The D/A Method on the Progstravaganza compilation

Progstravaganza Questionnaire: The D/A Method

The D/A Method is a progressive rock band from Pakistan. With its members having spent significant portions of their lives in both Pakistan and the West, the band combines influences from classic rock, grunge, and metal with a touch of traditional Pakistani flavour to create their unique, progressive sound.

Guitarists Umair Dar and Talha Alvie provide insight to the band’s working chemistry and more by filling in the Progstravaganza Questionnaire. Read it below.

How did you come to do what you do?

The band began when its two main songwriters (and cousins) Umair Dar and Talha Alvie began jamming together on their guitars in London. Those jam sessions laid down the ideas which would eventually become the first songs of The D/A Method. Soon drummer Istvan Csabai and vocalist Usama Siddiq were added to the line up to complete the band.

What is your first musical memory?

D – The opening guitar riff to ‘Danger Zone’ by Kenny Logins while watching Top Gun at the cinema as a baby.
A – Slash’s guitar solo in November Rain by Guns N’ Roses.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

Inspiration takes many forms – whatever stirs our emotions. It could be anything from reading a good book or watching a great film, to having a bizarre conversation with a complete stranger.

What message does the song on our Progstravaganza compilation carry?

‘Alvida’ means ‘Goodbye’ in Urdu / Hindi. Many people get trapped in a downward spiral of despair and disillusionment. To move forward, to find your true self, you have to let go of everything that’s holding you back.

Do you tend to follow any pre-defined patterns when composing a piece?

We try to approach each song with a fresh perspective, and we’re always trying to push our ‘sound’ in new and interesting directions. Typically though we start with a guitar based progression and layer pieces on top of that to build our compositions.

What is your method of songwriting?

All of our songs start with a single riff or musical idea. We pass these ideas to each other and see where the other person can take them. The idea gets passed back and the process continues until we have a song. The track is usually still in the demo stage at this point and it’s not until we get into the studio environment that the final form takes shape. We often use the tools available to us in the studio (i.e. different guitars, amps, pianos, and synths) to add elements we wouldn’t be able to at home. In terms of lyrics, we try to keep a unifying theme from track to track, peeling away layers to a deeper story.

How do you see your music evolving?

One of the concepts behind this band is to have no musical boundaries, as long as we are putting out songs that we are proud of and would enjoy listening to ourselves. I can definitely see our music evolving as our tastes and influences evolve. I have no idea what direction it would be but it will always sound unmistakably like The D/A Method.

What advice would you give to other musicians, trying to make inspired music and get it out in the world?

Write for yourself first and foremost but always keep the listener in mind. It’s never a bad idea to try and wow your audience.

What are you looking forward to?

Releasing ‘The Great Disillusion’, a 75 minute, three part concept album!

Do you think that Progstravaganza compilation series is good way to showcase the potential of many unheard bands on the already overcrowded scene?

Definitely. There aren’t many avenues for progressive rock bands to showcase their music, especially young ones. Prog rock can sometimes seem like a bygone art so this is a great way to introduce the bands that are keeping the genre fresh.

Links:

acebook.com/thedamethod

soundcloud.com/the-da-method

vimeo.com/thedamethod

youtube.com/thedamethod

twitter.com/the_da_method

Prog Sphere is compiling the first physical (CD) Progstravaganza progressive rock & metal compilation. Interested acts can get in touch at info@prog-sphere.com

Brian Kahanek on the Progstravaganza website

Progstravaganza Questionnaire: Brian Kahanek

Brian Kahanek creates music + shepherds everything audio. With over a decade at Disney Worldwide Post mixing, recording and editing he now calls Atlanta Georgia and Fortyfive Studios home. With four solo albums under his belt and over 20 years as a touring + recording artist, his work can be experienced on the Guitar Hero Video Game and many feature titles.

He recently appeared on Progstravaganza XX: Landmarks, and gave us his answers on the Progstravaganza Questionnaire. Read it below.

How did you come to do what you do?

I started playing guitar in 1983. I got my first 4 track recorder in ’85 or so. It found me really.

I still feel the love and intrigue that music seduced me with all those years ago. No matter how many times I say I’m gunna hang it up, I can’t keep my hands off the guitar. So here I am.

What is your first musical memory?

Getting “Rubber Soul” and “Revolver” at Woolworth back in the early 70’s when I was 6 or 7 and playing them until I broke my turntable. I would air guitar and jump up and down on my bed for hours. I blame the Beatles for all of this!

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

How I view the world and feel about my life are the main catalysts for me. I still get turned on by my favorite artists but It’s more about how they move me more than deconstructing how they got there.

What message does the song on our Progstravaganza compilation carry?

“Copperhead” is no holds barred aggression. It is a byproduct of me channeling my anger and hatred brought on by huge betrayal. The gift music has given me is a constructive place to put all my emotions both positive and negative. In the end the best revenge is living well and in peace, ergo this track.

Do you tend to follow any pre-defined patterns when composing a piece?

I have my bag of tricks and methods like everyone else. The biggest challenge for me is to break out of those, typical to me, arrangement choices by taking more time to develop the dramatic feeling I’m trying to get across. I know I’m onto something when the melody just jumps out. The chords and production choices become fun and natural at that point.

What is your method of songwriting?

Sitting on my porch in the evening with an adult beverage or sipping coffee in the morning with a guitar. If I wait long enough the flow starts to develop and the ideas start to come. From there it’s just being in a mossy and quiet enough head space to get out of my own way and trust that what’s coming is something worth pursuing.

How do you see your music evolving?

Well, being on this compilation is really fun for me. Jason Rubenstein has been a good friend for over 15 years and hangin with him and other musicians I trust is a positive influence. I have spent a good portion of time in the Blues Rock vein as that’s what comes naturally to me. Expanding from that feels great, however, with film music projects and more challenging choices in repertoire. I don’t want to subconsciously limit myself to genre anymore.

What advice would you give to other musicians, trying to make inspired music and get it out in the world?

The bottom line is if your music is carrying your truth then it will eventually find an audience. Give people the opportunity to discover you by leaving the hype out, that’s what the magic of music is there for. The cream rises so if you aren’t getting the reaction you’re looking for then perhaps it’s time for a trip to the woodshed.

What are you looking forward to?

The return of the creative middle class and having music drive culture again. It may not be in my lifetime but I am trying with every fiber of me to be a part of the solution.

Links:

http://www.briankahanek.com

Prog Sphere is compiling the first physical (CD) Progstravaganza progressive rock & metal compilation. Interested acts can get in touch at info@prog-sphere.com

Forgotten Suns on the Progstravaganza compilation

Progstravaganza Questionnaire: Forgotten Suns

Founded in mid 90′s by guitar player Ricardo Falcão, Forgotten Suns stands as one of the most prolific portuguese progressive rock/metal bands of our days.

Their music is often compared to movie soundtracks due to the fact that each and every song reflects a different concept, like a script where music plays a wide role by defining the landscapes and action.

Forgotten Suns recently appeared on Progstravaganza XX: Landmarks, and we teamed up with guitarist Ricardo Falcão who answered the Progstravaganza Questionnaire.

How did you come to do what you do?

Ricardo Falcão: My family musical background plays an important role because my grand-father (José Duarte Costa) was a pioneer in the development of classical guitar in Portugal, he founded a guitar school back in 1953 that stood the test of time, one that I run and teach today – he was a creative genious in his instrument. My father also plays classical guitar and his library of records covered so many different styles and eras (classical to modern rock with synths) that I believe it educated my ears. The trigger that led into playing electric guitar was ignited by an old friend of mine (André Rodrigues) playing blues riffs on his blue Yamaha acustic back in 1991, I was 15.

What is your first musical memory?

RF: I think that it must be my father playing classical pieces when I was 3 or 4 years old.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

RF: From the smallest things that happen on our lives at a personal or global level, from the musicality of bands we admire all combined, from the experimentation of new sounds on a synthesizer to things like… a movie, a painting or a poem that inspire our minds.

We are all really creative so, it’s easier when you bring a thought and after a while on brainstorm we have a concept running.

What message does the song on our Progstravaganza compilation carry?

RF: ‘Nanoworld’ song was inspired on several epic sci-fi movies all mixed up and the plot consists of a man waking up from a deep sleep, due to a failure in his control chip, to find he’s a slave in a future civilization ruled by machines. Before he tries to escape he first needs to know who he really is, so he acts he’s still under control until he has the opportunity to enter the Universal Library building where he will know something about his past, but suddendly they know he’s free and he must run for his life…the message is about freedom vs control, the way you accept to be on a system and move on. This story doesn’t end here…

Do you tend to follow any pre-defined patterns when composing a piece?

RF: Yes, first it can go either 2 ways: one should be an interesting concept and guide lines of the story and two, a very inspired riff.

Then the name of the song before we pick the instruments.

What is your method of songwriting?

RF: Like mentioned on the previous answer, after we pick the instruments with the concept in mind, we tend to be very focused on what we want, there’s no million riffs left out…we put almost everything into the blender and turn it on for hours and hours jammin’. We feel totally free about writing, all ideas count, so writing it’s a major pleasure for us.

Lyrics at the end, but the song name can be an initial trigger to have a decisive melody that leads into a chorus for instance. Lyrics at the end also because many segments have 7, 9 or 11 bars, that needs some brains, google and time.

How do you see your music evolving?

RF: Progressively.

What advice would you give to other musicians, trying to make inspired music and get it out in the world?

RF: Stay true to yourselves musically, never ever quit and make yourselves out of the comfort zone. Don’t have too much hurry to come outside, make it real when your heart and ears say so. Find an agent that suits your goals.

What are you looking forward to?

RF: Right now to close the mixings of our 4th album. We have been extremely well treated at MV Studios by our former keyboard player – Miguel Valadares – who now is a sound engineer and CEO at this place. It sounds like Forgotten Suns on steroids, we’re confident in a great sounding release and hopefully to go out doing shows over Europe further ahead promoting it.

Do you think that Progstravaganza compilation series is good way to showcase the potential of many unheard bands on the already overcrowded scene?

RF: Sure it is, the good indicator is that you (curious reader) are here until the very end of this interview!!!

Links:

https://www.facebook.com/forgottensuns.officialband

Prog Sphere is compiling the first physical (CD) Progstravaganza progressive rock & metal compilation. Interested acts can get in touch at info@prog-sphere.com

Plague of Purity on the Progstravaganza compilation

Progstravaganza Questionnaire: Plague of Purity

Welcome to Plague Of Purity! What started out as a solo project back in 2009, has grown into a fully fledged band with EP release and another one on the way!

The band recently appeared on our Progstravaganza compilation, and here is what they told on the Progstravaganza Questionnaire.

How did you come to do what you do?

I started playing the guitar after I saw a friend of mine cover Nirvana and Van Halen with two other school friends at the yearly school festival. I was so intrigued by how this electronic piece of wood and metal could be manipulated to make so many different sounds. I was lucky enough to get a guitar the Christmas after the show and started my musical journey in the 6th grade.

What is your first musical memory?

My first musical memory is with my first guitar teacher. It was our first time meeting and he asked me what my favorite band was and I realized I really didn’t know any bands. I started in my parents footsteps listening to rush, AC/DC, Van Halen etc.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

The bands inspiration is from but not limited to, the Black Dahlia Murder, Lamb of God, and Job For A Cowboy.

What message does the song on our Progstravaganza compilation carry?

The message in song on the compilation titled Realization is basically saying that life is a enigma to be experienced and never understood.

Do you tend to follow any pre-defined patterns when composing a piece?

With our demo “Quest For Truth” I kept it pretty simple with a intro verse chorus and solo, but with a lot of the new material we break from that quite a bit.

How do you see your music evolving?

I notice our music getting heavier in different ways. Our song are kind if branching off into different categories of heaviness from a weird kind of heavy to a slow kind of heavy to a thrashy kind of heavy.

What advice would you give to other musicians, trying to make inspired music and get it out in the world?

Be as original as you can, and don’t worry about what you think people want to hear. Be different and be you.

What are you looking forward to?

We are looking forward to releasing our sophomore EP Blackened Hallows via Esoteric Entertainment this fall.

Do you think that Progstravaganza compilation series is good way to showcase the potential of many unheard bands on the already overcrowded scene?

I think the progstravaganza compilation gives a lot of up and come artists the exposure they deserve, and really helps get the word out there.

Links:

https://www.facebook.com/PlagueofPurity

Prog Sphere is compiling the first physical (CD) Progstravaganza progressive rock & metal compilation. Interested acts can get in touch at info@prog-sphere.com

Grus Paridae on the Progstravaganza compilation

Progstravaganza Questionnaire: Grus Paridae

Grus Paridae is a co-operative collective and project of two music makers, Petteri Kurki and Rami Turtiainen with special guest Jarno Koivunen on violins.

The band recently appeared on Progstravaganza XX: Landmarks and they answered our standard questionnaire.

How did you come to do what you do?

Petteri: I’ve always been interested in music, especially in the ‘how it’s made’ aspect. I try to bring in to my own music the bits and pieces I’ve found worth listening to and gathered into my ‘box of good stuff’ through the years.

Jarno: Lifetime love for rhythm, harmony and melody.

Rami: As the guys stated I share the same lifetime interest towards music. As far as I can remember and even though I’ve made a lot of different things in my life, music has always been the main key determining my identity.

We have all taken instrument and theory lessons as youngsters, Jarno is a professional classical musician and over the years I have taken some music technology and production courses and also studied musicology as a minor subject at the university. I have also put some focus towards rock criticism and music aesthetics in my art philosophy studies.

As a band or a collective if you like, Petteri and I ended up doing music together in the summer of 2011. I think it was originally my idea since I knew Petteri shared the same musical interests with me. We already knew each other’s band history, were very good friends and had been doing some jamming together over the years. I was pretty convinced a very long time before we actually started Grus Paridae that Petteri’s love for strange harmonies and my interest towards the wholeness of the song structures were something that needed to be united.

It was also clear from the very beginning Jarno would be our number one choice if we ever would need any violin parts. Jarno and I first met when we studied at the high school of music in the beginning of the 90’s and played in metal bands together back then. After high school Jarno had his progressive rock band called Relayer in which I was some kind of background figure for a couple of years until Jarno started his studies to become a professional violin player and violin pedagogist.

What is your first musical memory?

Petteri: Listening to my mom’s and dad’s LPs at age four or five.

Jarno and Rami: Finnish band called Hassisen Kone was something we both remember for being one of the first concrete memories what comes to rock. Hassisen Kone was a first major band for a very talented Finnish rock musician, composer and lyricist Ismo Alanko in the late 70’s and early 80’s. Alanko has made a very successful career since and is still very much active, appreciated and uncompromising artist. He actually started his career in a prog rock band and has added progressive and highly artistic elements in his music since. So in a way, it’s quite funny and nice we both share a similar memory here.

Jarno: From the classical side I would like to raise a memory that may not be the earliest one but the firs that really hit me. It was when Leonidas Kavakos won the Jean Sibelius Violin Competition held here in Finland in 1985.

Rami: I think the actual earliest memory I have is listening to the old Finnish childrens songs by Georg Malmstén as well as a cassette with a blue label sticker on the cover, containing a compilation of old 50’s rock n’ roll classics and me imitating the singer of the band. These both occurences must have happened during the 70’s.

First classical memory for me is the hearing of the Sergei Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf for the first time and of course the compulsory Four Seasons by Vivaldi.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

Petteri: From the phenomenon of stumbling onto good sounding chord progressions or melodies that instantly make me want to develop them into complete pieces. This usually happens when I’m just playing whatever whenever… mostly lucky accidents.

Jarno: I get inspired by starting to improvise when some special feeling or idea hits me like a glimpse of a moment. Or sometimes just by listening or playing myself some very good music done by others.

Rami: I have to follow Jarno and Petteri here what comes to composing and arrangement issues. Jamming and improvising by myself are of course in major role as well as all the music I have listened to over the decades. I’m also a freelance music journalist which means I tend to listen a lot of quality music that may not always fit to my every day musical taste but all and all can still save some interesting feelings and ideas to the back of my head.

As a lyricist I usually get inspired by some interesting sentence or phrase I spontaneously invent. Especially when I find it working immediately on many interpretational levels. This normally gives me the pulse to build a whole text around this invention. As cliché as it may sound, for me the philosophy has also been one of the concrete tools for inspiration.

What message does the song on our Progstravaganza compilation carry?

Rami: As a lyricist I try to operate on somewhat metaphorical level and try to do both: to put more levels and dimensions to the phrases than the surface shows at first impression but at the same time leave the text open enough for one’s own interpretations. Despite of the former I also try to raise at least a distant feeling there might be some kind of loose narrative included. So even if the text have some meaning to me, I’d like to think it could mean a totally different thing to someone else. Maybe the phrase ‘The question of ability / turning the question for the reason’ from Passes By gives a small hint of the several interpretational levels I try to ‘pack’ to my texts.

Do you tend to follow any pre-defined patterns when composing a song?

Petteri: It’s usually the traditional song structure that I start with, but I try to change it if possible or if the song needs it. If the idea is good, things fall into place quite naturally. I tend to write vocal melodies as the last thing; I’ve never written a song that has started as a vocal melody.

Jarno: I sure hope not. Well, to be honest I find composing using piano a bit comfortable than using some other instrument. Still in the end the main thing is you don’t lock yourself into one specific pattern using one and only familiar tool or method but rather try to give space to all ideas to flow free.

Rami: If there are some patterns they are more the methodical ones. I think you can find a better explanation from my following answer.

What is your method of songwriting?

Petteri: First I come up with a chord progression for verse and chorus and a bridge or two as well. Then it’s building the backing track around them. If there are solos, they usually come next. As the last I come up with a vocal melody, to which the lyrics are written, along with any vocal harmonies that are needed.

Jarno: Improvisation. Piano is a good tool for improvisation for me. As well as violin.

Rami: Earlier I used, and of course am still using the traditional way, first searching for interesting chord structures using guitar and then building the whole song from those seeds. Lately I’ve also been using a completely different method starting from some percussive rhythm I’m satisfied with. Then I try to add some interesting bass line and finally layer by layer start to add melodic and harmonic instruments in. Both methods have their pros and cons. The old school guitar method gives me a much wider space to go where ever I want but the negative side is it’s sometimes hard to decide where to go. The rhythm method on the other hand gives me a clear frame where to work but the lack of this method is it’s sometimes too constricted.

How do you see your music evolving?

Petteri: Nowadays it’s easier to see how to develop an idea into a song. I now have more courage to go and try different things for a song. It’s a never-ending process, I hope!

Jarno: Every song is a new story. Trying every time to do everything at least a bit better than previously.

Rami: An idealistic wish for me would be something like being able to create songs that are in some way timeless and at the same time both artistically challenging and still something someone somewhere could relate to. Creating songs that proudly carries all the influences from this enormous and lovely source called music but still can stand on their own personal and characteristic feet. David Bowie for me represents a good example of an artist who lets his influences be present but is still always sounding nothing but himself.

What advice would you give to other musicians, trying to make inspired music and get it out in the world?

Petteri: Listen to anything that’s good and find out why it’s good. Try to decipher how the music is played, the chords, the melodies, the sound, the touch. As to getting out in the world, I don’t see that very important; the main thing for me is to come up with stuff I like, then it can be shared with others, too.

Jarno: Trust to your instincts. At the end of the day it’s the only thing you can really hang on to.

Rami: Guys just stated out major issues here! You have to do both: do the hard and dull work and study, whether it means some formal studies or something you are doing by yourself. The phrase ‘Live the music!’ could be some kind of guide line to follow. By that I mean everything from listening interesting (and sometimes not so interesting) music, rehearsing with your instrument and with your band, improvising, analyzing, jamming, and last but not least: not forgetting purely enjoy music without any intentions! With these topics in your mind your instincts will also develop by themselves helping you to go further.

What comes to getting your music out in the world I would say be ready to work and be realistic. Try also be honest to yourself and find out what you want to reach and what’s the real motivation behind your aims. That goes for both on artistic and creative levels as well as all the other non-musical effort for finding contacts, accepting the fact that without personal effort for marketing and communicational issues, etc. it will not be very likely someone will come and pick you up from home and gives you the opportunity. Today’s digital age is both a blessing and a curse. Supply is nowadays enormous but at the same time it’s much easier to find music lovers around the world who are interested in the same kind of stuff you’re doing. Also try to find a balance between aiming artistically as high as possible but avoiding the trap of the over-self-criticism preventing you to go out with your stuff and in worst case killing your joy for making music.

What are you looking forward to?

Petteri: Progress with my songwriting skills and better ability to venture to new areas in music, whatever they may be. To find the much talked-about ‘own voice’ somehow, not copy others too much. Learning to sing better, as well!

Jarno: The freedom and joy of self-expression.

Rami: To be honest and speaking on everyday level: finding more time for music making! Speaking on a more sublime level: develop as a music writer, musician, vocalist, lyricist as well as production wise, to explore new musical paths and to enjoy music every time I’m dealing with it.

Do you think that Progstravaganza compilation series is good way to showcase the potential of many unheard bands on the already overcrowded scene?

Rami: I think every opportunity focusing on the stuff or a genre if you like which helps you to find people who share the same musical interests with you is a great opportunity!

Links:

https://www.facebook.com/GrusParidae

Prog Sphere is compiling the first physical (CD) Progstravaganza progressive rock & metal compilation. Interested acts can get in touch at info@prog-sphere.com

Chronologist on the Progstravaganza compilation

Progstravaganza Questionnaire: Chronologist

Chronologist is an original Progressive Metal band hailing from Boston, MA working to debut itself as a musical force to be reckoned with. Though the various members hail from areas all over North America, they share a common musical thread that ties them all together. Drawing influences from a variety of musical genres as well as a spectrum of metal sub-genres, the band seeks to mix an aggressive, driving groove with beautiful and intricate melodic content. Following the true spirit of progressive metal, the band creates soundscapes that range from consonant and uplifting to crunchy, dissonant, and downright grungy.
Zach, Julian, Cameron and Nigel answered the Progstravaganza Questionnaire. Read it below.
How did you come to do what you do?
Zach: Chronologist came together originally as a project Cameron, Julian, and I started to just get together and Jam. Eventually, Julian and Cameron wrote our tune “Cake Batter” and they both approached me about turning this project into one that they wanted to eventually be able to play shows and release music around Boston with. From there we started working on a couple tunes that Julian had already wrote from beforehand like our tunes “San Juan” and “Bazooka”. After that we added Nigel on bass and the group started to get a small following around our area near the Back Bay where we all go to school. As we finished the arrangements of the tunes we decided that we wanted to record and release them to help us find a vocalist that fit the group. As of right now we are still searching for a vocalist, but we will continue to play shows and release new music.

What is your first musical memory?

Zach: My first musical memory was taking long trips in the car listening to my Mom’s Beatles’ “White Album” and Metallica’s “Black Album” as a young kid. Those two albums still have a really strong nostalgic feeling for me, when I learned to play drums those were two of the first albums I wanted to play.
Julian: Most of my first musical memories come from listening to whatever my mom listened to on long car rides back in Massachusetts. It was a lot of Aerosmith and Bon Jovi, which probably contributed to me picking up guitar in the long run.
Cameron: My first musical memories are of my dad blasting music through the house and my brothers and I would run around, dance and generally freak out to anything from Montrose to KC and The Sunshine Band to Enya. My dad was never afraid of playing pretty much any style of music, even if it was quirky or funny. In a general sense a lot of the classic rock stuff had a huge influence on me because even as I listen to those bands today I get a very nostalgic feeling.
Nigel: Aside from hating the piano lessons I got as a little kid, my first distinct music memory came pretty late, in 7th grade. At basketball practice, our coach held a half-court shooting contest, with the prize being a couple of boxes of CDs containing radio hits from the early 2000’s. Surprisingly I was the first to sink one from that distance, won the prize, and ended up listening to probably 30-40 of the CD’s I’d won. Through that I discovered punk rock with “All the Small Things” by Blink 182 and “Pretty Fly for a White Guy” by the Offspring. This lead me to discovering metalcore with Avenged Sevenfold (when they were still metalcore), then the proggy stuff with Protest the Hero, and pretty much set off the chain of events that led me to enjoying the music I do today.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

Zach: I draw inspiration from all areas of music, I am always trying to find new artists, musicians, and composers that I haven’t heard yet to try and incorporate them into my drumming and music. I think it’s really important to keep an open mind when attempting to create any type of individual voice and draw inspiration from as many things as you can.

Julian: I draw inspiration from listening to music and other people. Anything that has any sort of emotion associated with it makes it susceptible to inspiring me to write music.

Cameron: Other than the bands I listen to, I draw inspiration from my surroundings. If I’m travelling or in a new place that often serves an an impetus for inspiration in a musical sense. Depending on my mood or even the weather I can sort of shift my perspective and be creative in different areas. I think some of the more profound musical influences come from non-musical places such as nature, art, people etc.
Nigel: Slightly cliche, but for me mostly past experiences and emotions. I’m particularly drawn to memories and feelings from times when my awareness of some particular thing became increased or times of strong personal growth.

What message does the song on our Progstravaganza compilation carry?

Julian: The message in Cartographer portrays the excitement and anxiety associated with moving to a far and new places. Nobody in the group is from Boston, so this one had an appropriate feel for all of us.
Do you tend to follow any pre-defined patterns when composing a piece?
Julian: Sometimes I use simple arranging techniques when struggling to piece a song together, like adding an Intro/Outro or things of that nature.
What is your method of songwriting?
Julian: I just have an “anything-goes” type of mentality. I normally just tend to write riffs, and then I record them somewhere, then eventually I will write another riff that fits nicely with it. Essentially it’s just piecing riffs together, although sometimes a song takes months before I’m done with it, while others are done in a few hours.

How do you see your music evolving?

Julian: I believe that our music will become more diverse as our taste in music evolves. I also think that the obvious answer is that the more we practice the more technical our song parts will potentially be.

What advice would you give to other musicians, trying to make inspired music and get it out in the world?

Zach: Work hard on honing your craft first. If the music is made with intense yet caring attention to detail and you truly believe that it portrays what you want to express, getting people to support and stand behind the music you make will all fall into place by you simply sharing it with those around you.
What are you looking forward to?
Julian: Playing shows… and Mars one, the mars exploration project. O.O
Nigel: The new season of Metalocalypse. And a new Necrophagist album. Unfortunately at this rate I’ll see neither before I have kids.
Do you think that Progstravaganza compilation series is good way to showcase the potential of many unheard bands on the already overcrowded scene?

Zach: Yes totally! I think the track record that the progstravaganza series has speaks mostly for itself. I think it’s a great way for unsigned/unheard bands to get their music out to the masses when they are all presented in a single focused format like this, especially when it is coming from such a monster source such as Prog Sphere.

Links:

https://www.facebook.com/chronologistband

Prog Sphere is compiling the first physical (CD) Progstravaganza progressive rock & metal compilation. Interested acts can get in touch at info@prog-sphere.com

The Main Sequence on the Progstravaganza compilation

Progstravaganza Questionnaire: The Main Sequence

The Main Sequence is an ambient/prog/psych/drone duo, formed in 2012, and featuring Joel David Palmer (Guitar, Sound Processing, and Loops) and Joshua Alan Weiner (Moog and other keyboards, Guitar, Bass, Percussion, and Loops). All of The Main Sequence’s music is improvised, spontaneous compositions exploring the soundworld of classic prog and early electronic ambient music. Influences include Fripp & Eno, Tangerine Dream, Popul Vuh, Sunn 0))), Wendy Carlos, and soundtrack music. Like the best of classic prog and psychedelia, The Main Sequence’s music provides a soundtrack for journeys through inner and outer space.

Read the Progstravaganza Questionnaire with the band below.

How did you come to do what you do?

Joel was already an established ambient prog solo artist, with several albums and many shows to his credit. He was a part of Robert Fripp’s Guitar Craft course and has been using loops and processed guitar soundscapes for decades. Josh had released lots of music before as a songwriter, playing drums, guitar, bass, and keyboards and singing, mostly pop-rock music. The Main Sequence is his first foray into one of his great loves, the soundworld of early electronic and progressive ambient music, which Joel shares. We found each other through a classified ad of all things, and hit it off right away, improvising music immediately.

What is your first musical memory?

My first musical memory (this is Josh writing!) is probably my father’s records on the turntable: The Beatles, The Who, The Rolling Stones, The Kinks. I was one year old when “Who’s Next” came out, with that amazing organ/ARP sequencer hybrid sound in “Won’t Get Fooled Again”, and I remember being fascinated by that (and also the loud guitars and drums!) at a very early age, say 2 or 3 years old. I’ve been obsessed ever since with sound and all kinds of instruments.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

Mostly the late 60s and early 70s soundworld of psychedelic, prog, and electronic music: Fripp & Eno, Pink Floyd, Wendy Carlos, Eno’s ambient records, prog rock like King Crimson and Genesis. Sustaining guitar loops, Mellotron, Moog, sequencers, strange sounds. Our music is all ambient, mostly beat-less, and 100% improvised, so it’s not exactly like most classic prog. But we utilize those sounds and try to take the listener on similar journeys to the extended works of classic prog.

What message does the song on our Progstravaganza compilation carry?

Our debut double album consists of four “side-long” tracks (15 to 22 minutes long) and represent improvisations that, in some cases, are cross-faded and edited together. We thus don’t set out to “write” the music, we employ the “spontaneous composition” of pure improv. We get into a mood and explore it musically. Thus all the names came later from impressions of the music. “Noon to Evening, Dome Sector 4″ begins with a bright, rhythmic Moog loop, or rather several superimposed loops, with Joel’s processed guitar and my Mellotron on top. The feel is bubbling and busy, and brought to mind a 1950s drawing I’d seen of a bustling futuristic dome city (this is the “Noon” part). This impov cross-fades into another, more spooky and meditative one, which to me had both the beauty and some of the fear that comes with evening and darkening skies (the “Evening” part).

Do you tend to follow any pre-defined patterns when composing a piece?

No, since all of our music is improvised live, completely. We sometimes choose a key, or a framework (“start very quiet and build to high density” or “rhythmic”) and just look for sounds we love and build on that, each of us creating loops that we then continue to play live against, fading out these loops and bringing in new sounds.

What is your method of songwriting?

See above.

How do you see your music evolving?

We were really heartened by how well these edited improvs came together into suites that really followed a trajectory that takes the listener on a trip. We’d like to explore this further and perhaps bring in more planned composition to our pieces–possibly “composing” more of the bed tracks and adding improvisations on top of that to go into new realms that might not be achieved totally live.

What advice would you give to other musicians, trying to make inspired music and get it out in the world?

Well, in one sense the music industry has collapsed as a business. This is bad for traditional rock bands or pop artist hoping to make a living at what they do. But then again, the internet makes it possible for all of us to create music more simply using computer-based recording and fantastic new electronics for sound processing, and then to get it out there at minimal cost to both the musician and the consumer (using, as we do, Bandcamp, Soundcloud, Spotify, iTunes, etc.). Plus things like this great Progstravaganza compilation are made more do-able by using the internet and Bandcamp, and more “niche” musics like ambient and prog can more easily find their audience through social media. It’s not a great time to make a living doing this, but it IS a great time to make music you want to make and be able to get it to interested listeners quickly and around the world. That’s exciting. So our advice is just do it! Use the tools available and see where it takes you.

What are you looking forward to?

We are looking forward to seeing the response to our debut album. It’s starting to get noticed on blogs, streaming sites, and websites like Prog Sphere and the Progstravaganza projects. We hope to meet interested ambient/prog fans and to get a pipeline to distribute our new music as we make it. This project has been very fulfilling for both of us and we hope to keep working together.

Do you think that Progstravaganza compilation series is good way to showcase the potential of many unheard bands on the already overcrowded scene?

Yes of course! I love that prog fans get a real wide spread of music types, from our very ambient stuff to prog-metal, and that anyone can stream the music on Bandcamp and pay a small amount to download so much great stuff. When CDs got so expensive it really made just exploring new music harder and more costly. Now with things like this, you can hear tons of new music at a reasonable cost and all the artists benefit from being exposed to the kinds of listeners that love this music. It’s a great opportunity!

Links:

http://themainsequence.com

Prog Sphere is compiling the first physical (CD) Progstravaganza progressive rock & metal compilation. Interested acts can get in touch at info@prog-sphere.com

Knightmare on the Progstravaganza compilation

Progstravaganza Questionnaire: Knightmare

Knightmare are an intense, atmospheric metal band from Melbourne, Australia that crafts epic, melodic music.

The band has a simple goal: Create songs that defy being bound to a single static genre and that spans from a vast array of influences, not just including extreme and diverse forms of metal but music from all walks of life. Using detailed and vast soundscapes complimented by thoughtful lyrics, the band’s music evokes imagery and reflection in the listener. Knightmare’s music combines to create a unique, transcending atmospheric experience.

Knightmare recently appeared on the Progstravaganza XX: Landmarks and they answered our standard questionnaire.

How did you come to do what you do?

Growing up I always felt drawn towards metal. It was an unusual time (early 2000s) and it wasn’t that the status of metal was particularly unpopular or looked down upon, it’s simply that nobody had ever heard it or knew anything about it and just chose to remain ignorant. It was hard to come by. One day I heard Black Sabbath for the first time and everything changed. I didn’t want to listen to any of the music that was all over the radio any more. There was an indescribable connection and I just kept venturing further down the rabbit hole.

What is your first musical memory?

I wish I could say it was something more metal, but I certainly spent a long time playing cello at school from about 8 years old. I remember having to sit in orchestra for what felt like an eternity and my back going numb, but at least I got out of other boring classes, and at the end of the day when it all came together playing was fun.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

While there’s plenty of bands and music I love to listen to and am inspired by, I more often tend to draw inspiration from experiences and media external to music. It could be anything from video games to movies or even just places I’ve been and even just places and settings I’ve experienced personally can be inspiration. I enjoy trying to describe an experience or an image with the music I write.

What message does the song on our Progstravaganza compilation carry?

Unity Through Chaos describes the sensation of finding comfort amidst insanity. Being able to take comfort in the fact that while you may be worrying and overthinking everything in your life, that is who you are and there are both positive and negative sides to feeling and thinking that way.

Do you tend to follow any pre-defined patterns when composing a piece?

For a while I actually deliberately tried to avoid pre-defined patterns in my writing, not just to push and challenge myself but also to avoid sounding repetitive and generic. While I still strive for that some of the time, I’ve come to learn to love the simpler patterns and realise that they too can be the best choice sometimes.

What is your method of songwriting?

Generally I will visualise an experience or an image or a story – then I think about how I could represent that through music. What sounds, what tones and what colours will best convey what I’m trying to capture… I think on our last album we started to incorporate a bit of a film score element into some of our songs and this sort of approach goes together nicely with that. I try to represent those images while still being able to string together a song that is enjoyable and memorable in its own right.

How do you see your music evolving?

I think in the future we will bring out something that is a bit more adventurous and impacting… Some people found they got lost in the layers on In Death’s Shadow, so I feel in the future I might try represent ideas clearer without such a full scale of instrumentation going at once. Essentially, trying to do more with less, but at the same time having more variation in what is there rather than all riffs and section sounding very similar. For those out there that did love the expansive nature of the last album, don’t worry, there are still plenty of sections that do lean towards that style of metal.

What advice would you give to other musicians, trying to make inspired music and get it out in the world?

I know people have been able to phrase sentiments along the lines of “follow your dreams” much more eloquently than I am able to, so I feel it’s best I should add to it rather than redefine it. Don’t be afraid to follow them, don’t be afraid to commit and see it through to the finish. We’re in a time where it’s quite easy and affordable to get some music recorded and release it all from your own bedroom. See it through – get it out there, and just keep putting yourself out there. You’ll only be getting practice and experience as you do it, and along the way you’ll develop a better understanding of how to make your music exactly how it sounds in your head.

What are you looking forward to?

A second album, and Knightmare making its international mark in the coming years! We recently added drummer Dave Allen to the lineup who is nothing short of a machine on the drums, and really lets Knightmare become a live force to be reckoned with.

Do you think that Progstravaganza compilation series is good way to showcase the potential of many unheard bands on the already overcrowded scene?

I think it’s an excellent series for showcasing unheard bands. It gives them and other like-minded bands a support network and a chance to find their feet, find their crowd and see where the best place to take their music can be.

Links:

http://www.knightmaremetal.com

Prog Sphere is compiling the first physical (CD) Progstravaganza progressive rock & metal compilation. Interested acts can get in touch at info@prog-sphere.com

Atma Nova on the Progstravaganza compilation

Progstravaganza Questionnaire: Atma Nova

Atma Nova appeared on Progstravaganza XX: Landmarks, released in August 2014. Trevor Holden answered the questionnaire. Read it below.
How did you come to do what you do?
Just a simple choice of what I wanted to do with myself. I chose this, and never looked back.
What is your first musical memory?
My musical tastes didn’t go beyond the local influence until my early teen years where I started to hear video game music. I wanted to play some Nobuo Uematsu on my mother’s piano. So, I got some sheet music and started learning.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
All over. For instance, I’ll watch various surrealist films and get heavily drawn into the aesthetic. If I am inspired by it, I try to understand it, and use that feeling somewhere else.  As far as bands, I was inspired by Tool, and The Mars Volta the most. I’ve gotten into Post-Rock a bit lately, and am inspired by that too. I think I missed the boat, when it was cool to like it (?), but nevertheless there are some cool textures =P
What message does the song on our Progstravaganza compilation carry?
No message. The name of the song, ‘Life in Film,’ is based on an intense experience I had once.
Do you tend to follow any pre-defined patterns when composing a piece?
Yeah. Figure out a motif or two, and develop variations. That’s my thought process.
What is your method of songwriting?
Sometimes it is the mind, sometimes the soul, and sometimes a nice balance of both.  If I like it, it takes off, if not…then, move on.
How do you see your music evolving?
I see it moving more into blending a rhythmic styling that is easier to move to, as well as greater soundscapes, and more diverse chord voicings.  We’ll see.
What advice would you give to other musicians, trying to make inspired music and get it out in the world?
Um, I’d give them a list of cliches.  But yeah, go out and meet people and support your local scene.  Make friendly.  Believe in what you’re doing.  Yada yada yada.  Fun.
What are you looking forward to?
Just playing some shows, getting a full lineup in the band, next album…yeah.
Do you think that Progstravaganza compilation series is good way to showcase the potential of many unheard bands on the already overcrowded scene?
I hadn’t heard of it until I went looking for something like it, so yeah.  I suppose so  =P  My friend told me it was a good deal for him last year.  So I’m hopeful, for myself and everyone else.

Prog Sphere is compiling the first physical (CD) Progstravaganza progressive rock & metal compilation. Interested acts can get in touch at info@prog-sphere.com

XYAX

Progstravaganza Questionnaire: XYAX

It all started when Dave had an idea: making electronic music with a metal mentality. There would be no limitation since no one would actually play the parts, and so there you go: Insane speed (Are We Alone?) or crazy metric modulations (Voids & Filaments), and even both! But then, the compositions were sitting on the computer and rotting, so he asked Ben to produce them. At the same time, he would come to bring his voice to the project, singing lyrics that were written under an hour in a classroom by Dave. The duo came up with a pretty unique method to record guitar without actually touching a real guitar, in order to create a metal rendering of something that wasn’t supposed to sound metal. The EP “Ode To The Universe (in three parts)” will have both the metal and the electronic version of all the songs.

Read Progstravaganza Questionnaire with Dave below.

How did you come to do what you do? 

Music? I personally came to do music when I was about 16, and was introduced to Dream Theater. From now I knew music wasn’t just something passive, and that it actually took serious skillls to do music (well, do interesting music). Then I took on the bass guitar because it was the least busy one in music class. From there on, I started to learn mostly by myself, with the help of tablatures of easy Dream Theater songs that could be played on 4-string bass. I kept working hard, and here we are today! Writing music, and playing my own stuff! That’s really cool!

What is your first musical memory?

The Glass Prison, by Dream Theater. It’s still a hell.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

From the music I listen to, and that depends on the moment. I do not draw direct inspiration, like I don’t usually say ‘’I want to sound like this, or that’’, but obviously, what you listen to in the moment shows in what you write musically.

What message does the song on our Progstravaganza compilation carry?

‘’AREWEALONE?’’ is about the fear of being alone in the Universe. Alone as the only ones capable of what we call ‘’intelligence’’, or, even worse, Earth could be the only place where life can be found! That’s a scary thought, and it’s an even scarier burden, when you think of it. If we’re the only place where life can thrive (but all indications now points towards this not being the case), we have some kind of scientific moral obligation to continue what we do, and continue to observe the Universe, in all its beauty.

Do you tend to follow any pre-defined patterns when composing a piece?

When I wrote the music to XYAX, I imagined what an alien ‘’person’’ finding an Earthly instrument would write for music. With no knowledge of music theory, he’d go for some stuff we really aren’t used to, and I think the eerie chord progression not far in the song shows that. In the meantime, I like to think of it as electronic music written by a metalhead as these compositions were never meant to be played on real instruments, I could write crazy (like unplayable-crazy) riffs and leads! It turns out that me and Ben Norton (Peculate) found a way to re-amp sounds from the MIDI files, and were able to achieve a quite realistic sound with it. The album will bear two versions of each song, one metal version, as the one you can hear on Progstravaganza XX, and an electro version, which have yet to be done! So that’s the idea of XYAX : writing alien, unplayable music, and rendering it.

What is your method of songwriting?

I open up Guitar Pro and writes in what comes out of my head. I write the guitars, the bass, and the drums (and everything else). I wrote the lyrics to the album in about an hour during class when I learned that Ben would sing on the project (I had no lyrics before that). For the lyrics, I followed loosely the concept I had in mind when writing the music, and wrote about humans searching always farther to find life, but in the end they’re missing on something, although they won’t notice. I sure do hope that in real life we discover what’s wrong with our search for life, and find a way around it! Ben Norton wrote the vocal melodies, harmonies and rhythms, and, what should I have expected? They’re crazy as all hell!

How do you see your music evolving?

In the future of XYAX, I want to mess with microtonality. With the help of Cryptic Ruse, another great microtonal musical project, I want to bring the ‘’unplayable’’ factor to a whole new level. Even though artists such as Brendan Byrnes and Jute Gyte succeed in making microtonal music, it’s still more difficult to approach. I also still have to wrap my head around the xenharmonic music theory, and that might take some time! I don’t know when that will happen, however.

What advice would you give to other musicians, trying to make inspired music and get it out in the world?

Grab Guitar Pro (that’s been the most useful software to me), and write anything that comes into your mind. At first, it will suck, but just keep writing songs whenever you feel the urge to write something. As time passes by, your skills at writing what you have in mind will get better up to a point where you will judge your music to be worth getting out in the world! At least, that’s how it went for me. I’m aware this method might not be the best for everyone! Check out what the other bands had to say to this question and maybe you’ll find your perfect answer!

What are you looking forward to?

A lot of great music is coming out this summer! I’m thinking about Amogh Symphony’s third album Vectorscan, which will set the world on fire and throw the Earth out of orbit, and Peculate’s umpteenth album The Chain Industry, which is some of his best work yet! I also played bass on Awaken The Ghosts’s first album (melodic progressive metalcore), but I’m most excited to release another project I wrote called Omega Cluster. This one features a hell of a line-up of musicians (Vishal Singh of Amogh Symphony, and the singers of Look Right Penny, Car Bomb, The Odious, and Unbodied, to name a few!) When that thing’s ready, you’ll know about it! TL;DR : Looking good!

Do you think that Progstravaganza compilation series is good way to showcase the potential of many unheard bands on the already overcrowded scene?

Yes, no publicity is bad publicity! Thanks for doing that great thing, and keep working hard for small bands!

Links:

http://xyax.bandcamp.com

Prog Sphere is compiling the first physical (CD) Progstravaganza progressive rock & metal compilation. Interested acts can get in touch at info@prog-sphere.com

ProgSphere's Compilation of Awesomeness