Tag Archives: Progstravaganza questionnaire

Septa on Prog Sphere's Progstravaganza progressive rock compilation

Progstravaganza Questionnaire: Septa

Septa is a four-piece alternative rock band from Odessa, Ukraine. Band was formed back in 2006, the founding members were Eugene Tymchyk and Alexander Kostuchenko. Then after long hiatus Septa surfaced again in 2010 with an addition of Alexey Sulima and Alexander Bezusov. Humbly considering themselves as ‘alternative rock’ they constantly endure their music with experiments, influenced by other genres, such as post-hardcore, noise rock and trip hop.

Septa appeared on Progstravaganza XVIII: Transforma and Euegene Tymchyk answered the standard Progstravaganza Questionnaire.

How did you come to do what you do?

It just happened. Since school we wanted to do music together and through years we tried to play with different bands and musicians, and now it just clicked, it felt right. And there is no other way around it now.

What is your first musical memory?

It’s really hard to tell. I guess first gigs we had in some apartments, I can hardly remember, but it was fun. More conscious first memory, I guess, will be first full band rehearsals, pumping drums and bass. It’s really awesome to hear the whole spectrum of a band’s sound.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

I guess, mostly from music we listen, books we read, movies we watch. Our music is such a blend of so many different inspirations, that I think at one point it began to inspire itself.

What message does the song on our Progstravaganza compilation carry?

Message of regret mostly, unrequited love, heartache and everything in between. This song is open for interpretation, and I think any one can apply it to their own lives.

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

First off, I don’t think we know any pre-defined patterns and if we knew I’m not sure we would use them. We even try not to follow our own created patterns, every song has to be different.

What is your method of songwriting?

I can’t call it a method, but what we do is that we have concepts of some songs and we build around it. It’s like this song will be heavy as fuck and we should do here this, this and this, and we carry this concept with us for days, weeks or longer, and then when we have proper riffs, vocal parts and it works well together we do the song.

How do you see your music evolving?

It mostly leaps, rather then evolves. One giant leap from one release to another. We can do post-metal stuff and then at one point we just decided that we’ll record southern rock song. It’s really hard to be our fan.

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

I’m not sure if it’s up to us to give such advice, but if you started a band my advice would be: don’t be afraid of being different.

What are you looking forward to?

Our next album, definitely. It will come out this year and it will tear a hole in the earth.

Links:

http://septa.bandcamp.com

https://soundcloud.com/septaisnotaband

Bands, send your music submissions for the Progstravaganza compilation series to info@prog-sphere.com

 

The TerraZAR on Prog Sphere's Progstravaganza progressive rock compilation

Progstravaganza Questionnaire: The TerraZAR

The TerraZAR is a 3 piece Prog Funk band from South Africa. At the heart of the band is the rhythm section of Clint Falconer and Andy Maritz. The band appeared on Progstravaganza XVIII: Transforma and Clint Falconer answered our Progstravaganza Questionnaire.

How did you come to do what you do?

Andy and Clint were touring with another band, they got talking about the music they liked and liked to play and decided to start a band that was going to focus more heavily on the rhythm section (Clint on bass and Andy on drums) while also bringing in ambient/soundscape on top of the rhythm sections funk. After finding Gert on guitar it was all go.

What is your first musical memory?

I remember playing around with a piano every weekend when I would go to the bowls club with my grandparents, I was probably around 5 or 6.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

We draw inspiration from all the music we listen to or the music we play in our other sessions. We also get a lot of our song ideas from Sci Fi ect, we busy composing a concept album around the Anime “Ghost In A Shell”.

What message does the song on our Progstravaganza compilation carry?

I wouldn’t say our songs carry any message, the specific song we sent in is actually about one line we heard on a cartoon, it was so naughty it instantly made me think of some dirty funk.

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

Yes.

What is your method of songwriting?

Well Clint comes up with the basslines first and then we get a groove and build up from there I would say.

How do you see your music evolving?

We would like to make a grooves even groovier, maybe work more on making odd meters groove and we also want to make the improve sections more psychedelic.

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

I would suggest just finding the things you love in music or about music and focus on trying to be as good as you can at those things while also finding good and inspiring things in all music.

What are you looking forward to?

We are looking forward to composing new music and seeing where this band ends up.

Links:

http://terrazar.bandcamp.com

https://www.facebook.com/ClintFalconerAndTheTerraZAR

Bands, send your music submissions for the Progstravaganza compilation series to info@prog-sphere.com

Jason Rubenstein on Prog Sphere's Progstravaganza progressive rock compilation

Progstravaganza Questionnaire: Jason Rubenstein

Jason Rubenstein has been writing and producing music since 1995. His latest release, “New Metal From Old Boxes” is a return to his progressive-rock roots with a loud, heavy, energetic and modern suite of instrumentals that evoke King Crimson, ELP, NiN, and classical music.

Jason has appeared on our Progstravaganza XVIII: Transforma sampler with the song “The Blow Off,” and he is offering “New Metal From Old Boxes” with a special 20% discount by using “progsphere” as a discount code on Bandcamp.

Jason Rubenstein answered the Progstravaganza Questionnaire. Read it below.

How did you come to do what you do?

I always wanted to create music. When I was a kid, I played woodwinds in school orchestra but also had access to an Arp Odyssey and a Moog Sonic. That, and raiding the local record store with my pocket money for synthesizer and rock albums, planted the seed for wanting to make rock and electronic (old school) music.

In college, I was in a progressive rock band, playing keyboards. We sounded a lot like Rush, with some Yes and Ultravox thrown in. This was the 80s, and prog really felt dead. We struggled, but I absolutely loved playing progressive rock.

Fast forward through more music school, more piano lessons, starting a jazz-fusion band in Chicago, and then a move to Los Angeles where I created a couple of mixed-genre (but mostly downtempo) CDs.  There’s some prog sneaking through on my second CD, and some sailing close to the winds of heavy riffs.  Those projects opened some doors for me in L.A., but those doors led me away from creating rock albums.

I finally came to creating the music I’m creating now, after a ten-year break from making music, because of a conversation I had with a friend. He’s a producer and mixing engineer, and he advised me to just do what I love. He asked, “If you could record one song from your past, which one would it be? Top of your head!”.  First one that came to mind was “The Barbarian”, from ELP’s first record. It just reminded me of being happy, wearing headphones and listening to my record collection, getting lost in the music. So, my friend said, “What stopping you? Just do it!”.  That conversation, and a book I’d read about the creative process by Dorothea Brande, was the final bump I needed to just get my ass back into the studio and do what I loved – making music. And to make music that I wanted to hear, in that moment.

My friend also told me something along the lines of, “Who gives a shit what other people think? Do this for you, not for them.”  Click. For whatever reason, I needed to hear it from him at that time and in that place.

What is your first musical memory?

My parents always had the classical music radio station on in the house and the car, so I remember hearing the usual suspects (Beethoven, Bach, Mozart) all of the time. But my first memory of a piece of music really captured my attention, and grabbed me & wouldn’t let go was the original “Switched-On Bach” by Walter (now Wendy) Carlos (It was a collection of Bach pieces performed on an early-model Moog modular synthesizer).  The sounds and textures were amazing. I was transfixed every time I heard it, and from that point on I knew I needed to get my hands on synthesizers.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

A wide range of things and places that elicit some feeling in me. I got a feeling of suspense and tension from a book I was reading and a movie I was watching, and I went and created the “heist” songs for my album (“Calculation and Walkaway”, “The Set Up”, and “The Blow Off”).

Anger and frustration inspire me fairly often. Something in my life will piss me off, and I’ll go and pound the crap out of the keyboards, or come up with some loud horrific riff and build a piece of music around it.

I’ll get inspired by music to which I listen: obviously King Crimson is a huge inspiration, but so are the 50s Blue Note jazz artists, the 70s ECM jazz artists and the 70s/80s fusion jazz musicians like Allan Holdsworth and JL Ponty.  Classic progressive rock and modern progressive rock is a huge inspiration.

What message does the song on our Progstravaganza compilation carry?

It’s the third part of a “heist” story.  The blow-off in a con or a heist, where you’ve set up your mark and it’s time to take what you came for and GTFO. Adrenaline is pumping, your heart is pounding at a tachycardial rate, your fingers are icy, and you’re making your way, cool as cukes, out. There’s not message, per se, as much as there is a story.

Every song, at least every good song, should tell a story or carry a message. Instrumentals, which are close relatives to the deliberately composed soundtrack, are story-tellers. And stories should evoke emotion, so the goal here was to evoke some feelings.  Excitement, suspense, intensity. Elation and maybe relief at the end of the piece. That’s how I feel about it, anyway, and the story the song tells. Hopefully, everyone comes away from the song with some reaction, whether it’s this or something else.

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

Not intentionally.  But my default, subconscious pattern is A-B-A and, either a bell-curve or a ‘ramp’ of intensity. But, for this project, on some pieces, like “A Burden Of Secrets”, I focused and paid attention to a deliberate pattern – in that song’s case a suite of sections not always entirely logical or connected.

I’ve recently started to write down a more complex pattern before composing the basic riffs for each section. It doesn’t have to be nuts – A-B-x-A-x-C-B-A sounds plenty complicated but easy enough to work through.

Jason Rubenstein

Jason Rubenstein

What is your method of songwriting?

I turn off my phone. I turn off the internet. No email, no texts, no messaging. No television. No reference music. Just me, my gear, and the room. Then, I ask myself “What do I want to hear?”, and “How do I feel right now?”.  Whatever the answers are, that’s what I play. If I want to just hear a Godzilla-sized tri-tone in 9/8 on a 9-foot Steinway, then goddamit that’s what I’m gonna play.

I may flip through a book of scales, or create some weird scale on the spot that serves the sound I’m feeling, and then I’ll start a riff from there. Usually on piano, sometimes on the B3 organ.  Once in a while I’ll fire up an arpeggiator and start there. I’ll riff for a while to a click, and then start to arrange around it, adding drums, bass, other synths.

The absolute key, the most important part of this method is to just create. Create! No editing, no criticism, no comments, no second guessing, no doubts.  Just make music. The editing and critical listening comes later in the process. It’s that simple, in theory. In practice, at least for me, it takes some work.

I think we live in a hyper-critical culture (in the U.S.). Everyone has a snarky comment, everyone thinks everyone else sucks, everyone can ‘do it better’, everyone else is ‘doin it wrng’, everyone just knows what is and isn’t rock, what is and isn’t metal, and so on. Maybe I just spend too much time with know-it-all software engineers, I don’t know. I do know that little voice of self-doubt in the back of my head needs to be smacked-down when it pipes up in the middle of a creative session. When creating, I must ignore the editorial mind – this is a critical part of the creative process of songwriting.

Once the track is in some basic, recorded state, that’s when I’ll go back and apply a critical ear, and an editor’s mind.  Usually a few days or a week or so later. That’s the time to evaluate whether I like the piece or not, what has to change, what gets cut, and so on. And I’ll continue to polish the song until I’m reasonably satisfied with it.  It’s the old quote attributed to Da Vinci: “Art is never finished, only abandoned”.  I don’t try to finish a song, but I get it to a place that I dig, and abandon it for the next song.

Is the music good enough? It was for me. I think I have good taste, so if I enjoy the results then there’s a probability that someone else out there will also enjoy it.

How do you see your music evolving?

Getting more elegant in arrangement, and more consistent in style. There were a couple of techniques I used on NMFOB that I now think were too much. For example, since I’m also a programmer, for one song I wrote some code to create procedurally-generated riffs.  I gave the program a set of parameters for scale interval limits, durations, “fuzz” in the timings and durations, and so on. It was cool to do once, and it does sound good, but it seems to me to be an over-wrought process. Simplify!

The forms of the songs are evolving, too. Smoother transitions, different structures. And more incorporation of the styles and textures from the minimalist school of classical music. The minimalist techniques, if I get it right anyway, really evoke an emotional response from me. I post some basic ideas and experiments to my Soundcloud, and some of those will make it to the next record.

I’m also working on evolving my music by borrowing things I hear from the progressive rock and metal bands and abstracting them in some way. For example, I’ll listen to a double- or quad- tracked guitar riff.  And I’ll ask “Hey, what if I did that with two monophonic, distorted B3 organs? And what if I added two more of those tracks that run through Mesa Boogie (simulators) instead of Leslies?”  So how can I evolve keyboard-centric music, borrowing from and inspired by the work of the current, talented, awesome bands? Great question. Who knows what will happen.

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

Do your own thing. Write. Record. Post it online. Repeat. When you start, you will suck. As you keep going, you will suck less. And as you keep on keeping going, you will get good. Keep going, and you will get very good. And it will happen at your own pace. Don’t worry about how quickly it took someone like Bulb to get good – every artist has their own process. Practice every day and focus in your practice. One day may be scales, exercises  Concentrate! Focus! Other days, focus on riffs. Other days, focus on improvisation. Work on your own voice by borrowing the voices from others. Don’t listen to the nay-sayers. And everyone is a critic, so don’t let that get you down.

Ask for help from people who inspire you, chances are good that they’re happy to help someone who’s eager, works at their art, and is cool. Find people who are better than you, and hang out with them. Collaborate with them. If you’re the best talent in the room, find a new room. And only hang out with positive people, not with people whose interest, for whatever reason, is in keeping you down.

Think of your progress as “leveling up”.  Maybe level 1 is that you sound just like Dream Theater, or Porcupine Tree, or Karnivool, or Haken. Great, keep going, keep creating. Maybe level 10 is that you kinda sound like your idols, but now you sound a lot like you. And there’s no level cap. And eventually, help the noobs.

If you’re not a beginner (for whom the above advise is intended, more or less), then just keep at it. Keep getting better, keep challenging yourself. And listen to everything you can, read as much as you can, and go to art museums. Look for inspiration everywhere – things that happen to you in your life, the weird painting at the end of the gallery in the museum, that one song on Wake Rickman’s album about the 27 wives of Richard III.  Always be recording. Play every day, and get it out to the world. Every day, what’s the critical inch you need to achieve to keep going forward? Find things musically that are hard for you to do or execute, and do them. Then share it. And be a member of your music community, helping and advising others.

As Matthew Woodring Stover’s protagonist Hari Michaelson said, “Inch toward daylight.”

What are you looking forward to?

I’m looking forward to watching how bands like Animals as Leaders, Haken, Scale The Summit, and others all evolve and grow over the next few years. Some of these  bands are so young that I believe their best, absolutely best work is yet to come.  I’m also looking forward to hearing continued work from bands like The Fierce And The Dead, who are just unabashedly doing their own thing.  And, I’m really looking forward to the ongoing work of the other bands and musicians on “Transforma”. Yeah, I know that this sounds like a plug, but I’m not trying to be cute here — there’s a hell of a lot of great music on this compilation, and some new-to-me music from artists I’m excited about.

And, on a personal note, I’m looking forward to creating more music and getting it out there.

Links:

http://www.jasonrubenstein.com
https://twitter.com/jasonrubenstein
https://soundcloud.com/jasonrubenstein
http://jasonrubenstein.bandcamp.com/
https://myspace.com/jasonrubenstein

Bands, send your music submissions for the Progstravaganza compilation series to info@prog-sphere.com

The Beckoning on Progstravaganza compilation

Progstravaganza Questionnaire: The Beckoning

The Beckoning is an extreme progressive / gothic metal band from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada that fuses the aggression of extreme metal with the majestic ambience of gothic music and the eccentricity and odd song structures of progressive rock / metal. Founded by Meghann and Roy Turple and joined together with guitarist / bassist Eldon Loewen, the trio combine their influences together in a songwriting formula that is both unorthodox and organic.

Roy Turple answered Progstravaganza Questionnaire.

How did you come to do what you do?

I grew up in a house that had a lot of music playing all the time. Everything from Country Western to Metal and even the very early years of Hip-Hop when everyone still called it Rap ;)

From the time I was very young I learned to appreciate music in it’s various forms although I can’t say I was too into Country. I was a massive lover of music but I didn’t actually start doing anything about it until my late teens when I started doing vocals. Once I got into it I wanted to experiment with as many styles of vocals as I could. Everything from Reggae to Extreme Metal and Old School Metal,and some Gothic stuff;A weird combination,I know lol! I then got into various bands and projects that ranged from almost Funk based Prog Metal(like Faith No More) to Black Metal and a little Grindcore. Through all the years of being a vocalist in these various bands and projects it seemed we were always having issues with drummers. So one day I decided to buy a drum kit and started teaching myself, mainly for composition purposes.

Even when we started The Beckoning we actually brought another drummer on board because I didn’t consider myself to really be a drummer. Unfortunately things didn’t work out with that drummer. We had time booked in a studio and no drummer. So with only six days before entering the studio I made the decision to do the drums myself. I have been the drummer ever since and it’s kind of reinvigorated me as a musician.

What is your first musical memory?

Elvis is my first musical memory. His music was always playing in the house when I was kid. But I would have to say that it was Kiss that made the first big impact on me and it was HUGE. I was only 4 years old and I was running around the house pretending I was Paul Stanley.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

Various things. The Bible, everyday stress, darkness, a sunset, you name it.

What message does the song on our Progstravaganza compilation carry?

It’s from the Bible and where it talks about how there will come a day when Christ will return and God will separate the righteous from the wicked;the repentant from the unrepentant.

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

Not so much anymore. We kind of start and with a blank canvas and see where the song leads.

What is your method of songwriting?

We take different approaches to different songs but most of the new stuff generates from some composition ideas I have with the drums. I have a structural idea for the time signatures and changes with maybe a few basic ideas for vocals and dynamics. Eldon and Meghann then put the flesh and skin on the bones so to speak.

The Beckoning

How do you see your music evolving?

We started as more of a Gothic type band with tinges of metal. Our sound was very simple and was capitalizing on the whole “pop gone heavy/dark” type vibe of most traditional Gothic music. The only big difference being that we used growls as the main vocals where as most using clean singing. As much as we appreciate that side of thing,our approach to it was a little too simple to keep us motivated. We realized that as much as we liked the hooks we also want to write music that is a little more interesting and fun to play. We now bring a much broader score of influences into our music from early Prog and Metal, as well as faster and more aggressive influences from Melodic Death Metal and Black Metal. I guess I would say it like this – In the beginning we were Gothic with Metal Influences, now we’re Metal with Gothic influences and A LOT of inspiration from the song-craft and eccentricities of Prog bands like Rush, Pink Floyd and early Genesis.

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

I must say I feel inadequate giving any kind of advice on this matter because we’re still so unknown. I guess I would just say to make the kind of music you enjoy and make the most of every opportunity that presents itself. Every now and then something cool comes along.

What are you looking forward to?

On a temporal level we’re all looking forward to getting this album finished. But as much as music is a blessing there are other things are more important. Family, health etc…

We are all believers in Christ so we have confidence that our future is secure in him despite the difficulties of this life. Heaven will be the ultimate joy. That’s what we are looking forward to the most :)

Links:

https://thebeckoningcanada.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/thebeckoningcanada

Bands, send your music submissions for the Progstravaganza compilation series to info@prog-sphere.com

sbl

Progstravaganza Questionnaire: Seconds Before Landing

With the release of “The Great Deception” album in February 2013, the ambient rock collective Seconds Before Landing led by John Crispino has all the predispositions to be one of the best albums of the year. And the fact that it includes Trey Gunn’s guest appearance, with mastering done by 2-time Grammy nominee and Pink Floyd’s engineer Andy Jackson, is just underpinning the previous statement.

Following the project’s appearance on the Progstravaganza XV: Ascension, John answers the Progstravaganza Questionnaire.

How did you come to do what you do?

My musical background began in elementary school. My friends dad was a marching band drummer, and when I would go to their house, which was often. I would hear him in the basement playing what turned out to be “basic drum rudiments”, along with John Philip Sousa records. He gave me a pair of 1′s marching sticks one day, and asked me to join in. From that moment on, I was hooked. It truly was a life changing moment for me… From there, I began private lessons, and then, I was in all of the school bands possible. By the time I was 14, I was playing in the top R&B band in my area, with guys who were in their late 20′s.

After that, I began playing in various rock bands, up until my bass player of that time and I built our first recording studio. Thats when I really became determined to be more than “just a drummer”. I wanted to learn it all. Writing, recording, producing & engineering. We ran that little studio for a few years, and then he wanted to take a corporate job for more security, which I completely understood. It was time for me to step out on my own anyway, and thats when I started my own “No Shoes” studio close to where I live now.

What is your first musical memory?

My first true musical memory, was my mom singing in the kitchen late at night while my dad was at work. I didnt know it at the time, but she did it as a way of comforting my sisters and I when we were little and in bed. Many nights, I fell asleep listening her to singing old show tunes and standards of her day.

Later on though, I was introduced to all of the great R&B music of the time, through a man who owned a nearby record shop, called Turk Brothers Records. They would go into the city of Pittsburgh every Wednesday to pick up the new releases, and bring them back to their store. Like clockwork, I would be there right after school, and Turk would introduce me to all the guys who played on STAX, MOTOWN, and the like. He would even go as far as put on records of guys like Django Reinhardt, Stephane Grappelli, and others. He was wonderful to me, and introduced me to so much music. He passed away a few years back, and I still miss him a lot.

What does progress in music represent to you?

For me personally, it means me being able to do something better than I did the day before. Learning how to use the equipment better. Writing a better melody, or singing a better vocal part. I love music so much, that I wish there were more hours in a day for me. I have often said, that putting the key in the lock to my studio, gets me excited like Christmas was when I was a kid. The excitement level is truly that high for me, and has remained so for years now.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

As a young drummer, without a doubt my guy was Carmine Appice. I have said this MANY times before, but Carmine along with Tim Bogert (especially in Cactus), inspired me more than any other rhythm section. I wore those records out as a kid. My favorite band of all time though is Pink Floyd. Its literally the first thing I turn on every morning as soon as I wake up. Their music moves me in a way that not much else does. Much more recently, I have become a huge fan of Steven Wilson, and also Porcupine Tree. Their music is simply amazing. Not one single person, band or thing inspires me exclusively though.

What message does the song on our latest Progstravaganza compilation carry?

My entire first album “The Great Deception”, was written about one mans journey in a post apocalyptic world. “Instructions” is another step that this individual has to do in order to maintain his life. For this particular part of what he is living, he is responding to specific orders that he is being given… By “whom”, the listener can decide.

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

I really don’t. I suppose, me being first a drummer, I look for a beat that interests me. It can be something I sit at the kit and come up with, or it can be a certain loop I hear or create on the computer. I tend to write better when I have the intended groove in mind.

What is your method of songwriting?

Well, I will say that my method is all over the place. Like I said, I am big on beginning with rhythm, but thats not true 100% of the time. Sometimes I hear someone speaking, and something they say catches me in a different way, and I jot it down. I’ll take a line or 2 I have heard, and build an entire lyric around that, then the music. This may sound odd perhaps, but I have had dreams as well about music or lyrics. I wake up, grab the pen and pad I keep beside the bed, and write down whatever it was I was dreaming about. For me, there is not any one way. I am “always” listening to the things around me… People, sounds, whatever it may be. I never know where my next inspiration will come from.

How do you see your music evolving?

Working on this album was such a wonderful experience for me. Trey Gunn (from King Crimson), is from another planet. The work he did for me on Welcome, To The Future, exceeded anything I could have hoped for. I am sure that is one of the reasons that the track and its video have become so popular. Then to have a childhood hero like Tim Bogert play on a track was awesome as well. Surreal in a way. Plus, my core group of musicians, Steve Schuffert, Maurice Witkowski, J.D. Garrison and Jamie Peck are all so good in their own right, they helped bring out my best on this album. And last but certainly not least, the great Andy Jackson from Pink Floyd, mastered this for me. He was gracious enough with his knowledge and skills to teach me as well. Thanks to all of these amazing musicians, I have learned a great deal, and hope to take that knowledge into album 2.

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

I love this question, and I will explain why. When I decided to do a new album, I went into the studio and worked for a few months on several tracks. Some of them were killer rock tracks, but for some reason, each night when I went home, I would think…”hmmmm, this music is good, but I don’t think its me anymore”. I dont know if that makes sense or not, but it was if I was just going though the motions, writing the same type of tracks I had already written 10 times before. They weren’t moving me as much now. I suppose I could have continued to write, and produce a full album of stuff, but deep down, I wouldn’t have been proud of it. I mean “truly proud” of it.

After ruminating about it for a few days, I went into the studio, and just removed all of the files I had been working on. I made the decision to write music and lyrics that reflected what mattered to me in my life now. To get the message out as to where I stood, and what I believed personally, and if people liked it, fine. If not, I would have a body of work that I was proud of personally. Trust be told, it was a scary thing to do. I spent 2 years, pretty much alone writing and recording, and as the time to finish approached, I was nervous. My advice, if I am qualified to give any is this… Be true to yourself in whatever it is you do musically. Take the risks. Speak from your own heart. You will feel better about yourself once its all said and done.

What are you looking forward to?

From a musical standpoint, I look forward to working on album 2 which I am in the midst of now. Also, there is another video being made now for “I’m All Alone”, which should be out early next year. Music is my life of course, but its not who I am completely. I look forward to meeting more new people through this venture. The response has been overwhelming. I look forward to going out on a tour of some kind after album 2 is done and released. And I always look forward to being around those that I love. Thank you for your support, and taking the time to interview me.

http://www.secondsbeforelanding.com

http://secondsbeforelanding.bandcamp.com

Vermilion

Progstravaganza Questionnaire: Vermilion

Vermilion was formed in 2009 when guitarist Timmy Segers and keyboardist MichaelPenson met and discovered they shared an interest in progressive music. With drummer Tom Vansteenkiste and Tom Everaert they play a unique brand of instrumental progressive metal that incorporates odd time signatures and a wide range of influences including jazz and fusion. Timmy answers the Progstravaganza Questionnaire.

How did you come to do what you do?

I myself (guitarist) started playing when I was 15. At first I was mainly influenced by Randy Rhoads, Criss Oliva and Alex Skolnick. I never had a formal music education but I was interested in music theory by default so I indulged a lot in that. I later became interested in progressive music through Dream Theater and heavier things such as Meshuggah; Animals As Leaders, Special Defects, Chimp Spanner, Amogh Symphony, Cloudkicker, Death, Opeth, Atheist and Exivious would follow. Along with that I got really interested in jazz fusion. Greats such as Allan Holdsworth, Guthrie Govan, Greg Howe, Pat Metheny, Frank Gambale and John McLaughlin still inspire me a lot. I’m also a graphic designer and like works by arists such as Hugh Syme, Storm thorgerson and John Baizley. I’m responsible for most of Vermilion’s artwork.

As for the rest of the band, our keyboard player Michael comes from a musical family where both parents and now also his sister are professional musicians. Michael himself is actually a classicaly trained violin player and also plays in an orchestra. He also got interested in prog metal through Dream Theater and Opeth. Some of his other influences include Queen, Porcupine Tree and Pat Metheny. He’s also an educated music producer and is responsible for the bulk of our recordings.

Our drummer Tom hails from a more funky and hip hop/jazz oriented scene, but his heavier influences also include Faith No more (and associated Mike Patton projects such as Mr Bungle), Meshuggah, Death, Special Defects, Zu, Shining and Hella (Zach Hill). He plays drums in another proggy/groovy band called Carneia, composes some solo stuff and sings in a Faith No More tribute band.

Our bassist Tom was mainly into technical death metal and proggy power metal. Influences include Death, Opeth and Symphony X. He has his own technical death metal band and has done some work in gothic metal bands as well.

What is your first musical memory?

My first musical memories that I really liked were some heavier 90′s cartoon opening themes. Things such as Mighty Max, Swat Kats, Biker Mice From Mars and Spider-Man (1994). I also really liked the Jurassic Park soundtrack by John Williams and the Tim Burton Batman soundtrack by Danny Elfman.

What does progress in music represent to you?

To me progress in music simply means that we should always be open to different and ever changing influences. We should look beyond certain subcultures and see what new things we can create. This certainly applies to the metal scene, where there are a lot of people who would rather live in the past I think. Or at least that’s the case where I come from.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

See question 1.

What message does the song on our latest Progstravaganza compilation carry?

The song doesn’t really have a clear message since we’re an instrumental band. The titles mainly come from how the song is composed or what feeling it evokes. We usually tend to like “strange” and “uncanny” elements in music wether it be by unusual time signatures or weird tonalities so I guess that’s a feeling that we would like to carry over to others.

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

I usually come up with riffs and ideas since it’s still a metal band, which is guitar oriented music, and I’m the only guitarist. We work on everything together though which usually makes it more interesting. Also, everyone is still encouraged to contribute.

What is your method of songwriting?

See former question.

How do you see your music evolving?

There are new influences creeping into our music every day. Game soundtracks is something that I’m also really into. Some of my favorites include Metroid, Machinarium, the Final Fantasy series, Ecco The Dolphin, Chrono Trigger and many more. Drum n’ bass and breakcore is also something I can appreciate. I like artists such as Aphex Twin, Nerve, Drumcorps and The Algorithm. I even like some Enya or Brian Eno from time to time.

I would like to think that our music is maturing too. Lately we’re more inclined to leave the overly technical “cut and paste” approach behind and focus on the song itself (which will still be pretty technical of course).

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

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What are you looking forward to?

We’re looking forward to playing as many shows as possible. We recently played some high profile clubs in Belgium such as the “Vooruit” in Ghent and would like to see where this is going. It would be cool to play some festivals in the future. Euroblast, Graspop, Progpower Europe and Dour Festival are some that come to mind.

Vermilion on the web:

https://www.facebook.com/vermilion.the.band

http://vermilion.bandcamp.com/

https://soundcloud.com/vermilion_the_band

Shineback

Progstravaganza Questionnaire: Shineback

Simon Godfrey is best known as one of the founding members of UK’s progressive rock band Tinyfish. Shineback is his new project where he, with the help of several guest musicians (Matt Stevens, Dec Burke, Henry Rogers, Andy Ditchfield, Hywel Benett, Paul Worwood, Danny Claire and Tamara Tanche), handles all the vocals and instrumental work. “Rise Up Forgotten, Return Destroyed” is a concept centered “on an insomniac called Dora who takes a video camera into one of her very rare sleeping dreams and blogs about what she sees while in that dream-world in order to help understand and maybe cure her sleep disorder. What Dora finds however is much more than she expected.”

Giving up playing live (with Tinyfish) due to the hearing condition that would possibly led him to a hearing loss, Simon “wanted to write an album which came from the heart and chose to ignore the boundaries of genre and not give a damn if it was commercially or critically viable.

Following the Shineback’s appearance on Progstravaganza XV: Ascension, here is the questionnaire answered by Simon.

How did you come to do what you do?

I had no choice. All I possess is a huge ego, the attention span of a goldfish and a pair of 70s high heeled Bowie boots.

What is your first musical memory?

Listening to my mum’s copy of the album Up, Up And Away by the 5th Dimension as a 5 year old. It had a track called Pattern People on it which still gives me goose bumps to this day simply because of the way the vocals blend together.

What does progress in music represent to you?

Anything that ignores convention and boundaries. Tenure and tradition are the enemy of innovation. The one exception to this is chocolate ice cream; that can remain unchanged.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

I have a glove puppet called Harriet. She tells me what to do and I follow her every command (except when she tells me to kill people with her magic axe).

What message does the song on our latest Progstravaganza compilation carry?

The message is in code and if I were to divulge the content to the world, I would have to use Harriet’s magic axe upon all of humanity. This would made me sad but it could improve my chances of finding a parking space where I live.

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

I am a detail junkie so I tend to spend a lot of time refining the structure and instrumentation of the piece as I go. As a result, the music I make is closer to Darwinian evolution than it is to momentary inspiration (although that does happen on occasion). You also have to know when not to fiddle with something when it’s already as good as it is ever going to sound.

What is your method of songwriting?

Usually I begin either with a chord sequence on an acoustic or an interesting sample or loop in my sound library. Both act as the foundation of almost all the music that I write.

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

If you love music, just do it and forget about fame and fortune. I guarantee that you will NEVER be happy if you crave global recognition. Those that make it are rarely the artists they were once they become famous.

What are you looking forward to?

Porn on the internet.

Buy Rise Up Forgotten, Return Destroyed from Bad Elephant Music.