Jedediah Smith on Progstravaganza progressive rock & metal compilation

Progstravaganza Questionnaire: Jedediah Smith

Jedediah Smith was originally formed as a one man band, by guitarist and Colorado native, Dakota Diemand – under the name I Hope You Freeze to Death. Things changed forever when Dakota journeyed to Musician’s Institute’s Summer Shot 2010, where he met bass player extraordinaire, Connor Coram. After completing the summer program, they kept in touch via Facebook. Eventually, the two reconnected as full-time Musician’s Institute students, forming the progressive metal project, Jedediah Smith, in honor of the legendary mountain man and explorer.

Read Progstravaganza Questionnaire answered by Dakota and Connor below.

How did you come to do what you do?

Dakota: I guess I had stars in my eyes, when I asked my mom for my first guitar, at age 11 – starting out with dreams of the rock n’ roll lifestyle. I eventually discovered that there was much more to music than that and it became the driving force in my life. I decided to go to Musician’s institute, where I met Connor. We formed the band not long after.

Connor: I have been playing bass guitar, for 8 years, and am working towards a Bachelor’s Degree, at Musician’s Institute. Jedediah Smith was formed in the halls of MI, around 4 years ago, and have been writing progressive music ever since.

What is your first musical memory?

Dakota: My mom told me that she played Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart – while she was pregnant with me. I, of course, don’t remember this, but I honestly can’t think of a better answer to this question.

Connor: When I was three or four, I began playing piano, and started taking music lessons in piano and theory.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

We both grew up in the 90′s and nostalgia is a huge driving force behind the band. Also, the band takes it’s name from legendary mountain man, Jedediah Smith and, as such, the old west is a big part of the band’s overall theme and presentation. Musically, we take inspiration from all genres of music, throughout time – but among our biggest influences are: Opeth, Between the Buried and Me, Haken, Meshuggah, Death, Cynic, Psycroptic, Scale the Summit, Ron Jarzombek, and 70′s prog bands, such as: Yes, Kansas, Pink Floyd, ELP, Frank Zappa, etc.

What message does the song on our Progstravaganza compilation carry?

Our new record, “Tall Tales”, is a concept album – telling the story of a man with amnesia who has to fight through time/space to save his family. The story will be released, in PDF form, on the bands website. “Meander” is the 8th track on the album and is really the penultimate moment of the story and inspired by the 2013 Colorado Floods. The man arrives back to his time, through a dimensional portal and races home to find that his family is holding his funeral. He tries to warn them of the coming storm, but they are swept away. The man tries to rescue them, but they are killed and he is knocked unconscious…

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

Almost never. Once we have a lot of material written, we will analyze for possible motifs and themes that we could use to tie the material together. As for pre-defined patterns, we throw concept that out the window.

What is your method of songwriting?

We just jam and have fun. A lot of the time, we come up with ideas or songs, on our own, and then we’ll get together and put the pieces together. We produce and record all of our own music, so as we go along in the process we are able to fine tune the songs. We also make a habit of transcribing all of our music and will have tabs/notation available after the album is released.

How do you see your music evolving?

We’re working on finalizing our line-up, so that we can start gigging, and you never know the cool influences that new members can bring. The tracks featured on the compilation are pre-production versions, so you can expect the final to be a bit more polished and we’re going to be adding keyboards to the mix. As for the future, we have all kinds of crazy ideas. We love what Snarky Puppy is doing with the whole big band prog fusion concept, but at the same time we still the love the sound of even just a three piece band. Our goal is just to keep experimenting with whatever pops in our heads, figure out what’s doable – and do it.

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

Dakota: Never let anyone tell you who you are or what you should play (especially your parents…lol). Listen to your heart and play what makes you happy. Find the styles you love and just practice your ass off. I would also highly recommend taking lessons and/or going to school. There’s a big difference between someone who plays an instrument and someone who actually knows what they’re doing.

Connor: Find the perfect balance between practicing your art and managing your project.

What are you looking forward to?

Dakota: I’m stoked for the release of the new album and the accompanying short story that I wrote. I’m also looking forward to getting out and playing some shows, finishing my Associate’s Degree, and finding some form of gainful employment in the industry.

Connor: I look forward to seeing Jedediah Smith grow as a band and continuing to enjoy my passion of music.


Ontologics on the Progstravaganza compilation


Experimental, multi-instrumentalist Indie duo, featuring Ian C. and M. Walshe has just debuted their first full-length record, “Something to Needle Over”. The album includes various styles and a unique approach to songwriting with dense layering of electronica, vocals, and live instrumentation. It features three instrumental tracks and branches into elements of World music and Progressive rock. The record emphasizes Ontologics’ unique genre blending sound.

“What’s really amazing about this debut record is that despite the cramming in of these myriads of styles, it never leaves you disoriented. Instead of a tedious maze that leaves one confused, Something To Needle Over is more like an exhilarating rollercoaster ride with lots of twists, turns, and jumps.” – DAILYVAULT.COM

The lead single HOLOGRAM FOR THE HOLLOW MAN, had outstanding success on national specialty radio, getting spins all over America and charting at #11 on the Alternative Specialty singles charts (KKBB) and #12 on album charts. The album also reached #16 on the FMQB top 200 SubModern chart in 3/05/14, breaking their debut indie album into the top 20.

Ian Campopiano is a singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, approaching song writing from unconventional and experimental sonic mediums. (Lead Vocals/Lyrics, 2nd Drum Kit, Programming, Guitars, Bass, Midi-Controllers, Roland Spds, Korg Wave Drum, Korg Synth)

His songwriting and vocal approach was recognized by P-Nut of 311 in an interview with;

“…The cool thing about ‘Ebb and Flow’ as the ‘Go’ demo is that it was covered by a band called Ontologics, who did their own version of it and it kills. I played it for Scotch before we started writing the lyrics and the melody to set the bar. I was like, ‘Listen to what these guys did. Like they turned this song into like a science fiction masterpiece. And if we can’t beat that, I think we should just do a cover of their song’…” –P-Nut, interview

Matthew Walshe brings his orchestral precision and counter punctual percussive power to complex time signatures, dual drum arrangements, and various grooves. (Main Drum Kit, Aux. Percussion, Korg Wave Drum)

The duo has played with many regional and national acts including Godsmack, Michelle Branch, and most recently, Afroman.

The name of the band stems from the word Ontologic Being, existent, “put into existence to put into existence”. Art for the sake of art, Ontologics is “Something to Needle Over”. It is an extension of us, mulling over the sonic details, an extension of what we are.



The D/A Method on the Progstravaganza compilation

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.

The band started as a two-piece in 2012 when guitarists Umair Dar and Talha Alvie began writing music for what was to become The D/A Method (the name is derived from the last initials of their names). After having played in various bands, the pair wanted the new project to fully capture the wide range of their musical interests, from Pakistani folk to extreme metal and everything in between. Underlying the entire project was a focus on using traditional tones and recording techniques in an effort to break away from the over-processed sound of contemporary music. Their lyrics too reflect disillusionment with the modern world – its politics, war, and greed – but at the same time suggest that hope can be found even in the deepest void. In 2013, vocalist Usama Siddiq and drummer Istvan Csabai joined the band to complete the lineup.

 The band is currently working on their three-part debut concept album titled The Great Disillusion, due for release in late 2014. Parts I and II are available at the band’s Soundcloud page. They have performed on Karachi’s Lussun TV and have recently released a music video for their cover of Katatonia’s doom metal classic Brave.


Untold Faith on the Progstravaganza compilation

Untold Faith

The band ” Untold Faith ” was founded in the fall of 2010 in Carei – Romania, at the initiative of the drummer Gindele Gabor and guitarist Mogyoros Attila both active members of the band Psycho Symphony, in order to create something more straightforward as musical style compared to their base band, respectively to materialize some of the musical ideas that would not fit into the initial conception of the band. They were later joined by two good friends, Vida Istvan (ex-Deity) on bass, respectively Boleman Csongor as a vocalist.

At the end of 2012 the band recorded three songs that were included on the first audio material of the band, an EP entitled:  “no image, just substance”. The style is somewhere between technical thrash metal and progressive metal combined with some groove elements accompanied with clean melodic vocals. In the following year the band has played numerous concerts at festivals respective clubs, and also had two mini tours in Transylvania with a band from Germany. Also the band has had the honor to be selected as one of the semifinalists from “Wacken Metal Battle Romania 2013”.

With the completion of the second mini tour in the spring of 2013 the band has split from singer Boleman Csongor, his place being taken one month later by Tomori Erik (ex – Stereotype), thus completing the actual line-up of the band.  With the new line-up Untold Faith has gained in premiere to the Romanian final by winning the “Wacken Metal Battle Romania 2014” semifinal. Simultaneously with the arriving of the new vocalist, the band has changed completely the lyrics and the initial vocal lines from the old songs and in this way the earlier released EP has became “obsolete” because did not represent anymore the actual style of the band.

With the new fresh sound of the songs which now contains growls and scream parts beside the clean melodic vocals parts, the band got a lot of requests for live appearances in clubs and also at festivals thereon after the band received critical acclaim from the press and a very positive feedback from the crowd, one time reviewed as a “something new and strange combination of styles”. Lately the members like to classify themselves as a PROG-CORE band.

At the time of writing, the band is recording the new songs as a promo material.


Tomori Erik – Vocals

Mogyoros Attila – guitar

Vida Istvan – bass

Gindele Gabor – drums


Space Debris on the Progstravaganza compilation

Space Debris

Space Debris is a german band whose music will transport you back 30 years to the pioneering days of Krautrock and Progressive influenced Psychedelia. Influences range from Amon Düül and Can on the one hand to a psychedelicious take on the Santana, Allman Brothers, and early Deep Purple stylings.

Jeff Fitzgerald from Aural Innovations writes:

“Space Debris create a dazzling and complicated blend of 70′s style classic rock jams, Krautrock, space rock, psychedelia and fusion jazz. It’s mostly instrumental, with tracks often stretching into the 15 and 20-minute range, but never seeming that long, and the musicianship, I have to say, is outstanding on every level. Space Debris are best in the environment of their extended pieces, which give all the players a chance to stretch out and really do some exploring, and explore they do. The band has a beautiful sense of drama as they build their pieces from simple beginnings through numerous twists and turns to spectacular conclusions without things ever once sounding disjointed. It all flows so naturally, it’s a pleasure to hear such complicated music played with such obvious ease and enjoyment.”


Tacita Intesa on the Progstravaganza compilation

Tacita Intesa

Tacita Intesa were born in Tuscany, Arezzo, in 2012 thanks to five guys in love with Progressive Rock, ready to put themselves in play and propose harmonious but also overbearing music. Much of the formation was already there before 2008, but with Alessandro Granelli (lead singer and guitarist) the band entered definitively in the progressive genre. Thanks to the keyboards and the Hammond of Daniele Stocchi, they create spatial sounds, definetly influenced by the ‘70s. The melodies flow down thanks to the guitar of Filippo Colongo (who is, by the way, the founder of the group). The bass of Thomas Crocini and the drums of Pasquale Balzano pull the strings of a solid carpet of sound thanks to which the group reach a groove that forcees the audience not to take their eyes off the stage.

The band, during the autumn and the winter of 2013-2014, recorded their first homonimous album which has officially been released on 1st June 2014.

They are influenced by the the progressive of the ‘70s, from Italy and England too. Listening to their music you can hear remembrances of Pink Floyd, Camel, Genesis, but still you can notice how their roots are from the hard rock of Deep Purple.


Curtis Basque on the Progstravaganza compilation

Curtis Basque

Curtis Basque is an independent  musician, composer, lyricist, producer and recording artist. from  Canada.  His music encompasses a variety of styles ranging from progressive rock, classical to middle eastern themes with odd time signatures  comprised of multi-layered melodic complexities.  As a lyricist his writing has evolved into a portrayal of social issues about the human condition.  The past fifteen years focused on producing and recording  has allowed his artistic imagination to have free reign to compose important music  to move the listener.


Jackal on the Progstravaganza compilation


Jackal formed in late 2006 when brothers Will (on drums) and Theo McGrath (on guitar and vocals)  joined  up  with  local  bassist  Alec  Cummins.  They  began  writing  their  own  material immediately,  setting  out  to  meld  a  raw  punk/alternative  sound,  inspired  by  bands  such  as Dinosaur Jr, with their love of ‘70’s hard rock like Black Sabbath. They began gigging around New Zealand and in 2009 they self funded and released their debut album, a 9 track offering entitled ‘Sleeping Life’. In early 2009, they decided that they should change to a four piece, with Will switching to guitar and a new drummer being added to the lineup. Since then, Jackal’s new material  mixed  varied  dynamics  with  complex  song  structures.  In  late  2010  they  began recording a new album entitled ‘Furnace Creek’, which was again released independently in April 2011. Hayden Keach joined as full time drummer and the band began their most intense gigging period yet, using their shows as a testing ground for the material that would eventually find its way onto their third album, ‘Only Everything’ released in 2012. With three albums and a solid gigging history behind them, the band decided to capitalize on the momentum they had built up after the release of ‘Only Everything’ and began recording their fourth album in March 2013. Aiming not to repeat themselves, Jackal focused on creating a new direction and sound for the fourth album, utilising a drum machine on various tracks as well as incorporating many layered acoustic guitars and keyboards. After six months in and out of the studio, the band completed their fourth album ‘Castle in the Air’ and was released in November 2013 on coloured vinyl. The band is currently touring in support of the album and working on writing and recording for their fifth record.


Flares on the Progstravaganza compilation


Flares explore the book of Postrock since 2007, while also weaving in layers of Progressive, Metal and Alternative Rock into their exuberant sound carpets.

After two EP’s “LEVITATION” (2008) and “KINGDOM COME” (2012, Visions Mag’s Demo of the month), both critically acclaimed by fanzines, blogs and music networks all around the word, their first album “SOLAR EMPIRE” saw it’s release in May 2014. Referring to the Science-Fiction Saga “PERRY RHODAN”,  the album was recorded and produced by the band in it’s entirety.

In regards of Liveshows, they already shared the stage with Red Sparowes, This will destroy you, Caspian, Animals as Leaders and Kerretta.


Dinosaurs Are Not Gone on the Progstravaganza compilation

Dinosaurs Are Not Gone

Dave was once in a metalcore band. Dave wanted to write metalcore songs for the band to play. The band did not like Dave’s compositions. Dave decided to leave the band and create a new one where his compositions would be played. This story happened in the 2013-2014 winter, and, along with his new bandmates Jérémie, Bruno, and Alexis, worked to record the album and play some live shows!


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