Progtopia Archives

Head with Wings is the sort of band you might want to set aside time to concentrate on, as with their debut full-length album From Worry to Shame, they tackle heavy topics like tragic and senseless death, coping with loss, and forgiveness. Guitarists Joshua Corum and Brandon Cousino enlisted their friends from Earthside Frank Sacramone and Jamie van Dyck for production duties, and the result is a riveting work that's timely and poignant. Corum talks with host Mark Ashby about the emotions he mined to create this work and what sorts of people he senses gravitate toward it. Next, correspondent Andrew Bennett gives his report as an American making his first trip to the Night of the Prog Festival in St. Goarshausen, Germany, telling us his highlights from the shows, what to expect if you're a first-timer, who he met, and what he'll do differently if he's able to return. And our Triple Track Special has three songs all with the theme of "sky." Head with Wings' Facebook page is www.facebook.com/HeadWithWingsband/

Featured songs/excerpts:

Head with Wings: "In Dark Motel Rooms," "Misanthropy," "Somewhere, Something Gives," "Goodbye Sky," "From Worry to Shame"

Riverside: "Towards the Blue Horizon"

Big Big Train: "Big Empty Skies"

Threshold: "Snowblind"

Tangerine Dream: "Tear Down the Grey Skies"

To hear the Progtopia archival episode featuring Earthside, go to http://progtopia.libsyn.com/episode-097-entering-the-light-with-earthside

"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 2 August 2018

Direct download: Progtopia_134_Head_with_Wings_Soars.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:28pm EST

Jordan Brown might be known as the driving force behind the Rube Goldberg Machine (Episode 093) or as a gigging bassist around London, but for his latest project, he's gone totally '80s. Under the name Nostromo, he's released the nine-track homage to analog synth soundtracks from that time period, Synchestral Works Vol. 1. It's everything a kid born in the early-to-mid-70s could want in a nostalgia trip through the sounds of films scored by the likes of Giorgio Moroder or Tangerine Dream, and he does so with reverence, not irony (well, not completely). Hear his interview with host Mark Ashby about the impetus for creating a different sort of album than he's ever done, the thought process for making digital technology sound analog, and how he got help for the obligatory vocal track that closes the album -- just like they did on your favorite movie scores in 1985. Next, a talk with music journalist and Innerviews founder Anil Prasad about where he sees the sorry state of artist compensation in the era of streaming music. He's long advocated for a different approach when it comes to paying musicians fairly for their creations, and he has some thoughts about how to combat the creeping demise of worthwhile art in the name of "free stuff." Finally, you'll hear "Closer," the latest single from (iam)warface, a band who is trying to use Spotify to their advantage (and profiled in Episode 120). See if you think their strategy is a good one and whether you want to assist them in reaching their goal. Nostromo: http://nostromoproject.bandcamp.com

Innerviews (Anil Prasad): www.innerviews.org

(iam)warface: www.iamwarface.com

Featured songs/excerpts:

Nostromo: "The Battle for Nebula 359," "Water on Mars," "Training to Be the Best (Montage Music)," "Reason in the Black (featuring Glitterwølf)," "Love Theme," "The Hero We Need"

Mahavishnu Orchestra: "Birds of Fire"

(iam)warface: "Closer"

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia and www.facebook.com/groups/1380357308874546/) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Thanks for listening!

Originally posted 22 July 2018

Direct download: Progtopia_133_Nostromos_80s_Vibe.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:22pm EST

The sea levels haven't quite risen high enough to put us all underwater yet, but until we get there, Baltimore duo Waterplanet (James Hesser and Millie Landrum) will be playing their brand of acoustic, intelligent, genre-bending music. And this July, they'll be playing songs from their album Ghost-Hypnotic and more in various parts of the US on a three-week tour. Host Mark Ashby talks with them about the way they tend to write songs solo and then turn them into something bigger, how 60s pop and punk and many other styles inform their sound, and where you'll be able to hear them out and about. Next Mark gets in on the "reaction video" trend (except it's only audio, of course) as you'll hear pieces of his in-the-moment commentary while listening to Kiss's "prog" album, Music from "The Elder." Does it pass muster? Finally, new contributor Mark Nagy has a proposition for you: Haken's masterful album The Mountain could benefit from a slight shuffling of tracks. Will you agree with his reasons why? Find Waterplanet online at www.waterplanetband.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:

Waterplanet: "Adrenaline", "Kingmaker", "Something Somebody Said", "Don't Cry", "Sea Shanty (If You Should Go)"

Kiss: Music from "The Elder" (excerpts from full album)

Haken: "Cockroach King", "Because It's There", "Falling Back to Earth"

To hear a previous episode featuring an interview with Richard Henshall of Haken, click this link: http://progtopia.libsyn.com/episode-038-climbing-the-mountain-with-haken

"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 6 July 2018

Direct download: Progtopia_132_Waterplanets_Kingmakers.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:18pm EST

Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania keyboardist and singer Robert Richardson has been through a lot in his life, not all of it positive. But he's taken a difficult past and turned it into a productive present with his band Cell15. Following on from the success of their 2014 debut Chapter One, they've just released their sophomore effort River Utopia, and you'll hear his interview with host Mark Ashby about the spread-out nature of the band, why sharing his story in recovery is so important, and whether or not he might have an epic-length track in him someday. The Prog Squad archives are mined for an episode from 3 July 2015 just after the passing of Yes' Chris Squire, but wherein the usual panelists and guest Geoffrey Langley of the Twenty Committee talk Primus, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and rare tracks they'd love to hear live. And appropriately enough, the Triple Track Special's theme this time is "utopia," with additional tracks in that vein from Factory of Dreams and Hawkwind. Find Cell15 online at www.cell15.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:

"Castle Walls" (Cell15)

"Criminal" (Cell15)

"River Utopia" (Cell15)

"Street Lights" (Cell15)

"Voyage to Utopia" (Factory of Dreams)

"Soon" (Yes)

"DMV" (Primus)

"Several Species of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together in a Cave and Grooving with a Pict" (Pink Floyd)

"How Wonderful" (The Twenty Committee)

"Arrival in Utopia" (Hawkwind)

"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 June 2018

Direct download: Progtopia_131_Locked_in_Cell15.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:12pm EST

Last on the show in 2012 on Episode 007, Germany's Subsignal is back in the land of Progtopia, fresh off the release of their newest album La Muerta on May 25. Singer Arno Menses joins host Mark Ashby for a chat about the changes in the band's lineup in the past few albums now to include drummer Dirk Brand and keyboardist Markus Maichel, why long titles and the Spanish language seem to take some prominence for guitarist and lyricist Markus Steffen, and where they can be found on tour later in 2018. Next we'll hear from Rita Drew, one of the organizers of the latest US-based festival, ProgStock, coming to you this October 5-7 in Rahway, New Jersey. Now in its second year, this festival proves with its headliners and support acts that it's going to be a major player on the east coast for years to come. Finally, Mark takes the Potentially Unpopular Position that Record Store Day might not be all it's cracked -- or scratched -- up to be. Visit Subsignal online at www.subsignalband.com, and the ProgStock festival at http://progstock.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:

"Tempest" (Subsignal)

"Even Though the Stars Don't Shine" (Subsignal)

"Some Kind of Drowning" (Subsignal ft. Marjana Semkina)

"The Bells of Lyonesse" (Subsignal)

"Red Dust Shadow" (IQ)

"Another Record" (Genesis)

"La Muerta" (Subsignal)

"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 June 2018

Direct download: Progtopia_130_Subsignals_Shining_Star.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:07pm EST

Guitarist Matt Stevens should be no stranger to fans of up-and-coming prog and post-rock music, as the band he's part of -- The Fierce and the Dead -- are on quite the tear in the past couple of years. Securing some key opening slot and festival gigs, the band is riding the wave to greater success, the latest chapter of which is the release of their new album The Euphoric on Bad Elephant Music. Stevens chats with host Mark Ashby about how they're controlling the tempo of their increase in stature, how much of the recorded output is live-to-tape or otherwise, and some tales of playing RoSfest in the USA in 2017. For the second half of the show, we set the wayback machine to August 2014 for a listen in on the very first episode of The Prog Squad, just when you thought those shows might be lost forever. Hear what David Elliott, Jason Spencer, and Cliff Pearson were like before they got to know each other better -- it's like a blind date! Visit The Fierce and the Dead online at www.fierceandthedead.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:

"Dancing Robots" (The Fierce and the Dead)

"Truck" (The Fierce and the Dead)

"Parts 7 & 8" (The Fierce and the Dead)

"Verbose" (The Fierce and the Dead)

"Step Beyond" (Yes)

"Lonely People" (Styx)

"I've Seen All Good People" (Yes)

"Time Flies" (Porcupine Tree)

"Hitchhiking to Byzantium" (Anubis)

"The Euphoric" (The Fierce and the Dead)

"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 May 2018

Direct download: Progtopia_129_Matt_Stevens_Gets_Verbose.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:02pm EST

Six years ago, multi-instrumentalist Geoff Barone was on the program discussing his conceptual work Conversation Pieces. He's back this year with a somewhat heavier and, in his words, more "to the point" collection of songs titled Acquiescence. With echoes of the likes of Devin Townsend and even some musical theater, this eclectic album covers topics from his ambivalent relationship with the city he came to and later left -- New York -- and how he hopes his children will turn out all right, among many others. Hear some insights into his inspirations and influences in his chat with host Mark Ashby. Lady Obscure editor Lacy Mucklow and her concert-going pal Dave Perrussel (also a LO contributor) have a first-person report of their journey from their homebase in Washington, DC, all the way to Anubis Gate's home country of Denmark for one of the gigs on their "Shortest Tour Ever." And our Triple Track Special uses the theme of Babylon in three songs from prog artists present and past. Find the artists featured here at www.geoffbarone.com and www.anubisgate.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:

"Something Beautiful" (Geoff Barone)

"Faded" (Geoff Barone)

"Precious Pieces" (Geoff Barone)

"Headhunter" (Geoff Barone)

"6:33 to Babylon" (Geoff Barone)

"In These Waiting Arms" (Geoff Barone)

"Babylon" (Glass Hammer)

"Blackest" (Anubis Gate)

"Erasure" (Anubis Gate)

"Babylon" (Aphrodite's Child)

"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 11 May 2018

Direct download: Progtopia_128_Acquiescing_with_Geoff_Barone.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:53am EST

It's been many years since the original electronic-music duo Wavestar of John Dyson and Dave Ward-Hunt got together -- about 35, to be somewhat precise. And although Dyson has produced several solo albums since then, it's been many years since the last release with the Wavestar name came out. Now with Paul Ward and Stefan Whitlan bringing their keyboard and compositional skills to the fold, the band is retagged Wavestar II, and the long-awaited album Nightwinds is now available. All three of the guys chat with host Mark Ashby about the olden days of Wavestar, the importance of the Korg Sigma to the trademark Dyson sound, and how this album went from being a Dyson solo project to a group effort. In the Prog Squad, Cliff, Jason, and David join Mark in discussions about the upcoming Frank Zappa hologram tour, awesome album openers, and bands they were behind the times in appreciating. You can order Nightwinds from www.groove.nl or www.cd-services.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:

"I.F.O." (John Dyson)

"Voyager" (Wavestar)

"The Velocity of Dark" (Wavestar II)

"Track of Time" (Wavestar II)

"If I Were the Wind (And You Were the Rain)" (Pendragon)

"King of the Tyrant Lizards" (Mothertongue)

"Script for a Jester's Tear" (Marillion)

"Red" (King Crimson)

"Eldritch" (Wavestar II)

"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 20 April 2018

Direct download: Progtopia_127_Wavestar_Part_Deux.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:49am EST

New York's Circuline is going live -- on CD, DVD, and Blu-Ray, that is. The band first heard from on Progtopia in Episode 094 is making the first of two planned concert products available this May, two years after their appearance at RoSFest in Gettysburg. Dubbed Circulive::Majestik, it chronicles that show in both video and audio form, and if you jump in on their Pledge Music campaign by April 17, you can get some neat perks along with it. Hear from keyboardist Andrew Colyer and drummer Darin Brannon about the process of creating the video version, the planned second live release later this year, and why they won't be touring again until 2019. In the Prog Squad, all four panelists are miraculously present to talk about the rumored demise of iTunes in favor of fully-streaming platforms, whether Gizmodrome truly is a super group, and if music videos still have a place 30-plus years after TV showed them regularly. Finally, Mark makes a plea for recognition of Webber and Rice's musical Jesus Christ Superstar as a progressive masterwork. Circuline is on the web at www.circulinemusic.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:

"Hollow" (Circuline)

"Summit" (Circuline)

"Stereotypes" (Circuline)

"Man in the Mountain" (Gizmodrome)

"Trial before Pilate" (Jesus Christ Superstar cast)

"Gethsemane (I Only Want to Say)" (Jesus Christ Superstar cast)

"One Wish" (Circuline)

"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 6 April 2018

Direct download: Progtopia_126_Circuline_Is_Majestik.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:45am EST

Sweden isn't just a land of top-quality prog metal; you'll also find some great electronic-based prog there, too. Xanima's newest album Planet Hope was released in late 2017, and you'll hear from singer Jade Ell and keyboardist Pelle Händén about their many influences and how they conceptualize their works, as well as why they incorporate spoken word and dance elements into their live shows. Also, Prog Squad panelist David Elliott joins us for a one-on-one to talk about the ins-and-outs of running his label Bad Elephant Music, including the types of demanding journalists that bother him the most. Finally, a Potentially Unpopular Position segment from Mark about why maybe some folks need to tone down their fetish with Pink Floyd's Syd Barrett. Websites to visit include https://xanimamusic.bandcamp.com and www.badelephant.co.uk.

Featured songs/excerpts:

"Planet Hope" (Xanima)

"Eternal Truth" (Xanima)

"Ode to Creation" (Xanima)

"Spooky Action" (The Fierce and the Dead)

"Earthbound" (Mothertongue)

"Flaming" (Pink Floyd)

"Bike" (Pink Floyd)

"False Moon" (Astral Dance)

"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 March 2018

Direct download: Progtopia_125_Xanima_Travels_to_Planet_Hope.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:41am EST

Featured in this episode of the show is our interview with three of the four members of Chicago's The Cyberiam. Comprised of Tommy Murray on drums, Keith Semple on vocals and guitar, Brian Kovacs on bass, and Frank Lucas on keyboards, their self-titled debut album is now out, and with their respective groundings in genres within and beyond prog, it's a fully-formed recording that sounds more mature than most bands' first outings. You'll hear about the making of the album and a lot more besides. Plus, we hear from Yes expert and broadcaster/podcaster Roman Guzman with his and Mark's thoughts about the reissue (with new vocals) of the band's 2011 album Fly From Here. And there's a theme of nostalgia running through this show, with three tracks all dealing with that particular emotion in their own ways. All that and a 30 Second Sales Pitch from Poland's Pinn Dropp! www.thecyberiam.com https://pinndropp.bandcamp.com/releases

Featured songs/excerpts:

"Juxtaposer" (The Cyberiam)

"Don't Blink" (The Cyberiam)

"Nostalgia" (The Cyberiam)

"Fly from Here" (Yes)

"Nostalgia" (David Sylvian)

"Nostalgia" (Yanni)

"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 2 March 2018

Direct download: Progtopia_124_The_Cyberiam_Doesnt_Blink.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:10am EST

Marillionaires. Freaks. Denizens of The Web. They've gone by many names over the years, but one defining characteristic of Marillion's fan base is that they're a family. Intensely loyal, unfailingly generous to each other, and passionate about their favorite band, we spend this special double episode examining these curious folks, of which host Mark Ashby proudly counts himself as a member. With their short US tour in February beginning on the Cruise to the Edge and ending in Dallas, Marillion is swinging through North America for the second time in less than two years including neglected areas in the south, and you'll hear pre-concert views and opinions from some enthusiasts, excerpts from Progtopia's interview with Pete Trewavas from 2016, and a rant/plea from your host about proper concert etiquette and what we all can do about breaches of it.

To hear the Backstage Pass interview with Pete, go to http://progtopia.libsyn.com/progtopia-backstage-pass-5-marillion-risks-melting-their-guns-as-a-show-of-strength

Featured songs/excerpts:

"Goodbye to All That"

"Whatever Is Wrong with You"

"Most Toys"

"The Sky Above the Rain"

"After Me"

"White Russian"

"The New Kings"

"This Is the 21st Century"

"The King of Sunset Town"

"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 2018

Direct download: Progtopia_123_Whatever_Is_Wrong_with_Us.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:06am EST

Australia's prog scene is by all accounts booming, and one indication of that was the Progfest show held in Sydney on the 20th of January. Several-time guests Hemina were part of the Poseidon Stage there, and guitarist/singer Doug Skene checks in as a correspondent about the bands that were part of the festival -- most of which are new to us at Progtopia. Jason, David, and Mark chat in the Prog Squad about a UK pub's policy of not booking female-fronted bands and other subjects. Finally, Mark debuts the Potentially Unpopular Position (PUP) to explain why he thinks it's all right that Tangerine Dream pressed onward without their late founding member Edgar Froese.

Featured song excerpts:

"Moonlight Bride" (Hemina)

"The Fragile Serene" (Voyager)

"Proton Bonfire" (Tangerine Dream)

"It Is Time to Leave When Everyone Is Dancing" (Tangerine Dream)

"When Isis Starts to Cry" (Breaking Orbit)

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia and www.facebook.com/groups/1380357308874546/) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Thanks for listening!

Originally posted 28 January 2018

Direct download: Progtopia_122_Sydneys_Progfest.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:02pm EST

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

Featured song excerpts:

"Blackpool Clip Joint Racket" (Wilson/Wakeman)

"Kill You with Kindness" (Headspace)

"Always the Lonely One" (Wilson/Wakeman)

"In the Clouds" (Galactic Cowboys)

"Hate Me" (Galactic Cowboys)

"Merry Christmas" (Big Big Train)

"I Have the Touch" (The Security Project)

"On This Battlefield" (Wilson/Wakeman)

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia and www.facebook.com/groups/1380357308874546/) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Thanks for listening!

Originally posted 11 January 2018

Direct download: Progtopia_121_Adam_Wakeman_Galactic_Cowboys_and_Big_Big_Train.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:00pm EST

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

Featured songs/excerpts:

"Trigons"

"Golden Army"

"Bleed Out"

"U Don't Love Me Anymore"

"Say My Name"

"Closer"

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia and www.facebook.com/groups/1380357308874546/) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Thanks for listening!

Originally posted 13 November 2017

Direct download: Progtopia_120_Say_Their_Name_-_Iamwarface.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:50pm EST

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

Featured songs/excerpts:

"The Acolyte"

"The Static and the Noise"

"Taking Back the Fall"

"We All Dissolve"

"Like Glass"

"Catalyst"

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

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia and www.facebook.com/groups/1380357308874546/) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Thanks for listening!

Originally posted 16 October 2017

Direct download: Progtopia_119_Iris_Divine_Takes_Back_the_Fall.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:44pm EST

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

 

Featured songs/excerpts:

"Snow Country"

"All's Well That Ends Well"

"The Perfect Young Man" (featuring John Wetton)

"On Paper"

"Death by a Thousand Cuts"

"The Thief"

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia and www.facebook.com/groups/1380357308874546/) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Thanks for listening!

Originally posted 1 October 2017

Direct download: Progtopia_118_Through_the_Snow_Country_with_District_97.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:39pm EST

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

 

Featured songs/excerpts:

"Too Much Time"

"The Combat"

"Hear My Call"

"Black"

"Operation Cairo"

"Psychotopia"

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia and www.facebook.com/groups/1380357308874546/) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Thanks for listening!

Originally posted 18 September 2017

Direct download: Progtopia_117_Anubis_Gate_Goes_Black_Blacker_Blackest.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:35pm EST

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

Featured songs/excerpts:

"Morphine"

"Black Rabbit"

"Christmas Scars"

"Schizophrenia"

"Dust"

"Knell"

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia and www.facebook.com/groups/1380357308874546/) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Thanks for listening!

Originally posted 28 August 2017

Direct download: Progtopia_116_Vangough_and_the_Tale_of_the_Black_Rabbit.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:33pm EST

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

Featured songs/excerpts:

"Can You Understand?"

"Spare Some Love"

"Mother Russia"

"At the Harbour"

"Turn of the Century" (w/Steve Howe)"

"Going Home"

 

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia and www.facebook.com/groups/1380357308874546/) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Thanks for listening!

Originally posted 15 August 2017

Direct download: Progtopia_115_Spare_Some_Love_for_Annie_Haslam.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:29pm EST

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

Featured songs/excerpts:

"Ex Nihilo"

"Akaibara"

"Dissident Priests"

"Alien Makers of Discord"

"The Illuminated Sky"

"Beneath Enriya"

 

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia and www.facebook.com/groups/1380357308874546/) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Thanks for listening!

Originally posted 26 July 2017

Direct download: Progtopia_114_Illuminating_the_Sky_with_Prospekt.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:25pm EST

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