ARTUR BARYSHEV Talks Debut Album “Voices from the Past”

Back in December, you launched an album entitled “Voices from the Past.” How do you feel about the release? 

I feel like I have reached a certain milestone. This is my debut album of my own music. I have been a video game composer and sound designer for many years, and it was hard to find time for my stuff. Finally, I was able to do it. I feel satisfied. And I hope people like the result. In many ways, it depends on this whether I will actively continue such musical activities. On the other hand, I am a little cunning, because I’m already preparing material for the next album. However, I wanted to add some drama.

How much of a challenge was it to work on the album?

It was difficult to find time for one music while writing other music. For several years, while bit by bit preparing this album, I was engaged in the recording of the orchestra for video game projects (Cinderella: New Story and Modern Warships to name a few) and the sound design of many projects, including Mobile Legends franchise. Without even a primary musical education, I was engaged in creating arrangements and even creating scores for the orchestra, recording with wonderful people from the Budapest Scoring Orchestra (by the way, in my plans for the future there is an item “record an album with a live orchestra”). In addition, I am the father of two children. And I hope you can imagine how difficult it is to fit into this schedule the creation of deeply personal music, and what a challenge it was for me.

Speaking of challenges, have you set any in the early phase of what has become the final result?

The main challenge for a guitarist (and I am a solo guitarist primarily) is maintaining the skill. If you do not practice the guitar professionally and constantly, then the skill will undoubtedly fall. I practice every day for several hours, so as not to waste it. The writing of this album allowed not only to leave the skill at the same level, but also to strengthen it, what should be reflected in the next album, which will be devoted mainly to guitar music.

Otherwise, I tried not to set myself any tasks initially. The album began spontaneously with a few unrelated singles, but soon grew into something more, which has now taken shape and is available for everyone to listen to. And it’s wonderful!

Tell me about the different instrumental aspects that you explore on these songs.

As I already said, I have no musical education and I had a very little experience of working with musicians. On this album, I worked with a saxophonist on two tracks, and it was interesting and instructive. First, I did a mini-casting. It turned out that choosing a saxophonist who understands your music is quite difficult. I went through four musicians before I found the right sound. Then I realized how diverse the approach to music could be, depending on the personality of the musician, his taste and style of playing. It may sound trite to many, but live music is called “live” because it breathes and has a billion nuances. In future releases, I plan to use as many live musicians as possible. At this stage, I play almost all the instruments myself. It was extremely interesting to explore and apply them in the process.

What is your opinion about the progressive rock scene today? 

I learn about many progressive rock bands by accident. For example, I found out about “The Dear Hunter” by stumbling upon their vinyl cover on the web, I liked it, after which I began to listen to their album, and only then I thought “damn, why didn’t I know about them before?” My opinion is that progressive rock has too few listeners these days. Critically few! And this needs to be corrected. It is hard to say how to do it, but we, as musicians, will try to do our best. Do you notice how various prog rock, fusion and city pop albums from the 70s and 80s are now popping up on YouTube and gaining new life? It is kind of a renaissance, the music is finally finding its audience after decades, and it is sad and beautiful at the same time. Accordingly, there is a chance that our albums will find their audience over the years. Or will it happen now? You decide.

Let me know about your influences—the artists that in a way shaped and continue to shape your music.

As a guitarist, I have to say that my main influence was naturally guitarists. Since childhood I admired Yngwie Malmsteen, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani. Now, if you suddenly ask “who is the best guitar player in the world?” without hesitation I will answer “Guthrie Govan”. These are the people who shaped my approach to guitar solos. As for the music in general, I like a wide range of genres, from pop to heavy metal. I am also fond of video games and movie soundtracks. Surprisingly, with all of the above, in recent years I just fly away from Tatsuro Yamashita. This is, perhaps, my main musical ideologist and a person who needs to be equal musically.

If we talk about my favorite progressive rock, jazz and fusion bands, then these are The Dear Hunter, Snarky Puppy, Casiopea, Kansas, Tropea, Kingo Hamada, Jeff Lorber Fusion to name a few.

What are your top 5 records of all time?

The Dear Hunter – Act IV: Rebirth in Reprise (2015)

Snarky Puppy – We Like It Here (2014)

Guthrie Govan – Erotic Cakes (2011)

Tatsuro Yamashita – For You (1982)

Casiopea – Casiopea (1979)

Besides the release of “Voices from the Past” are there any other plans for the future?

Working more with live symphony orchestras and video game soundtracks is my passion. Record the next album with a focus on virtuoso guitar solos (work in progress). Record my own album with an orchestra. To work more with different musicians, to participate in collaborations if possible. To travel more and gain emotions, then to express them with the help of music. To live and enjoy life itself.

“Voices from the Past” is out now, and is available from Bandcamp.

An Interview with SCIOLENT

Sciolent is a one-man art rock band based in Germany who recently launched a new album entitled “Chiaroscuro.” The 11-track release sees the young musician delving deep into a unique blend of alternative music, progressive rock, and even shoegaze.

Speaking for Progarchy, Sciolent talks about what it took for him to come up with the release. Find out more below.

You launched an album with Sciolent entitled “Chiaroscuro” back in December. How do you feel about the release? 

I was and still am very proud of it. It’s been in the making for a long time and finally releasing it into the world was a strange but rewarding feeling. I received some lovely positive feedback for it and that makes me happy of course. What’s great as well is that I’m still really content with it myself – it’s already my fifth album, but it might be the first one that I still enjoy listening to even after it’s put out. I spent a lot of attention to the compositions and arrangements down to the details and it seems to pay off.

How much of a challenge was it to work on the album?

Quite a big one, to be honest. I started teaching myself how to play guitar and bass during the making so that I could record all instruments except the drums on my own. Doing that, writing and recording the songs, producing, mixing and mastering it all would have already been a challenge, but to do it all while going to university and working on my Bachelor’s thesis and other projects was a wild ride as you can probably imagine. I don’t regret any of it though, it was a lot of fun and especially during lockdown it helped me cope with what was going on and find some meaning and inspiration.

Speaking of challenges, have you set any in the early phase of what has become the final result?

I simply wanted to reach my current potential in composing and arranging and I think I managed to do that. The advantage of taking your time with such a project instead of racing towards a deadline is that by the end you have a much bigger collection of songs to choose from, so you can pick the very best out of them and don’t have to include fillers.

Tell me about the different instrumental aspects that you explore on these new songs.

Well, a lot of it is centered around the interplay of neo-romantic piano figures and spacey guitars. You can hear that combination on songs like Balliamo Sott’Acqua, Our Worst Fears Realized or Slowing Down Time for example. From time to time there are also heavier passages where everything sort of erupts to counteract that melancholic dreamy vibe of the softer parts of the album. With the basslines underneath I tried to play quite melodically (without being too flashy) and weaved in some counterpoints here and there. And for the drums I wanted to find a good compromise between compelling groove and creative drumming – I’m not a drummer so I had to play that on my MIDI keyboard and I don’t know how playable these rhythms would actually be, but I think they feel good in context with the other instruments.

What is your opinion about the progressive rock scene today? 

That’s a tough question for me because I haven’t been too invested in that scene over the last couple of years. I love that Porcupine Tree got back together, Closure / Continuation was a great album and seeing them live was a huge highlight and bucket list experience for me. It’s also great to see what some of the young British bands like Black Country, New Road or black midi are doing. I think there’s a lot of progressive or avantgarde spirit in there, even if some people see them more in the post-punk field. Those genre boundaries seem to become obsolete anyway though, it’s just good to know that exciting new music is being made and – even better – people are actually listening to it!

Let me know about your influences—the artists that in a way shaped and continue to shape your music.

Some of my longstanding influences include bands like Muse, Radiohead, Oceansize, Porcupine Tree, Pink Floyd, King Crimson and Talk Talk. Muse for example were the band that became my introduction to the world of ambitious rock music when I was a kid so they will always have a special place in my heart. For this new album, I think especially Oceansize were a big influence – when I discovered them three years ago, I couldn’t stop listening to them for months. Effloresce and Frames are two of my favourite albums of all time, they just click with me on so many levels and some passages on “Chiaroscuro” are referencing them a little bit.

As of lately, I’ve also been listening to a lot of shoegaze which found its way into “Chiaroscuro” in terms of sound design and dream-like atmosphere. My favourites in that genre are Slowdive and Curve, but there has been and still is loads of talent across so many bands and artists.

Other bands I’ve been digging recently are Wolf Alice, the aforementioned Black Country, New Road, Jockstrap and Just Mustard.

And then there’s also bands and artists that belong more to the pop spectrum like Depeche Mode or Lana Del Rey that I admire. Developing a sensibility for a really good pop song is an extremely important skill to have as a songwriter in my opinion.

What are your top 5 records of all time?

The list changes from time to time, but at the moment it probably looks like that:

  1. Oceansize – Effloresce
  2. Steven Wilson – Hand. Cannot. Erase.
  3. Muse – Origin of Symmetry
  4. Radiohead – OK Computer
  5. Oceansize – Frames or Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon (can’t decide, both deserve a top 5 spot!)

Besides the release of “Chiaroscuro” are there any other plans for the future?

I’m looking forward to potentially play some of my music live, although solid plans about that have yet to be made. Also I’m pretty much constantly coming up with new music, so maybe there will be more of that as well. I don’t think there will be another full album this year, but an EP or some singles are possible. Stay tuned!

“Chiaroscuro” is available from Bandcamp.

VENTIFACTS’ Mixture of Unconventional and Catchy on “Chronic Town” is a Rewarding Experience

“Chronic Town” by Brattleboro, Vermont-based Ventifacts is an experimental rock album that explores the world of microtonal music. The band’s use of unconventional tunings and scales creates a sound that is both familiar and alien, with each track taking the listener on a journey through a variety of musical landscapes.

The record opens with “Wolves, Lower,” a track that sets the tone for the rest of the album with its blend of pounding drumwork, courtesy of Connor Reilly, and intricate microtonal melodies by guitarists (and also singers) Damon Waitkus and Been Spees, as well as bassist Oliver Campbell. The band’s use of unconventional tunings and scales is particularly noteworthy, with each track featuring a unique and distinct sound.

One of the standout tracks on the album is “1,000,000,” which showcases the band’s ability to create complex and dynamic compositions that incorporate elements of microtonal music. Ventifacts’ use of unconventional chord progressions and dissonant intervals adds a layer of tension and unease that is truly unique.

The production on “Chronic Town” is excellent, with each instrument and vocals given a clear and distinct place in the mix. The use of unconventional tunings and scales is also well-executed, with each track featuring a unique and distinct sound which works extraordinarily well in the song format.

Overall, “Chronic Town” is an outstanding album that showcases Ventifacts’ mastery of the experimental rock genre and their approach to microtonal music. It is a must-listen for fans of “non-regular” and experimental music, and anyone looking for an intellectually stimulating and musically challenging listening experience. The band’s ability to blend elements of microtonal music into a cohesive and enjoyable rock album is truly impressive.

“Chronic Town” is available on Bandcamp.

Chronic Town by Ventifacts

THE MAPLE VERSE Excel on Debut Album “Prove Me Wrong”

Listening to the debut album by UK project The Maple Verse entitled “Prove Me Wrong” ultimately brings a thought to one’s mind that Bartek Kosinski’s brainchild is one of the most promising acts in the alternative rock today. With The Maple Verse, Kosinski has a knack for soaring, glowing mixture of genres thanks to passionate musicianship and directness, but also a tender, intimate delivery in the vocals and guitar as well as an ability to venture into various emotions, even if sonically not much changes.

“Sounds and Voices” kicks this thing off being sunny but ghostly with floating strings that just wander, like they and the ethereal vocals are lost in the world creating a wide-eyed outlook. Towards the middle the guitar/bass combination becomes more direct, making for a liberating sensation. “A Midnight Contemplation” is just an extra level of bombast this time around in the thick, punchy chords, but the overall vibe remains serene. “Just a Bit” is like having your legs in the shallow end of the ocean, the way the reverb-drenched guitars and almost spoken vocals wash over you like you’re in a life-affirming scene in a film and the lavish keyboard bends truly make it cinematic.

Album closer “Human Ways” on the other hand is more comatose with brooding, sparse notes at the start. However, the song gradually ascends with more direct, pouring playing thrown in and its flourishing sneaks up on you due to how close the whole track is. One minute you’re being put to sleep with aesthetic for an operation and the next you’ve woken up repaired. Before that “Fall and Ascend” however injects some liveliness with more swift picking and stompy moments combined with the glimmering tone that defines much of the record.

“Prove Me Wrong” sees The Maple Verse carrying the beauty and skill, and a huge dose of talent. That is to say, this album certainly makes for one of the prettiest records put out in 2022. Grab it from Bandcamp.

An Interview with Vaibhav Bhutani of IOISH

Indian experimental project Ioish, formed by songwriter Vaibhav Bhutani, has just launched a new single taken from the upcoming release. Bhutani talks for Progarchy about new music, challenges, and more.

You are to launch a new full-length album entitled “In Waves”. How do you feel about the release? 

Thanks for asking! Well, I am too excited for it as this I the first time I am making something as big as this, in terms of collaborations with other musicians and producers.

Where does the new record stand comparing to your previous releases?

Well, its more organic in terms of the instrumentation of the whole track. This song is based more on “real” instruments whereas the previous one was more inclined towards this electronic space but still inclined towards the progressive music space.

How much of a challenge was it to work on the newly released single “What You Need It For”?

It was not a challenge but more of a rush, a feeling of being nervous in the starting as the whole line up was new but as things unfolded I started realising what my expectations really should be so I started focusing on that and that is when the fun part started. It’s like you wake up just to do that not because you have to but because you want to.

Speaking of challenges, have you set any in the early phase of what has become the final result?

Well, The past decade has been hard. I had unreal expectations out of music, especially the kind we make, in a country like India where listening to music is a luxury to be honest. Doesn’t matter if its Bollywood or if its western. If you can choose what music you can listen to in this part of the world, I am sure you’re doing pretty well. So making a space and getting accepted by the people here was obviously a challenge but now I don’t see music as a service that I am providing to everyone but I rather see it as something that I can use to let my train of thought out. Apart from that, I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid arthritis about a decade ago when I was 20 but that actually helped shaped the sound of the band so I is it really a problem?

What is your opinion about the progressive rock/metal scene in 2022? 

In India? I haven’t heard many progressive bands that I can personally relate to, rather there are some other bands that sound HUGE. Overall around the world, well we have bands like The Ocean who we got to share stage with which is a band that I love. I got to watch tool at Download Festival 2022 which is an experience I cant ever forget. I mean music in its nature should be progressive in my opinion the verse chorus-formula is for marketing.

Let me know about your influences—the artists that in a way shaped and continue to shape the music of Ioish.

Oceansize, Vessels, 65daysofstatic and Toe mixed with a lot of pop music ranging from Kanye West to Taylor Swift, I love sounds. Everything is inspiring if the intent of the sound resonates wtih you and I believe if you listen properly, and pay attention, there is no way it wont resonate with you until your ego is holding on to something that’s not letting you be a part of that space. That is my belief. For example some people hate bands like Coldplay but they don’t even know why. Maybe its not the band but the memories you keep locked away in their music

What are your top 5 records of all time?

Oh wow! The top position is shared amongst two bands. Here it goes:

  1. 10,000 days, TOOL / Frames – Oceansize
  2. Meteora – Linkin Park
  3. Graduation – Kanye West
  4. Crack the Skye – Mastodon
  5. Colours – Between the Buried and me / Continuum – John Mayer

Besides the release of the album, are there any other plans for the future?

We plan to take this live! I am working on a visual part of the songs too. I am also a huge fan of Amon Tobin and VR/AR stuff so I am trying to incorpate technology and arts like no one has ever done before. Starting off with a projection mapping set which would include some AR elements, fingers crossed!

IOISH online:


IOISH Plans on Hypnotizing You with “What You Need It For”

Indian instrumental experimental act IOISH has launched a new single from the forthcoming album “In Waves.” The music video for “What You Need It For” is streaming now. You can watch it below.

The single, mixed and mastered by Brett Caldas Lima, marks the 10th anniversary of IOISH.

Commented the founder Vaibhav Bhutani: “I always had a vision to make an audio-visual themed album, but I did not have the resources for it. Now that I am done with my degrees, I can just go for it. For this album, I got some of the best people in India and around the world, like Shantanu Sudarshan, whom I’ve known since more than a decade, and I’ve always considered him as the best drummer in the country. On the bass is Nikhil Rufus Raj, a veteran in the local music scene. I’ve looked up to his music since I started playing. He’s a brilliant musician and a great guy! On this particular track we have Meredith Moore who plays for giants like Paul McCartney, Mumford and Sons, Robbie Williams, and Josh Groban to name a few. I came up with the basic structure of the song and send it to other musicians to add what they can to it. I believe that collective effort is what makes something grow! Also, we have Brett Caldas Lima on the mixing/mastering duties, he’s just an overall legend.

As a sound therapist Bhutani realized the importance of music in its purest form which is to be instrumental in its existence. 

He goes on saying: “I believe that as there is nothing or rather no one else that can distract one from their thoughts while listening to music without lyrics. Interestingly enough, I noticed how many people are actually scared to feel something and use certain type of music to escape. I just want people to know and acknowledge what they are feeling as that awareness can help us grow a lot as humans, as a collective group of individuals.

Bhutani already plans on the next single.

He admits: “As I earn from my day job I do need some time in between releases to earn back the investment. The next song is almost ready. Also, this album is divided in three parts (three songs each). This part of the album deals with the emotions that I had to let go of. The next part will be of the emotions I hold on to, and act up in the moment. And the final one will be about the stuff that makes me want to get up and do something with this thing called life. I am working on the projection mapping material for the live set. As I am a huge Amon Tobin fan, you can expect something along the lines of what he does combined with Sigur Ros.

The new single “What You Need It For” is streaming now. Watch the video below, or stream in on SoundCloud, Spotify or Apple Music here.

IOISH online:



IOISH’s sound is a mix of soulful guitars layered with atmospheric textures that are soaked in melodious grooves and riffs evoking a progressive rock feel. The combined elements make for an immersive and moody trip for the audience. One that they can immediately engage with.

Over the years IOISH has played alongside bands like Tides From Nebula, I Am Waiting For You Last Summer, The Ocean Collective, Intervals and As I Lay Dying during their Indian tours. 

DEVCORD: Special Kind of Music

For Austrian musician and songwriter Peter Royburger writing music for his one-man project Devcord is a fun and enjoyable process. And this can certainly be heard on the project’s sophomore release–this year’s GODISNOWHERE. Coming out some three years after the debut Dysthymia, Royburger gives his creative everything on GODISNOWHERE, delivering a powerful combination of progressive and death metal in the way of Opeth‘s pre-Heritage era.

You have recently launched a new full-length album with Devcord entitled GODISNOWHERE. How do you feel about the release? 

I am satisfied and also relieved to have completed the project. Towards the end of the production, I had time pressure because the birth of my daughter was just around the corner. But everything turned out nicely. The album is out and my daughter Mona, who was born a few weeks after the production ended, is doing great!

Where does the new record stand comparing to the debut album—2018’s Dysthymia?

I would say that compared to my first album the new one includes more different styles and sounds. For me, GODISNOWHERE simply is a musical addition to Dysthymia and in general to my musical repertoire.

I do not only make music because the creation process is fun, I also make music to enjoy listening to it myself. Actually, that was the reason why I started Devcord. I just wanted more of a special kind of music to listen to.

How much of a challenge was it to work on GODISNOWHERE?

I am not a professional sound engineer. Finding a satisfying sound is always a challenge for me. Sometimes you sit for hours just for an optimal snare sound. After all, you want to get the best possible out of the record and, ideally, improve the sound of the first album and that put me a little under pressure. In addition, I didn’t want to waste too much time between the first and the second album. I never had this stress with Dysthymia (the first record). In summary, I can say that the time factor was my greatest challenge on GODISNOWHERE. And as already mentioned, my unborn daughter ultimately set the deadline.

Speaking of challenges, have you set any in the early phase of what has become the final result?

I didn’t really have any expectations or set musical frameworks from the start. Almost each song was created step by step, just by improvising and working on them. I just started playing, recorded what I liked and added it to create my songs. So they literally are pieces of “progressive” work.

Tell me about the topics you explore on these new songs.

I am very interested in human behaviour and the dynamics of society in their most questionable forms. That is why there are topics such as decadence, narcissism, antipathy, cynicism, pedophilia in my music and especially on the new album. Most pop songs are about love, I think it is wiser to use music to point out issues.

What is your opinion about the progressive rock/metal scene in 2021? 

I have to admit that in the last few years I’ve become a little lazy when it comes to exploring new bands, although nowadays it is easier to discover new music with Spotify or genre-specific online magazines. And I also have to admit that I´m more and more into the music of the 70’s and 80’s. Nevertheless, I keep finding new “rough diamonds”. So I think the rock and metal scene is in good health in 2021 still.

Perhaps it is also worth mentioning that the following albums are celebrating their 30th anniversary this year.

Nirvana – Nevermind, Soundgarden – Badmotorfinger, Metallica – The Black Album, Red Hot Chili Peppers – Blood Sugar Sex Magic, Guns n´ Roses – Use Your Illusion I+II, and some more…

Let me know about your influences—the artists that in a way shaped and continue to shape the music of Devcord.

I can’t deny that Opeth’s influence is very strong. But other artists definitely also have an impact on my musical work. I’m thinking of Alice in Chains, Haken, Sepultura, Extol, Wilderun, but also bands like Toto, Led Zeppelin, Steven Wilson and Eagles played a little role for Devcord. Besides, I like to listen to orchestral music, which you can easily hear on GODISNOWHERE in the pieces “Silhouette” and “Entreat The Purge”. I also wanted to include sounds from different decades on the new record. For example, “The Lament” and “Scourge Of The Present” sound more like 70’s progressive rock than modern metal. That was really important to me: creating different sounds.

What are your top 5 records of all time?

Since I’ve released two metal records, my top 5 may come as a surprise as there is only one metal album included. But I have to say that the following (unsorted) list is about those who have touched me the most in my life.

Opeth – Watershed

Nirvana – Nevermind

Foo Fighters – The colour and the shape

Silverchair – Diorama

Muse – Absolution

Besides the release of the album, are there any other plans for the future?

Definitely! The only question is when. I’m currently thinking about doing something like an EP for Devcord in the next few years with quieter and more atmospheric songs. In addition, a few years ago I started an industrial metal project called “Optimum 10” with a friend, which has been pushed into the background due to the work of GODISNOWHERE. Now, I can fully concentrate on Optimum 10. All songs have already been recorded. Unfortunately, almost all of the vocal parts, as well as mixing and mastering, are still missing. But I can’t say at all when it will be published.

Any words for the potential new fans?

Welcome to the world of Devcord and enjoy the melodies!

GODISNOWHERE is out now, check it out on Bandcamp. Devcord is on Facebook.

AEROSOL’s JOHN HILER Discusses New Album “Murmurations”

The story of Aerosol, a Los Angeles based progressive rock act, has certainly been filled with ups and downs, as the lead singer, producer and composer John Hiler confirms in a new interview for Progarchy. The band was formed as somewhat a new venture of late Sean Reinert, and just as Aerosol were starting to work on their debut release, the news of Reinert‘s passing hit the music community.

The band decided to go on and finish the work on “Murmurations,” which sees guest appearances by drummers Dirk Verbeuren and Mike Heller.

In the interview below, Hiler talks us through the creative process of “Murmurations,” challenges, and more.

You have an album coming out with Aerosol entitled Murmurations. How do you feel about the release? 

Excited, of course! It’s been a hero’s journey, full of ups and downs, but we’ve ended up with a record that has exceeded all of our expectations. We’re all proud of how it turned out. When Sean was alive, we discussed creating a platform to express ourselves as fully and freely as we desired. After he passed, our goal became to honor him in our work, and finish something he would be proud of, too. He has guided this project from start to finish, in life and afterwards, and it would be nowhere near as good without his constant presence and implicit direction.

What was it like working on the album? How much of a challenge was it to work on it, and actually bring it to completion after Sean passed away?

As you can imagine, working on the album went through many phases. At first, it was the joy of collaboration, with Sean, Matt, and myself jamming and improvising together. There’s a special magic in “harmonizing” with each other’s musical brains without the need for words. After Sean’s passing, we were devastated, of course. We had to reassess the entire project. We knew we wanted to see it through to fruition as a way to honor his memory and his contributions. In fact, it was at his memorial, surrounded by his loved ones, family, friends, and fellow drummers, that the path forward for Aerosol was revealed.

Speaking of challenges, have you set any in the early phase of what has become the final result?

Soon after the memorial, we had to stop everything and go into quarantine. This was another setback, of course, although we had previously collaborated remotely over FaceTime, so it wasn’t completely foreign to us. One upside of lockdown was that these amazing drummer friends of Sean’s, who were all scheduled to hit the road on tour, were suddenly now sequestered at home, with their tours postponed or cancelled. As difficult as that was for them, they were now free to contribute to this album by recording at home. In a way, the pandemic provided the opportunity to have their contributions on these tracks. And for sure we’re all better off for it!

How much creative input did Dirk Verbeuren and Mike Heller have during the creative process of Murmurations?

First of all, please allow me to say how great it has been to work with them. Dirk and Mike are both consummate professionals, and beautiful human beings. No wonder Sean was friends with them. Any friend of Sean’s is a friend of mine. You see, he brought us together at his memorial. If it wasn’t for Sean’s passing, we probably never would have even met. It was there that they offered to contribute to the record as a tribute to Sean.

There were existing demos of the songs, with guide tracks recorded, but that was only the jumping off point. Both Dirk and Mike took those guide tracks and ran with them, developed them, and made them their own. They made these songs better by a couple orders of magnitude. We provided the canvas and they painted their masterpieces upon it. And it was upon these solid foundations that we recorded the rest of the instrumentation, rebuilding each track from the ground up, stronger and more powerful than before. So, you could say that their performances and creative decisions influenced every other recorded part. No small feat. No small feet, indeed.

Tell me about the topics you explore on these seven songs.

While we did have specific themes we were exploring on each of these songs, I would be more interested to hear what you think they are about. Meaning is in the eye of the beholder, regardless of intent. Your interpretation of these songs is more important than any intended meaning. What they mean to you, the listener, is more important than our ideas.

This is one measure of success for any given song, and an example of the beauty of music in general – that the listener derives personal meaning and feeling from the music, giving it more life and depth than it would have had otherwise. You can play one song to a thousand people, but each person will hear a different song.

What is your opinion about the progressive rock/metal scene in 2021?

I’m sure it’s different for everyone. We could find success stories, and we could find stories of failure. My experience in the music business is across many genres, but there are many universal truths about the business in general in 2021 and moving forward that apply to the progressive rock and metal scenes as well.

For starters, I can say that it’s changing. Fast. What worked for the past 50 years doesn’t work anymore. Musicians are smarter and more informed than ever before. Information about how the music business operates is more widely available to everyone. At the same time, there’s more competition than ever before. 64,000 new tracks are uploaded to Spotify every day. This is no longer the wild 70’s of drug use, excessive budgets, and 3 album deals. To operate successfully in 2021 is to be a well-oiled machine – lean, productive, and professional.

Music is no longer the monolithic force it once was, when the major labels were the gatekeepers, and the arbiters of taste and popular opinion. Today’s audience is defibrillated, niche. Everyone listens in their own microcosm, their own bubble. Progressive rock and metal are lucky, in a way, because they have always existed in their own gated communities. They are preconditioned to survive this newer reality. That’s the good news. Also, touring will always be a major component of a successful career as a musical artist, and progressive rock and metal acts have a leg up in this department, as well, since its musicians are on the whole more accomplished and technically capable compared to most modern musical acts.

So, I guess you could say it’s the best of times, worst of times for progressive rock and metal. There are new, greater difficulties of logistics and competition to overcome, it’s harder than ever to break through all the noise, but it is also through these difficult times that newer, greater leaders are born. Iron is strong but brittle, but steel is stronger than iron because it is flexible. How do you turn iron into steel? You light it on fire and beat the shit out of it.

What we hope to do with Aerosol is push the boundaries of what rock, progressive rock, metal, and modern pop mean in 2021 and beyond. Genres merge, bleed into each other, influence each other. There needs to be a new generation, a new variation, a mutation, that rekindles much of what those genres stood for in the past – questioning authority, rethinking what it means to be human, fighting injustice, praising beauty in all forms, and maybe even describing the kind of world we’d like to see someday. Combine that with a love of craft, hard work, and real musicianship, forged into the shapes of pop songs and modern soundscapes, all with the intention of evolving it into the next iteration. It needs to be truthful to these roots, yet also reinvent itself for the next generation. What’s old will be made new again. Reminiscent yet fresh. Familiar yet new and different.

Let me know about your influences—the artists that in a way shaped Murmurations.

How does one summarize a lifetime of influences? Could you do it? Add to that a group of people, each with their own influences, that all contributed necessary parts to the whole, in order to see the whole picture of what shaped Murmurations.

For starters, I was classically trained in composition at conservatory. I am a 4th generation classical pianist. In that world, I have an affinity for late Romanticism, and the French Impressionists like Debussy and Ravel, but also the early purity of Gothic and Renaissance music, and healthy appreciation for 20th century post-modern avant garde composers like Stravinksy, Stockhausen, Cage, and Glass. But by high school I broke out. I discovered jazz fusion and progressive rock artists like Jean-Luc Ponty, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Pat Metheny, Dixie Dregs, Yes, King Crimson, ELP, and Rush, who provided the bridge between the high standards of technique that classical music demands, and the modern instrumentation, song structures, and production values of popular music. Also, my sister was into way cooler music than I was, and it was mostly through her that I learned to appreciate English New Wave bands like The Cure, Depeche Mode, and New Order. The idea that musical emotion could be conveyed successfully without the need of a degree from Juilliard was an epiphany. Back in conservatory, I was also exposed to the life-changing music of Talk Talk, Radiohead, and others who pushed the boundaries of Rock, Pop, Art, and the Avant Garde. After conservatory, my early studio work with Slayer and Danzig introduced me to the world of metal and the power it can wield, and my later work in pop music with Rihanna and Madonna increased my appreciation of the perfectly concocted pop song confection.

What are your top 5 records of all time?

Wow. That’s a great question. Could you answer it? There is so much great music, and every few years my tastes evolve, but if I had to choose, off the top of my head, I’d say Talk Talk’s Spirit of Eden, Beastie Boys’ Ill Communication, Rush’s Permanent Waves, Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue, and Isao Tomita’s recording of Holtz’s The Planets.

Besides the release of the album, are there any other plans for the future?

Yes! We are planning a live show, merchandise, vinyl and deluxe packages with hi-res stems and alternative mixes, plus we are continuously working on new material, with an eye on releasing a follow-up single by end of January. We’re in it for the long haul, and it’s only going to get better.

Any words for the potential new fans?

First of all, I would like to say thank you so much for listening. We know how valuable your time is, and how many excellent options there are for music these days. We are humbly grateful to be included.

Secondly, when we set out to make this record, we knew we had to make a record for ourselves, and nobody else. That is what we talked about with Sean. Our key word for this work is “authenticity”. It has to be authentic or the audience will sniff it out in a second. We set out to be as authentic as possible, given our diverse influences and myriad possible stylistic choices. We made a record that we would be proud of, regardless of any external validation. That is the only path to authenticity, and if that comes across in any way, then we have done our job.

If you like our music, then you probably have a refined, sophisticated ear. This is not music for the masses. We’re speaking to people with greater vocabularies. Aerosol requires a learned palate to recognize all the flavors we cooked into this stew. It is not fast food. And while it might be too difficult for the average punter to digest, for those who can, there is the reward of a complexity and layers of flavor rarely experienced in music nowadays. Hopefully it will satisfy even the most discerning gourmands like yourselves for years to come.

Oh, and I would also like to mention that, in Sean’s memory, we are donating a portion of all profits to The Trevor Project, a 24/7 hotline for at-risk LGBTQ youth. For more information on the excellent but discreet services they provide to troubled teens and young adults, please visit

Thank you, again, Progarchy, for having us on, and thank you to any new listeners who made it all the way through the questions! Enough about us. We’d love to hear from you! Reach out to us anytime on the platform of your choice. Links available here:

THE GRANDMA Talk Group’s New Release “Cure for Fear”

Russian rockers The GrandMa are back with a new release–a full-length album “Cure for Fear,” which as the band members agree is “another door to the unknown.” About what it took to bring the release to life and more, the band speaks in the interview below.

You have recently launched an album with The GrandMa entitled “Cure for Fear.” How do you feel about the release?

Alexander: We’re absolutely excited about the release. It took us quite a long time to get there. I mean this is what we do. Music, rock music is our life and our passion, and now we feel like we just opened another door to the unknown. Speaking of music and generally of arts… Russia is still… mmm… let’s say “not open enough” and when your rock band releases an album worldwide it’s like you broke some shell and found out there’s a whole world outside. 

We are so inspired and up to more and more music, hell-bent to rock. So, it feels great. 

Sergey: Yes, and moreover, this is our first album together, and we got a lot of pleasant moments. I hope that it will be positively appreciated. The album was released worldwide through the new music label Djooky records (USA), and we are very excited about this collaboration.

What was it like working on the album? How much of a challenge was it to work on it?

Alexander: It was actually a real challenge. First of all, we kinda chose extremely “not a good” time to do it. I mean, pandemic had a huge impact on musicians’ lives and the money issues were inevitable during the whole album making process. I literally had to sell pretty much all I got to have studio time and so on. Besides, in the place we live, in this country, to be a rock musician is kinda like to be a strange “out of common sense” weirdo. A sort of social outcast. If they ask you : “what do you do?” and you’ll say : ” I am a rock musician. I play rock”, then they’ll ask you with total confusion : “but why? What for?!”…. Yes, it’s still here. Not as much as it was in soviet times, but still here. I mean, there’s a huge and great metalheads/rock fans community in Russia, but the music itself still “has to be” somewhere from far away, from another world. And in this circumstances, sometimes, it is hard to carry your creative mood and inspiration through this. And it’s very important after all. 

Luckily, inside the band, we have common preferences, and common “beliefs” about how to make our music. We all like analog sound, amps, and searching for new guitar sounds and so on… So generally we had an incredibly great time making “Cure for Fear”. It was so fun. 

Kate: Yeah! It was such a beautiful challenge and I enjoyed the process very much, staying up for several nights and thinking about nothing but the lyrics for this project during a very long time. I can also say that guys worked so hard to release this album.

Sergey: While we were recoding the album, we did not think about the album concept itself. We just recorded song after song. And only after some time we saw the outlines of the whole album and its concept.

All that was going on around us had an impact our music. 

Speaking of challenges, have you set any in the early phase of what has become the final result?

Sergey: Probably not. In my opinion, the main goal for the band was to record a high-quality material. I think we made it.

Mikhail: I believe, we just let the music come out from the inside. And the goal was not to interrupt this process!

Alexander: Well, this is our first record together and despite the fact we all are into rock music, we are still very different. Different as musicians, as listeners and so on… So, I guess, maybe the first challenge was like : “What is it gonna be like if we mix it up?” 

Tell me about the topics you explore on these songs.

Alexander: These songs, in general are about freedom, I guess, about the will to be free and happy, challenges and struggles we all have as human beings. The questions that never get old. Luckily we have our indispensable lyricist Kate, maybe she can say more about this. 

Kate: To be honest, you have already told everything that I would say. I can only add that it was a pleasure to speak through these songs and share some observations of mine about life, people and different experiences. Like Sasha said, these songs are about relevant topics that are as old as humanity itself. Sometimes, though, I was really surprised about the final lines that I came up with, because my main inspiration was a wonderful music that guys showed me. All I needed to do is just “to catch” the images that came to my mind and develop the stories while I was listening to the demos.

What is your opinion about the rock/metal scene in 2021?

Alexander : As for me, first what just came to my mind is “Mudvayne” reunion. It’s just… wow! I am super excited. 

Sergey: I am impressed with the latest work of Dead Daisies with Glenn Hughes!!! It’s super cool!!! And they’re already on tour… I’d like to meet them one day. 

Mikhail: I guess, rock music in general became more popular in the last few years. I think it’s the most emotional genre of modern music. After 2020 lockdown, after all those things, 2021 felt so special. Concerts, festivals, new releases, it’s like a silver lining we’ve been waiting for so long.         

Let me know about your influences—the artists that in a way shaped your work.

Alexander : This is definitely gonna be a huge list. I mean if gonna talk about what shaped each one of us as musicians, it would be an endless list. For me it’s a wide range of styles and artists. Like, from Slipknot to Stravinsky and more… But if we are talking about what shaped this work, the album, I think it’s more like: you wandering around, living your life and you hear and see something. Sometimes it’s little things. And it becomes an idea, musical idea, which grows into a song or your Instrumental part. And it can come from anywhere. 

Sergey: I have always been and still am a huge fan of 60-70s rock music. Therefore, in my list Doors, Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Yes, Pink Floyd and many others from this era.

What are your top 5 records of all time?

Alexander: It’s definitely “Black album” by “Metallica” 

Radzh: Yeah! “Black album” by “Metallica” and also

“Industrial Zen” by John McLaughlin,

“Full Circle” by Ravi Shankar

“Toto IV” by Toto

“10,000 Days” by Tool

Sergey: I would say, Deep Purple «In rock»…  Forever. 

If it is necessary to highlight the top five, then I will add more «L.A. Woman» by Doors, “Wish you were here” by Pink Floyd, “Presence” by Led Zeppelin and “Sabbath bloody Sabbath” by Black Sabbath

Mikhail: “Machine Head” and “Purpendicular” by Deep Purple, “Load” by Metallica, “Revolver” by Beatles, “Physical Graffiti” by Led Zeppelin

Besides the release of the album, are there any other plans for the future?

Alexander: Yeah, of course. Live shows mostly. 

Sergey: Yes, spring – summer of 2022. 

Any words for the potential new fans?

Sergey: Follow the news from The GrandMa. Something very impressive is coming soon

Kate: Let yourself dive into this amazing music flow, share our songs everywhere you can and sing along with the band on their live shows.

Keep your eye on The Grandma.


Norwegian metal purveyors Connect the Circle have a new album coming out. In an interview for Progarchy, Arild Fevang (vocals) and Kenneth Brastad (guitars) tell us about the creative process behind new release, challenges, and more.

You have a new album with Connect the Circle entitled Mother of Evil. How do you feel about the release? 

Arild: I’m very excited about it, and hopefully people are going to enjoy it as much as we do!

Kenneth: I’m proud! This is the first time I’ve been 100% satisfied with everything. Recording sessions, music, mix, master, cover art, lyrics…everything. Mother Of Evil truly represent Connect The Circle in 2021. This is us… like it or not, I’m still proud!

Where does the new record stand comparing the debut album—last year’s This is Madness?

Arild: I think it’s a natural step forward. This Is Madness was our first record together and we have grown to know each other a bit better this time around. We spent more time on the whole process, and we’ve added strings, organ etc. to broaden our sound. It’s more epic, I guess.

Kenneth: Musically this album is a tad more progressive and probably a bit more “heavy metal” than our debut album, I guess. But at the same time more melodic too. The biggest difference is the result of incorporating strings, organ, piano, synth, acoustic guitars etc. We wanted something bigger and more epic. So, if you compare this album with our debut, the main difference will be…Bigger & more epic.

How much of a challenge was it to work on Mother of Evil?

Arild: It was a challenge, because we knew it had to be better than This Is Madness, but I never doubted that we would reach that goal…and I believe we have.

Kenneth: We have matured as composers/writers. We worked our way through the “trial & error phase” with “This Is Madness”. Suddenly we had a common view regarding where to go and what to do when we started writing the material that ended up on “Mother Of Evil”, especially me and Arild.

We probably learned a lot about each bandmember as a person during this recording session, and that became some sort of a new challenge. When we recorded “This Is Madness” everything was new. The band was new, we hardly knew Arild, we had never been in the studio together as a band, so we were probably a bit too nice with each other. Too polite in a matter of speaking… This time around we disagreed and argued. If we had an idea or an opinion, we fought for it. Not just during the recording sessions, but during the pre-production on how to arrange the songs and how and where to include strings, organ, accordion, sound effects etc. and the post-production with Peter Michelsen during the mix and Tom Kvaalsvoll regarding the Mastering process. Suddenly everybody had an opinion about this or that, and we had to find a solution to that problem during this process. It was difficult, but I believe we ended up being as fair as possible to everyone involved. A lot of the decisions were made by voting. And if we were 2 vs 2, we included our Co-producer Peter Michelsen regarding that decision. I guess it became a bigger challenge than we expected, but we learned a lot and failed several times too. We were more mature when we started working on “Mother Of Evil” compared to “This Is Madness”, but we are going to be even more mature the next time around.

Speaking of challenges, have you sent any in the early phase of what has become the final result?

Kenneth: No. Our music is constantly changing all the way up to the final recording. It’s kind of a back and forth, back and forth process to create a final product that represent the entire story. If someone heard the first draft of “Flat Moon Army” or “1519” they probably wouldn’t be able to recognize those songs at all.

We always keep it to ourselves. A few of our closest family and friends have heard some of the early work, but no one have a copy of any of the songs yet. Not even the guest musicians on the album. In other words, no bootlegs available he he.

Tell me about the topics you explore on these new songs?

Arild: It’s about rage, space, revenge, conquest, fake news, digital shades, bravery, and hope.

Kenneth: The topics are madness, sadness, war, stupidity and sci-fi! Arild writes all the lyrics, but it’s usually a twisted tale of some sort of tragedy. I’ve learned about some weird tragedies involving mass murderers like Becky Cotton (The Legend Of Becky Cotton) & John Gilbert Graham (Mother Of Evil) through his lyrics. It’s not a tribute as a deranged fan or something, just a true story from the real world presented in a theatrical way.

The biggest difference is the story behind “When The King Cried”. It’s a true story of a tragedy that happened in Norway on July the 22nd 2011, where 77 people were killed during an act of terror done by one single maniac! A month later the king of Norway spoke to the whole nation about this horrible event during a live TV-broadcast where he also started to cry, and the whole nation cried together with him that day…

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What is your opinion about the progressive rock/metal scene in 2021?

Arild: I believe it’s better than ever. Pioneers like Dream Theater recently landed at #52 on the USA Billboard Top 200 with their new album. That’s not bad for a prog-metal band. And the scene is full of new and exciting bands as well. Just the other day I discovered a great band from Norway called Connect The Circle, you should really check them out, ha-ha.

Kenneth: I love it! I am an old prog-rock/metal fan! I was sold the first time I heard Dream Theater with “Under A Glass Moon” in 92, and I got that same feeling when I heard “A View From The Top Of The World” a few weeks ago.

I’m an old fan of bands like DT, Rush, Genesis, Yes, Kansas, Symphony X etc. but I really love the “new” bands too. Bands like Jack The Joker, Caligula’s Horse, Tesseract, Periphery, Haken, In Vain, Textures, Leprous etc. are also a true inspiration to me and my guitar playing. I always try to check out their latest albums as soon as possible, but I feel like the prog-metal scene is growing these days and it is hard to keep up with all the new bands. It is hard to even keep up with my fav-bands and their new albums.

Some of my personal 2021 prog-favorites so far is: Jinjer’s Wallflowers, Soen’s Imperial, Dream Theater’s AVFTTOTW, and Gojira’s Amazonia.

Let me know about your influences—the artists that in a way shaped and continue to shape the music of Connect the Circle.

Arild: That list is very long, and I listen to a lot of different types of music, so everything from Queen, Roy Orbison, Deep Purple, Genesis, David Bowie, Savatage, Badfinger, Nevermore, Rival Sons, A Perfect Circle and Sam Cooke to Enslaved, I guess.

Kenneth: Oh, that’s a hard one. I have been influenced by so many different bands and musicians while growing up. But some of the bands/artists that has inspired me the most throughout the years in general and since we formed CTC must be Dream Theater, Steve Vai, Ayreon, In Flames, Gojira, Nevermore, Deep Purple, Extreme & Annihilator… and probably Opeth too.

What are your top 5 records of all time?

Arild: Impossible to answer, but here’s five great ones.

1. Chris de Burgh – Spanish Train

2. David Coverdale – Northwinds

3. Iron Maiden – Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son

4. Rainbow – Rising

5. Leonard Cohen – You Want It Darker  

Kenneth: My top 5 changes all the time based on my mood on that day. But I can choose 5 random albums from my top 50 list.

1: Dream Theater – Scenes From A Memory

2: Symphony X – Underworld

3: Ayreon – Y (01011001)

4: Extreme – Pornografitti

5: ARK – Burn The Sun

Besides the release of the album, are there any other plans for the near future?

Arild: Our bass player, Raymond Smith, left the band a few months ago so we’ve been busy doing auditions lately. As soon as we are back on our feet again (and it won’t be long) we will get back out there and do gigs, and we can’t wait! Besides that, we are a hard-working band and we’re always busy writing new stuff and planning for the future. We are hoping to tour outside Norway as well in 2022, but it all depends on Covid-19. Fingers crossed.

Kenneth: A new bandmember, to play at the awesome festival “Winter Metal Fest” here in Norway (January 28-29th 2022) together with great bands like Tungsten, Ignea, Kalidia, Shakra, Frozen Crown and many, many more! Play live again, write new music & start working on the pre-production regarding our next album.

Raymond (ex-bass player) recently left the band, so we can’t conquer the world just yet. [laughs]

Any words for the potential new fans?

Arild: Don’t bother listening to our music once. Give it a few times and it will grow on you, and stick with you, I promise.

Kenneth: As I mentioned earlier, if you want to check us out, you must dive into the lyrics and the music at the same time. Our music is a theatrical journey, and the whole intention is to give you an emotional real-life story. Something worth remembering as a fact. Do you know the distance between our planet and mars? Well… if you don’t, check out our latest single.