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This news story was originally published here: https://www.prog-sphere.com/news/oranssi-pazuzu-unleash-mestarin-kynsi/

Black metal anti-traditionalists Oranssi Pazuzu unleash their new album Mestarin Kynsi (“The Master’s Claw”) today. On their fifth album, the band subverts the idea of world domination to open a conceptual discourse on indoctrination and propaganda itself. Their psychological nightmare evolves a philosophical and earnest tone, where occult future meets troubled reality.

Order Mestarin Kynsi in various formats here.

Singer and guitarist Jun-His commented: “We definitely wanted to look for new horizons, but on the other hand continue something we began building already on ‘Värähtelijä.’ Some big influences were electro albums that inspired an idea about having a song that would travel through different kinds of portals whilst being mutilated and mutated by the new environment.

On Mestarin Kynsi the doors of perception are not only evoked but off their hinges. Working again with their co-producer Julius Mauranen, who also helped craft their acclaimed 2018 Roadburn Festival commissioned,Waste of Space Orchestra collaboration live show/album Syntheosis, in their home-city of Tampere, Finland, the familiarity served a greater purpose towards the evolution of the album. As Jun-His puts it, “there is a city heart pumping on this album somewhere.

To mark the occasion, the band releases a video where they contemplate on the themes of Mestarin Kynsi today. Check the video out below.

More info on Oranssi Pazuzu:

www.oranssipazuzu.bandcamp.com
www.facebook.com/oranssipazuzu
www.instagram.com/oranssipazuzu
www.nuclearblast.de/oranssipazuzu

The post ORANSSI PAZUZU Unleash New Album “Mestarin Kynsi” appeared first on Prog Sphere.

This news story was originally published here: http://www.prog-sphere.com/uncategorized/top-list-background-metal-music-studying/

Most of the students across the globe usually have the urge to listen to music while in their study sessions. This is because this enhances their understanding and concentration. Others have even reported their inability to revise or study in a tranquil setting.

Ideally, listening to music as you study depends on your preferences and taste. Since back in the 90s, experts have documented that metal makes many students smarter since it improves their focus.

Nonetheless, the truth is that not all heavy metal songs have the same effect. So, which are the best metal songs for studying? Here is a top list of metal background music for studying as well as how the songs influence your studying ability.

TOP 3 METAL TRACKS THAT HELP STUDENTS WITH THEIR STUDIES:

363

  1. “Nightmare” By Avenged Sevenfold 

Right from the fifth Avenged Sevenfold album is the track Nightmare, which was produced when the band was at their finest. Emotionally riveting and hard-hitting in equal measure, this track was a memorable introduction to the novel A7X world, established in memory of the late Jimmy ‘Rev’ Sullivan.

A monumental career-defining moment, Nightmare’s release was a testimony that, despite the sorrow, it is possible to carry on. As such, this track has proven a practical solution that helps students remain calm and optimistic. These are remarkable traits for an otherwise stressing college lifestyle.

  1. “Shadow Moses” By Bring Me the Horizon

Shadow Moses released is arguably BMTH’s most famous single from their 2013 album. It is a significantly powerful track that asserts the dominance of the band ultimately. It boasts exciting and punchy bridge-making; it an ideal background song for studying.

Its positive vibe inspires good moods and optimistic feelings, which are a bonus for an otherwise stressful revision process for a test.

  1. “Deutschland” By Rammstein

Rammstein hit the roof in 2019 by releasing the “Deutschland,” track. It has everything you would otherwise expect from this German outfit. Dashed with dark, techno-pop, political ambivalence and crunchy riffs, this catchy yet massive cut from the self-titled Rammstein opus is the type of ripper that beeps in your head and cements itself in your heart after just a single spin.

This is ideally the type of track that communicates with your whole being, helping you get in touch with your inner self-an excellent way to help you keep calm and work on your learning.

HOW DO THESE TRACKS INFLUENCE STUDENTS?

  • Helps Relieve Stress: 

A Queensland School study revealed that listening to metal music boosts the mood of the participants, inspired them, and helped them process their anger more effectively.

The study involved 30 students aged 20 years. The students were angered and subsequently asked to pick between sitting down in a quiet setting or listening to a metal music playlist.  According to the study, students who chose the metal music option experienced some relief and a decrease in their rage. What’s more, they exhibited positive emotions.

Ideally, if schoolwork is stressing you, the most popular advice would be to settle down, relax, and work at it at a later time. However, when you ask any of the best students in your institution, you will be surprised if they tell you ‘all I do is pay someone to do my assignment for me, and relax while listening to my music or attend my other duties.

Ideally, metal music will not only get you feeling more inspired but also much more active to carry on. Stress and pressure drive most students’ insane while in school, but listening to metal music has proven a great solution.

  • More Logical Arguments: 

Music has been proven to boost cognitive abilities since it challenges your brain. Furthermore, the more the complexity of the music, the more you will enhance your cognitive abilities-and better yet, you can study while listening to your music.

Metal music, in particular, has been seen to help ‘metal-heads’ minds by affording them the tools necessary to argue their position logically. For instance, tutors can promote logical thinking by posing some audacious claims like ‘listening to certain music genres is related to violent actions.’

Through exploring such an accusation of offence and violence-that involved globally accredited artists like Marilyn Mason and Cradle of Filth-students can actively participate in scientific thinking, investigate logical erroneous beliefs, thinking biases, and research design issues.

  • Improves memory

Your brain effectively learns best through distinct patterns. This is why it is easier to recall the songs you have heard from your favourite music playlist, no matter the genre. Song patterns facilitate better understanding and recollection of information quickly.

As such, you may find it easier to recall the material you study if you were studying while listening to your favourite band.

Conclusion

If you have read this, then it is highly probable that you love metal music. Listening to music has numerous benefits, and metal music is no different. It has proved a vital factor in helping boost mood levels, reduce anger and stress, as well as promote better concentration.

As such, when things get a little stressful or intense during your study or revision sessions, don’t argue, complain, or blame. Pick any of these few tracks on this list or any of your favourite metal tracks and press play!

The post Top List of Background Metal Music for Studying appeared first on Prog Sphere.

This news story was originally published here: https://www.prog-sphere.com/uncategorized/top-list-background-metal-music-studying/

Most of the students across the globe usually have the urge to listen to music while in their study sessions. This is because this enhances their understanding and concentration. Others have even reported their inability to revise or study in a tranquil setting.

Ideally, listening to music as you study depends on your preferences and taste. Since back in the 90s, experts have documented that metal makes many students smarter since it improves their focus.

Nonetheless, the truth is that not all heavy metal songs have the same effect. So, which are the best metal songs for studying? Here is a top list of metal background music for studying as well as how the songs influence your studying ability.

TOP 3 METAL TRACKS THAT HELP STUDENTS WITH THEIR STUDIES:

363

  1. “Nightmare” By Avenged Sevenfold 

Right from the fifth Avenged Sevenfold album is the track Nightmare, which was produced when the band was at their finest. Emotionally riveting and hard-hitting in equal measure, this track was a memorable introduction to the novel A7X world, established in memory of the late Jimmy ‘Rev’ Sullivan.

A monumental career-defining moment, Nightmare’s release was a testimony that, despite the sorrow, it is possible to carry on. As such, this track has proven a practical solution that helps students remain calm and optimistic. These are remarkable traits for an otherwise stressing college lifestyle.

  1. “Shadow Moses” By Bring Me the Horizon

Shadow Moses released is arguably BMTH’s most famous single from their 2013 album. It is a significantly powerful track that asserts the dominance of the band ultimately. It boasts exciting and punchy bridge-making; it an ideal background song for studying.

Its positive vibe inspires good moods and optimistic feelings, which are a bonus for an otherwise stressful revision process for a test.

  1. “Deutschland” By Rammstein

Rammstein hit the roof in 2019 by releasing the “Deutschland,” track. It has everything you would otherwise expect from this German outfit. Dashed with dark, techno-pop, political ambivalence and crunchy riffs, this catchy yet massive cut from the self-titled Rammstein opus is the type of ripper that beeps in your head and cements itself in your heart after just a single spin.

This is ideally the type of track that communicates with your whole being, helping you get in touch with your inner self-an excellent way to help you keep calm and work on your learning.

HOW DO THESE TRACKS INFLUENCE STUDENTS?

  • Helps Relieve Stress: 

A Queensland School study revealed that listening to metal music boosts the mood of the participants, inspired them, and helped them process their anger more effectively.

The study involved 30 students aged 20 years. The students were angered and subsequently asked to pick between sitting down in a quiet setting or listening to a metal music playlist.  According to the study, students who chose the metal music option experienced some relief and a decrease in their rage. What’s more, they exhibited positive emotions.

Ideally, if schoolwork is stressing you, the most popular advice would be to settle down, relax, and work at it at a later time. However, when you ask any of the best students in your institution, you will be surprised if they tell you ‘all I do is pay someone to do my assignment for me, and relax while listening to my music or attend my other duties.

Ideally, metal music will not only get you feeling more inspired but also much more active to carry on. Stress and pressure drive most students’ insane while in school, but listening to metal music has proven a great solution.

  • More Logical Arguments: 

Music has been proven to boost cognitive abilities since it challenges your brain. Furthermore, the more the complexity of the music, the more you will enhance your cognitive abilities-and better yet, you can study while listening to your music.

Metal music, in particular, has been seen to help ‘metal-heads’ minds by affording them the tools necessary to argue their position logically. For instance, tutors can promote logical thinking by posing some audacious claims like ‘listening to certain music genres is related to violent actions.’

Through exploring such an accusation of offence and violence-that involved globally accredited artists like Marilyn Mason and Cradle of Filth-students can actively participate in scientific thinking, investigate logical erroneous beliefs, thinking biases, and research design issues.

  • Improves memory

Your brain effectively learns best through distinct patterns. This is why it is easier to recall the songs you have heard from your favourite music playlist, no matter the genre. Song patterns facilitate better understanding and recollection of information quickly.

As such, you may find it easier to recall the material you study if you were studying while listening to your favourite band.

Conclusion

If you have read this, then it is highly probable that you love metal music. Listening to music has numerous benefits, and metal music is no different. It has proved a vital factor in helping boost mood levels, reduce anger and stress, as well as promote better concentration.

As such, when things get a little stressful or intense during your study or revision sessions, don’t argue, complain, or blame. Pick any of these few tracks on this list or any of your favourite metal tracks and press play!

The post Top List of Background Metal Music for Studying appeared first on Prog Sphere.

This news story was originally published here: http://www.prog-sphere.com/news/oceans-get-involved-campaign/

Austria’s post death metal newcomers Oceans have delivered a call to action for their fans during lockdown:

Legions, we need your voices for our upcoming single ‘Against All Odds’!

The Covid-19 crisis has held us stuck at home for some time now. But we didn’t want to let this time go by without doing something creative. So we did what we do best: we wrote a song – and a very powerful one indeed. To make all of you a little happier in these difficult times we are planning to release it very soon. But that’s not all: this is where you come in! You can be both in the song and in the music video! Awesome right?

What we need you to do:

It’s very simple. The line you have to sing is ‘Against All Odds’.

We have a song snippet for you here that you can sing along to: https://bit.ly/OCEANSAgainstAllOdds

It doesn’t matter if you’re a singer or if you’re good at screaming! What matters is that we all work together on this unique piece of music. Just play back the file from you laptop, computer, anything with some headphones on and then record a video of yourself singing the line with your smartphone.

Oh, have we mentioned? We’re also doing a video for the song and all of you are going to be in it!

Please make sure that you record the video with your phone in portrait mode (like an Instagram Story). And don’t be shy, we’re all in this together. Do it in your pyjamas if you like or dress up like there’s no tomorrow. It’s up to you and each and every one of you is beautiful the way you are.

You can send us all your videos to hello@oceansofficial.com or upload it into this dropbox folder: https://bit.ly/2y2vpfK

If none of this works try sending it via wetransfer.com to the email address above.

We are very much looking forward to your videos! Let’s make this collaboration something, we all will never forget! We are the #oceanstribe and down in the abyss we are many!

All the best,
Timo, Patrick, Thomas & Jakob | OCEANS

Order The Sun And The Cold: nblast.de/OceansTheSunAndTheCold

Produced by Timo Rotten himself, The Sun And The Cold was recorded at Timo Rotten Studios in Vienna, Austria and Lightmountain Studios in Berlin, Germany, whilst mixing and mastering duties were handled by André Hofmann at Hofmann Studios. Even the album artwork was created by the band, which highlights their dedication to the cause and DIY ethos.

The Sun And The Cold track list:

01. The Sun And The Cold
02. We Are The Storm
03. Dark
04. Paralyzed
05. Take The Crown
06. Shadows
07. Legions Arise
08. Polaris
09. Truth Served Force Fed
10. Water Rising
11. Hope

Bonus Tracks (DDIGI only!)
12. We Are The Storm (Radio Edit)
13. Polaris (Born Free Remix)
14. Polaris (Don’t Breathe Remix)

Bonus CD (Into The Void & Cover Me In Darkness EPs; DIGI only)

01. Into The Void
02. Icarus
03. Scars
04. The Sound Of Your Voice
05. The Last Day On Earth (MARILYN MANSON Cover)
06. Scars To Your Beautiful [feat. Anna Murphy] (ALESSIA CARA Cover)
07. My Own Summer (Shove It) (DEFTONES Cover)
08. Creep (RADIOHEAD Cover)
09. Would (ALICE IN CHAINS Cover)

The post OCEANS Ask Fans to Contribute to Their Song appeared first on Prog Sphere.

This news story was originally published here: https://www.prog-sphere.com/news/oceans-get-involved-campaign/

Austria’s post death metal newcomers Oceans have delivered a call to action for their fans during lockdown:

Legions, we need your voices for our upcoming single ‘Against All Odds’!

The Covid-19 crisis has held us stuck at home for some time now. But we didn’t want to let this time go by without doing something creative. So we did what we do best: we wrote a song – and a very powerful one indeed. To make all of you a little happier in these difficult times we are planning to release it very soon. But that’s not all: this is where you come in! You can be both in the song and in the music video! Awesome right?

What we need you to do:

It’s very simple. The line you have to sing is ‘Against All Odds’.

We have a song snippet for you here that you can sing along to: https://bit.ly/OCEANSAgainstAllOdds

It doesn’t matter if you’re a singer or if you’re good at screaming! What matters is that we all work together on this unique piece of music. Just play back the file from you laptop, computer, anything with some headphones on and then record a video of yourself singing the line with your smartphone.

Oh, have we mentioned? We’re also doing a video for the song and all of you are going to be in it!

Please make sure that you record the video with your phone in portrait mode (like an Instagram Story). And don’t be shy, we’re all in this together. Do it in your pyjamas if you like or dress up like there’s no tomorrow. It’s up to you and each and every one of you is beautiful the way you are.

You can send us all your videos to hello@oceansofficial.com or upload it into this dropbox folder: https://bit.ly/2y2vpfK

If none of this works try sending it via wetransfer.com to the email address above.

We are very much looking forward to your videos! Let’s make this collaboration something, we all will never forget! We are the #oceanstribe and down in the abyss we are many!

All the best,
Timo, Patrick, Thomas & Jakob | OCEANS

Order The Sun And The Cold: nblast.de/OceansTheSunAndTheCold

Produced by Timo Rotten himself, The Sun And The Cold was recorded at Timo Rotten Studios in Vienna, Austria and Lightmountain Studios in Berlin, Germany, whilst mixing and mastering duties were handled by André Hofmann at Hofmann Studios. Even the album artwork was created by the band, which highlights their dedication to the cause and DIY ethos.

The Sun And The Cold track list:

01. The Sun And The Cold
02. We Are The Storm
03. Dark
04. Paralyzed
05. Take The Crown
06. Shadows
07. Legions Arise
08. Polaris
09. Truth Served Force Fed
10. Water Rising
11. Hope

Bonus Tracks (DDIGI only!)
12. We Are The Storm (Radio Edit)
13. Polaris (Born Free Remix)
14. Polaris (Don’t Breathe Remix)

Bonus CD (Into The Void & Cover Me In Darkness EPs; DIGI only)

01. Into The Void
02. Icarus
03. Scars
04. The Sound Of Your Voice
05. The Last Day On Earth (MARILYN MANSON Cover)
06. Scars To Your Beautiful [feat. Anna Murphy] (ALESSIA CARA Cover)
07. My Own Summer (Shove It) (DEFTONES Cover)
08. Creep (RADIOHEAD Cover)
09. Would (ALICE IN CHAINS Cover)

The post OCEANS Ask Fans to Contribute to Their Song appeared first on Prog Sphere.

This news story was originally published here: http://www.prog-sphere.com/interviews/enslaved-ivar-bjornson-about-utgard/

Norwegian avantgardists Enslaved were supposed to release their 15th studio album this spring, but that has changed due to the ongoing Covid-19 outbreak. The band will instead launch Utgard this fall via Nuclear Blast.

Band’s guitarist and songwriter Ivar Bjørnson talked recently with Niko Savic about themes Utgard portrays, the creative process behind the new album, their recent appearance at an online festival which was streamed live on YouTube, Enslaved’s evolution, and more.

In the Norse mythology Utgard is known as a dangerous, chaotic and uncontrollable place. Asked how much of that transcends to the world we live in, Bjørnson commented: “That’s up to each and everyone to make that interpretation, if they feel that’s relevant metaphor for something. I guess there’s not right and wrong about that. The thing that’s exciting about it is that, as it’s been pointed out also with Carl Jung’s psychology when speaking about the mythologies and not necessarily Utgard directly. But this concept of these unknown places—the dark places or the shadow places—it doesn’t mean that they are necessarily bad. It just means that it is a suppressed place that is not dealt with. For me it is a good metaphor for the world in not confronting a lot of things that do exist.

About the ideas that sparked Utgard and how the creative process for the new album differed from their previous releases, Ivar says: “The concept came very early, and it’s been in several steps. First, the lyrics started becoming more involved during the process of composing, because we come from very old band model where we made the songs and then we started doing the lyrics. I have stories about the bands that write the lyrics in the studio—of course, it wasn’t that bad but it was still after the music was ready. Which makes sense because then the song can tell you something about the mood—particular type of the song will give you particular mood of writing. I think now, especially since the time of writing ‘Vertebrae,’ like pretty much over halfway in the catalog, I discovered, since I am the sole songwriter in the band, that having the titles for the songs and some bits of the lyrics in the same time was also influencing the other way. Not only how this thing with the lyrics being influenced by the mood in the music, but having a thought behind it also really enriched the selection that I could pick from in writing. And this just developed and we came to this album, the whole thing was ready to concept, and then they were sort of made in parallel. Grutle writes lyrics together with me—we write 50-50 on an album. We have a couple of songs that we write the lyrics for ourselves, individually, and then this time we have as many where we write the lyrics together in the same time as I’m writing the music. We get this really nice feedback loop where a good idea in the lyrical section influences back the music, and the whole thing just gets a little bit more life. I think that’s also the biggest difference that there was everything—also including rehearsing, arranging parts, making vocal lines—everything was happening in a big parallel path that everyone was going through.

Stream the full interview below, and stay tuned for more news about Utgard by following Enslaved on Facebook.

The post ENSLAVED’s IVAR BJØRNSON Talks Upcoming Album “Utgard” appeared first on Prog Sphere.

This news story was originally published here: https://www.prog-sphere.com/interviews/enslaved-ivar-bjornson-about-utgard/

Norwegian avantgardists Enslaved were supposed to release their 15th studio album this spring, but that has changed due to the ongoing Covid-19 outbreak. The band will instead launch Utgard this fall via Nuclear Blast.

Band’s guitarist and songwriter Ivar Bjørnson talked recently with Niko Savic about themes Utgard portrays, the creative process behind the new album, their recent appearance at an online festival which was streamed live on YouTube, Enslaved’s evolution, and more.

In the Norse mythology Utgard is known as a dangerous, chaotic and uncontrollable place. Asked how much of that transcends to the world we live in, Bjørnson commented: “That’s up to each and everyone to make that interpretation, if they feel that’s relevant metaphor for something. I guess there’s not right and wrong about that. The thing that’s exciting about it is that, as it’s been pointed out also with Carl Jung’s psychology when speaking about the mythologies and not necessarily Utgard directly. But this concept of these unknown places—the dark places or the shadow places—it doesn’t mean that they are necessarily bad. It just means that it is a suppressed place that is not dealt with. For me it is a good metaphor for the world in not confronting a lot of things that do exist.

About the ideas that sparked Utgard and how the creative process for the new album differed from their previous releases, Ivar says: “The concept came very early, and it’s been in several steps. First, the lyrics started becoming more involved during the process of composing, because we come from very old band model where we made the songs and then we started doing the lyrics. I have stories about the bands that write the lyrics in the studio—of course, it wasn’t that bad but it was still after the music was ready. Which makes sense because then the song can tell you something about the mood—particular type of the song will give you particular mood of writing. I think now, especially since the time of writing ‘Vertebrae,’ like pretty much over halfway in the catalog, I discovered, since I am the sole songwriter in the band, that having the titles for the songs and some bits of the lyrics in the same time was also influencing the other way. Not only how this thing with the lyrics being influenced by the mood in the music, but having a thought behind it also really enriched the selection that I could pick from in writing. And this just developed and we came to this album, the whole thing was ready to concept, and then they were sort of made in parallel. Grutle writes lyrics together with me—we write 50-50 on an album. We have a couple of songs that we write the lyrics for ourselves, individually, and then this time we have as many where we write the lyrics together in the same time as I’m writing the music. We get this really nice feedback loop where a good idea in the lyrical section influences back the music, and the whole thing just gets a little bit more life. I think that’s also the biggest difference that there was everything—also including rehearsing, arranging parts, making vocal lines—everything was happening in a big parallel path that everyone was going through.

Stream the full interview below, and stay tuned for more news about Utgard by following Enslaved on Facebook.

The post ENSLAVED’s IVAR BJØRNSON Talks Upcoming Album “Utgard” appeared first on Prog Sphere.

This news story was originally published here: https://www.prog-sphere.com/interviews/oceanica-ben-harris-hayes-interview/

Ben Harris-Hayes is a name that is well-known within the progressive rock/metal scene. As a part of Enochian Theory, Ben put out three studio albums between 2006 and 2012. His most recent progressive rock project is called Oceanica, and its debut album entitled ‘OneDark‘ was launched in October last year via Progressive Gears.

In a new interview for Prog Sphere, Ben speaks about this new project, the album, songwriting, and more.

Describe the musical frameworks your debut album OneDark explores.

I’d say that OneDark is a metal and rock record, but likes to trip-out into ambient/electronica realms, because I am a sucker for sound design and making things MORE than they are. I love recording sounds from various environments and putting them into songs to tell a story; either was they are or manipulated to create a different sonic vibe. It’s heavily guitar-based for sure, which was something of a bit of a ‘return’ for me because I’d spent the preceding years working heavily on non-guitar based music. So, getting my ‘guitar on’ once more was great fun!

Initially, I didn’t really have a plan, as such, for OneDark, other than to satisfy my desire to complete an EP of music that I had written, recorded and performed myself. The key aspect that I wanted achieve was to do everything myself… Playing every instrument and handling the production. But as I went along I realised that I had a LOT of music that I had written over the preceding 7-8 years and that wanted to get out because I love writing different styles/genres/using different instruments, so that led me down a wormhole of turning one EP into a plan for three EP’s… Which then became 3 albums!

So, OneDark is the first of 3 albums of progressive music and chiefly explores my love of rock/metal.

Overall, I just wanted to write something that meant a lot to me, personally, and that sort of picked up where my work with Enochian Theory left off.

Oceanica - OneDark

How do the diverse, complex rhythmic and global musical influences serve the storylines of the record?

The over-arcing ‘story‘, if you will, is that life is tough, challenging and will cause you a lot of hurt but ultimately for me, it is a wonderful experience. I spent a lot of time stuck in the dark and through it all I came out the other side into the light, or rather the realisation that I am alive and that I have a good life. And more so that if I felt good about myself and believed in myself, then I felt a lot better overall, which in turn made me more enjoyable to be around. I feel it was a confidence thing and that because I had dragged myself out of somewhat long-term depression, I wanted to impart that onto a record. I’m not saying it’s always sunshine and rainbows. It’s not… But I feel that having belief in yourself and loving yourself in a positive emotional way, is the way forward for me personally. As mentioned, I just wanted to write something I was proud of and put the things I have learnt over the years into a record written and performed solely by myself. I love a LOT of different music and although OneDark is primarily a guitar-based record, there are a lot of little touches; even in the guitar riffs that come from my explorations of music from all over the world.

What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced and lessons learned during the creative process for OneDark?

Maintaining belief in myself through the process was the toughest. Everyone has bright and dark days. It was very hard to be singing about positive things when I was having a ‘grey day’. But listening back, getting emotional about what I had done and smiling through my tears was so cleansing. I had some 3-4 other EP’s written, starting back in 2012 that I ended up deleting/not releasing because I didn’t believe in what I did/felt it wasn’t good enough. I constantly battled with myself about whether it was all good enough to release, but the tipping point came when I finally took the plunge and contacted a few labels about putting something out via them. Once I had signed a contract, I knew I had no way of backing out and that pushed me forward positively.

I also feel that stepping away from ‘rock’ music and exploring other things for a few years allowed me to come back to the Oceanica project with more gusto and allowed me to get it done.

Have you managed to make any new discoveries as the time passed during the creative process? Do you think that at some point of that process your writing approach changed drastically?

I would say that working in different genres and with other artists allowed me to step outside of my own head and my own perceived methods of what music should be. Take my work with Enochian Theory, as a key example. That project had its sound and way of doing things, which was what made it work wonderfully. Working on my Massive Dynamic project is another example and it allowed me to fulfil my need to write music I love hearing, and also to learn a lot about production and other ways of writing.

Finally, scoring for film/TV projects shifted my mindset once more, or rather, added to my painters palette because I had to write for what I was seeing in the visual and what that visual provoked in my emotionally, rather than writing a straight song or in a song format. The chance to work on  other projects/working with paying clients on other things in recent years, thusly delving into a myriad of other musical styles/genres was the perfect tonic and a great way to develop as a songwriter and musician.

To be honest, and this always makes some followers of my career go “Whhhhhaaaattt?” But I have always rarely listened to Prog music as a whole, despite my apparent participation in the scene. I always felt there was so much great music out there that can influence me, that remaining stuck in one genre was not healthy. Plus if you do that then you’re always going to have people say “Oh, that sounds like X band,” whereas I am proud to say that I sound like me.

At least that us what people who have followed my career say about this first Oceanica record. I wouldn’t say my approach has changed at all really. It has always been a personal thing for me, an itch that needs scratching. And I have to itch that scratch first and foremost. If I tried too hard to be something I not, then I know that those people who have followed me since day zero would sniff it out a mile away and I would lose their trust.

No matter if I am exploring the deepest depths of my depression or the highest highs of my mania, it will always be true to me. One thing that has changed over the years is that I have, I guess, gotten better at what I do and that I can write/score for multiple instruments now, as well now having the confidence to say “F**k it… I will do whatever I want!”

Another key developing tool was undertaking a lot of travelling in recent years definitely opened my eyes more to the sheer abundance of non-rock instruments and other fun stuff out there that can widen my painters palette immeasurably.

What types of change do you feel this music can initiate?

One key change (bah dum tssshhh! Music jokes!), was personally, I regained my confidence in myself and regained that “It truly does not matter as long as you enjoy the process” attitude to enjoying my art again. Somewhere along the line in recent years I lost that, so it’s been a pleasure to reacquaint with that old friend.

Secondly, I have had a number of people reach out to me and say that what I do helps them. I cannot ask for a better endorsement or review that that. I have to use my music to work through my own s**t first and foremost, but if it helps other people then that is incredible. I’ve only ever wanted to relate to others and I guess I found a medium that I can express myself without filter or worry that people can understand and more so, take for themselves and make their own.

One person had one of my lyrics from OneDark tattooed on their being as a reminder to never let life get them down again. And THAT is incredible. That meant a lot to me. So much so that I genuinely made me cry with joy! I am a sensitive soul deep down and that ‘sharing’ was so powerful, and as I have said, the BEST kind of review I could ever get.

I get quite a few messages of support and other reaching out for support. I will always reply to anyone who reaches out to me. We’re all human and should act like that.

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

I wouldn’t say I do. Being the smug multi-instrumentalist schmuck I am, I suck at both the guitar and drums. [laughs] Jokes aside, I can grab a variety of instruments and start anywhere really. Some songs start from a guitar, or perhaps me mucking about with a synth sound or piano. Sometimes it comes from a drum pattern I am jamming out. Sometimes I will write the orchestral aspects first and then build guitar into it. Sometimes I will hum a riff or vocal pattern in the shower and then it all unfolds from that.

I have this ability, you might say, to already be scoring the full range of instruments very quickly in my head after I come up with something that I like. My head is a very noisy place at the best of times but when I focus it from the maelstrom of disorganised thoughts into a cohesive force then I can, at least for me, create something I enjoy. I see it as a weird gift and that’s the sheer pleasure of being to explore what I want in my own time, and I am thankful for that.

What non-musical entities and ideas have an impact on your music?

Life chucks such a variety of reasons for self-expression at me that can very much influence song by veering down so many avenues. I can hear a song unfolding in my head from anything such as hearing the wind in the trees, a squeaky door closing, walking through a crowd… It doesn’t take much for my mind to write something!

The obvious themes of literature, film, TV and whatnot are other influences. I get a LOT of influence from reading, as I love a good book. The tactile feel of a book has always been a pleasure and I sometimes like to score out music for the scenes I am reading in my head….which then sometimes just become songs.

There are very few things I will avoid discussing in my music, but it has to be for the right reason. I tend to work from an emotional viewpoint and it has to make me feel.

What advice or philosophy might you impart to other musicians, be it in forms of creativity, technical stuff, the business side of it, or anything else?

I could write an essay on this question, but I’ll try to surmise my thoughts! The key thing is to be honest with yourself and what you want to achieve…and STICK to your guns. You want to learn to play an instruments, then get on it. Stop making excuses and dedicate some time! Maybe then you want to form a band and play live, make it happen one way another. Think about how you’d achieve that!

Maybe you have written some songs and want to record them. Do it. Learn how to do it yourself or approach someone else to help you! Do what you need to scratch that next itch that comes along. There is, for me, NO better feeling than working on something and hearing that idea come to fruition. The outpouring of relief can be so very incredible.

Pushing yourself to do things that you might not have done initially is always interesting, but as long as you are true to yourself, then you cannot go wrong. Anyone else’s opinion is subjective and you shouldn’t take things to heart. After all, you cannot please everyone and neither should you try. As the cool kids say… “You do you”.

Make mistakes and learn from them. It is inevitable that you will…and rest assured that because you do make a mistake, it is NOT the end of days. As long as you do not keep making the same mistake because you are doing the same process, then you are developing as  a person.

Finally, live your best life and love every moment, for the present is a gift. Everything else is a bonus, my friends.

Thank you for letting me babble and for the great questions, Niko.

I really enjoyed being made to think during an interview for a change!

OneDark is out now via Progressive Gears; order it from Bandcamp here. Follow Oceanica on Facebook.

The post OCEANICA: Maintaining Self-Belief appeared first on Prog Sphere.

This news story was originally published here: http://www.prog-sphere.com/interviews/oceanica-ben-harris-hayes-interview/

Ben Harris-Hayes is a name that is well-known within the progressive rock/metal scene. As a part of Enochian Theory, Ben put out three studio albums between 2006 and 2012. His most recent progressive rock project is called Oceanica, and its debut album entitled ‘OneDark‘ was launched in October last year via Progressive Gears.

In a new interview for Prog Sphere, Ben speaks about this new project, the album, songwriting, and more.

Describe the musical frameworks your debut album OneDark explores.

I’d say that OneDark is a metal and rock record, but likes to trip-out into ambient/electronica realms, because I am a sucker for sound design and making things MORE than they are. I love recording sounds from various environments and putting them into songs to tell a story; either was they are or manipulated to create a different sonic vibe. It’s heavily guitar-based for sure, which was something of a bit of a ‘return’ for me because I’d spent the preceding years working heavily on non-guitar based music. So, getting my ‘guitar on’ once more was great fun!

Initially, I didn’t really have a plan, as such, for OneDark, other than to satisfy my desire to complete an EP of music that I had written, recorded and performed myself. The key aspect that I wanted achieve was to do everything myself… Playing every instrument and handling the production. But as I went along I realised that I had a LOT of music that I had written over the preceding 7-8 years and that wanted to get out because I love writing different styles/genres/using different instruments, so that led me down a wormhole of turning one EP into a plan for three EP’s… Which then became 3 albums!

So, OneDark is the first of 3 albums of progressive music and chiefly explores my love of rock/metal.

Overall, I just wanted to write something that meant a lot to me, personally, and that sort of picked up where my work with Enochian Theory left off.

Oceanica - OneDark

How do the diverse, complex rhythmic and global musical influences serve the storylines of the record?

The over-arcing ‘story‘, if you will, is that life is tough, challenging and will cause you a lot of hurt but ultimately for me, it is a wonderful experience. I spent a lot of time stuck in the dark and through it all I came out the other side into the light, or rather the realisation that I am alive and that I have a good life. And more so that if I felt good about myself and believed in myself, then I felt a lot better overall, which in turn made me more enjoyable to be around. I feel it was a confidence thing and that because I had dragged myself out of somewhat long-term depression, I wanted to impart that onto a record. I’m not saying it’s always sunshine and rainbows. It’s not… But I feel that having belief in yourself and loving yourself in a positive emotional way, is the way forward for me personally. As mentioned, I just wanted to write something I was proud of and put the things I have learnt over the years into a record written and performed solely by myself. I love a LOT of different music and although OneDark is primarily a guitar-based record, there are a lot of little touches; even in the guitar riffs that come from my explorations of music from all over the world.

What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced and lessons learned during the creative process for OneDark?

Maintaining belief in myself through the process was the toughest. Everyone has bright and dark days. It was very hard to be singing about positive things when I was having a ‘grey day’. But listening back, getting emotional about what I had done and smiling through my tears was so cleansing. I had some 3-4 other EP’s written, starting back in 2012 that I ended up deleting/not releasing because I didn’t believe in what I did/felt it wasn’t good enough. I constantly battled with myself about whether it was all good enough to release, but the tipping point came when I finally took the plunge and contacted a few labels about putting something out via them. Once I had signed a contract, I knew I had no way of backing out and that pushed me forward positively.

I also feel that stepping away from ‘rock’ music and exploring other things for a few years allowed me to come back to the Oceanica project with more gusto and allowed me to get it done.

Have you managed to make any new discoveries as the time passed during the creative process? Do you think that at some point of that process your writing approach changed drastically?

I would say that working in different genres and with other artists allowed me to step outside of my own head and my own perceived methods of what music should be. Take my work with Enochian Theory, as a key example. That project had its sound and way of doing things, which was what made it work wonderfully. Working on my Massive Dynamic project is another example and it allowed me to fulfil my need to write music I love hearing, and also to learn a lot about production and other ways of writing.

Finally, scoring for film/TV projects shifted my mindset once more, or rather, added to my painters palette because I had to write for what I was seeing in the visual and what that visual provoked in my emotionally, rather than writing a straight song or in a song format. The chance to work on  other projects/working with paying clients on other things in recent years, thusly delving into a myriad of other musical styles/genres was the perfect tonic and a great way to develop as a songwriter and musician.

To be honest, and this always makes some followers of my career go “Whhhhhaaaattt?” But I have always rarely listened to Prog music as a whole, despite my apparent participation in the scene. I always felt there was so much great music out there that can influence me, that remaining stuck in one genre was not healthy. Plus if you do that then you’re always going to have people say “Oh, that sounds like X band,” whereas I am proud to say that I sound like me.

At least that us what people who have followed my career say about this first Oceanica record. I wouldn’t say my approach has changed at all really. It has always been a personal thing for me, an itch that needs scratching. And I have to itch that scratch first and foremost. If I tried too hard to be something I not, then I know that those people who have followed me since day zero would sniff it out a mile away and I would lose their trust.

No matter if I am exploring the deepest depths of my depression or the highest highs of my mania, it will always be true to me. One thing that has changed over the years is that I have, I guess, gotten better at what I do and that I can write/score for multiple instruments now, as well now having the confidence to say “F**k it… I will do whatever I want!”

Another key developing tool was undertaking a lot of travelling in recent years definitely opened my eyes more to the sheer abundance of non-rock instruments and other fun stuff out there that can widen my painters palette immeasurably.

What types of change do you feel this music can initiate?

One key change (bah dum tssshhh! Music jokes!), was personally, I regained my confidence in myself and regained that “It truly does not matter as long as you enjoy the process” attitude to enjoying my art again. Somewhere along the line in recent years I lost that, so it’s been a pleasure to reacquaint with that old friend.

Secondly, I have had a number of people reach out to me and say that what I do helps them. I cannot ask for a better endorsement or review that that. I have to use my music to work through my own s**t first and foremost, but if it helps other people then that is incredible. I’ve only ever wanted to relate to others and I guess I found a medium that I can express myself without filter or worry that people can understand and more so, take for themselves and make their own.

One person had one of my lyrics from OneDark tattooed on their being as a reminder to never let life get them down again. And THAT is incredible. That meant a lot to me. So much so that I genuinely made me cry with joy! I am a sensitive soul deep down and that ‘sharing’ was so powerful, and as I have said, the BEST kind of review I could ever get.

I get quite a few messages of support and other reaching out for support. I will always reply to anyone who reaches out to me. We’re all human and should act like that.

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

I wouldn’t say I do. Being the smug multi-instrumentalist schmuck I am, I suck at both the guitar and drums. [laughs] Jokes aside, I can grab a variety of instruments and start anywhere really. Some songs start from a guitar, or perhaps me mucking about with a synth sound or piano. Sometimes it comes from a drum pattern I am jamming out. Sometimes I will write the orchestral aspects first and then build guitar into it. Sometimes I will hum a riff or vocal pattern in the shower and then it all unfolds from that.

I have this ability, you might say, to already be scoring the full range of instruments very quickly in my head after I come up with something that I like. My head is a very noisy place at the best of times but when I focus it from the maelstrom of disorganised thoughts into a cohesive force then I can, at least for me, create something I enjoy. I see it as a weird gift and that’s the sheer pleasure of being to explore what I want in my own time, and I am thankful for that.

What non-musical entities and ideas have an impact on your music?

Life chucks such a variety of reasons for self-expression at me that can very much influence song by veering down so many avenues. I can hear a song unfolding in my head from anything such as hearing the wind in the trees, a squeaky door closing, walking through a crowd… It doesn’t take much for my mind to write something!

The obvious themes of literature, film, TV and whatnot are other influences. I get a LOT of influence from reading, as I love a good book. The tactile feel of a book has always been a pleasure and I sometimes like to score out music for the scenes I am reading in my head….which then sometimes just become songs.

There are very few things I will avoid discussing in my music, but it has to be for the right reason. I tend to work from an emotional viewpoint and it has to make me feel.

What advice or philosophy might you impart to other musicians, be it in forms of creativity, technical stuff, the business side of it, or anything else?

I could write an essay on this question, but I’ll try to surmise my thoughts! The key thing is to be honest with yourself and what you want to achieve…and STICK to your guns. You want to learn to play an instruments, then get on it. Stop making excuses and dedicate some time! Maybe then you want to form a band and play live, make it happen one way another. Think about how you’d achieve that!

Maybe you have written some songs and want to record them. Do it. Learn how to do it yourself or approach someone else to help you! Do what you need to scratch that next itch that comes along. There is, for me, NO better feeling than working on something and hearing that idea come to fruition. The outpouring of relief can be so very incredible.

Pushing yourself to do things that you might not have done initially is always interesting, but as long as you are true to yourself, then you cannot go wrong. Anyone else’s opinion is subjective and you shouldn’t take things to heart. After all, you cannot please everyone and neither should you try. As the cool kids say… “You do you”.

Make mistakes and learn from them. It is inevitable that you will…and rest assured that because you do make a mistake, it is NOT the end of days. As long as you do not keep making the same mistake because you are doing the same process, then you are developing as  a person.

Finally, live your best life and love every moment, for the present is a gift. Everything else is a bonus, my friends.

Thank you for letting me babble and for the great questions, Niko.

I really enjoyed being made to think during an interview for a change!

OneDark is out now via Progressive Gears; order it from Bandcamp here. Follow Oceanica on Facebook.

The post OCEANICA: Maintaining Self-Belief appeared first on Prog Sphere.

This news story was originally published here: http://www.prog-sphere.com/interviews/caligulas-horse-interview-2/

May 22nd marks the release of the fifth studio album by Australian prog metallers Caligula’s Horse. Entitled ‘Rise Radiant,’ the new album sees the group from Brisbane taking different approach. Singer Jim Grey reflects on the creative process of the album, its themes, band’s evolution and more.

Describe the musical frameworks your upcoming album Rise Radiant explores.

Rise Radiant was definitely a different approach for us – we wanted to challenge ourselves to be more direct in our meaning and song structure, and to connect a more personal part of ourselves through each song. There’s a lot of variety within the album, and each song definitely has its own voice, and it was our challenge to let those songs say what they needed to say in the most immediate way.

Tell me about the ideas that inform the album.

It’s definitely not a concept album, that much I can tell you! I do like to explore themes though, so each song on Rise Radiant is something of an exploration of those ideas, but if there was an over-arching theme that encompassed the consistent message of the entire album, it would be the title of the album. The theme of rising through adversity and overcoming struggle is the keystone of the entire album for sure.

How do the diverse, complex rhythmic and global musical influences serve the storylines of the record?

We all have very diverse tastes in music, sure, but in terms of the appearance of complexity, that’s always been less important to us than the song itself. When it comes to Caligula’s Horse, if something is technical, it has to be for a reason – we might ask what a particular section is adding to a song’s journey, does it flow naturally and make that journey coherent, that sort of thing.

What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced and lessons learned during the creative process for Rise Radiant?

Basically being super busy ourselves. [laughs] Sam [Vallen, guitars] had a kid and was in the throes of finishing off his PhD, we were also still touring pretty often on the back of In Contact, it was a super busy time! The rest of the experience was quite the opposite. This was the most streamlined and enjoyable writing experience I’ve ever had. Dale [Prinsse, bass], Adrian [Goleby, guitars], and Josh [Griffin, drums] all contributed to the writing process, Sam and I have never been more aligned in our vision as a writing team, and the album came together beautifully as a result.

Is there a unifying thread that connects Rise Radiant with previous records?

Only in that we try to do something different from our last release each time we release a new record, haha! The rest is all separate and its own journey.

Have you managed to make any new discoveries as the time passed during the creative process? Do you think that at some point of that process your writing approach changed drastically?

In terms of our whole career, that’s something that’s been naturally refined over time, learning from our mistakes each record and always striving for the music to be the best it can possibly be. There was a big turning point towards positivity and musical message on the release of Bloom, where we wanted to make sure that if anything was dark or tragic, it always had the colour or a glimmer of hope inside.

If we’re talking just about Rise Radiant, then really the only big change was having the lads’ contributions to the process!

Caligula's Horse - Rise Radiant

What types of change do you feel this music can initiate?

I can only hope that our music can make a change for people on a personal and individual level. I know from my experience that music has in a very real way saved my life at a number of times. I’ve had people message me with gratitude for our music for helping them through hard times, and honestly, I can’t think of a more beautiful compliment than that.

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

We will always set ourselves goals and constraints at the beginning of a new album, defining the things we love right now and what we want to say with the album. Those will all be slightly modified naturally throughout the process, of course, as the songs take their own shape. For the most part, Sam and I will work independently at home with very basic ideas and directions, and send those back and forth to one another and help to develop and shape those ideas into something strong. We’ve definitely got an ear for when we’re onto something solid now, and once those ideas become something of a skeletal song structure, we get together at Sam’s home studio to finish the song and track the demo.

What evolution as a musician and a band do you see across your five studio albums?

I think it’s a pretty strong sign that I very rarely go back and revisit the older albums (unless we’re preparing for a tour!). I know loads of people out there have a real connection with those albums, and that’s beautiful and I’m super glad, but for me, I can really hear the still-developing style that we hadn’t quite landed on yet. I’m still immensely proud of those albums and those moments in my life, but for me, it’s only really from parts of Bloom, all of In Contact and Rise Radiant that I feel we’ve really grown into our shoes musically and stylistically.

What non-musical entities and ideas have an impact on your music?

Good ideas can be sparked from literally anywhere – that doesn’t mean I go for journeys of retreat in the desert searching for the new sound though, haha! The ideas very rarely come in the form of an actual idea, if that makes sense, just some kind of spark that you may or may not notice until you’re able to stoke a small flame out of it and work it into something real. Sometimes you might pick up a phrase or form of phrasing from a poem, or song, or even a TV show, whatever, and that sits in the back of your mind and gestates. So yeah, could be anything really!

What advice or philosophy might you impart to other musicians, be it in forms of creativity, technical stuff, the business side of it, or anything else?

This is one that I’ve mentioned before, but definitely don’t delete your ideas! You might spend a whole afternoon working on something, and then you might hate it or can’t find a real use for it, but don’t delete it. You never know when that idea might find a home, or whether even a tiny moment of that idea could be the spark of a new and completely different one. The other piece of advice for songwriters is that the only way to become a better songwriter is to write song after song after song. There’s no magic bullet, you just have to do it, get out there and express yourself until you find and develop your artistry.

Thanks for the chat!

Rise Radiant is out on May 22nd via InsideOut Music; pre-order the album from this location.

The post CALIGULA’S HORSE: Different Approach appeared first on Prog Sphere.