Category Archives: Interviews

Heyoka's Mirror

Interview: HEYOKA’s MIRROR

Heyoka’s Mirror is a progressive metal trio from Canada who has just released its debut EP “Loss of Contact with Reality.” Over the course of my time writing for this and other websites, I’ve come into many interesting and unique acts. I can certainly say that Heyoka’s Mirror are creating a very interesting progressive metal, which is often mixed with other different styles such as classic Power / Heavy Metal, Modern Metal and Opera.

The three dudes in Heyoka’s Mirror — Andrew Balboa, Omar Sultan and Bayan Sharafi — answered my questionnaire about the EP, touring, and more.

Alright, first thing is first. Before we dive into all the music stuff, how’s life?

HM: Life is good and life is cold right now. Today (Dec. 30th) is -27C but it feels -40C with the wind chill. So yeah… But life is great right now!

Speaking of new music, you have an EP. What can people expect from “Loss of Contact with Reality”?

Bayan: People can expect a musical adventure.

Andrew: We’ve had a few reviews from other magazines and everyone is getting pretty confused hahaha. People love it but they say they have never heard anything like this before. So….. expect something new.

Omar: Even if you don’t like heavy music or prog music.. try it! This will be a great introduction for you.

Heyoka's Mirror - Loss of Contact with Reality

What was it like working on the EP?

Andrew: It was fun! It took nine months to write the three songs, and recording took ten months. We all have full time jobs so, finding the time to write and record was a bit challenging. But the overall process was really fun!

Are there any touring plans in support to “Loss of Contact with Reality”?

Omar: We would like something short to start… Three or five cities, nothing big because our main focus right now is to record the full album.

While we are on the subject of touring, what countries would you love to tour?

HM: Japan, Germany, Brazil, Russia and the States of course!

What other genres of music do you listen to? Have any of the other genres you listen to had any impact on your playing?

Omar: Hard rock! I grew up listening to hard rock and that’s the reason why I started playing when I was 16. It made my playing very musical.

Bayan: Funk! A lot of 80’s and 90’s music like Tom Jones and The Bee Gees. And it has changed the way I feel groove.

Andrew: I listen to a lot of jazz, classical… everything! Even J-Pop! … Japanese pop is beautifully composed.

I really appreciate you giving us your time today. Is there anything else you would like to tell us and the fans before we wrap things up?

Omar: Get the EP, listen to it with headphones. find the time to really pay attention to it, give it a chance and you’ll love it!

Andrew: I think that you have to listen to it a few times, you can’t just listen to it once; if you do, you’ll think it’s just another “wanna be prog album”. Listen to it a few times and you’ll discover really interesting things.

Bayan: Follow us on Instagram and Facebook for cool and fun updates every Saturday!

HM: Thank you very much for interviewing us!

“Loss of Contact with Reality” is available as digital download and CD directly from the band, here.

Zombie Strippers from Hell

Interview with ZOMBIE STRIPPERS FROM HELL

Zombie Strippers From Hell is Dr. Satan and Mark Twain, and they are my new favorite band. You will probably think “how come that someone with such band name and pseudonyms can even be real or serious about music,” but the fact is that the duo makes some pretty dope music. Hear it yourself.

So, Dr. Satan and Mark Twain completed work on their debut album entitled “Tales From the OtherSide,” with drums recorded by Decapitated’s Michal Lysejko, and it was released on December 1st.

Doctor and Twain talked with me about the album, and more.

Alright, first thing is first. Before we dive into all the music stuff, how’s life?

Everything is great, we have some holidays now so everyone have some time to spend with family, friends etc etc. nowadays lack of time can hurt our relationships so every free time we like to spend with our beloved.

Tales from the Other Side

Speaking of new music, you have an album. What can people expect from “Tales from the Other Side”?

It’s our full-length debiut and it shows our musical diversity – we like mixing up some tunes and for us its really important to put every tune we like in our music with freedom of creation. So if You like all kinds of heavy music you will enjoy it.

What was it like working on the album?

It was great but very stressful time. We did all the preproduction stuff at our home DeepOne Studio in Pszczyna – so at the “real” studio (HugeStudio) we was prepared enough to make things nice and smoothly. Bartosz Góra (our engineer & producer & friend) knows us very well so we put all tracks very fast. Michal Lysejko is so talented and skillful drummer so working with Him was a pleasure and joy. The hardest way for us because we did everything by ourselves, was to create our sound – but we were challenging ourselves very hard so the mixing was the longest part and the most nervous. From one side we were like schoolboys in the new school with our music and our knowledge about whole process but from the other side we had strong consciousness about who we are and where we want to be. And Michal pushed us really hard but now You can hear the results – we are very happy with them.

Zombie Strippers From Hell

Are there any touring plans in support to “Tales from the Other Side”?

Now we’re in the middle of preparing new lineup cause we had some troubles in the past. We’re looking for talented guys to play with us and maybe in the near future You’ll see the Zombie Strippers from Hell live with new material.

While we are on the subject of touring, what countries would you love to tour?

First of all, because we don’t have any contract and other commitments when the time will come we want to do some concerts in Poland. We have some good friends waiting for us, to see us live on the  stage. Then, who knows what will happen?

Who and what inspires you the most?

Lyrically Howard Philip Lovecraft and his work; horror b-movies and cult classic like Friday the 13th; Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Halloween… Musically everything from classic punk like Misfits; old school heavy metal (Iron Maiden, Helloween) to new modern classic like Slipknot, Killswitch Engage, Machine Head… We listen to very different music – both of us have some very opposite beloved bands but we’re open minded and that’s most important for us when we create our own music.

What other genres of music do you listen to? Have any of the other genres you listen to had any impact on your playing?

Yeah, Mark Twain listen a lot of Dream Theater and Mr. Petrucci has a real impact on him. And Disco from ’90s is a perfect fit for us when we’re dancing :)

I really appreciate you giving us your time today. Is there anything else you would like to tell us and the fans before we wrap things up?

Yeah – read the Lovecraft, listen to Zombie Strippers from Hell and enjoy Your life!

Links:

Bandcamp

Facebook

Anubis

Interview with Robert James Moulding of ANUBIS

Sydney’s Anubis released their fourth studio album The Second Hand earlier this year. Lead vocalist Robert James Moulding speaks for Progstravaganza about his musical beginnings, working on the new album, Prog in Australia, and more.

Let’s start from your early music beginnings. How did your musical career begin? When did you start playing? Which groups have been your favorites as a young man? Please tell us something more about your early life.

I started playing music during the early years of high school – in friend’s garages! It was one of the only things that kept me interested during that period. My friends and I would skip the last class of the day so we could get in an extra hour of playing together. It was during that time I only ever listened to Punk music. NOFX, Bad Religion, Pennywise anything from the States I’d just eat up. I never really fitted in, I’d emigrated from the UK to Australia at a young age and whilst culturally it’s similar there was still a slight disconnect I felt, socially.

How did you go about forming Anubis? Who was the most influential when the band started its musical journey?

Dave who plays keys and I started the band whilst we worked at a pizza place together. A mutual friend of ours had passed away whilst holidaying in Canada and as a way of dealing with the grieving process we decided to write some songs and create a concept record. Dave was schooled in music all the way to a university level, I simply had my garage background but we managed to find a middle ground. By this time I had switch to the dark side and was heavily into prog but we had different approaches to creating music. I’d say Dave was the main driving musical force on the first record, he had far superior writing skills and theory knowledge.

Robert James Moulding

Robert James Moulding

In the beginning, did you have some “fixed” tempo in composing songs or everything was a product of jamming, improvising?

Dave, his brother Steve and I were the initial three members of the band. We decided to bring all of what we had written separately together in the room and play out what we had. During that time we would jam and improvise new bits and pieces. We were writing to a strict story and concept so it was like putting the right songs together with the right chapter of the story. It sounds harder then it is, in fact it can make it far easier.

How would you describe Anubis’ music on your own?

I would say it’s a conscious effort to create ‘progressive rock’ but with a slightly modern edge. We all love a lot of modern artists as well as the classics from the 70s and 80s. It makes it more interesting that way. There are a few acts today that attempt to write exclusively in the style of the classic prog bands, and emulate the whole sound, visuals, face makeup, but that’s not our thing at all.

Anubis - The Second Hand

Your new album, The Second Hand, is a follow-up to the critically acclaimed 2014 release Hitchhiking to Byzantium. Have you felt any pressure while working on The Second Hand because of that?

No, not at all. If there is pressure we like to use it in a positive manner. It can create a lot of fuel for your fire if you feel that your back is against the wall. If HTB was acclaimed by the critics it only encouraged to try harder.

What has changed for Anubis when it comes to writing new music — The Second Hand in particular?

The major difference with this record compared to the last is when we got back together to start none of us brought anything to the table. All we had was our instruments in front of us and a large blank canvas. The concept and story had come before the songs. did, it seems to be the way we write concept albums. Maybe one day we will reverse the process, who knows?

You label your music as cinematic progressive rock. What makes it “cinematic”? You pay attention to atmospheric and ambient elements. How important it is for the structure of your songs?

The ‘cinematic’ description came from the early days when we were showing people the material. It was the main thing that kept coming back to us. A lot of what we do benefits from a story and structure and we like to add cinematic-sounding elements – sound effects, atmospheres. It helps push the narrative along and create an atmosphere connected to the story. People have been doing it for years, it’s nothing that new.

How do you see the Australian progressive rock scene. There has been many, many great bands coming from Australia in the recent years. It seems that you guys love prog over there.

Well actually, it’s kind of the opposite. Prog is very much niche and underground over here in Australia. There isn’t a large audience for it and doesn’t get played by large radio stations. Even the indie stations find it a little embarrassing. The reason there maybe be an influx of artists coming over to Europe and America is that’s where most of our audiences live. It’s quite rich in talent and is growing but we find ourselves trying to find ways to grab the attention of people on the other side of the globe.

Do you guys consider yourselves a part of any specific cultural movement, however peripheral?

I don’t see the culture of music in Australia changing anytime soon. So probably not. I do feel the music industry does a lot to get involved in social and political matters. These are certainly things we feel quite strongly about and have no issue using our music to promote something positive socially or culturally. Like we did on The Second Hand.

Anubis

Are you also involved in any other projects or bands beside Anubis? I know that Douglas Skene is also in Hemina, another cool prog band.

Not at the moment. All my energy finds its way into Anubis in one way or another. It’s were I find I’m most driven towards artistically. I know for Doug Hemina was something different he felt he needed to express, it has the added advantage of including his wife Jess on bass too.

So, what comes next for Anubis?

2018 will see us return to Europe playing Night of the Prog festival in Loreley. We will be playing other shows dotted around the continent once it’s all finalised. Hopefully we have a surprise up our sleeve for our fans as well.

Order The Second Hand from Bandcamp. Keep in touch with Anubis via Facebook or Twitter.

The Mercy Stone

Interview with THE MERCY STONE

The Mercy Stone is a 12-piece ensemble that is breaking the boundaries between the worlds of rock, jazz, and classical music. Performing all original instrumental compositions, The Mercy Stone’s music possesses all the intricacies of a finely tuned contemporary-classical chamber ensemble and the energy of a high-octane rock band.

Back in September, the ensemble released their debut album titled “Ghettoblaster,” and we talked with guitarist, composer and the man behind The Mercy Stone, Scott Grady.

Alright, first thing is first. Before we dive into all the music stuff, how’s life?

Thanks for asking. Things are great – feeling happy to talk about our music today!

Speaking of new music, you have an album. What can people expect from “Ghettoblaster”?

This album fuses aspects of “classical” music composition with a rock-based aesthetic. I imagine that most of the people engaging with this album would be coming from a listening background that was largely rock/pop oriented with most of their “classical” music experience coming from background music in movies or television. On many tracks, I think that the surface elements of the music would quickly convey a good idea of where we are coming from artistically. My hope is that, without any sort of pretense, the raw elements of the music are compelling enough to draw listeners in for a deeper listen. There are elements in “classical” composition that most popular music doesn’t really deal with, generally. While it is not necessarily important to me that anyone hear the music and correctly identify the octave cannon with augmented rhythmic values (sorry to geek out there for moment), it’s fun to think that they might hear it and just feel the tremendous groove it creates.

Ghettoblaster

What was it like working on the album?

We started recording the album with only a few pieces composed from beginning to end. But once the recording process began, the rest of the material really started to flow. Each individual track and the album as a whole came together very organically in what I could jokingly call a very long drawn out stream of consciousness process. Even though the album was written and recorded over many months, there was still definitely an aspect of just excitedly and blindly seeing where the music would lead without an extremely specific plan.

We were fortunate to work with some very patient engineers/producers who helped immensely in getting the sound of the record into its final form. I think mixing was a big headache for all of us. The instrumentation of the group along with the subtleties of the arrangements presented some pretty daunting challenges in this regard. There were moments along the way where I would feel like the entire project was a failure because we just couldn’t get the mixes right. It’s hard to put into words how great it feels to be on the other side of that process with a finished record that you love.

Are there any touring plans in support to “Ghettoblaster”?

Absolutely. At the moment we are polishing the material from the album, along with some new music, for live performance and will start gigging regionally in southern California in the near future.

While we are on the subject of touring, what countries would you love to tour?

I’m looking forward to taking The Mercy Stone to every corner of the globe where we can reach people with our music. The dream of being able to see the world as a touring musician versus simply a tourist is quite intoxicating.

Who and what inspires you the most?

Authenticity in any form is inspiring to me. Lloyd Rodgers was a composer and a composition professor of mine. He once took a written copy of a piece I was working on and threw it on the ground in disgust because he felt that I wasn’t writing music that was true to what he knew of my musical/artistic inclinations. He was enraged at this thought. Any student of Dr. Rodgers would not be the least surprised by this story. I’m still not sure that I agree with him completely in that instance. But, god, I loved that guy. He recently passed and I’m quite sad that I never got to share the music from this album with him. The piece, Conception, was directly inspired by my time studying counterpoint with him.

What other genres of music do you listen to? Have any of the other genres you listen to had any impact on your playing?

Being a lifelong musical omnivore, there is music from almost every genre I have encountered that has been influential and inspiring. Though this album primarily deals with the synthesis of rock and classical elements in an instrumental setting, I’m still a sucker for a great song. I’m way late in discovering the music of Elliot Smith. His music is just brilliant. There’s a lot of classic rock that has a special place in my heart. I just re-listened to Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon for the first time in about 5 years and it filled me as completely as the first time I heard it.

I’m also fortunate enough to have creative people in my life that are of great inspiration to me, musically. My bandmate, Emmanuel Ventura-Cruess, has a band called Emael. He is a cellist, singer, and songwriter who is making some of the coolest rock/pop music that I’ve heard in a while. His first album will be out soon and his music is just fantastic. While I was working on my master’s degree in composition, I met another student named Craig Michael Davis. When we met, he was just beginning to compose. He went on to study with the composer, Michael Gordon, in New York and is making some really beautiful post-minimal music. I think we have both taken great pleasure in being friends and watching each other develop as composers.

I really appreciate you giving us your time today. Is there anything else you would like to tell us and the fans before we wrap things up?

It’s been a blast connecting with people who dig our music since we released the album a few months ago. I hope we can continue to excite and surprise our audience with each new musical endeavor.

Links:

Bandcamp

Facebook

Mosh Werner

Interview with MOSH

Israeli singer-songwriter Moshe Werner aka Mosh speaks for Progstravaganza about his recently released debut album “Unbreakable Wall.”

Alright, first thing is first. Before we dive into all the music stuff, how’s life?

Life is good, working hard, happily married, not much to complain.

Speaking of new music, you have an album. What can people expect from “Unbreakable Wall”?

“Unbreakable Wall” is a part of my identity, a way for me to communicate with others.

It’s a brief glance into my life’s journey, filled with a range of emotions.

What was it like working on the album?

It was an incredible experience that taught me a lot about myself, I learned to accept my own faults and be happy with what I present.
It was a long process that had many layers and often was irritating, but that what makes it so beautiful.

I cherish the moments I spent in the studio with Guy Levy, my producer.

Are there any touring plans in support to “Unbreakable Wall”?

That is the ultimate goal, it is my dream to tour all over the world, I’m definitely ready for touring.

While we are on the subject of touring, what countries would you love to tour?

My biggest dream is to tour the United States. I’ve always dreamed about doing a coast to coast trip, and there’s no better way to do so!

With that being said, I’d love to tour whenever I can.

Who and what inspires you the most?

I’m mostly inspired by singers who compose or a part of a band. I search to connect through the lyrics and singer’s presentation.

There are some singers who influenced the way I write and make music, Shannon Hoon is a great example, as I feel his pain when he sings from his heart. I try to do the same.

What other genres of music do you listen to? Have any of the other genres you listen to had any impact on your playing?

I used to be a DJ when I was in high school, I still enjoy that from time to time. I like a lot of genres, it’s not about the genre, it’s about if the song is good or bad to my ears. I can enjoy hip hop and jazz and many other genres, but I mostly prefer rock.

I really appreciate you giving us your time today. Is there anything else you would like to tell us and the fans before we wrap things up?

I would like to thank everyone who has listened to the album, I wish that Unbreakable Wall can inspire people to express their emotions and create.

Life is all about creation.

TEAI

Interview with THE EARTH AND I

Prog Metal Newyorkers, The Earth and I, dropped their debut full-length effort “The Candleman” on 3rd of November, a release that displays talent of this young five-piece.

The group is ready to put out their sophomore album titled “The Curtain” in early 2018.

Alright, first thing is first. Before we dive into all the music stuff, how’s life?

Life is great, thanks for asking. Between the 5 of us, we have a collective age of 476 years, but we’re feeling fresher than an Andes mint after a tubful of savory Olive Garden grub.

Speaking of new music, you have an album. What can people expect from “The Candleman”?

That’s right. The Candleman is a bit of a smorgasbord. Progressive metal gluttons should find enough long epics and guitar noodles to satiate their hunger. But we hope that every listener can find a morsel or two that piques their fancy.

What was it like working on the album?

The Candleman was a lesson in patience and perseverance. This record features significantly higher production quality than can be found on any of our past project’s releases. In that sense, The Candleman is very much the first album any of us have put out that is able to properly communicate our artistic intent. In the four years and change that it took to make this music, we gained a ton of experience in songwriting, recording, and the production process. We truly cut our teeth on this record, and we hope listeners will appreciate the labor.

The Candleman

Are there any touring plans in support to “The Candleman”?

We can’t say just yet, though we always like to keep ourselves occupied with a consistent stream of local shows. For now, we have a ton of exciting video content planned, as well as an early 2018 release for The Candleman’s companion record, The Curtain, which we wrote and recorded at the same time.

While we are on the subject of touring, what countries would you love to tour?

Any country in Europe would be awesome, but we would particularly like to play the UK. A number of the revered titans of our genre—Tesseract, Sikth, and Monuments to name a few—hail from the UK, so we’d love to check out the scene for ourselves.

Also, definitely Japan. There seems to be a market for noodly guitar bands, but I’m not sure we’d make the cut. Right now, we’re just the instant cup ramen of prog. Gotta step up our noodle game. We’re aiming for udon, but we’ll settle for soba.

Who and what inspires you the most?

I think we continue to be inspired by music’s ability to affect us on a profoundly personal level. Though it becomes rarer as our music libraries expand, we still have those occasional ‘holy shit’ moments when we find something truly novel.

What other genres of music do you listen to? Have any of the other genres you listen to had any impact on your playing?

Jazz. Tigran Hamasyan’s music was a gateway for many of us. The world of jazz is a mile wide, and just as deep. There’s so much we can learn from its sense of modal harmony and unique chord voicings, as well as a wider dynamic range than you typically hear in metal. Also, we’ve noticed the chromaticism of video game music start to creep into new riffs. Expect LP3 to feature nothing but 8-bit jazz standards.

I really appreciate you giving us your time today. Is there anything else you would like to tell us and the fans before we wrap things up?

Alright, I don’t have much time. It’s risky, but I gotta level with you. I’m not even in this band. They got me trapped in a cellar, answering their emails while they bring me mashed potatoes by the bucket. The one they call Meerkat always has this ravenous grin. I think they’re fattening me up. Man, they’re freaking cannibbbbbbbbbbbbbbnm,.;’

Links:

Bandcamp

Facebook

Instagram

teai.us

Barry Weinberg

Interview with BARRY WEINBERG

South Florida’s Barry Weinberg is set to release his debut album “Samsarana” in January 2018, a “cinematic rock experience” that is also a semi-autobiographical release that’s been in making for many years.

In a new interview, Barry tells us about what it took to write this album, and more.

Alright, first thing is first. Before we dive into all the music stuff, how’s life?

Thanx for asking… I’m doing incredible! A lot is happening in my life right now. This album is a life-long dream and it’s finally coming to fruition. Last week, on the same day, I received the final physical CD’s and that evening I took my 12 hour overnight Black Belt test which I had been working towards for 5 years. It was an amazing day of fruition of 2 things I had been working on for a long time. Nothing beats achieving long-term goals!

Speaking of new music, you have an album coming in January. What can people expect from “Samsarana”?

Like it says on the cover, A Cinematic Rock Experience. I arranged the album “Samsarana” as a Musical Novel, with each song a chapter in a story that extends from the Big Bang to the Enlightenment of Man. It’s the kind of album you want to put the headphones on and lose yourself on a musical journey.

I explored many genres of music on this album. The main theme of the album is the polarity/duality of life’s experiences, so in many of the songs I combined contrasting sounds and feels to express that duality. In some songs I combined classical acoustic guitar with heavy distorted heavy metal sounds and in one song I transition from a folky, Bob Dylan-esque sound into a 90’s grunge groove. It was a lot of fun finding ways to combine different, almost antagonistic musical styles in a way that worked.

“Samsarana” is a Sanskrit word that literally means, “the wandering,” and refers to the Hindu concept of the endless cycle of Birth, Life, Death, Rebirth, Life, Death…. ad infinitum. I refer to this in the album as “This Vicious Circle” and the last two songs on the album are a story “twist” that turns the end of the album into the beginning of the next replay!

What was it like working on the album?

The album is semi-autobiographical in nature having written the songs at different times in my life. Putting all the songs together into a cohesive story was a profound reflection on my life. It took me some time (almost 5 years!) to get the recordings just right as it was my first album and I recorded it in a home studio I put together. Having never recorded and mixed on my own, it was definitely a learning experience with lots of up and downs. Many times I’d be intensely frustrated and ready to give up, only to have something “click” and come together almost magically.  

My turning point was when I met Jorge Guzman. Jorge is a classically trained flutist and pianist and an amazing jazz musician. He’s been a music production engineer for over 20 years withhis production company, World Beat Group, LLC. He had an ad online that he was a producer who was looking for a mentor to teach what he knew about mixing and mastering. I gave him a call and we got together. The next 6 months was a rare experience… for what started off as “mixing lessons” turned into a collaborative effort that resulted in the finished album. Jorge taught me so much about the “science” and production of music and I will always be grateful to him for all he gave me.

Are there any touring plans in support to “Samsarana”?

Not at the moment, but we’ll see what the future holds!

While we are on the subject of touring, what countries would you love to tour?

I’d love to tour Europe. My wife is from Germany and we’ve spent a lot of time over there. It would be amazing to perform this album in its entirety in one of the giant Medieval castles they have over there!

Who and what inspires you the most?

What inspires me most are stories of individuals who are small and become Great. Stories like the film, “Rudy” about Rudy Ruetigger who played for Notre Dame… or Frodo in “Lord of the Rings.”   Also, People who start from nothing and accomplish great things in the world. You read stories of how Metallica or Pink Floyd started with nothing except a vision and passion and they became the biggest stars in the world. There’s a quote that always inspired me from motivational speaker, Les Brown, “You don’t have to be Great to get started, but you got to get started to be Great!”

What other genres of music do you listen to? Have any of the other genres you listen to had any impact on your playing?  

The two genres I love to listen to and have influenced me the most are ’70s hard and progressive rock bands like Pink Floyd, Boston, Kansas, Rush, Van Halen… and most of all ’80s thrash: Metallica, Exodus, Testament, Megadeth, Slayer. I also enjoy a lot of Classical music: Mozart, Berlioz, Vivaldi. I love music with passion.

Two other bands that have been a big influence on me are Dream Theater (of course!) and Arjen Lucassen’s Ayreon. I love how they take you on a musical journey with their songs and albums.

I really appreciate you giving us your time today. Is there anything else you would like to tell us and the fans before we wrap things up?

I thank you for giving me the opportunity to share my music with you. This has been a life-long dream of mine. I’ve been playing guitar since 14 and now I’m almost 50 and putting my first album out. I put a lot of myself into this album and it is my hope that my fans get as much meaning and inspiration out of the album as I put into it.

“Samsarana” is released in January 2018. For more information visit Weinberg’s website, and follow him on FacebookYouTube and Soundcloud.

Jay Matharu

Interview with JAY MATHARU

Guitarist, composer and teacher Jay Matharu, based out of Uppsala in Sweden, has recently released his debut full-length album “These Clouds Are So Undisciplined!.” Featuring guest appearances from a few musicians, including guitarist Nili Brosh, the record is a must-hear for the fans of instrumental progressive / jazz rock.

We talked with Jay about the album.

Alright, first thing is first. Before we dive into all the music stuff, how’s life?

Hi! Life is great, I can’t really complain. I just came back from a ten day holiday so I’m feeling pretty chilled and re-energized. I’m very grateful that I have the opportunity to talk to you guys.

Speaking of new music, you have an album. What can people expect from “These Clouds are So Undisciplined!”?

Yep, my debut album as a solo artist is out now! Listeners can expect to hear melodic progressive rock instrumental music with many twist and turns that includes elements from other styles such as jazz, pop and fusion.

What was it like working on the album?

It was a really interesting process. The album started out as a project to write and record an album within one hundred days. At the time I was working full time as well so there was many days I was only able to spend thirty minutes or a couple of hours here and there to record. It was a little stressful at times with the deadline but I had a lot of fun and got to experience a whole different way of writing and recording. Plus it gave me a big push into writing music again after a period of being inactive.

These Clouds Are So Undisciplined

Are there any touring plans in support to “These Clouds are So Undisciplined!”?

I never really thought about touring until a few weeks back. I thought instrumental music was a very difficult genre to book gigs with, but recently I’ve been seeing more and more instrumental acts touring. Nothing is booked yet but I’m definitely going to plan something next year.

While we are on the subject of touring, what countries would you love to tour?

If I could I’d love to tour everywhere (laughs). It would be especially fun to get out of Europe and tour Japan or Brazil.

Who and what inspires you the most?

I’ve never had one particular muse; anything can inspire me. It could be music, art, film, nature, people or even my pet rabbit Bellatrix. There are so many ways to experience and interpret different situations, which can really influence the creative process.

What other genres of music do you listen to? Have any of the other genres you listen to had any impact on your playing?

When it comes to listening to music I have a very eclectic taste. I listen to everything except for country music, well John 5 and Johnny Cash is about as country as I go. Progressive and Indian Classical music are the two styles of music that have had the biggest impact on my playing in recent years. I got into progressive music through listening to grunge back in the nineties; the use of odd time signatures had a big impact on my playing. Listening to Indian classical taught me to slow down and listen to how much expression can be applied to just one note as well as a hundred notes.

I really appreciate you giving us your time today. Is there anything else you would like to tell us and the fans before we wrap things up?

I would like to thank you and your readers for taking the time to check out this interview and hopefully my music. I’d love to hear people’s feedback so if anyone wants to connect just send me a message on Facebook, YouTube or Instagram.

Impera

Interview: IMPERA

Impera are a groove metal five-piece from Lisbon, Portugal who put out their debut album “The Weightless” this year, and according to the quality displayed here, the group shows potential for making something greater in the coming years.

Read below what they tell us about the album and more.

Alright, first thing is first. Before we dive into all the music stuff, how’s life?

Life’s good man. We’re really enjoying the moment we’re on now and trying to make the most of it, especially considering we have just released our first album.

Speaking of new music, you have an album. What can people expect from “Weightless”?

“Weightless” is about a character’s journey, in which several emotions are expressed and explored. There are a lot of things going on throughout the album. We try to arrange music around big arrays of melodies combined with a very heavy sound, while keeping a general theme to maintain the concept and connection between the different songs. Our songs talk about how we’re all somewhat responsible for each others social environments, and we try to provide a perspective on that, so there are a lot of different kinds of emotions going on, that can change dynamically with the flow of the album.

What was it like working on the album?

It was very challenging, but it really paid off. Each one of us had a different input to provide and there was a lot of healthy conflict while structuring each song. We took some time to finish the album, and during that time we got to know each other better and grow individually as well. Bottomline, that allowed us to make the best possible music we could together, for now.

Impera - Weightless

Are there any touring plans in support to “Weightless”?

We’re definitely trying to plan a tour around Portugal for starters and then go to other countries if possible. However, things are not as easy in Portugal as they may seem, and since we’re new to all of this, that process is taking more time than the ideal, but we’ll get it done.

While we are on the subject of touring, what countries would you love to tour?

That’s a very hard question, since there are so many countries we’d like to visit and tour. But we think, touring countries in Europe seems the most realistic for now, since we have all kinds of ease travelling. UK, Spain, France, Germany, The Netherlands pop to mind.

Who and what inspires you the most?

Musically there are many bands that inspire each one of us. We cover almost all genres in our personal playlists either be hip hop, classical, jazz, rock or metal. As a band probably bands like Lamb of God, Tool, Mastodon, Gojira influenced our song writing the most. As for the rest, we take inspiration from lots of things like nature, people or even our personal experiences from our day-to-day routine.

Impera band

What other genres of music do you listen to? Have any of the other genres you listen to had any impact on your playing?

Like we mentioned above, yes. There are a lot of different genres other than metal that we listen to. We couldn’t say exactly how those influenced our songs, but we definitely feel that each personal touch and ideas that were given to each song were a reflex of that variety of influences. Music always has an impact in people even if you’re not aware of it, so we can only assume that we’re no different and everything we hear makes an impact on our creativity.

I really appreciate you giving us your time today. Is there anything else you would like to tell us and the fans before we wrap things up?

Listen to album, enjoy it and try to understand it. We’re really proud of our work and of what we achieved in the album and we would love that people could feel something with it, other than just be undifferentiated by it.

Fabrizio La Piana

Interview with FABRIZIO LA PIANA

Fabrizio La Piana is a guitarist and composer based out of Amsterdan, the Netherlands, and “Almond and Coffee” is his recently released album, where he, bassist Bernhard Hollinger and drummer Niels Voskuil deliver an extraordinary performances, creating a release that is both melodic and wild. There is certainly so much for everyone, as this album successfully combines Jazz with Prog Rock, making for a ride that’s exciting all the time.

Fabrizion talks for Progstravaganza about “Almond and Coffee.”

Alright, first thing is first. Before we dive into all the music stuff, how’s life?

At the moment life is great, I am busy with promoting my album, composing music for a new project, and I am looking forward to have enough material for the new album!

Speaking of new music, you have an album. What can people expect from “Almond and Coffee”?

“Almond and Coffee” is an instrumental trio album with Bernhard Hollinger on bass, Niels Voskuil on drums and me on guitar. The songs are originals with improvised jazz solos and some rock riffs. The style of this album is a mixture of jazz, rock, and prog, I would say.

Almond and Coffee

What was it like working on the album?

I wrote these songs with Bernhard and Niels together; we shaped and refined them. It has been a really nice thing to do. I’ve enjoyed a lot to arrange my songs with them, perform them live, and then finally record them in the studio.

Are there any touring plans in support to “Almond and Coffee”?

I really hope so! For now I am working on a couple of promotional gigs here in Amsterdam and then will see.

While we are on the subject of touring, what countries would you love to tour?

I would like to tour the Netherlands and Italy first, as I think it would be the easiest to organise some shows in these countries.

Who and what inspires you the most?

I would say a beautiful tone and any musician with a beautiful tone inspires me.

What other genres of music do you listen to? Have any of the other genres you listen to had any impact on your playing?

I started studying classical guitar, then I got into rock/prog/metal, and then into jazz and blues. I am pretty open to any style of music. I just have to like the songs; it could be blues, jazz or metal… They all had an impact on my playing/musical taste.

I really appreciate you giving us your time today. Is there anything else you would like to tell us and the fans before we wrap things up?

Just wanted to thank you for asking these questions and many thanks to anyone checking out my music!

Visit Frabrizio La Piana’s website here.