We like our homegrown bands at RoSfest. Bringing in good bands from overseas is something of a given for a progressive rock festival but finding and giving opportunities to our own bands is a vital part of being a progressive rock festival as well. To introduce the new and exciting as well as the known and established. In the case of Seattle progressive rock band Moon Letters, one might, to some extent, say that we are fulfilling both of those criteria.
Set to open on Sunday morning in our coveted Church of Prog spot, newcomers Moon Letters will show the most dedicated parts of our audience what good-quality progressive rock is all about. Taking their cues from both the melodic progressive rock bands of the 70’s and some of the more expressive English bands from the same era, and blending these impulses with contemporary and more explosive details, their brand of old and new progressive rock have caused quite a buzz to build around the band in the two years they have been active. A blazing performance at Seaprog in Seattle in 2019 caught our attention, documenting that they are a very tight live band indeed, and we join in on the international chorus that herald the amazing quality of Moon Letter’s debut album, “Until They Feel the Sun”, a production that will hit many progressive rock top 10 lists of albums released in 2019.
The Church of Prog time slot at RoSfest is reserved for bands that have the talent and potential to become big names in the world of progressive rock. Moon Letters are a worthy addition to the list of bands being given this slot and we are looking forward to seeing them as well as hearing the audience buzz following their performance.
As announced at the 2019 edition of RoSfest, Big Big Train will be making their USA debut and is the first band that has been booked for the 2020 edition of the festival. To state that this is an exciting signing for us is probably the understatement of the decade.
Big Big Train has been on our wish-list ever since the festival started way back in 2004, the same year that Big Big Train released the album “Gathering Speed”. The wish for them to come and play at RoSfest has most certainly gathered speed ever since, especially following 2009’s “The Underfall Yard”, which may be described as something of a breakthrough album for the band. Their brand of melodic and distinctly English progressive rock has made the band a must-buy for an ever-increasing audience since then, and that Big Big Train released one fantastic album after the other to this day is, of course, a part of why that is the case.
For the last decade, our audience has made it an annual tradition to request Big Big Train and 2020 is the year when we will make it happen. A long-desired wish, finally fulfilled. Big Big Train will arrive on schedule and headline on May 9th, for a 2-hour performance beginning at 8:00 pm! (Pending permit approval).
Good Day Marco and thank you for doing this interview with us here at Power of Prog.
Marco: Hi, it’s a huge pleasure for me, I’m a big fan of Power of Prog!
POP: Tell us a little about your self, your musical training and what enticed you to become a musician?
Marco: I am a man full of passions, I am curious and I always like to learn new things. Music has always been inside me since I was a child. I started playing a keyboard at 6 or 7, a Christmas present from my parents. It was one of the most beautiful gifts ever received, much better than any toy! I am self-taught and it often happens that I compose songs without even knowing what I’m doing. My instinct and musical ear guide me, always. I could not live without music. It would be a very sad world.
Pop: How long have you been a professional musician, and how many albums have you released as a solo artist?
Marco: I have been a professional musician for about 25 years. But it’s about 43 years I play! I’ve released 6 albums, 6 Ep and a couple of collections and live albums.
Pop: Let’s say I asked you to describe your musical style, how would you describe it if you were a sandwich maker?
Marco: This is a funny question! Well, a sandwich with some soft ingredient, a couple crunchy and something spicy. Multigrain bread with pumpkin seeds, salad, tomatoes, cheddar cheese, a little chili, and Fried Eggplant, with avocado sauce. So, a Psychedelic/Prog sandwich!
Pop: Tell us about your latest release “Oceans of Thought“?
Marco: There is a complex story behind “Oceans of Thought“. Initially, I recorded many psychedelic songs in Barret / early Pink Floyd / Nick Drake style and the idea was to write a concept album entitled “The Merchant of Eternal Youth“. But then I had some personal problems that had a great influence on the new compositions and even the lyrics I wrote had a different taste, harder. So I changed the title, the project, and the cover. This album talks about the difficulties that life sometimes brings us, but also talks about how to try to overcome them. It’s a record that I care a lot about because it talks a lot about me.
Pop: Who are the musicians on the new album “Oceans of Thought” and what role do they play?
Marco: Great musicians have played there, from Norwegian guitaristBjørn Riis founder of the band Airbag and Marius Halleland from Wobbler. Then the great Peter Matuchniak on lead guitar and Jeff Mack and Maurizio Antonini the beating heart of this record. The precious woodwinds arrangements by Dave Newhouse and the beautiful voice of JoJo Razor and last but not the least, Charlie Cawood playing Sitar and Dulcimer.
Pop: You often bring in many musicians for your releases, how do you choose an artist to be on a particular album or song?
Marco: I always choose a musician based on the sound I want. And last but not least talent. It is a great fortune for me to have collaborated with such high-level musicians. Sometimes it happens that I let them do everything they feel they are playing. I let them be inspired by my stories and melodies.
POP: What ten albums influenced you as a person and why?
Marco: I could say 10 albums of Pink Floyd! They have matured in me the taste for melody and Psychedelia. But surely the Grateful Dead‘s Axomoxoa, Revolver, and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band of The Beatles are very important, If I Could Only Remember My Name by David Crosby, Are You Experienced by Hendrix and Goodbye and Hello by Tim Buckley and Porcupine Tree’s The Sky Moves Sideways. What remains are Pink Floyd albums and in particular Saucerful of Secrets, Ummagumma, Wish You Were Here, Animals and The Wall. They have been part of my whole life, almost every day! Maybe it’s more than ten but actually, I should have talked about at least 50!
Pop: What was the last album you listened to?
Marco: Porcupine Tree – Stupid Dream Just now!
Pop: Describe what success means to you, not as a musician, but as a person?
Marco: Success for me means being happy to do what you do, have a woman who loves you and friends who appreciate you for who you are.
Pop: How has the music landscape changed since you have become a professional musician?
Marco: It has changed especially with regards to technology. How people listen to music. Has also changed the way of recording and producing an album. Now it’s easier than it used to be, but maybe a little poetry has been lost.
Pop: Do you see value in streaming services such as Spotify and YouTube for example?
Marco: They are a good way to make yourself known a little more. The downside is that fewer albums are sold.
Pop: If you could perform anywhere in the world, where would it be and who would be your warm-up act?
Marco: I would like to perform at the Royal Albert Hall in London and have Porcupine Tree as a warm-up!
Pop: What influences your songwriting?
Marco: A lot of things. The weather for example. I prefer to compose when it is raining or cold. And then all the things that happen to me in life. From personal relationships to everyday problems.
Pop: You are a multi-instrumentalist, what all instruments do you play and which one gives you the most joy?
Marco: I play guitars, keyboards, bass, flute, mandolin, bouzouki, and lap steel. All the instruments give me joy. It gives me the joy to play. But my favorite is an acoustic guitar. Almost all my songs start from there.
Pop: How would you describe your profession outside of music?
Marco: I am a freelance singer for commercials, I do graphic work for various companies and I also work for a company that deals with environmental conservation.
Pop: What advice would you give to the next generation of future musicians?
Marco: Be passionate and curious.
Pop: In closing I want to thank you for taking the time to do this interview with us. Do you have anything that you would like people to know that we did not talk about?
Marco: Thanks to you. I really think I said it all but if you’re interested I tell you that I love having breakfast with oat milk, honey, and almond cereals and listening to soul music!
Yep, you read that right. No more monthly vinyl pressings or shipments. Aunt Cynthia’s Cabin, which shipped out for June, will be our last monthly release.
Why? When we began Feedbands it was essentially an experiment. What would happen if we let people vote on virtually unknown artists and pressed one to vinyl each month? The results of that experiment are now in: we’ve impacted the lives of many artists and listeners around the world, and found it to be financially challenging to release an unknown artist every month. Nevertheless, we persisted for 6 years and released over 75 artists on vinyl, which we are really proud of!
But alas, the experiment has run its course and it is no longer financially sustainable for us to continue releasing an artist on vinyl every month, so we will unfortunately be discontinuing our monthly vinyl releases effective immediately.
Yes, we did consider pouring more money into clever marketing to drum up new subscribers, but we are instead taking all that we have learned from our 7 years and are choosing a new direction. We are choosing to go after something that has become increasingly meaningful to Feedbands: climate change. This is not an easy decision for us, but we feel it is the right one.
Back in 2013, when there was a lot more ice in the poles, vinyl was a spiritual mission for us. We loved that Feedbands let us pay artists, give them some product to sell, and get their music out to the people. This felt like the best thing we could be doing to make the world a better place.
But, as you’ve probably noticed, a lot has changed in the last few years. We’ve found ourselves looking at the bigger picture for what feels most important and deeply fulfilling.
Now we are asking, how can we–us here at Feedbands, and you, our amazing subscribers– make our shared love of music even more impactful? How can we help not only the artists on our platform, but literally every human alive today and those still to come? How can we use our resources to drive meaningful change? And how can music be used to make the world a better place?
So, what’s next for Feedbands?
We know that, for many, it will be hard to imagine Feedbands without a vinyl record subscription offering.
After all, that’s what Feedbands is, right? Well…the answer is “yes, and”.
Most people know Feedbands for its vinyl, but that isn’t all we do. We are a diverse, experimental music and live events production company that is constantly trying new things and experimenting with new technologies.
We will now be leveraging our platform, our technology, our artist base, and our incredible members in an effort to combat climate change by planting trees for digital streams and focusing solely on this mission.
Our goal is to plant one billion trees using the power of music.
Going forward, we will measure our success not by how many records we sell, and not even by how much money we make, but by how many trees we plant.
And you can help.
Every time you stream a song on Feedbands, we get one step closer to planting a tree. For every 100 streams, one tree is planted through our partner, Trees.org.
We already know how much you love listening to music. Now you can listen and make a positive impact for small farmers, communities, and the planet.
Will Feedbands ever release another vinyl?
Yes! We still look forward to working with select independent artists with whom we can release vinyl in a financially sustainable way. Vinyl is in our blood, and we’re going to keep going with it, just more selectively and not on a monthly basis.
What if I prepaid for more records?
You will be given the option of a pro-rated refund on any unused portion of your subscription or your choice of records from our archive.
What about the website and apps?
We are rolling out an overhaul to our website and apps over the next few days. They will be refocusing on our tree planting initiative, counting how many trees have been planted with live progress bar updates.
Even free accounts will be allowed to comment and vote now, and we will begin serving audio ads in the feed of free accounts, with digital subscribers getting an ad-free experience.
So what should I do now?
If you have a pre-paid subscription, write to us at [email protected] and let us know if you prefer a pro-rated refund or your choice of records.
If you were a vinyl subscriber, your subscription has been canceled but we would love to keep you on as a digital subscriber! We just didn’t want to assume anything and make the change without your explicit permission.
If you know any independent musicians who want to expand their audience, plant trees as fans stream their music, and earn some Bitcoin please direct them to Feedbands! We are paying our musicians digital royalties and we love getting new music on the site.
If you have friends who want to make an impact just by listening to new music, let them know what we’re up to! With a choice between free and paid digital subscriptions, Bitcoin kickbacks, and trees planted for every stream, we think it’s a no-brainer to give Feedbands a try.
Thank you for all of your support and we look forward to seeing you in our next existential iteration. Yours till the end,The Feedbands Team
Apparently, this is the third album from D’Adamo, but it is the first time I have come across him. Paul started formal lessons when he was just six years old, passion for singing, performing, and playing piano continued through his college years where he studied with some of the finest teachers at the Indiana University School of Music, The Juilliard School and Berklee College of Music. He also began teaching students, as well as studying privately to further his art and hone his craft. In 2002, Paul opened The D’Adamo School of Performing Arts, where he still teaches private voice, piano, music theory and songwriting lessons in his Las Colinas studio or at his students’ homes in the Greater DFW area. He has brought in a selection of musicians to assist him on this release, including Jerry Marotta, Tony Levin, Alphonso Johnson, Vinnie Colaiuta, Lee Curreri, Grant Geissman, Trey Gunn, Billy Sherwood, The California Guitar Trio, Chris Remediani, Canyon Kafer, Fuzzbee Morse, Nichelle Monroe, Connie Jackson, Lynne Fiddmont, Amy Keys and Fred White.
The ten songs comprise just four original numbers, alongside one each by Genesis and Michael MacDonald and four by Peter Gabriel. When I looked at the tracklisting I really wasn’t quite sure to expect, as I have never been a fan of bands who attempt to provide note for note replications of others material, but there was no worry of that here. D’Adamo has one of the most luscious, velvety, beautiful voices I have ever come across. He has a tremendous range, but normally contains himself to the baritone, but it is all so effortless and timeless. For the most part we are in the world of soft jazz, and “Lovin’ Me Back To Life” has to be at least forty years out of time as the polish and harmonies, along with some stunning bass and horns makes one think of the major pop hits of the mid Seventies.
Right from the huge harmonies which opens the album on “Games Without Frontiers”, I knew this was going to be something special, and the muted trumpet just takes it to a whole new level. Although fans of the aforementioned bands are of course going to be interested in discovering more, this is an album which will be appreciated by all fans of great music as the arrangements and vocal performances are simply superb, all backed up by wonderful musicianship.
Then, on Sunday, June 16, we’ll be performing a show at One 2 One Bar that we’ll be recording for a live EP!
Zen Archer will kick off the show at 7:00, and then ACE will be playing a 90-minute set starting at 9:00. If you want a great overview of our career so far plus a few musical surprises, you’ll definitely want to check out this show.
ONE-2-ONE BAR 1509 S Lamar Blvd, Ste 600, Austin, Texas 78704 $10 at door, 21 and up
For those of you who live outside of Austin or can’t make the show in person, we’ll be live-streaming the event. All you have to do is like our Facebook page, and then shortly before 7:00 PM CST on June 16, you should see the live stream appear in your Facebook feed.
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