Interview with KILLER CORTEZ

Killer Cortez

Back in January, Boston-based prog duo Killer Cortez released their full-length debut “Maquiladora,” a record which is a pleasant surprise. The two-piece plays a show in Cambridge, MA this July 28th; if anyone is nearby on that date I would truly recommend to stop by and visit the Middle East Downstairs.

Composer and multi-instrumentalist Socrates Cruz spoke for Progarchy about the band’s first album, other genres, and more.

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

Life is treating us alright, thanks. There are times when we can get caught up with what’s not going well in our daily lives, but it’s also important to step away and understand that overall we’re pretty privileged to be able to make music surrounded by people that support us. That said, the past few months have been a fascinating mix of joy, regret, uncertainty, and excitement. This does lead to a heightened sense of creativity though!

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

It’s dark; but melancholy rather than angry. The album is kind of a collection of mini-documentaries that shed light on stories we thought were worth sharing. You could say the album is a little unnerving in that each of these stories is tragic; no matter how detached we are from the characters the plot is meant to feel familiar. Then, you have all these swirling instruments and textures and sounds that make the whole thing feel sweeping and cinematic. If you are looking for music with meaning then this is for you.

Maquiladora

What was it like working on the album?

SLOW. Also exhilarating. We’re really proud of the outcome.

Are there any bigger touring plans in support to “Maquiladora”?

It’s in our DNA to want to tour endlessly but we’re coming at this cycle through a different angle. We’re about to officially “release” the album at our show at the Middle East in Cambridge, MA on 7/28 and are close to announcing a series of dates for late Fall. Details are forthcoming, but most of the shows centered in New England, with a few scattered through NY, PA, and MD.

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

Though not exactly countries, we seem to be getting attention in the UK and Eastern Europe. It would be great to tour there soon and maybe cap it all off playing a massive castle somewhere in the middle of Czechoslovakia. One can dream, right?

Who and what inspires you the most?

Any song, moment, story, or person who causes us to reflect on our human condition. We’re both a little addicted to some kind of never-ending search for meaning, which really can rise up anywhere at any time as long as you’re paying attention.

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

We’re both really open minded – in the van we’re blasting anything from electronica and progressive metal to power ballads and orchestral film scores. With Maquiladora, some of this variety is reflected in the digital atmosphere of songs like Bracero or Villa Grimaldi, and also in the odd time signatures of a song like Pine Ridge Peltier.

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

We’re excited to share our album with whoever is willing to listen. We tried to create a work that celebrates the struggles of the disenfranchised, the dispossessed, the exploited, and the forgotten. We feel that the shared human experience is one of constant struggle and of overcoming those challenges. Music can help us escape but it can also help us look inward.

“Maquiladora” is out now and is available from BandcampBandcamp. Stay in touch with Killer Cortez via Facebook.

The Ignorance of Roger Waters

http://teamrock.com/news/2017-07-18/roger-waters-slams-thom-yorke-over-radioheads-israel-show

I could easily turn this into a 1500 word rant about how Roger Waters has turned into a senile ass. I won’t do that, but I will just say that his head is shoved so far up his rear that he can’t see what’s going on in reality. Just look at the recent interview with Prog magazine where he said the following:

[Trump] might not sell his own kids, though you sense that they’re like lumps of meat when you see them parading around, They’re like prized cattle. They’ve sort of been plumped up. Those Trump boys, they look as if they’ve been injected with hormones every morning before breakfast to get them that pumped up and kind of dopey.

– Prog 77, page 57

Beyond the mere fact that the above idiotic statement has absolutely nothing to do with music, it is completely absurd! Just imagine if someone in Waters’ position said the same thing about Bill and Hillary Clinton’s daughter. There would be people calling for his arrest and hanging!

This pile of crap related to the Israel boycott is nothing more than leftist anti-Semitism. The UN pulls this garbage of siding with the terrorists that run Palestine, even to the point of claiming that the Jewish people have no claim to the plot of land known as the Temple Mount. (http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/UN-General-Assembly-supports-resolution-ignoring-Jewish-ties-to-the-Temple-Mount-474107)

It truly is sad to see the once-great cultural critic Waters succumb to this base level of stupidity. The Palestinian government monetarily supports and vocally condones the utter destruction of the Jewish people and the Jewish state. How can supporting a boycott of Israel in support of the Palestinians be anything but vitriolic racism against the Jewish people?

I’m happy there are musicians like Steven Wilson, Radiohead, Steve Hackett, Mike Portnoy, and many others that are willing to ignore the anti-Israel garbage spewed by some on the left and play in Israel and collaborate with Israeli musicians.

I would love to go to one of Waters’ upcoming shows in Chicago, but I refuse to give my hard-earned money to that man after the things he has said. For that same reason, I refuse to buy his new album, and even if somebody gave me a copy, I probably wouldn’t listen to it. I am even having trouble listening to Pink Floyd because of his absurd comments, and they are one of my very favorite bands.

Roger Waters has completely lost touch with reality, and he needs to seriously reconsider his political positions because they are in direct contrast with the anti-establishment and anti-totalitarian (and brilliant) lyrics he wrote for Animals, The Wall, and The Final Cut.

Mr. Waters, if you choose to support an egregious boycott of Israel and the Jewish people who choose to live there, then I can choose to boycott you.

Member of Adrenaline Mob Killed in Fatal Car Crash

I just heard about this horrible story via Mike Portnoy’s twitter. Bassist David Zablidowsky of Adrenaline Mob (and Trans Siberian Orchestra, as well) was killed in a car crash in Florida that involved all members of the band, as well as Symphony X singer Russell Allen. According to reports, Allen was seriously injured along with A-Mob drummer Jordan Cannata and guitarist Mike Orlando. Several other people traveling with the musicians were also seriously injured.

Progarchy sends its deepest condolences to David’s family and friends, and we hope that the rest of the band members, Mr. Allen, and those traveling with them have a speedy recovery. This is truly a devastating accident.

http://loudwire.com/adrenaline-mob-involved-in-fatal-vehicle-crash-in-florida/

A BAND WITH NO NAME AND HOW PROG ROCK FANS CAME UP WITH ONE

bg-crowd-1

“Every name is real. That’s the nature of names.”                                                                                                         Jerry Spinelli,

Name your favourite bands of all time. Mine would be Yes, The Beatles, Big Big Train, Pink Floyd, Prefab Sprout, Genesis… and the list goes on. Those few are just off the top of my head and always at the tip of my tongue. Not only do the names of these bands conjure up what their respective music does for me as far as enjoyment and even enlightenment goes, it also enables us if connected to convey mood within the musical genre we follow. By that I mean these names help shape thought around their successes as bands. For someone who likes “Yes,” just being up the simple name in conversation to someone you know also loves the band and the sound of that syllable will transport that person’s thoughts and feeling back to a time where the music was so intrinsically and emotionally tied to them. Words have power. Names have symbolic baggage (in a good way and place) we carry around for the rest of our lives, and in the age we live in, just as in any other age, symbols and icons are everything. In music we can express such names in logos, and the visual impact can not be underestimated. It further binds us to the name.

Now what does such mad mutterings have to do with anything? Well, I’m glad you asked because right now there is a new Prog band who has relinquished their right to create a band name themselves, and have gladly offered such an important task to Prog fans on social media. They have a working name at the moment but with four or more other bands using the same name they now think it is the right time to go with a brand-spanking new name that will be there’s to own and use as they see fit. The challenge will be for members on the very popular Prog Magazine Readers page on Facebook to come up with the name the band agrees will suit their musical personae.

You never get a second chance to make a first impression, so although this is a bit of fun, it’s no laughing matter for the band. This will be the name they will rap (hopefully not rap in the literal sense) around their whole group existence, and dare I say it, make a name for themselves. So no pressure.

 Who are they?

 I asked Keys and Programming wiz, Dave Hilborne that very question. They formed purely by chance in an internet gaming chat room. Initially these musicians started talking (over three continents) and they haven’t looked back since! “Collaborations are achieved via file sharing. No member has any real idea what the other will bring to a particular project. This makes the writing process incredibly exciting and the dynamic of songs are shifting constantly!

 We are :

vox

  Dave Hilborne – Keys/Vox/Programming (I started writing music in 1987 after I got my first acoustic guitar. Songs flowed fairly easily for me, but I soon found I was better suited to the piano. Over the years I recorded and gigged, gradually developing my own style. I formed a few bands and even managed to release a vinyl single at one point. My most ambitious project was an opera based on the short story ‘Masque of the Red Death’ by Poe. I love musical challenges, so a high point for me was performing a solo 14 minute song I wrote called ‘Box Man.’ In 2017 I was fortunate to meet Dave Fick and Alessio Proietti. We clicked as musicians and arguably more importantly as people. I look forward to our future projects together).    

guitarist

  

    Alessio Proietti – Guitars/Vox(I learned to play the guitar at the age of 14, in 2004 I decided to form my first band called Raccoon Balls (Punk/Rock/Alternative). We did many gigs around Italy for about 6 years then we released an album. In the past years I have had many projects and collaborations. Recently I got involved in this brand new Alternative/Ambient/Progressive. We come from different backgrounds of music, but we have so many ideas to bring to the table as shown on our first single ‘Continuum’).

 bass player

  

Dave Fick – Bass (Born July 30th 1980. I got my first Bass Christmas of 1993. I was 13. I’ve played in many different bands with many different genres of music. We got hooked up through a mutual friend, Lord Rage, and are doing something quite different from what I’m used to. I love a good challenge and we hope to bring you some great tunes).

 

Recently we were delighted to welcome Charlie Bramald Flute/Vox to our project.

charlie

We are an Ambient/Progressive Rock band taking their cues from many different influences. Our aim is to constantly surprise and to challenge, whilst staying melodic and above all memorable. The aim of the band is to produce what we like to call “Immediate Prog” This is possibly one of the trickiest things to get right in Progressive Rock, but we are always up for a challenge! Atmosphere and melody are two guiding principles that we have in the band. If there’s a future goal,then right now its to produce a full album and then? Well who knows. Prog is forever shifting and so are we!”

So this contest of sorts starts right now.

PMR

It really is in the hands of those who decide to put forward their original recommendations to giving this band a name. This is exclusive only to Facebook page members on PROG MAGAZINE READERS (see link to join below).  Sometimes you can come up with more than one good name so members will have up to five of their nominations allowed.  Just look for the post “NAME THAT PROG BAND!” and add your choices.

The contest starts today and will run two weeks where upon the band will select ten of their favourites for the final selection to choose one which will announce the following week. The band has indicated they will

There’s even an incentive provided by the band.

An exclusive signed copy of the CD, including work in progress demo’s of the tracks. A personal thank you written by each member of the band. Access to the band’s private chat server. Plus a video call with one or more band members.

I would also add there is also on offer “bragging rights” to actually giving a band its name. How often does that opportunity come about?

So in a nutshell you can enter this challenge by joining the Prog Magazine Reader page and find the thread NAME THAT PROG BAND and send through up to five posts with one original name you came up with for the chance of give the band a name. Good luck!

Join Prog Magazine Readers Page

Band Facebook page  Continuum

“Words are pale shadows of forgotten names. As names have power, words have power. Words can light fires in the minds of men. Words can wring tears from the hardest hearts.” PATRICK ROTHFUSS

Schooltree: “Day of the Rogue” from Heterotopia @schooltree

This video shows the world premiere live performance of the penultimate track from Schooltree’s superb rock opera Heterotopia. This happened on March 31, 2017 at the OBERON in Cambridge, MA.

The Heterotopia double album is now available at http://schooltree.bandcamp.com

Lainey Schooltree – vocals/keys
Tom Collins – drums
Peter Danilchuk – organ/synth
Ryan Schwartzel – bass
Sam Crawford – guitar

Video by Rob Schulbaum

The Return of the King …

… Crimson, that is.  From Discipline Global Mobile:

“King Crimson will be returning to America later this year. The dates see the group performing in some states and cities that have not been visited in a while. Atlanta in Georgia, for example, last had live Crimson music in 2001, while Texas has experienced something of an epic Crimson drought since 1974, not counting ProjeKct Three’s week-long residency in the Lone Star state during March 1999.  The dates posted today on the tours page are as follows.”
19 Oct Bass Performance Hall, Austin
21 Oct Music Hall, Dallas
23 Oct Center Stage, Atlanta
24 Oct Center Stage, Atlanta
26 Oct Duke Energy Centre for the Performing Arts, Raleigh
28 Oct Lisner Auditorium, Washington D.C.
29 Oct Lisner Auditorium, Washington D.C.
31 Oct New Jersey Performing Arts Centre, Newark
02 Nov Merriam Theatre, Philadelphia
03 Nov Merriam Theatre, Philadelphia
06 Nov Orpheum Theatre, Boston
08 Nov The Egg, Albany
09 Nov The Egg, Albany
11 Nov Miller Symphony Hall, Allentown
17 Nov Beacon Theatre, New York
18 Nov Beacon Theatre, New York
22 Nov Michigan Theatre, Ann Arbor
24 Nov Hard Rock Cafe, Cleveland
26 Nov Riverside Theatre, Milwaukee

“Purchase details will follow.”

 

Speaking of Crimson droughts, the band last played anywhere in Michigan in 2003, with the last Ann Arbor gig in 1995.  Of course, I have an unavoidable conflict on November 22 (which is also Thanksgiving Eve).  Ah, well, I’ll always have the Chicago Theatre …

Sad News from Los Angeles band “Heliopolis”

In the midst of working on their second album and planning their next show, Los Angeles Prog band Heliopolis is calling it quits. The following, plus an unmastered 14-minute piece from their upcoming album, was posted on their Facebook page today.

Hey, Kerry here.

Well, this isn’t easy to say but Heliopolis have decided to throw in the bowel. I wanted to at least play the gig in August and then assess things; bummed but that’s life. Please know this wasn’t my call, one of us decided to quit and I respect their decision.

As for me personally it’s simply not financially feasible, nor enjoyable, to have a 170 round trip commute to LA every weekend. Also, most of the guys in the band have been going thru significant life issues and we feel it’s not worth continuing on at this point. It’s a hell of a lot of work for all of us, not to mention the expense.

We’ve played RoSfest, MEXICALI PROG, Berkeley, San Francisco, Thousand Oaks and multiple Los Angeles area gigs. We’ve had a damned good run with 10T Records and Bad Elephant Music. I gots no complaints, please believe.

Truth be told, when I was in Mrs Hollow I wanted to record a 3rd album and then quit at the top of our game; I consider Heliopolis’ debut to be the 3rd album in my personal prog-rock trio so my mission is complete.

Now I’m going to take it easy for awhile and watch all the other prog-rock bands at our level spend their money and store their unsold CDs and t-shirts in the basement. 🙂

To our fans and promoters, we’re very sorry. As a token of appreciation for all the support over the last five years here’s the latest and, sadly, final version of the “Barney Miller” song.

It’s called “The Challenge” and it’s a true band collaboration. Believe it or not, this is the scratch vocal from the day we did the bass/drums session last October, we had some beautiful vocal harmonies worked out but we never got around to recording them. It’s also unmastered. This song was going to morph into another 10 minute song for a 24-minute suite, and we also had a crazy 10-minute thing called “Cluster B” that I am VERY bummed we’re never gonna record. We had a killer 2nd album happening but it’s just too much effort anymore, for all of us.

To my brothers Michael, Matt, Scott and Jerry – thanks for being the best band I’ve ever had. I’m gonna miss writing music with you guys so much. 😦

To our friends and fans – thank you, sincerely and respectfully, from all of us. It’s been a blast. Be kind to yourselves.