014

Direct download: Progtopia_Backstage_Pass_03_Steve_Hacketts_Library_of_Unattached_Ideas.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:14am EDT

Direct download: Progtopia_047_Anneke_van_Giersbergens_Unstoppable_Drive.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:04am EDT

Direct download: Progtopia_046_Touchstone_Sails_on_the_Oceans_of_Time.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:57pm EDT

In Episode 017 back in September 2012, we heard from Eric Blackwood of the American/English duo Edison's Children. For this first episode of 2014, not only is Blackwood returning to discuss the band's recent release of The Final Breath Before November, his partner Pete Trewavas (also of Marillion and Transatlantic) joins the conversation. With the help of an extremely supportive fan base, the band was able to follow Marillion's model of pre-orders funding the production of the music, which is just one of the topics discussed with host Mark Ashby in this show. You'll also hear about their more mellow approach to songwriting and playing, and what led to Trewavas's almost missing TWO flights home when the band was in its formative days (hint: the police were involved). The band is online at www.edisonschildren.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"Final Breath"
"Silhouette - vii. What Did You Want?"
"Light Years"
"Silhouette - viii. The Seventh Sign"
"Silhouette - xii. Music for the End Credits of an Existence"

To hear the first Edison's Children episode on Progtopia, go to http://progtopia.podomatic.com/entry/2012-09-28T05_38_50-07_00.

"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. 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. Thanks for listening!

Originally posted 13 January 2014

Direct download: Progtopia_045_The_Second_Coming_of_Edisons_Children.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:50pm EDT

Direct download: Progtopia_044_Sonic_Sensations_in_the_Factory_of_Dreams.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:36pm EDT

Direct download: Progtopia_043_Through_the_Electronic_Borderlands_with_Ian_Boddy.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:30pm EDT

Countless progressive artists have released conceptual works; relatively few of them sound like they truly belong on Broadway. In the case of Arjen Lucassen's Ayreon, however, many fans would pay a month's salary for the chance to see one of the prolific composer and multi-instrumentalist's albums coming to life on stage. Ayreon's most recent effort is entitled The Theory of Everything, and in the spirit of past albums, a stellar cast of well-known musicians and singers brings the story of a father's quest for scientific glory and the savant son who can help him achieve it, but at a potentially catastrophic cost to his family. Lucassen spoke with host Mark Ashby about the research involved in coming up with his stories, the process of writing and rewriting his many works thus far, the prog rock gods and goddesses who are involved in the new album, and whether or not fans might someday see this or another Ayreon album under the bright lights. His website is www.arjenlucassen.com.

Featured tracks/excerpts:
"Quantum Chaos"
"Magnetism"
"Merlin's Will"
"Beneath the Waves"
"Love and Envy/Progressive Waves"
"Transformation/Collision"
"The Theory of Everything Part 3"

"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. 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 Ayreon. Thanks for listening!

Originally posted 23 November 2013

Direct download: Progtopia_042_Arjen_Lucassens_Theories_of_Everything.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:22pm EDT

At about age 20, he joined his father's legendary band, Tangerine Dream. Sixteen years later, he departed to forge his own musical identity. As a child, the guitarist/keyboardist/composer Jerome Froese was the face displayed on many a TD album cover, but he's done much since then, with a sizeable discography that includes his current project with another former TD member - Johannes Schmoelling - and Robert Waters. Called Loom, the band has released two EPs that have sold out their print runs, performed live (and recorded a concert album), and now are planning a full studio album to come out by Christmas 2013. Host Mark Ashby talked with Froese about the story behind why he might have been considered Tangerine Dream's good luck charm, the factors that led to both his joining and his leaving TD, the criticism he and the band faced during his tenure (and even before that), Loom's current and future plans, and much more. He can be found on the web at www.jeromefroese.com and his webshop www.cybersounds.org.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"Streethawk 2012" (Loom)
"Big City Dwarves" (Tangerine Dream)
"Prime Time" (Tangerine Dream)
"Towards the Evening Star" (Tangerine Dream)
"Playing for Penalties" (solo)
"A Long Time Ago" (Loom)
"Meng Tian" (Tangerine Dream)

"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 10 Nov 2013

Direct download: Progtopia_041_The_Looming_Artistry_of_Jerome_Froese.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:25am EDT

Is it possible for great prog music to be both modern and "retro"? The Flower Kings prove that the answer is yes. Sweden's fantastic five-piece (Felix Lehrmann [drums], Tomas Bodin [keyboards], Roine Stolt [guitar/vocals], Jonas Reingold [bass], Hasse Fröberg [guitar/vocals]) has just released their 12th studio album, Desolation Rose, on Inside Out, and keeping in the band's tradition, they've mixed the best sounds of the past with the technology of the present; perhaps no one does it better. Host Mark Ashby spoke with Stolt -- one of the busiest musicians in the prog realm, it seems, with other projects like Transatlantic and Agents of Mercy -- about the band's creative approach in the studio (involving reel-to-reel decks!), his history as a musician from the '70s through the present, the social and political themes explored on Desolation Rose, and upcoming live shows including the Progressive Nation at Sea cruise. Find the Flower Kings on the web at www.flowerkings.se, and the Progressive Nation cruise at www.progressivenationatsea.com.

Featured tracks/excerpts:

"Dark Fascist Skies"
"Going Up"
"Sleeping Bones"
"White Tuxedos"
"Tower ONE"

Progtopia's website (www.progtopia.com) now contains all archived episodes and shorter "Friday Finds" programs featuring one song each from two different prog artists. Also please "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 Oct 2013

Direct download: Progtopia_040_Flower_Kings_in_White_Tuxedos.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:23pm EDT

Progressive music celebrates its virtuoso performers, but we as fans shouldn't lose sight of the visionaries who often bring these talents together. French keyboardist and composer Vivien Lalu is one of those people. With his bands Lalu and Shadrane, he's brought together members of bands like Stratovarius, DGM, Symphony X, Mekong Delta, and even Dream Theater for releases like September 2013's Atomic Ark (Sensory), and the resulting music -- whether rooted in a fictional WWII world or lamenting the plight of abused animals -- is nothing short of inspiring. Host Mark Ashby talks with Lalu about his upbringing surrounded by his parents' progressive music, how he brings together such amazing bandmates, what movie he and Mark both had the same reaction to, and the animal rescue charity you can support by buying the new Lalu album. Visit him on the web at www.vivienlalu.com, and to learn more about the charity Alerte SOS, go to www.alertesos.com (French-language).

Featured tracks/excerpts:
"Tatonka"
"Revelations"
"Bast"
"Lanterns Dance" (Shadrane)
"Greed"
"Momento"

"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 Shadrane and Lalu. Thanks for listening!

Originally posted 12 Oct 2013

Direct download: Progtopia_039_Revelations_from_Vivien_Lalu.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:06pm EDT

The UK proggers Haken (rhymes with "bacon", please) are one of those groups that started off their career at a run and haven't stopped since. Featuring members of other bands like To-Mera (Episode 019), Richard Henshall (guitars and keyboards), Charlie Griffiths (guitars), Tom Maclean (bass), Ross Jennings (vocals), Ray Hearne (drums), and Diego Tejeida (keyboards) have just released their third album The Mountain on Inside Out. The band is supporting the long-anticipated release with some tour dates that include ProgPower Europe and, in February 2014, the Progressive Nation at Sea cruise. Progtopia's host Mark Ashby spoke by phone with chief songwriter Henshall about the new album, the buzz surrounding them from their earliest days, the varied influences on the band members, and why bassist Maclean reminds him of an angel. Visit them on the web at www.hakenmusic.com, and for more on the Progressive Nation cruise, go to www.progressivenationatsea.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"Pareidolia"
"Cockroach King"
"Portals"
"In Memoriam"
"Somebody"
"Falling Back to Earth"

"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 Haken. Thanks for listening!

Originally posted 19 Sept 2013

Direct download: Progtopia_038_Climbing_the_Mountain_with_Haken.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:58pm EDT

The term "symphonic power prog" is virtually synonymous with the veteran quintet Kamelot -- and anyone who argues with you about the band being at the pinnacle of the genre simply doesn't have a clue. The American/German/Swedish band is currently touring North America with Delain and Eklipse in support of 2012's Silverthorn, their first with new vocalist Tommy Karevik, with more dates coming in Europe this November. Progtopia host Mark Ashby caught up with guitarist and original member Thomas Youngblood prior to their show at the Baltimore Soundstage to talk about Kamelot's two decades as a band, their use of female talent, Tommy's integration into the group, and how they reacted to the news that their keyboardist was expecting his first child during this leg of the tour. For tour dates, tickets, and more information on the band, like their Facebook page and visit www.kamelot.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"My Confession"
"Torn"
"Song for Jolee"
"Sacrimony (Angel of Afterlife)"
"Veritas"
"Falling Like the Fahrenheit"

"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 Kamelot. Thanks for listening!

Originally posted 5 Sept 2013

Direct download: Progtopia_Backstage_Pass_02_Kamelot_Rising_Like_the_Fahrenheit.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:52pm EDT

By its very sound, metal music lends itself to dark subject matter. That's nothing new. But Chicago's Divinity Compromised takes a particularly cerebral approach to topics like the abuses of fundamental religion, our future extinction as a species -- even Jack the Ripper -- on their debut album A World Torn, released in March 2013. The band (Jeff Treadwell [lead guitar], Mike Mousel [drums], Vito Marchese [guitar, no longer a member], Ben Johnson [guitar, keyboards], Andy Bunk [bass], Lothar Keller [vocals]) answered the call from the ProgPower USA promoters to fill the spot opened up after Reinxeed dropped out, so those of you attending the premier progressive metal festival in America from September 4-7 can catch them on Saturday to open the day's music. Progtopia's Mark Ashby spoke with Treadwell, Bunk, and Keller about the band's history and writing approach, how they almost missed the phone call asking them to be part of ProgPower, and whether having a keyboardist in the band automatically makes you prog. They're on the web at www.divinitycompromised.net.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"When Myth Becomes Truth"
"The Guardians of Ki"
"Children of a Dead God"
"Descent into Madness"
"A World Torn Apart"

"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 Divinity Compromised. Thanks for listening!

Originally published 29 Aug 2013

Direct download: Progtopia_037_Divinity_Compromised_Tears_the_World_Apart.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:52pm EDT

If you're a long-time listener of the show, or if you've dug into the archives, you'll recognize The Mariana Hollow from one of our first episodes, posted shortly after the release of their second album Velvet Black Sky in February 2012. In this first Progtopia Planetary Premiere, the London five-piece returns, as Richie Walden (guitar), Scott Chesworth (bass), Gabriel Moreira (guitar), Adam Stanley (drums), and Rebecca "Spinky" Spinks (vocals) unleash their EP "Scars, Not Wounds" on the world on August 23rd. You'll hear their new track "The Unburned" exclusively on this program (Game of Thrones fans should especially like this one!), as well as another interview where host Mark Ashby discusses with them the change in membership on lead guitar and the compositional changes that came with it, the video documentary they've put together in conjunction with the EP, and how it makes them feel when they're compared with other prog metallers, plus much more. Their website is www.themarianahollow.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"Second to None"
"Knife to the Throat"
"The Line of Fire and Blood"
"The Unburned"
"Scars, Not Wounds"

"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 posted 16 Aug 2013


Sometimes you don't even need vocals to create a powerful progressive rock album. Evergrey guitarist Marcus Jidell has proven that with his debut solo album Pictures from a Time Traveller, due out on August 16 from Lion Music. The Swedish shredder taps into the more familiar metal terrain as well as exotic Middle Eastern and other ethnic sounds to create a rich tapestry of sound that transports you not just through time, but space, to places as diverse as the extreme north and the deserts of Egypt. Jidell spoke with host Mark Ashby about his varied influences and how they inform his compositional style, the reasons he held off on releasing this album for a few years, and how joining Evergrey was a question of being in the right place at the right time. Visit Marcus online at www.marcusjidell.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:

"Tesla World System"

"Rei Zan"

"El Amarna (Ruins of Akhetaton)"

"Arctica"

"Wedding Song"

"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 Evergrey. Thanks for listening!

Originally posted 8 Aug 2013

Direct download: Progtopia_036_Traveling_Through_Time_with_Marcus_Jidell.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:39pm EDT

Southern California-based duo Days Between Stations (Sepand Samzadeh and Oscar Fuentes) met through a magazine advertisement, and in the decade or so since, they've released two albums of instrumentally-driven music that Samzadeh has called "art rock" and Fuentes "post-prog." No matter what you call it, their music, including new release In Extremis (featuring a cover by Genesis and Van der Graaf Generator artist Paul Whitehead), is a testament to the best of 21st-century progressive rock -- dynamic solos, orchestral arrangements, and epic tracks with classic instrumentation. The new album was co-produced by Billy Sherwood and features as guest musicians Tony Levin, Colin Moulding, Rick Wakeman, and the late Peter Banks in some of his last recorded output. Host Mark Ashby talked with Samzadeh about the early days of the band and their involvement with the Pineapple Thief, how they enlisted the help of so many well-known proggers, and why Samzadeh himself has only recently considered himself a prog musician, among many more subjects. Visit them on the web at www.daysbetweenstations.com.

Featured tracks/excerpts:
"Visionary"
"No Cause for Alarm"
"The Man Who Died Two Times"
"Eggshell Man"
"In Extremis"

"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 July 2013

Direct download: Progtopia_035_The_Visionaries_of_Days_Between_Stations.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:29pm EDT

"Oriental metal" is a term that has become more widely-applied in recent years as bands from the Middle East have gained prominence, but perhaps no band personifies the style more than the pioneers of the genre, Israel's Orphaned Land. For two decades, the quintet has combined the aggression of metal, the intricate nature of progressive rock, and the melodies and languages of their region into a sound that both defies easy description and brings people from many different cultures and religions together, even in countries where their music is considered subversive and is banned. Always highly political in their message, Orphaned Land (Chen Balbus [guitar], Uri Zelha [bass], Kobi Farhi [vocals], Yossi Sassi [guitar], and Matan Shmuely [drums]) has recently released their album All Is One on Century Media, with tracks designed to make you consider what it is that separates you from your fellow human beings and why those differences ultimately don't matter. Host Mark Ashby spoke with Farhi about the band's stance on religion and politics, the concepts behind their albums, how Orphaned Land has become an underground code among fans, and the effort by those fans to nominate the band for the Nobel Peace Prize. Find them on the Internet at www.orphaned-land.com.

Featured tracks/excerpts:
"Ya Benaye"
"A Call to Awake"
"The Simple Man"
"Our Own Messiah"
"Fail"

"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 Orphaned Land. Thanks for listening!

Originally 12 July 2013

Direct download: Progtopia_034_For_Orphaned_Land_All_Is_One.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:19pm EDT

When you hear the last name Collins in the context of progressive rock, the first name most will come up with is Phil. That could change very soon, as his singing-and-drumming son Simon is adding to his musical output of solo albums like U-Catastrophe with his new band project Sound of Contact. For the band's debut album Dimensionaut, Collins is joined by keyboardist Dave Kerzner and bassist/guitarist Matt Dorsey, as well as Kelly Nordstrom on guitar in the studio and drummer Ronen Gordon and guitarist Randy McStine in concert. Having wrapped a European tour with Spock's Beard and Beardfish in May, the band will embark on a North American set of shows they're dubbing Bring the Prog Back tour, joined by various support acts in different cities. Host Mark Ashby spoke with Collins and Kerzner about the BtPB tour, the influence of the likes of Carl Sagan on the concept of Dimensionaut, the support Collins' famous dad has provided over the years, and their approach to working with so many of progressive rock's royalty (hint: they're people just like us). Visit www.soundofcontact.com for news and tour/festival dates.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"Cosmic Distance Ladder"
"Pale Blue Dot"
"Not Coming Down"
"Only Breathing Out"
"Möbius Slip: Part IV - All Worlds All Times"

"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 June 2013

Direct download: Progtopia_033_Sound_of_Contact_Is_Not_Coming_Down.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:13pm EDT

It's not unprecedented for a band to break up in dramatic fashion, but events of the past couple of years have torn apart the fabric that has been woven by hard-rock heroes Queensrÿche. Having had their salad days with albums like Operation: Mindcrime and Empire, the band split last year with long-time vocalist Geoff Tate, and subsequently two versions of the group -- both carrying the Queensrÿche name -- have coalesced. Prior to a judge's decision in November as to which entity gets to conduct business under the band name, they're each releasing albums, the first of which was Frequency Unknown by Tate's group. Featuring several well-known guests, the album is being supported by a spring and summer tour through the US and Canada. During a break between concert stops, Tate phoned in to speak with host Mark Ashby about the new album and the band he's assembled, the legal issues he's embroiled in with his former bandmates, why he's not a media watcher, and how he sees the art of music as distinct from the business of music, plus much more, including his Insania wine label. Find them on the internet at www.queensryche.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"Running Backwards"
"Give It to You"
"Jet City Woman"
"Cold"
"In the Hands of God"
"Silent Lucidity"

"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 Queensrÿche. Thanks for listening!

Originally published 3 June 2013

Direct download: Progtopia_032_In_the_Hands_of_Geoff_Tate.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:07pm EDT

Mr. Mister and King Crimson. If this were 1987, you might wonder what those two seemingly different rock bands would ever have in common. If this were 1995, you'd know that, as strange as it may seem from an outside perspective, the drummer of the former would join the latter. Pat Mastelotto has had a long and varied career in many more projects than the two listed here (XTC, the Rembrandts, and more recently Stick Men), and along the way he's impressed at every turn. While King Crimson has morphed into the Crimson ProjecKt, Pat is still very much active in the prog scene among his many other session-musician and touring duties, and host Mark Ashby spoke with him about his years in the business, his integration into Crim's double-trio lineup of the mid-90s, how he tried to lobby Robert Fripp to fill in for a missing guitarist during a UK tour with Chrysta Bell, why collaborating with lesser-known musicians can be better creatively than working with more-famous types, and much more. Find Pat online at http://patmastelotto.com.

Featured tracks/excerpts:
"Smudge" (Stick Men)
"No Words to Say" (Mr. Mister)
"B'Boom/THRAK" (Crimson ProjecKt)
"Kataklazm" (Ktu)
"On/Off" (Stick Men)
"Melrose Ave." (California Guitar Trio)

You can also listen to the Progtopia podcasts featuring Mastelotto's Stick Men bandmate Markus Reuter at the following links: http://progtopia.podomatic.com/entry/2012-10-12T13_07_57-07_00 and http://progtopia.podomatic.com/entry/2013-04-05T06_53_27-07_00

"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 22 May 2013

Direct download: Progtopia_031_Pat_Mastelottos_Traps_and_Buttons.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:01pm EDT

As soon as you hear that a son has followed in his famous father's musical footsteps and achieved success, you know the skeptics out there will slyly suggest nepotism or favoritism of some sort. If you suspect that in the case of keyboardist Adam Wakeman, we're here to tell you...you're wrong. Sure, he started his career releasing albums with his famous father Rick, but the fact that he's performed with so many well-known artists and has even written tracks with the likes of Ozzy Osbourne should attest to him earning his place by his own voluminous talent. In the midst of his many responsibilities, Wakeman found time to write and record the album I Am Anonymous with his band Headspace (Wakeman, Damian Wilson [vocals], Lee Pomeroy [bass], Richard Brook [drums], and Pete Rinaldi [guitar]), released in May 2012. Drawing inspiration from the work of psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, the five-years-in-the-making album shows off the prog chops of all of its members in epic-length tracks that run hot and cool when needed and will leave you in no doubt that Wakeman has done his family name proud. Host Mark Ashby spoke with him while on tour in the Far East about his feelings bearing the mantle of Wakeman the Son, the camaraderie among Headspace's members, how he feels working in many different genres, and what Ozzy had to say about some complex tunes Wakeman brought to the writing sessions for the Scream album. Find the band online at www.headspaceonline.com and Wakeman at www.adamwakeman.co.uk.

Featured tracks/excerpts:
"Stalled Armageddon"
"Fall of America"
"Invasion"
"Daddy Fucking Loves You"

"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 Headspace. Thanks for listening!

Originally posted 12 May 2013

Direct download: Progtopia_030_Adam_Wakeman_and_Headspace_Theyre_Not_Anonymous.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:52pm EDT

The Knights of the Round Table have been part of Anglo-Saxon legend for a millennium, with their stories told and retold, reshaped and reformed over those centuries. But leaving the comedic genius of Monty Python aside, most versions of the search for the Holy Grail have hewed fairly closely to what we must assume is the original tale. Swedish composer and musician Anton Johannson (formely of Mister Kite), however, has taken the story of Sir Galahad and considered what it might be like if Galahad had decided not to be the completely pure soul his family had selected him to be. The result, Anton Johannson's Galahad Suite, will be released on May 11 as a digital download by Lion Music. In this interview, host Mark Ashby speaks with Johannson about the (very) long gestation period for the album, the cast of musicians he selected to help him bring his concept to reality, and what the progressive music scene is like in Sweden these days. Visit www.galahadsuite.com for more information and links to the project's YouTube and Facebook pages.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"Morning Sun - The Battle"
"Never Alone - The Victory"
"Galahad - The Hope"
"The End Is Near" (Mister Kite)
"Somewhere - The Quest"
"Coming Home - The Reward"
"Happy - The Incident"

"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 26 April 2013

Direct download: Progtopia_029_Anton_Johansson_and_the_Quest_for_the_Holy_Grail.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:45pm EDT

If you follow the prog-metal scene, you know that Italy is home to many of the best bands in the genre. Perhaps no band is a better example of this type than DGM. The five members (bassist Andrea Arcangeli, keyboardist Emanuele Casali, singer Mark Basile, drummer Fabio Costantino, and guitarist Simone Mularoni) have just released their new album Momentum on Scarlet Records, and fans of their fast-and-furious but still melodic approach will no doubt be pleased with the eleven single-word tracks that grab you and don't let go. The veteran band is hitting the road this year to support the album, and host Mark Ashby spoke with Mularoni about what the letters in the band name mean, how he came to be a part of the group, his strong ideas when it comes to composition, and why the term "prog 'n' roll" suits their music just fine. Visit them online at www.dgmsite.com for news and merchandise, and Simone's Domination Studio at www.dominationstudio.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"Void"
"Living on the Edge"
"Unkept Promises"
"Reason"
"Trust"

"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 DGM. Thanks for listening!

Originally posted 12 April 2013

Direct download: Progtopia_028_DGM_Has_Momentum.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:39pm EDT

Touch guitarist and composer Markus Reuter has been featured on Progtopia before (Episode 018). But he's been hitting the road recently in support of various projects, on tour with his band Stick Men - alongside King Crimson alumni Tony Levin and Pat Mastelotto - as well as for some dates in Japan and Mexico as part of the Crimson ProjecKt. On April 18th, Reuter's orchestral piece Todmorden 513 will have its world premiere by the Colorado Chamber Orchestra in Denver. In this mini-episode, the first of Progtopia's Backstage Pass series, host Mark Ashby (pictured here with Reuter before Stick Men's show at Rams Head On Stage in Annapolis, Maryland) asked the versatile multi-instrumentalist about the hour-long composition, how it came to be debuted in Denver, and how fans can help support the project and receive something in return. Learn more about Todmorden 513 and the world premiere at http://www.markusreuter.com/news/.

Featured song excerpts:
"Nude Ascending Staircase" (Stick Men)
"Todmorden 513" - Parts I and V

"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 5 April 2013


The band may have had another person's name in it, but the Alan Parsons Project was just as much the brainchild of Scottish composer, keyboardist, and singer Eric Woolfson as it was that of the famous recording engineer. Described by Arista's Clive Davis in his recent autobiography as composing "haunting, highly atmospheric, literate songs that addressed ambitious, conceptual subjects" over the course of ten studio albums, the APP employed a core band and a rotating cast of vocalists to produce hits such as "I Wouldn't Want to Be Like You," "Games People Play," and "Eye in the Sky," all the while guided by Woolfson's creative touch as they sold tens of millions of records. After his time with the band, Woolfson moved on to musical theater, penning works such as Freudiana, Gambler, and Gaudi, which were seen by millions in countries worldwide. Although cancer took Woolfson from this world in 2009, his music continues to live on, exemplified by the recent release of Somewhere in the Audience, an album of his melodies brought forth on March 18, 2013, what would have been his 68th birthday. Progtopia host Mark Ashby spoke with Woolfson's daughter and business manager Sally about Woolfson's legacy, his reluctance to take the spotlight, the reasons why he often chose biography for compositional material, and her own memories of her father. Visit www.ericwoolfsonmusic.com and www.the-alan-parsons-project.com for more information and merchandise.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"I Robot"
"The Ace of Swords"
"The Raven"
"Limelight"
"Silence and I"
"Freudiana"
"Immortal"
"Somewhere in the Audience"
"The Same Old Sun"

"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!

Originall posted 29 March 2013

Direct download: Progtopia_027_Eric_Woolfson_Forever_Somewhere_in_the_Audience.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:36pm EDT

Unless you've been stricken with selective blindness and deafness, if you're a prog fan, you're familiar with the music of California-based Spock's Beard. Currently comprised of Dave Meros (bass), Ryo Okumoto (keyboards), Ted Leonard (vocals), Jimmy Keegan (drums), and Alan Morse (guitar), the Beard is set to release their eleventh studio album Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep on Inside Out Music on March 25th. Having taken to the fans to cut out the middleman and help the band fund the recording of the album, Spock's Beard has returned to the scene with a powerful effort that will delight new listeners and long-time fans alike. Progtopia host Mark Ashby spoke with Morse, Keegan, Meros, and Okumoto about the new album, the few but important personnel changes the band has weathered, and some insights the band members have about each other (coolness factor, long e-mails, and hyperactive tendencies all included). They'll be touring Europe in May, so check their website at www.spocksbeard.com for date and venue information, as well as how to order all their albums, DVDs, and assorted merchandise.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"Hiding Out"
"Goodbye to Yesterday"
"Ghosts of Autumn"
"I Know Your Secret"
"Something Very Strange"
"Waiting for Me"

"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 Spock's Beard. Thanks for listening!

Originally posted 17 March 2013

Direct download: Progtopia_026_Something_Very_Strange_Called_Spocks_Beard.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:21pm EDT

It's not often that two musicians who have known each other for many years take more than two decades to finally start writing music together, but that's what happened for Dutch band Gate 6. Guitarist Tony ten Wolde, formerly of Marathon, and keyboardist Jan Koster, who played with Challenge and Isolation, began to compose some songs a few years ago, eventually bringing Symmetry singer Erik Masselink into the group. Between the melodic instincts of Koster and ten Wolde and the powerful metal-infused vocals of Masselink, and helped by bassist Jacques Suurmond and drummer Martin Kuipers, Gate 6 has created quite a prog rock monster, culminating in the release of their outstanding debut album God Machines in October 2012. The album's story recalls elements of films like Blade Runner and The Terminator, centering on the fallout from an Internet so technologically advanced that it becomes, essentially, alive, while also following a man's inner struggle with thoughts of death and despair. How can such a god-like machine be defeated? Host Mark Ashby spoke with the trio about the concept of the album, their collaborative process, and plans for performing at the ProgPower Europe festival in the Netherlands in October. Find Gate 6 on the web at www.gate6.nl.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"Killing Me"
"Casualties of War"
"God Machines"
"Man to Be"
"Turn the Page"

"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 Gate 6. Thanks for listening!

Originally posted 27 February 2013

Direct download: Progtopia_025_God_in_Gate_6s_Machines.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:13pm EDT

Marillion. IQ. Jadis. Twelfth Night. These are some of the bands that came along in the "second wave" of prog rock during the 1980s, but if you haven't already heard of another of those bands - Galahad - now is the time to start stocking up on their back catalog. This UK group got their start in the mid-to-late '80s playing part covers, part originals before releasing their first proper album Nothing Is Written in 1991. In the 15 albums since, they've refined and honed their sound into something that goes beyond the typical neo-prog label so often applied to bands who got their start in that decade. 2012 saw the fivesome (Stuart Nicholson [vocals], Dean Baker [keyboards], Neil Pepper [bass] - now replaced by Mark Spencer, Roy Keyworth [guitar], and Spencer Luckman [drums]) release two albums, Battle Scars and Beyond the Realms of Euphoria. Both have garnered critical acclaim and will be performed this year at several live shows including Baja Prog in Mexico in early April. Progtopia's Mark Ashby talked with Nicholson and Baker about where Galahad fits in the progressive timeline, the effect of the untimely passing of bassist Pepper shortly after the recording sessions for the two 2012 albums, and the benefits that have accrued to them from being independent in a time of shrinking revenue for the music business in general, and much more. Visit Galahad on the Web at www.galahadonline.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"Suspended Animation"
"Sleepers"
"Salvation I: Overture/II: Judgement Day?"
"Seize the Day"
"Singularity"
"Guardian Angel"

"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 Galahad. And for video reviews of Battle Scars and Beyond the Realms of Euphoria plus many more prog albums, check out www.liveprog.com. Thanks for listening!

Originally posted 30 January 2013

Direct download: Progtopia_024_Galahad_Battle-Scarred_but_Euphoric.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:07pm EDT

Many prog bands start as studio projects, but not all make the transition to a live setting. The Cambridge, UK-based Aeon Zen is not one of those. Although multi-instrumentalist Rich Hinks uses a plethora of guest performers on the three AZ albums to date (including the latest, Enigma, coming out 22 January on Nightmare Records), he employs a talented foursome around him when the band performs in concert (Matt Shepherd [guitar], Andi Kravljaca [vocals], Shaz [keyboards], Steve Burton [drums]). The band's eclectic approach ranges from cool to red hot, from saxophones to growls, and has gained a following of fans just by following their muse, musical conventions and expectations be damned. In this interview, host Mark Ashby speaks with four of the band members about the process of picking guest performers, the reasons for their stylistic choices, and who they'd like to share a tour bus with, along with much more. You can visit the band online at www.aeonzen.com, and the Nightmare Records site at www.nightmarerecords.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"The Heart of the Sun"
"Visions"
"The Face of the Unknown"
"Still Human"
"Downfall"
"Into the Infinite"

"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 Aeon Zen. Thanks for listening!

Originally posted 16 January 2013

Direct download: Progtopia_023_The_Enigma_of_Aeon_Zen.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:27pm EDT

Like most of us, NYC-based multi-instrumentalist and composer Geoff Barone was bullied in high school. And like others among us, his parents split up. Such emotional times often induce great bouts of creativity, and that's exactly what happened in his case. His debut album Conversation Pieces was released in October, and in the concept-album style of Pink Floyd and Kevin Gilbert, Barone navigates the treacherous waters of adolescent angst, but in a highly melodic way. With the help of several guest musicians from across the US, Barone's take on a universal theme will be music to the ears of those of us who love story albums. Progtopia host Mark Ashby talks with Barone about his influences (from Devin Townsend to Andrew Lloyd Webber), what parts of his album are drawn from his life, and who would make up his ideal band, among many other topics. Stream the album for free and order it (mp3 download or CD) at http://geoffbarone.bandcamp.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"As a Matter of Fact"
"...if it's too early just let me know.../Blue Sky Glory"
"Are You Still Awake?"
"Unscathed"
"To Who May Come in Dreams"

"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 13 December 2012

Direct download: Progtopia_022_A_Conversation_Piece_with_Geoff_Barone.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:01pm EDT