Progtopia Archives

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 EST

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 EST

It’s not unheard-of for a rock band to take a non-traditional influence and incorporate it into their sound, and Eastern Indian instruments and moods have been part of that scene at least since the Beatles. The New York-based prog band Vajra is carrying on this tradition admirably. Led by songwriter and vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Annamaria Pinna, Vajra has carved out a strong place for themselves in the genre with their powerful debut release Pleroma. Joined by Will Dahl on guitars, Doug Wright on bass, and Luke Markham on drums (drums by Blake Fleming on the album), Pinna has channeled her experiences of living in Mumbai into her art, and the result has garnered critical acclaim and television licensing deals. In this episode of Progtopia, host Mark Ashby discusses with Pinna how being perceived as a foreigner colored her outlook on life and creativity, how her condition of synesthesia makes her perceive music in shapes, and whether there is a different standard for women as prime movers in progressive bands as opposed to men, plus much more. Find Vajra on the web at www.thevajratemple.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:
“Akkord Pleromy”
"3.14"
“Inside the Flame”
“Erode the Will”
“Blind”
"The Apple"

"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 29 November 2012

Direct download: Progtopia_021_Inside_the_Flame_of_Vajra.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:55pm EST

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