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:

Website
Facebook
Instagram

Background:

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 https://www.thetrevorproject.org.

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: https://linktr.ee/aerosol

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.

Interview with CONNECT THE CIRCLE

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.

Interview with INTENTIONAL TRAINWRECK

Baltimore, Maryland-based progressive metal duo Intentional Trainwreck return in May with the release of the sophomore studio album “Smokestack of Souls,” a follow-up to 2014’s “The Accident.” Singer and guitarist Pete Lesko and drummer Patrick Gaffney speak for Progarchy about the new material, challenges, prog scene in 2021, and more.

You are about to launch a new full-length album with Intentional Trainwreck entitled Smokestack of Souls. How do you feel about the release? 

PL: I feel great about the release. The material on it is solid and none of the tracks are filler. Everyone I’ve played it for so far has had good things to say at worst. I write material for this band which, as a fan of music, I would like to hear. And I think that comes through strongly in the compositions, production, and performances.

PG:  We are definitely stoked for the release of Smokestack of Souls. We’ve made massive improvements in our musicianship, songwriting, recording and production. We’re using more online resources as a mechanism to reach a wider, more-specific audience. This is exciting because we know there are a lot of people who enjoy new and interesting music. We believe in the music, stand behind it, and endorse it passionately. 

Where does the new record stand comparing to the debut album—2014’s The Accident?

PG: Frankly, Intentional Trainwreck has left the Accident in a pile of its own rubble and dust. Unfortunately, we still love playing songs such as “Lunchbox” and “Metric” so we can’t be in complete denial of the Accident’s existence.  In comparison, Smokestack of Souls has a production which towers over the Accident and there are obvious improvements in the vocals, musicianship, and technicality of the songwriting. Smokestack of Souls is heavier; it’s more aggressive; the songwriting is more mature and it is a new beginning. This is certainly a professional effort and we made sure it is something that average listeners as well as those with a trained ear will get into. 

PL: I think the new record blows the debut album completely out of the water. The writing and production on this record is more cohesive overall. I stopped smoking just before the Accident was released and began to focus a lot more on getting better vocals down, which it turns out is a lot easier to do when you can breathe! In general, we were able to avoid a lot of the mistakes that we made the first time around.

How much of a challenge was it to work on Smokestack of Souls?

PL: A massive challenge was avoiding the production pitfalls of the Accident while doing most of the recording and all of the mixing and mastering for the new album. There were so many points when I just wanted to throw in the towel. In particular, during the last year as the album was on the precipice of release, I was working in the healthcare industry which was not getting less busy but rather the exact opposite.  My family was mostly stuck at home and, on top of this, I was doing guitar tracks and some vocal recordings for Isenmor’s Shieldbrother. So, things became rather chaotic to manage. This coupled with the challenges of writing guitar parts, lyrics, vocal melodies, and even bass parts! Because Mike was unable to record a number of bass parts, there are a few of tracks on Smokestack of Souls featuring me on every instrument except drums.

PG: Intentional Trainwreck always challenges itself to write better and more interesting music. It’s not a big deal because we are creative and constantly have new ideas to share. But we still needed to make sure that we held ourselves to a high level of songwriting. And, we know our audience likes to have expectations met and surpassed.  

Another challenge was improving listenability. We know the Accident should have sounded better and we owe it to everyone to improve the production and sound quality on Smokestack of Souls. Pete spent a lot of time on his studio techniques for mixing and mastering. He ended up doing a fantastic job. Also, we never stopped rehearsing the parts, so you’ll notice better vocals, drums, and guitars all around. 

And, the global pandemic was a huge challenge which delayed everything from rehearsals to live shows. We are extremely lucky in that we still have our health, but it has made things very difficult for rehearsing and mixing the music. And we’ve missed seeing our friends and fans during live performances more than words can say.

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

PG: The most noticeable challenge associated with the finished product has got to be the way in which music is distributed, marketed, and obtained by the listener. The traditional process of creating CDs, sending them off for review and making a lot of noise to get people to buy them is no longer the norm. The new model involves digital distribution via online submission of files and artwork which all needs to have codes assigned so that royalties can be tracked across a myriad of social media and distribution platforms. And, marketing through videos and playlists is ever more popular and unavoidable. So, in many ways it seems like we’ve gone from a band creating an album to social media entity associated with music. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it increases the scope of work and schedule of an album release tenfold.  

PL: That’s an interesting question, I don’t know that I had specifically or explicitly talked about it, but I certainly wanted to make sure is that the next album was going to be better than the first one. When I went into writing, I didn’t want to write songs that people say well that kind of neat, I went into the process with the intent of writing songs that hopefully would become some folks’ favorites that they slam on a loop.

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

PL: We explored a lot of dark places on Smokestack of Souls – the uglier parts of society that can crush a person into a tuna can. Inner-darkness tolls on a person. But we also explore some lighthearted subjects like the philosophical deconstruction of what quality is, and even one about playing dungeons and dragons.

PG: There are several topics presented in Smokestack of Souls, and they all come from places close to the heart. For example, the audience-friendly “Basilisk’s Gaze” is a story derived from one of Pete’s D+D games and takes the listener on an epic journey through a fantasy realm. The video for this song adds a level of surreal exploration. “Family and Friends” comes from real-life emotions and situations; some topics are based on political unrest (“Charismatic Agenda”) and some pertain to individual strife (“Kamikaze Tom”).  “Phaedrus” involves metaphysical communication on the smallest levels. The subject matter of the songs usually comes about after the music has been written but the two become intricately tied together as a composition develops.

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

PG: The music scene in general is amazing. We are blessed to live in times when you can search for and find excellent new music in a matter of seconds. Sharing information and music is easier than it has ever been. The progressive rock/metal scene is alive and well albeit a slightly different one when compared to 20 or 30 years ago. There will always be extremely talented and innovative musicians out there; however, today you are more likely to hear music which is heavier and much faster at times than previously. Perhaps you’ll find new bands which are darker and edgier than before. And, the amount of technical shredding today seems to have surpassed that of the past prog-metal scene. But the classics won’t go away either. The founders of progressive rock and metal had something which, to this day, remains quite unique and inspiring.

PL: With the Internet these days, the number of options can be overwhelming! Lots of amazing music is being made right now and I have been trying to make a regular habit of listening to new music as much as I can. It’s a competitive field, but I’m hoping this is one that stands apart.

I’m well aware of Patrick’s involvement with Cerebus Effect, and one of my personal favorite acts in the last two decades—Deluge Grander. As someone who has been involved within the scene for a long time, would you say that the genre has progressed or did it reach its peak long time ago?

PL: Oh, that’s something I just don’t talk about, not since the accident.

PG: “Progress” can embed itself into music in many ways. And, what constitutes progress is subjective. Personally, I feel that progress lies more in whether things like your creativity, conceptual approach and efforts continue to grow and bring forth interesting results and likeable sonic passages. I feel there is an opulence of new music stretching the realms of progressive rock and metal. While certain bands and musicians may have reached their peak, in no way do I feel that progressive rock and metal are even close to stagnant. Sometimes, the distinction between music genres gets a little blurry but, in the end, there is a variety of thriving genres really close to and including prog rock/metal. 

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

PG: This is a loaded question because I am continuously inspired. As mentioned, I believe the world of music is constantly presenting amazing works. None the less, when I was 11 or 12 years old, my older brother’s friend played Jeff Beck’s Blow by Blow, Dixie Dregs’ Freefall and Yes’ Fragile albums for me. That was the first time I’d heard anything outside of pop and classical music. I knew right away that my musical direction had changed forever. Since then, I am thankful for and motivated by so many. To name just a few drummers – Carl Palmer, Dave Kerman and Trilok Gurtu each took me to new levels of inspiration. I can’t say that my performances on Smokestack of Souls sound overtly like any other drummer; yet, without my influences I’m sure my drumming would sound less inspired.

PL: I draw in influences from bands like Mastodon, Gojira, and Devon Townsend Project, and the sound I try to go for is a cross between a few different guiding principles. I mean, it must be, if not heavy, something dark or scary or something like that. I want riffs that bring you time signatures, keys, and scales that you wouldn’t expect, but I like to find a solid grounding element in each song, a hook if you will. I like growly vocals sometimes, but only if they are decipherable? That’s important to me; I don’t want to be just another cookie monster sounding band, and most of the vocals on this album are melodic anyway. I like songs with a complex groove that follows something catchy enough that you could sing it around a campfire. That’s not to say that indecipherable vocals don’t have their place in the right context, but I think that’s not us for the most part. I have these bands that I listen to and I’d say that’s the kind of goal I’m going for, but I am all about pretty much every kind of music. My taste is eclectic in that I like pop, classical, metal, jazz, country, electronic, indie, soundtrack stuff, and more obscure outsider music. I try to do my best to pull from those influences and build that into what kind of strange, but digestible, heavy metal kind of music we do, because I want music that is… mmm, without boundaries, but still with boundaries? Quantum metal, if you may.

What are your top 5 records of all time?

PL: 

Megadeth – Rust in Peace

Archspire – Relentless Mutation

Meshuggah – Destroy Erase Improve

System of a Down – Mezmerize

Alice In Chains – Dirt

PG:

Allan Holdsworth – Secrets 

Univers Zero – Uzed

Watchtower – Control and Resistance

Jeff Beck – Blow by Blow

John McLaughlin with Shakti – Natural Elements

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

PG: Playing gigs is a huge future goal. We really have a connection to our audiences and want to get back in front of people. I love to play live because it gives me an opportunity to give back to all the musicians who have inspired me. 

We have a ton of music just waiting to be formed into songs. So, technically, there is already an album in the works. 

And, thanks to the hope of successful COVID-19 vaccinations, we will most likely be rehearsing and writing together…in the same room! There is a true element of brotherhood and comradery when we work together. It is indeed a friendship that also rocks out pretty hard. 

PL: We’re hoping to eventually get back out and start playing some shows. But right this second, I’d like to reach into the riff box and start putting some new material together. The ideas have been sort of piling up. I just they just need some time to arrange them into songs instead of a heap of disorganized noodlings.

Any words for the potential new fans?

PL: Thanks for listening! I know that it’s not easy for everybody to find the time to listen to new things, and I appreciate them spending the time to check us out. We’ll be releasing some music videos, and I’ll be putting together some play through videos for social media once the album is released. Make sure to follow us on Instagram and subscribe to the Youtube channel!

PG: Please don’t judge us on our past so much as the present. We have come a long way and Smokestack of Souls is a perfect place for new listeners of Intentional Trainwreck to start. Write us an email or hit us up on a social media to let us know who and where you are. It’s nice to know your fan base and it gives us a good idea to where we might want to travel and perform. Also, if there are people reading this article who are unfamiliar with our Top 5 albums, listen to that stuff, too. Finally, be safe and take care of yourself. 

“Smokestack of Souls” is out on May 15th. Follow Intentional Trainwreck on Facebook for future updates.

Interview with SAFFEK

Israeli alternative progressive rock act SaffeK, led by composer Oren Amitai, has just released an animated music video for the song “Mad,” taken from the group’s recent EP entitled “All Too Human.” In support of that launch, Amitai speaks for Progarchy about his beginnings, starting SaffeK, and more.

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

I started like many Rock lovers of my age group with the first album of Linkin Park when it was released, I was around 11. I found myself reading Manga with Linkin Park as a soundtrack and just exploding with awe and emotion. Life was felt so strongly and vivid. Quickly after I found out about System of a Down and The Doors, two bands that closed the deal for me – Music is my trigger, I am at another level of existing when the fire of it holds me.  

By the age of 15 I was doing my own adaption of Rock on a broken classic guitar. In those years I also got really deep into classic Prog and quickly after I found myself a part of my dream cast prog group made out of my best friends growing up. We named ourselfs Hanagaria (“The Carpentry”) after Dean’s dad carpentry where we used to sit every night. After Hanagaria released an LP we broke up. Dean went on playing Bass in SaffeK and the talented Ilan Barkani from the group also joined me for a couple of years on the drums. 

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

After Hanagaria broke up I decided to dream my own musical voyage, leading my interpretation of Alternative Prog Rock. The project was originally named “Oren Amitai’s Stitches” but then I got around to the understanding that the name was a teeth breaker so I decided to change it to SaffeK, which means “doubt” in Hebrew. My experience of existeen is summed up in this word and it only made sense that my life’s project will be named the same. 

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

All of SaffeK’s music started out in my bubbling head. I used to work out the main themes and different parts on guitar and vocals and then I went around meeting all of the band members individually, working with them on what I had in mind and using their talent and input in order to mold the best part with them for the song. Then, we went on the extraordinary and exciting sessions of finding out how the imaginary world turns to ecstatic insanity in the rehearsal room.

After the first couple of years I decided to make everything much more down to earth. Today I send out everything ready for everybody without us meeting, including the final draft of the song. Then, when we reach the rehearsal room, those talented basterds bring their amazing approach to the piece and we polish it all and find out what the finished song will be. 

How would you describe SaffeK music on your own?

SaffeK’s music is a mash of the ideas and musical influences that made me who I am with a focus on the rock & guitar elements. It’s music that turns me to an animalistic emotional madman. A music that steps on the core of existing for me, pushes the epicness of life is I feel it through music and comes with a message of acceptance to all the other weird souls who wander this earth with me and are confused but at awe as hell. 

Tell me about the writing and recording sessions for “All Too Human” EP.

Writing down “All Too Human” was a very deep and emotional journey for me. The E.P describes the main 4 elements in my character that make me suffer as a human, the 4 main features that separates me for the most part of what I feel and describe as divine. In order to really flesh them out I had to venture into my destructiveness and fill myself  with the sadness, anger, pressure and alienation. The best part of it, of course, is that I feel that the best way to describe these elements is to burn them out, scream them out, feel them to the maximum effort. And that is what I tried to do with the compositions themselves. The rec sessions were great, great flowing vibe and in awesome happy energetic accomplishment.  

What is the most important thing for the structure of your songs? Is it a riff, a melody line, vocal arrangement?

For me the most important thing is the story itself. I have to ask myself all the time if the story makes sense to me, if it works me out emotionally. If you listen to the song and you swim with the journey, not nodding your head going “…What?”.

Besides that, I find that what I usually work around with at first is the melody/riff to start me off. That’s the first thing that moves me. 

Recommend us some good progressive rock/metal acts coming from your area.

One of the most exciting, well developed and pecked with originality is Subterranean Masquerade. Their concerts are a must see! 

I have to recommend “Bzaat” as well. virtuoso guitar & drums insanity! 

Are you also involved in any other projects or bands beside SaffeK?

I used to float around and work with different projects, today I’m focusing on SaffeK as my passion. Otherwise, I work as a teacher at Just Music Academy in Israel and develop productions and mix & master for beautiful people that come my way. I find the work of teaching intense and inspiring. It’s a true beauty to see people transforming their passion and flare into an authentic creation.  

So, what comes next for SaffeK?

A new video is coming out in the next few weeks, a work of a lot of great minds which I am very proud of. It’s gonna take SaffeK’s visual presentation to a new level. 

Afterwards it’s all about counting down the days till summer when we will release a new album followed by a European tour. Beside that, truly, all we can’t wait for is to see the people, the crowds, what we live for. We can’t wait to break the lonesomeness, the dreadful silence of the music with you.

“All Too Human” is available from Bandcamp here. Follow SaffeK on Facebook and Instagram.

Premiere: The Crown Remnant Launch “The Fall” Video

Los Angeles, CA’s melodic metal one-man band The Crown Remnant, formed by singer and multi-instrumentalist Will Ash, is launching a music video for “The Fall,” taken from the upcoming studio album “The End of Days.” Watch it below.

Speaking about the upcoming full-length release Ash said: “This record was written with extreme expedition, I think due to how seamless the themes came together. For me, writing isn’t forced – I don’t start a project unless I have a really good idea, or a good collection of musical ideas to begin with. ‘The End of Days‘ was no exception. Musically, I’m constantly experimenting. Ideas that started even after writing the previous record ‘The Wicked King’ in 2017 came into play. I had been working on chunks of songs since then, little inspirations and outlines of a melancholic, vintage inspired something.

That expanded into the major theme of the new album – endings (and innately, beginnings), Ash continues. “With 2020 bringing real senses of loss to millions of people through the global pandemic, endings were on my mind. The world in chaos, and a shift in political mandates worldwide made a theoretical end of the world interesting to postulate about. As the ideas developed, I ended up writing the album in a way that observed a 3 act ‘story arc’ – with each act bringing a new piece of the story of the world ending, and each with its own theme and musical direction.

The underlying message of “The End of Days” is a sense of hope, but also warning. Ash goes on saying, “Continuing down the path of extreme nationalism, exclusion, and selfishness will bring about a certain type of apocalypse – whether ideologically, economically, or literally. This whole big rock that we have to live on only functions when we realize that we all have to live together. When we do that, we achieve great things. But when we promote isolation, or tribalism, we end up tearing each other – and the world we live in – apart.

Watch a music video for the new single “The Fall” below.

Follow The Crown Remnant on Facebook and Instagram.

Interview with KRISHNA PERI

Krishna Peri

Dallas based guitarist, producer and songwriter Krishna Peri is about to launch his debut album “Across the Horizon” on August 15th, a release where the musician explores different music styles and adapting them to his own experimental formula.

Peri spoke for Progarchy about the album, but also his influences, writing process, and more.

What made you decide to release “Across the Horizon” under your own name? Does it feel more personal that way?

I am like a musical sponge and I like to absorb different genres that I come across, whether it is metal or anything else. I felt like if I am playing in a band, I have to stick to one particular style, for example, if you play in a death metal band, you can only play that and can’t really add extra quirkiness to it. Of course, I do enjoy playing in a band like that too but as an independent artist, I felt like I can touch base on multiple sounds and it would still be acceptable.

How do you usually describe your music?

I try to do two things – play heavy, memorable riffs but at the same time, focus on the underlying melody. To me, melodic playing and attention to the notes goes a long way and I try to incorporate the same in my music.

Across the Horizon

What is your writing process like?

I usually have a bunch of demos recorded on my phone, whenever I am just in a relaxed leisure mood. I would go back and listen to these raw clips from time to time whenever I need some inspiration. Once I find the right one, I create a session in my DAW, program the drums and lay down the guitar parts. By this point, the song starts taking its shape. Once finished, I send the demos to my drummer and bassist, who listen to it with a fresh pair of ears and give their comments. Once we polish the whole thing, the final drums are recorded in a studio. And then, I lay down my guitar tracks in my home studio. Last step would be sending these stems to the bassist, who does his part. I look over certain things from a producer’s perspective like, if the song needs any additional layers, keys etc. Finally, the whole thing gets mixed and mastered.

Who or what is your inspiration, if you have any?

Joe Satriani, Marty Friedman, Dimebag Darrell, Plini, Nick Johnston and John Petrucci – these are my main influences when it comes to instrumental music and soloing.

What is your favourite piece on the upcoming album and why?

“Stained Glass Memory” is my most favorite song on this album because it has these ambient sections followed by crushing heavy parts. The entire song jumps back and forth from 7/4 to 15/8 to 6/8, which gives it this mystical feeling. We’re working on releasing a music video for this particular track with a concept behind it, so stay tuned for that!

What makes “Across the Horizon” different?

I would say, complex time signatures, intricate solos, solid drumming and bass work, and the exploration of different genres like Viking metal, black metal, death metal etc.

What should music lovers expect from the album?

They should expect some expressive melodic playing. If you are a fan of modern instrumental music like the Intervals or Plini then I guarantee that you would dig it!

What kind of emotions would you like your audience to feel when they listen to your music?

Instrumental music is a tricky market to break in, just because there’s no vocals to convey anything. Which is why, we have to be very diligent in coming up with phrases because the guitar itself is treated like a vocal part. I would want my audience to feel the same thing and enjoy the tension and release of some of the songs that I am trying to present to them.

Pick your three favourite albums that you would take on a desert island with you.

That’s such a difficult question because there’s so many! I’ll try my best – Rust in Peace by Megadeth, Shockwave Supernova by Joe Satriani and Remarkably Human by Nick Johnston.

 

“Across the Horizon” is available on Bandcamp. Follow Peri on Facebook and Instagram.

TELERGY’s Robert McClung Talks New Album “Black Swallow”

“Black Swallow” is the title of the new, fourth studio album by a New Hampshire based progressive rock project Telergy–a brainchild of the award winning, Emmy nominated, Billboard top ten charting composer, producer, and multi-instrumentalist Robert McClung. As is the case with previous efforts, this new offering is another concept album which, this time, tells the story of the first African-American pilot and hero Eugene Bullard.

McClung has once again gathered a team of guest musicians around himself, featuring members and collaborators for historical acts such Pink Floyd, King Crimson, Iced Earth, Styx, Kansas, Foreigner, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and many more. The album is available for pre-order via the ongoing crowdfunding campaign over at Indiegogo.

In a new interview for Progarchy, McClung discusses “Black Swallow,” but also lets us know about his favorite releases, and more.

You are about to launch a new full-length album with Telergy entitled “Black Swallow.” How do you feel about the release?

I’m delighted. The album has been five long years in the making. It was a massive endeavor with over sixty people involved. We were meticulous to take our time and get it right. It was too important of a story not to. I think we have absolutely made the best Telergy album so far.

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

The musicians involved with Telergy are spread out all across the world, and some have very busy schedules. Working out all the logistics of getting them into studios to do their parts was quite an undertaking. From a musical perspective, the album had to incorporate elements of certain styles like blues, jazz, gospel and military themes to properly convey the story. Which for me as a composer was a huge challenge to weave into the progressive rock and metal format that Telergy is built upon. But those are the challenges that fuel my creativity with every Telergy album.

Tell me about how you set on making an album about the life of Eugene Bullard, the first African-American pilot in the history of the United States.

I stumbled upon Eugene’s story online shortly after the release of the last Telergy album, Hypatia. The more a dug into it, the more captivating and incredible it was. I was totally baffled that this great hero had existed, but was never mentioned in any American history books. It was a travesty, and I knew I had a chance to use my outlet with Telergy to bring his story out into the light for more people to discover.

What is your opinion about the current progressive rock scene?

There are so many wonderfully talented artists out there right now making some of the best music ever. Older, more established artists and younger, lesser known ones as well. It’s a delightful scene where everyone respects and supports each other like a big family. I only wish it were possible to bring prog back into the mainstream so those artists could get wider attention. The industry has changed so much, across all genres. It’s become nearly impossible for artists to make a living anymore. I hope in the future our society can see more value in the arts and find ways that musicians can support themselves with their music alone.

Can you tell me something about your influences?

My Grandfather was a country musician. He gave me my first guitar when I was around ten years old. I was first inspired by all the classic rock bands of the 70’s that my parents listened to. Pink Floyd, Fleetwood Mac, Aerosmith, Kansas, etc. In my teens I got into heavy metal bands like Metallica and Megadeth. In my teens I also started working in musical theater. Writing and arranging music for shows and performing in pit orchestras. I found that progressive rock blended these two opposing genres of music very well. Bands like Queensryche, Dream Theater, Savatage and Trans-Siberian Orchestra were doing amazing themed albums during that time and I was pulled right in. I feel so fortunate that I now get the chance to work side by side with many of the artists who inspired me when I was young.

What are you listening to these days?

The latest Kansas album is stunning!! They aren’t resting on the laurels of their past hits. They are making some of the best music of their career right now. I’m also totally entranced by Rachel Flowers, who I had the chance to work with on this album. Her talent is amazing, so original and fresh. You can detect her influences, but she blends them into something totally new. I also listen to allot of classical music and movie soundtracks these days. Hans Zimmer is a favorite.

Your five favorite records of all the time?

It’s hard to pick only five. But here goes…

  1. Pink Floyd – The Wall: Hearing the guitar solo on “Another Brick in the Wall Pt. 2” when I was ten years old was a huge turning point for me. I pointed to the record player and proclaimed “I want to do that when I grow up!”. The albums lyrical themes also connect deeply with my own personal life. I had issues with my parents, school, etc. In many ways I felt like Roger Waters was writing about me. The fact that it told a story was so impactful. It wasn’t just a hodge podge of songs about love, politics, partying or whatever. It all fit together in a bigger way and felt so much more emotional and meaningful by doing so. Animals is another Pink Floyd favorite. All their material really. My wife and I actually met on a Pink Floyd fan page.
  2. Kansas – Leftoverture: This was the band that inspired me to play violin. It was through them that I learned that rock music didn’t have to be stuck in a simplistic, repetitive, three chord, one rhythm format. It could twist and turn intricately, just like an orchestra, yet still be powerful and intense. I first met the band after a concert in my teens. They were so friendly and supportive. Their words of encouragement were key to me perusing my own dreams.
  3. Savatage – The Wake of Magellan: A heavy metal album telling the story of a sailor contemplating suicide, who finds new reason for living when he saves a drowning man in the ocean. The mixture of metal and classical music themes was just so powerful, and the story so captivating. I knew I wanted my own music to encompass these elements.
  4. Dream Theater – Metropolis Pt. 2, Scenes from a Memory: This album hit me like a truck!! I had enjoyed all of Dream Theater’s albums prior to this, but this one was a total mind bender. The virtuosity of the music, the depth of the story. It was all just so perfectly done. Total masterpiece!
  5. Trans-Siberian Orchestra – Beethoven’s Last Night: Beethoven tricks the Devil to save his soul and keep his last symphony. Brilliant! When Savatage morphed into Trans-Siberian Orchestra I enjoyed the spectacle of their live shows, but hoped they wouldn’t only do Christmas music. When this album came out, I got everything I wanted. The over the top metal/classical bombast that had drawn me to their music in the first place, and a creative, intense story with a cool twist at the end. Love it!
Notice a connection here? Almost all of these on my list are concept records that tell stories. Which has become the cornerstone of my work with Telergy.

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

I’m regularly asked if Telergy will ever perform live. As much as I would love to see that happen, the logistics and cost of getting that many people together are far beyond my capabilities. But if the right financial backers came along, who knows? I’m always open to the idea. As for the next album, I haven’t found the right story yet. Once I do, I’ll rev up the engines again and see where the ride takes me.

Any words for the potential new fans?

Thank you for giving Telergy some attention. We are delighted to have you onboard. Understand that Telergy is more than just a band. It’s a massive consortium of musicians from all over the world coming together to do something truly unique. We pour our hearts into everything we do, and I hope that passion comes through in the music. We hope we can inform and educate just as much as we entertain.

“Black Swallow” can be pre-ordered via Indiegogo here. Follow Telergy on Facebook.