Here are some of the little bits of information you might want to know about Seaprog
Seaprog is conceived and organized by a group we call The Central Committee.
We're a group local musicians who are convinced that the rest of the world should know Seattle for more than just heavy rock music. We are (in alphabetical order):
Two things contributed to the start of my musical journey, and I can't really separate them into cause and effect. My piano teacher noticed an aptitude for music theory and started teaching me things beyond just technique; and I discovered the creative wellspring of early progressive rock. My hunger for musical experiences led me to join jazz band in high school, and later I came across African music, which opened up a whole world of sounds. My slogan is "Quality is independent of genre."
I’ve been into music as long as I can remember. My mother likes to tell the story that when I was around two years old, I would go grab one of their albums as soon as I got up and hold it up for her to put on. My first musical memory is getting the Beatles Hey Jude/Revolution single for my fifth birthday in 1970. I’ve been an avid listener to as much as I can get my hands on since then. I started playing guitar when I was 13, and have since then played in a number of bands here in the great PNW, including Pinto Wagonfire, who played at Seaprog in 2017.
I’ve always been drawn to some form of community enrichment, and after attending the first Seaprog festival in 2013 I was immediately blown away by the welcoming sense of kinship, the amazing original music, and felt like I was home. Being involved with Seaprog is a labor of love, and I’m very humbled to be part of its organizational crew. As a musician, I've been playing progressively-bent music in the Seattle area since 1990 with bands such as Astoria, Talamasca, Chalkline Dogs, Roots to Sky, and recently gigging around the PNW with Pinto Wagonfire.
When I was old enough to start discovering my own tastes in music, the original wave of progressive rock was long over and the next musical wave had taken over the popular consciousness. By the time I finally discovered Prog, I was ready for it. I was ready for music that was more interesting, more diverse, and more challenging to learn and play myself. Having started on drums, then moving to guitar and keyboards, it was just what I was looking for, and continues to be. When I moved to Seattle in 1991 from Chicago, progressive music led me to finding many good friends with musical obsessions as deep as my own. It’s been a pleasure to participate with the Seaprog team in helping bring adventurous new music to Seattle!
I've been involved in the progressive-rock milieu since the late 1970s, when I was a member of Earthstar, the only U.S. band to participate in Germany's kosmische musik scene at its height. Since then I've played in dozens of musical aggregations leading up to my current primary band Moraine, which was featured at the penultimate NEARfest in 2010. In the late 1980s and early 1990s I spent several years embroiled in pioneering musical adventures in the Far East, as detailed in my book Live at the Forbidden City: Musical Encounters in China and Taiwan. As an organizer, I served for 10 years as co-director of the Seattle Improvised Music Festival, the world's longest-running event of its kind, as well as Seattle's Other Sounds and (currently) Zero-G concert series. As proof of my innate masochism, I've now taken on the role of co-organizer for Seaprog, a new festival showcasing one of the world's most maligned music genres, because there's just too much great progressive music going on beneath the radar in Seattle to keep it a secret any longer.
I have been obsessed with music since I was 8 years old. I took every music class offered through high school and played constantly in bands since I took up the drums at 15. Music seems to satisfy conflicting parts of my personality — it meets my need to find structure and order in complex systems, and to gain a deep understanding of how these structures work. It also satisfies on an emotional level; from intense poly-rhythms, to great performances and inspired songwriting. Playing, performing and recording music has been the great joy of my life. I am delighted to be a part of Seaprog and to continue to share my passion with like-minded people.
The seeds of Seaprog go back a couple of years, when Dennis, who is involved with the Zero-G Concerts series, started thinking about a way to highlight all the great creative music found in Seattle. He mentioned his idea to Jon, who thought it sounded like an excellent plan. A bit later, John heard about it, and as a veteran prog festival attendee, he encouraged us to think bigger.
The original plan was a showcase for local Northwest artists presented in a setting more like a concert than the dive bars that are the most common venue for local acts. But as our plans expanded, it became apparent that including a "ringer" or two — nationally known performers — would be the only way to make it happen.
Result? Seaprog's modest beginning as something bigger than we originally intended, but small enough to pull off (we hope!) and not get wiped out financially.
Our original plan was to include only local artists. After two years of Zero-G shows, we'd seen a lot of really good music, and a lot of it fell into a loose category of creative avant-rock. Nearly all of the Northwest artists on the bill have played Zero-G shows.
When we decided to move beyond just the Seattle area, Dennis's extensive connections in the music world were crucial.
Stylistically, we're focused on what is progressive (small p) today, not what was progressive decades ago — there are other festivals for that. It's not that we don't value that music, but it already has exposure and an established fanbase. What's new now excites us, and we want more people to have the chance to hear this wonderful stuff without hanging out in a dingy bar after midnight.
Seaprog is a curated event, hence it reflects the musical preferences of its curators and makes no claim to being stylistically comprehensive. Our focus is on contemporary music that challenges the definition of progressive rock, rather than re-creating the classic progressive sounds of earlier times.
As for a more thorough examination of our thoughts and philosophy, feel free to read the Seaprog Manifesto
You tell us.
We're playing it by ear — if the current Seaprog comes off reasonably well, we might very well have the energy to do it again next year. There's certainly a lot of good music we haven't been able to fit into the schedule.
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As the festival dates approach, we'll know more about what sort of roles need filling during the shows. Check back to this website and watch for our announcements for opportunities.
Feel free to take as many pictures as you want, just avoid using a flash. Take all the video you want, or even record audio. But whatever you do, please be considerate of those around you, as well as the artists. They paid just as much to be there as you did, and they have a right to enjoy the performances without having their view blocked by someone's camera or tablet.
Also note that some artists may be party to contracts with their labels that frown upon unofficial recordings. We intend to respect those contracts, and expect our attendees to do so as well. We'll make it clear when we know of such situations.
We encourage you to relax and enjoy the show. When you're busy worrying about camera angles and lighting, you're not listening to the music.