MRIZE077 | Turismo – Replay (Out Now)

Guaranteed to make it a happy Monday – it’s time for another rocking release on Macarize from up & coming Finnish producer Turismo!

‘Replay’ is a massive dancefloor monster which sees Turismo ramping up his trademark feel-good factor with huge sweeping synths, a kick-ass pumping bassline and driving drums to create a hands in the air, peak-time belter.

Poland’s Mizar B takes the reins on remix duty for a deeper prog house vibe with a very Michael Cassette feel. With its irresistibly infectious bassline and dangerously addictive old skool undertones overlaid with the original’s rocking riffs, this is one to watch – it’ll move your feet and steal your heart before you know it.

‘Replay’ is out now on Macarize via Beatport.

MRIZE077 | Turismo – Replay (Original and Mizar B Mixes) by Macarize

Share on TwitterShare via email

INTRICATE011 | Alexey Sonar – Guest List / Black List (Preview)

Russia’s Intricate Records may be a relatively new kid on the block when it comes to progressive house labels, but in just 10 releases the stellar supersonic team of Alexey Sonar, PROFF, Sergey Tkachev and Vadim Soloviev have carefully crafted their own new niche for Intricate and demonstrated their outstanding flair for signing magnificent melodic mastery.

For their 11th release, it’s time for renowned Russian DJ/producer and Intricate main man Alexey Sonar to step into the spotlight with a new 2-track EP. Starting the show is ‘Guest List‘, a luminously uplifting gem of melodic prog house with a deliciously deep bassline, luscious warm pads, stylishly sunkissed summer synths, and tantalising topline melodies that blend harmoniously to infuse you with an utterly irresistible, irrepressible inner joy.

Black List‘ on the other hand represents the dark side of the force. It starts off on the same innocently uplifting vibe as its castmate, but soon takes you on a rollercoaster ride down a much darker path, a subterranean subversion. With its enthralling electronic edge, this is very Tron and rumbunctiously reminiscent of Daft Punk at their best, but with the added twist of a pulsating progressive heart and an infectiously melodic, moving breakdown. The musical equivalent of the bad boy you just can’t resist, ‘Black List’ is a dynamic, driving, dancefloor bomb of thrills and spills with a heart of gold and a penchant for pure sin.

A superbly stylish, beautifully crafted EP that deserves a place in the music box of any progressive house fan, ‘Guest List/Black List‘ is out on 15th October on Intricate Records.


Share on TwitterShare via email

LBR100 | Lowbit 100 (Preview)

Since its inception in 2008, Lowbit Records has grown from a small underground label set up by Swedish duo Bastards of Funk & Sonic Union to become one of the best known and most well-respected progressive and tech house labels on the scene. Renowned for its consistent top quality and incredible diversity of music, Lowbit has become the go-to label for some of the biggest DJ/producers and the hottest up and coming talent in the world. Regularly supported by the likes of Hernan Cattaneo, Above & Beyond, John Digweed and Dave Seaman, and with a label roster featuring the likes of Deepfunk, Cid Inc, Kobana & Yane3Dots, Nikko Z, Lank, Roland Klinkenberg, Soundprank and many more, its rapid rise to the top is no surprise.

Always and forever at the cutting edge of underground dance music and unearthing the freshest talent, it gives me great pleasure to congratulate one of my favourite labels in the world on reaching a hugely momentous milestone – their centennial release. To mark the occasion, label owner & manager Sonic Union has pulled together an incredible selection of brand new bombs from some of Lowbit’s biggest & most popular artists – and trust me when I say that Lowbit 100 is their biggest and best release to date! Showcasing Lowbit’s trademark diversity, there truly is something for everyone here – with the one common denominator being the sheer quality of each and every track. They’re so good that I couldn’t do them all justice without delving deep into each and every one, so my track by track review of Lowbit 100 follows.

Here’s to another 100 Lowbit releases and many more!

1. Deepfunk – ‘Living In A Forest’
Unmistakably Deepfunk, this track evokes dark, twisted techy grooves inextricably interwined with haunting percussive beats, dramatic drums and creepingly melancholic chords to create an intensely atmospheric track with a powerful pull.

2. Pete McCarthey – ‘Aphrodite’
Irresistibly uplifting right from the very first chords, this track is a glittering ray of pure sunshine with its shimmering sunkissed waves of beautifully blissed out synths and magic-infused melodies.

3. Rich Curtis – ‘P-Mots’
Tightly coiled techno grooves slink their way into your soul, commanding your attention with their insanely addictive bounce before crescendoing into a peak-time explosion of twisted euphoria that will infect your brain with an irresistible urge to dance.

4. Anthony Yarranton – ‘A Better Place Awaits’
Hooking you right from the start with its irresistible drive and magnificently magnetic energy, its uplifting bounce breaks down into swirling synths and mellifluous moving melodies that make you yearn for more. A polished piece of progno perfection.

5. Exoplanet – ‘Seamless Continuum’
A stripped back beat, quirky breaks and bleeps, slowly winding melodies weave you into a web of introspection and a dreamy state of blissed out, chilled out delirium. Typically atmospheric and endlessly ethereal.

6. Tash & Stage Van H – ‘Reunited’
Soaring synth arpeggios spearhead twisted techy beats and bass, while the warmth and irresistible infectious smile infused by the underlying melody will seep into you like the sun parting the clouds. Deliciously distinctive with a feel-good flavour all of its own.

7. Kobana & Yane3Dots – ‘Venus’
After a stripped-back start, this beauty builds from an infathomably deep bass and hypnotic percussive grooves to delve deep into your emotions with its driving bass, heartbreakingly bittersweet beats and hauntingly melancholic melodies that stir the depths of your soul to a sense of almost unbearable longing.

8. Verve – ‘Bliss’
Positively pulsating with an effortlessly euphoric energy, rippling with rhythmic prowess and sinously stalking you with its lithe and light synth work, this track’s intricately interwoven layers of masterful melodies and sheer soaring uplift combine to shine a light on your heart while stealing it away so smoothly you won’t notice until it’s too late.

9. Yan Lhert – ‘Mechanical Cloud’
Floaty light twinkling melodies cushioned in an atmospheric aura, underpinned by driving and dramatic drums and a blisteringly beautiful breakdown; ‘Mechanical Cloud’ will have you flying so high that you’ll be soaring among the stars and never want to come back down.

10. Danny Lloyd – ‘In The Monkeys Desert’
With its deliciously deep vibes, distinctive male vocals and luscious layers of warm sparkling melodies, this is a driving, grooving, dancefloor tour de force with a perfect peak-time pull.

11. Matt Fax – ‘Coda’
This track’s sunkissed and soaring synths and immense build-up make it instantly uplifting, while the beautifully summery vibes and old skool feel give it an evocative emotional pull, invoking an intense nostalgia for summer sunshine days.

12. Weepee – ‘Move2Groove’
Aptly named with its deep driving bassline, bouncy, uplifting groove and satisfyingly squelchy techy stabs. Soaring strings add atmosphere and emotion, while the underlying gritty grooves tug at your dancing feet.

13. Bastards of Funk & Sonic Union – ‘Proturbd’
Kicking off with a trademark Bof & SU deep bassline, the pulsating energetic rhythms, growling vocal hook, tight and edgy techy stabs have ‘Proturbd’ ready to pounce like a tiger. An atmospheric breakdown paints a picture of dark and twisted beauty, before exploding into a rush of relentlessly rhythmic euphoria.

14. Nikko Z – ‘La Moogica’
With its relentlessly intense synths, crisp drums, atmospheric percussive stabs and melancholic melody, this track is deeply, darkly hypnotic and will render you powerless to resist the dark spell it casts.

Lowbit 100 is released on 15th October on Lowbit Records.

Share on TwitterShare via email

MRIZE076 | Below Freezing – Just Need A Chill/Phaser (Out Now)

Macarize debutants Below Freezing might sound like they’re from the label’s homeland Sweden, but in fact they’re a dynamic duo based in Turkey – and their music is most definitely HOT!

‘Just Need A Chill’ is delicious deep house in the vein of Martin Roth and features sultry vocal stabs, stylish uplifting synths, a driving groove and an effortless laid-back cool.

‘Phaser’ meanwhile is another dreamily deep, sexy house track with a smooth vocal, addictive percussive elements and an irresistible feel-good funk. Speakers set to stun!

Below Freezing are yet another awesome discovery by Macarize’s superbly talented ears in chief Kristoffer Ljungberg, and I seriously hope to see him signing more releases from BF in future…answer my prayers, Kris!! :)

‘Just Need A Chill/Phaser’ is out now on Beatport.

MRIZE076 | Below Freezing – Just Need A Chill / Phaser (Original Mixes) by Macarize

Share on TwitterShare via email

PDR022 | Nordstorm ft Ella Sky – IsBjorn (Out Now)

The latest EP from Portrait Digital demonstrates exactly why this Canadian label is fast becoming one of my favourites – its consistent ability to deliver deliciously distinctive, completely original and beguilingly beautiful music.

IsBjorn‘ from Nordstorm is a case in point. The original is a bittersweet beauty of a chilled out acoustic electronic track, with simply stunning vocals from Ella Sky and a smudge of Balearic vibes seeping through every gorgeous guitar chord.

On remix duty for ‘IsBjorn’ is Sweden’s Claes Rosen, who as usual fails to disappoint, delivering a stunning slice of uplifting progressive house. Suffused with the trademark multi-layered melodic mastery that characterises Claes’ every beat, his remix is warm, lush and effortlessly euphoric.

Next up is ‘Tundra‘, magnificently melodic prog trance infused with old skool vibes & an edge of retro Michael Cassette nu-disco feel-good factor. Deep & thoughtful, it’s a track that will take you on a journey, but make you smile inside at the same time.

Last but definitely not least is ‘Berguv‘, a chilled out, ambient, stripped back track that needs no fuss or frills, just its stirringly beautiful vocals and sweeping, heartbreaking melodies.

‘IsBjorn’ is out now on Beatport, and if you’re a fan of melodic progressive house I couldn’t recommend this more!

Share on TwitterShare via email

Interview: Progressive House Worldwide

Back in the mists of time (ok, 2010), something big started to happen on the world wide web. A small group of intrepid progressive house lovers based in Europe had bonded over their shared love of magnificent melodies, warm basslines and epic emotional hooks, and together they decided to start a new chapter in their appreciation for this musical manna from heaven. And lo, in a blaze of inspiration and eagerly typed reviews, Progressive House Worldwide was born!

Since then the site has gone from strength to strength, as the PHW crew grew, diversified and found new ways to promote, spread and support the music, artists and labels that they loved – everything from interviewing some of the biggest stars of the progressive house scene and dedicating themselves to daily reviews of all the latest releases and juicy promos to skilfully crafting weekly promo mixes and putting on aural extravaganzas in 2011 and 2012 in conjunction with Pure.FM.

They say that time flies when you’re having fun, and so it has proved for the PHW crew, because today they’re celebrating the momentous milestone that is their 2nd birthday and, I hope, revelling in the deserved accolade of having established themselves as the best progressive house website around. What’s more, the PHW crew have always been nothing but 100% supportive of Cheers Ears and I admire them hugely for what they do – so when I got the opportunity to interview the guys to celebrate their birthday, I jumped at it! What follows is an in-depth, insightful account from Freddie, Milo, Alex and Max of the history of PHW, the future, and all the progressive house you could possibly wish for in between.

Thanks Progressive House Worldwide, and don’t ever stop what you’re doing! Here’s to you guys – cheers! :)

Hi guys! First of all, congratulations on your 2nd birthday today!!! How does it feel to be reaching such a milestone and what are you doing to celebrate?

Milo: Thanks! :) I feel really amazing and am proud of my boys as well. We’ve passed through some hard times all together, but now after exactly 2 years I have a feeling that we are stronger than ever. With so many artists and labels on board, and so many great friends, I will not exaggerate if I say that the whole feeling is just superb!

As for the celebrations…Well, it’s too bad that we are all (except Alex and me) from different sides of the world. But on our birthday I will be at the coast in Croatia (a place called Rovinj), so I think I will find some way to celebrate it there. The sun, the sea, what else do you need? Well a couple of things more of course, and I am sure those wont be lacking! ;)

Freddie: Thanks a million! Yeah, who would have thought that we would get this far with our ideas, really? I have done it for such a long time now that it actually feels like a big part of me, doing PHW. If I don’t do it for a few days – making sessions, find new talents to help out, writing the stuff that we do and everything around it – I really miss it, so if you would like me to stay put for a while longer, I certainly will do that. It just gives me great pleasure that so many people like what we do, for me it’s the ultimate to know that people read and take interest in the same passion as me, progressive house music. As for the birthday, well that I don’t know, I’ll probably try to crack a new idea to make us grow a bit further and find another way to make our site a more interesting place to visit :D

Max: Thanks a ton!! I know I have only been a team member for less than 6 months but regardless…it feels amazing each day to be part of this site and I am constantly trying my best to delve as deep as possible into my writing to convey my love for this specific genre of music. I’m really proud of the guys I work with here for creating something so incredibly special and meaningful for all us progressive house lovers. As for celebrating…I’ve been contemplating making a tribute mix for the site…but we shall see.

Alex: It’s a fantastic feeling. I’m really happy to see that people still love us, and our job! Don’t know about the guys, but I’m probably get properly wasted to celebrate!

Let’s go back to the beginning now and talk about the PHW story. How did PHW start, how did you all meet, how did you start working together and how did the site come to be the big success that it is now?

Milo: I’m gonna let Freddie tell the story.

Freddie: Well, it’s a quite long story really but I’ve been around for the whole time and together with Milo, Pat and Jasik we were thinking about a way to support the music that we love. We were looking for what was missing on the internet and we found out that all there was about the beats we love was file sharing – so that was how the idea was born to work together with the guys who were giving us the great pleasure we got from the music. Instead of destroying the scene, we tried to work with the labels and producers, and that is what after some hard work happened, and now I would have to say that we are established as a great source for progressive house music. But to be honest, it’s not all about us – if the labels and producers don’t think we are a good place, giving them something, we wouldn’t have them with us, so it’s more about getting people together and working the way that they like, and that we must do together with them. It’s not only our place, PHW is a place where we want people to meet – labels, producers, music lovers, DJs…you name it, everyone is welcome at the friendly place of PHW :)

Max: Well my story is a short one when it comes to the history of PHW as I’m still somewhat of a newer member, though I have been following the site for some time now and am more than happy to be a part of such an amazing thing. As for the success of the site…that has everything to do with its dedicated crew and the dedicated fans that follow our work and support us.

Alex: The story how I got involved in the project is pretty interesting. A few years ago, I met Milovan on some Serbian forum. There we spoke about new music, about progressive house and about everything. He mentioned some Pure-People blog, that was promoting only the best progressive music on the scene. He knew the original creators of it (Freddie, Patrick or Pat and Jasik). Since blogspots were becoming too small for our appetites, we decided to create site of our own, and call it Progressive House Worldwide. In the meantime, Pat got married, and decided to quit the project, since he had more important things to do in his life. So Freddie, Milo, Jasik & me started the PHW project on the 14th May 2010. We had lots of ups & downs, but we’ve always found a way to overcome them. I think the key to success is dedication to every job. If you have enough willpower, you will succeed in everything.

Of course the site wouldn’t be as great as it is without such a stellar crew running the show – so can you all please introduce yourselves, tell us a bit about yourselves individually and how you got involved with PHW?

Milo: My name is Milovan Dekic, and I work as a Teaching Assistant at the Faculty of Political Science in Belgrade, Serbia. I hang out with young and cool people there, and hopefully I teach them some Sociology :D That’s probably the best job in the world. As for my beginnings with PHW, there is not much to say. It was in 2009 when we all met through various sites, forums, and blogs. We started to think about how we could help the music we love, and the idea was there – let’s start a site! It took some time to get it all started and it all began in May 2010.

Freddie: For me it’s like I said before, it was meeting a few other guys on the internet that got me here. We shared the same ideas and love for this music genre at that moment in time and PHW was born. I’m the old junkie (I’m 38) in the house, keeping the kids together :D I’m Freddie to the most of you, but my real name is Fredrik and I live in the southern part of Sweden. As a person I’ve always been one of those people who need to have a lot to do and sleep too little. I can honestly say that PHW has kept that alive in me :D In my day job I work with kids in school as a primary school teacher (my mission is to build new progressive monsters to unleash on the world), but since the late 80s I’ve had a big passion for electronic music and I was totally hooked when house music was born in that period. I’ve spent so much time listening to old Jamie Principle, Juan Atkins, Kevin Saunderson, D-Mob, Frankie Knuckles and all those guys that started the journey of house music, I still have all those 12 inch vinyls back home and they will never leave me, it’s music history for me. I guess I’ve been around that style of music since my childhood and won’t stop until I’m dead and buried really :D

Max: Well most of you know me as Max but in actuality my name is Travis Neigum (either name works for me). I live in the US in California and have been a DJ for a little under 12 years now. When I first started to DJ I played trance under the alias Disciple, but after many years I decided to change my style of sound and eventually went from prog trance to prog house. As of now I have a radio show on PureFM called SubSolar Sessions which has been going strong for 8 months now. Other than that I’m a lover of the outdoors, gaming and anything that requires a little imagination. As for my story with PHW, basically I noticed one day that the crew was looking for another writer since Freddie was about to embark on a nice extended vacation. So I decided to email them and got word back from Alex that they would be interested in bringing me on board. Soon we were all friends and all working together to make the site a constant source for daily reviews…

Alex: Hi peeps, my name is Alex (short for Alexandar). I’m 22 and I’m currently studying at the Faculty of Transport and Traffic Engineering in Belgrade. I hate winter and autumn. I love eating Chinese food. I actually started off listening to commercial house (David Guetta and similar), but after my spiritual catharsis I found that my soul loves progressive sounding music. So I then started following Anjunadeep and the Swiss progressive scene – and the rest is history!

I have to ask this question of course – what IS it about progressive house that you all love so much? Who are your ultimate progressive house icons and why?

Milo: To me, progressive house is a way of life, and a way of thinking. It’s a philosophy without words. As Omid 16B said: it’s all about the music that “can make our emotions flow; change the way we think; the way we love; the way we express ourselves.” That’s progressive house. I love it simply because it helped me to pass through some hard times in my life; it was there when no one else was.

As for my ultimate icons, in 2008-2010 that was Dinka (and all other CR aliases) and Michael Cassette. I was also a big fan of Mossy, Mango and PROFF. Some of them I still love to listen to. But today, my No. 1 producer is LA based DAVI. In my opinion, he is the most talented producer on the scene atm. I am also a big fan of Tom Middleton, Chymera, Ian O’Donovan and Vincenzo. So I guess they are my Top 5 producers atm. Why? Simply because they manage to create atmospheres and melodies that transport me into a completely different world. And I just love it.

As for DJs, I mostly enjoy sets from Nick Warren, Darin Epsilon, Luke Porter, James Grant, Laurent Garnier. And the upbeat proggy ones coming from Jaytech.

Freddie: Well I guess I need to start off by telling people what I define as progressive house music, since I believe there are subgenres of what is labelled as progressive house in the digital stores. I mean, you see some of the biggest EDM stars (I’m talking about David Guetta, Swedish House Mafia and all those others) having their music labelled as progressive house – fine, but then I don’t listen to progressive house. For me that is mainstream house, commercial house, club house etc. If we talk about the progressive house I enjoy, then I would say that I just love all the layers of melodies being in a track, just one after another, built together to take me on a journey, I just love it I guess and can’t live without it. The brightness, the smoothness and the atmospheric outcome, that’s what it is about for me.

There are a few guys that I think are so incredibly good, but my number one is Eric Prydz, no doubt about that. I think he is exceptional and is someone that never jumped on the train to create music for the people, for me he creates the music that he feels is missing and that he likes, and it’s a bonus that so many people love the stuff he creates. He is just outstanding in my opinion and has the whole package to make him a superstar. But of course there are many more that I feel are very big and will be big also. I think Schodt is a fantastic producer, he is not giving us too much at the moment but as soon as I know he is coming up with something, I’m always excited about it and he never fails to deliver. I feel the same about Aeron Aether, he such a huge talent in my opinion and is someone I really enjoy to talk to also, he is a truly down to earth person. At the moment I feel Blood Groove & Kikis are doing phenomenal things, what they have done over the past year is just fantastic; anything they touch turns to gold really. I hope to see them around for a long time because they have such a bright future and will be one of the leading names in just a few years’ time – trust me on that one.

Max: Wow, this is a very in depth question lol! My love of progressive house comes from my love of all music that brings an uplifting feeling with it, for me progressive house is the ultimate experience for this. I think another reason for my affinity to this specific genre is the remarkable amount of flexibility you have for mixing it…it’s less technical and is all about the blending of sounds and volumes which I absolutely love and appreciate. I love melodies, I love warm rich bass and above all I love the way prog house can be relaxing and energetic at the same time.

As for my inspirations and heroes, that’s another big question lol. I think the immediate and all time heroes that truly inspired my life musically would have to be Jaytech, Shingo Nakamura, Terry Da Libra, Nick Stoynoff, Dinka, Nigel Good and Lessov. All of these artists have created music that at some point hit home for me in the most amazing ways and truly inspired me to broaden my range of progressive sound. To me these guys are pioneers of new styles of sound in the progressive house genre and have made a name for themselves based on their ability to use a particular sound that easily identifies and defines them.

Alex: If we are talking about real progressive house and not crappy SHM, Guetta and other mis-labelled artists, than it is really easy to answer this. It’s an emotional thing. Every true artist makes tracks from the bottom of his soul, bringing only the best! There are 2 guys I’ve been respecting and supporting from the beginning of my progressive reincarnation: Christian Hirt and Eric Prydz. I think that I don’t need to explain the things about Chris. Just imagine that all the melodies from Passenger 10, Dinka, George F. Zimmer, Leventina, Nora En Pure and more come from one human being. That is just insane!! Prydz is the special guy in my life cause his tunes were the first electronic music that I heard. At this moment in time, Milo has had a great deep house influence on me, and I’ve actually started listening to deeper tunes from artists like Martin Roth, DAVI, Lovebirds, Nick Warren, John Digweed…

What do YOU guys think makes a great progressive house track? What makes a track stand out to you and why?

Milo: This is simple. Every massive track must combine three things. It has to be: 1) melodic, 2) deep and 3) driving. That way it can make your mind flow when you’re home alone, and drive you nuts in the club.

Freddie: I have talked about this a little bit already. For me it is all about getting harmony between the melodies; the arrangements of a track is really important to give it a great flow, and then some great percussion work also, and I love shakers and hi hats. Names aren’t important to me – as long the track is great quality, I will listen, promote and support it.

Max: I touched on this a bit earlier as well, like I said it’s all about strong melodic infusions, warm basslines and a good dreamy atmosphere. I have a very broad taste in music and can usually be hooked by just about anyone that can deliver all 3 of those with enough grace and style.

Alex: For me it’s all about the melody! I’ve always been a melody and dub junkie, since I first heard Dinka’s tracks. The first 2 minutes of the track are crucial for me. They need to be hooky enough so that people want to listen to more and more of it as the seconds pass. Just take a listen to Passenger 10 – Passenger 10 (Chris Reece Remix) – pure madness!

With the dance music scene currently in dire straits financially, what’s your opinion on the situation and what changes would you like to see? Where do you see the future of progressive house going?

Milo: To be honest, I don’t like what is happening right now. Some of the biggest players (both labels and producers) are moving deeper and deeper into that crap called Dutch house or electro or hands up or something like that. I simply call it ‘crap’. But if that’s what makes them happy, and financially better off, that’s cool and must be respected. I simply don’t like it.

As for changes, what I would love to see is more labels and young producers who are into sheer quality and emotional house music. And it’s already happening, so that’s nice.
As for the future of progressive house, as I see it, if we want it to be bright, then it must go through some fusion with other emotional music styles, like nu-disco, deep house or melodic techno. The most important thing is that emotions must survive through melodies.

Freddie: Well, this is of course a hard one. Financially the record industry is not what it has been and it will never be the same again. It’s the digital age, you have a whole generation brought up with computers and file sharing who actually believe that music isn’t something that you pay for, it’s for free on the internet and always has been. What we all should do I think is that when you find something that you really enjoy, support that producer and buy the music from them. By doing this you know you have done something good for them. That’s what I think we can ask for in the future. What I believe people also should think about is that how much time and effort people (producers, remixers, labels etc) put into actually making the listener having a really good time with the track. It’s a lot of hours spent. If they feel that 2 euros is too much to support someone who’s put in all that time and effort for them, well then maybe the track isn’t good enough for them in the end. It’s all about respecting other people’s creativity – nothing more, nothing less. That’s my opinion on the subject and what I would like to change.

Max: I strongly agree with Freddie’s outlook on the music industry and file sharing. The simple fact is that with everything being digital and the internet being an endless source of file sharing, there is no real way to make things go back to the way they were. The only thing left to do is encourage people not to abuse and disrespect the music through sharing and posting tracks for free on blogs and such. I also have to strongly agree with Alex’s comment below mine regarding artists duplicating each other’s sound to gain popularity and success…it’s pretty sad. As for the future of progressive house, I have no doubt in my mind that progressive music will continue to flourish, especially if the amazing fan base it has stays true to the scene and keeps on being as massively supportive as it is now.

Alex: The main problem nowadays is that the quality of the music isn’t so important, instead it’s all about the popularity of the artist. A few days ago I was just commenting on Avicii’s newest tracks. He started exploiting the same old piano sampled sound and as time goes by, people like it even more. I just don’t get it, every track sounds almost the same and you can say that it rocks? Artists are trying to copy themselves as much as they can, since that seems to be the formula for success. Financially, the biggest problem could be high prices for purchasing tracks – Beatport controls 70% of the scene by releasing music through their shop, and they can dictate prices. I would personally love to implement a new genre entitled Club House, and place there all the Avicii, SHM, David Guetta and other tracks.

Which artists do you tip for success in progressive house over the next year or so – who are your rising stars for the future?

Milo: Kobana is definitely the one to watch out for, he is simply off the hook! Mindset is also ultra talented. I also like how Lessov’s sound is evolving. And I don’t want to forget Blood Groove & Kikis – what those guys are doing with their remixes is unreal! Just freaking amazing!

Freddie: Ufff, HARD ONE!!:D There are so many good producers out there, but of course I have a few that I follow and hope will take another step up. I definitely have high hopes for producers like Terry Da Libra, Mindset, Blood Groove & Kikis, I think they are so skilful and talented and I think that these guys can go all the way to the very TOP of the scene. If I were to pick some up & coming producers who haven’t been around for that long then I would say that there is a Serbian producer called D&Z to look out for, from the Netherlands you have Roald Velden, Martin Graff is a youngster from Poland, Blugazer and also Infinity State from the US. I could go on forever, but these are a few guys I believe have a bright future if they carry on doing what they’re doing right now – they just need to get some attention, support, promotion and they will soon be there!

Max: I’m with Freddie on this one; it’s a very hard question to answer without leaving out a ton of people worth mentioning. However for me at this very moment the artists that I see making headway in the future are artists like Blood Groove & Kikis, Sedi, Valentin, Mindset, EcueD, Aquareef, Nigel Good, Andrew Benson, Airdraw, Lasheye and so many many more that I wish I could name them all. All in all there are so many incredible artists on the rise that I would find it so incredibly hard for anyone who loves progressive to not have more than enough incredible music to satisfy them completely.

Alex: In the last few months I’ve been following Blood Groove & Kikis very closely; they are really doing a great job so far! Also, be sure to follow EcueD, Mike Duz and Blend. They will explode next year, mark my words! But again, there are sooo many talented artists like Roald Velden, Michael Elliot, Terry Da Libra, Lessov, Mindset and sooooo on. There are so many artists around, I can’t name them all, but I hope they won’t mind me not mentioning them!

Likewise, there have been a slew of new progressive house labels popping up recently. Which ones are your ‘ones to watch’?

Milo: Bermudos (managed by De Wachtkamer) and Mesmeric Records are the ones. Also Darin Epsilon’s ‘Perspectives’ is getting stronger and stronger!

Freddie: There are quite a few I believe, but if you look at who is behind labels such as Incepto and Intricate I can’t see them fail really, they have all the backup they need and of course the quality we look for. For my own sake, I really hope that people will enjoy what we are doing with Elliptical Sun Melodies very soon! That there will be an interest to meet new skilful up & comning producers mixed up with many of the quality names on the scene. I must also say that Kevin (MacInnis aka Lessov) does a really interesting job with Portrait Digital, and I really hope people support it as he is giving so many good names a chance to be seen on his label. Same thing with the Swedish labels Macarize and We Recommend, they always have interesting stuff coming up. There are so many good labels that we support on the site, that’s the music that we really enjoy ourselves.

Max: Well I would first like to mention Elliptical Sun Melodies, Freddie and I have been doing A LOT of work on this label and I have some very high hopes for it since we have really worked together to pool all of our resources to get good new talent signed with talented known artists on remix duties as well as vice versa. However, when I’m not pouring my heart and soul into ESM, I am closely following labels such as Incepto Music/Deep, Macarize, WeRecommendRecords (WRR), Spring Tube, Nueva Digital, Round Triangle, Silk Music (I know…obvious right lol), Particles, Neuroscience Deep and many others as well.

Alex: Elliptical Sun Melodies, haha! ESM Is going to be a great label for sure! They are gathering all the undiscovered quality new talent around the globe and making it real! Beside ESM, Incepto Music is such a great label to follow! They always have something fresh for every listener. Portrait Digital, WRR, Silk Royal/Digital & Macarize are also some of my favourites! They are all doing a great job, that’s for sure :)

What are some of your favorite tracks at this particular moment in time?

Milo: At the moment of writing, I have these 3 tracks on constant repeat: 1. Shiloh feat. Colin Moreh – Dream On (Luke Chable Remix), 2. Derix & Shoreliners – Sumr (Original Mix), 3. Calvin Harris – I’m Not Alone (Deadmau5 Remix). By the time we publish this I guess I will be on Pryda’s ‘Mighty Love’ big time! Also the entire euphoric feeling of his ‘Allein, Allein’ is simply off the hook. I’d better stop now :D There really are so many great tunes floating around atm.

Freddie: It’s so hard to pick just a couple of tracks but there are some really good ones – Adam P. has a fantastic EP which just came out on Stellar Fountain that I really enjoy, it’s just the music I love, deep with great atmosphere and smooth melodies. The whole EP (called Ancient Secrets) is just really beautiful. It reminds quite a bit about the work we see from Eryo, who is a longtime favorite of mine. I’m also a big fan of the track Kotoya from Kaspar Kochker & Viktor Fox, a Decimal Lightness release, it’s just a massive bastard, and the drive in this track is out of this world to me. Dave Shtorn – Luxury (Blood Groove & Kikis Remix) on Magic Room is another one I’m listening to a lot at the moment. But ask me again in another week’s time and I’ll probably have a bunch of others that I’m enjoying.

Max: And yet another incredibly tough question lol. To randomly name some favourites, I would say that some amazing tunes right now are Answer42 – The Lemon Effect, Feu d’Or – Chasin Joe (Jody Wisternoff Remix), Claes Rosen – Groves Happen, Mitek – Past Summer (Valentin’s Past Winter Mix), Anoraak – Try Me (Michael Cassette Remix), Vincenzo – Get To Know You…and a whole lot of Blood Groove & Kikis Remixes :)

Alex: I’m currently enjoying DAVI – Labyrinth (Beat Factory Remix) so much. Such a masterpiece! Also, there are a few personal favourites like Lovebirds – This Time (Tiger Stripes Remix) / P.O.S. – Gravity (Andrew Bayer & James Grant Remix) / Soundprank – Midas (Original Mix) / Da Funk, Bescheerer, Szenasi – ClaviaAurea (BescheererAndSzenasi Remix). Also, the long-awaited track Mighty Love from god himself, Eric Prydz, is one of my best tracks this year so far!

You guys already do so many great things to promote the progressive house scene – reviews, interviews, promo mixes, your fantastic collaboration with last Christmas – what’s next for PHW, what does the future hold for you guys and what goals do you hope to achieve with the site?

Milo: I’m gonna let the boys answer this one in more detail. But the biggest news is that soon we are launching our own label, probably called simply PHW. We already have some material in the pipeline – let the rest be the secret for now. Soon we will come up with an official announcement.

Freddie: Well, we have had one more event since then with progressive breaks, set up together with Pure.FM in March which was a great success we feel. We have plans together with Jerry Chiu for another one like we did last year, Progressive Technology 2012 will hopefully come to life if that’s what our visitors want, we haven’t heard much lately really but we hope to make it happen if people want it, just let us know. We will continue to do interviews with interesting people around the globe, believe us, we work hard to catch up with people that we find interesting to know more about. I’ve got a few more ideas in my head too, but you will see them when they become reality. Stay tuned on PHW! :D

Max: On top of continuing to do what we do I can only hope that we continue to create more events with PureFM. On top of that I hope that we have a great time creating the new label for PHW…stay tuned for more details :)

Alex: We have many plans for 2012. Okay, let me reveal one big secret. PHW is going to launch its own label probably called PHW – we are still considering that. Besides that, we’ve had some ideas about our own events, but we don’t know how much of it is doable. You can rest assured that we will continue to bring you awesome interviews and mixtapes. As Freddie said, we’ve already making preparations for the Progressive Technology 2012 show. So, for more information and news about us, be sure to follow our website, you know the address :) Also, I wanted to say a massive thanks to our great friend Laurent Sadeg and his design agency *caption, who did our new logo design! That should be all! Cheers and have a great week! ;)

Progressive House Worldwide
Progressive House Worldwide on Facebook
Progressive House Worldwide on Twitter

Elliptical Sun Melodies on Facebook
Elliptical Sun Melodies on Soundcloud

Share on TwitterShare via email

INTRICATE004 | Sergey Tkachev – Ankylophobia (Out Now)

Share on TwitterShare via email

Interview: Lessov

Canadian producer Lessov, aka Kevin MacInnis, had a stellar year in 2011 – not only did he release on highly respected labels including Arrival, Lowbit, Nueva Digital and Spring Tube, he also set up his own label Portrait Digital and succeeded in attracting the attention of progressive fans, artists and labels alike with his unique brand of dreamily, intensely emotive melodic progressive house.

With both his own career and Portrait Digital going from strength to strength, I wanted to find out more about where Lessov came from, where he’s going and where he wants to be – and I’m very happy to say that he didn’t hold back! Read on for a really informative, insightful and no holds barred look at the life and loves of Lessov…

Hi Kev! First of all, tell us – how did you start out making music and why?

First of all Lucy, thanks so much for having me. It is truly a heart-warming and humbling experience to be offered an interview by a prestigious source such as Cheers Ears. I’d also like to apologize because I tend to write a lot. Anyways…

Like most producers, I started making music before electronic music even entered my thought process or became relevant to me. I had taken piano lessons on and off from various people, and took guitar lessons for roughly 3 years. I have 3 main stages in my pre-production years:

Stage 1: Nirvana. The Nirvana years were roughly grades 7 – 10. I was drawn to the band and the sound, I was drawn to Kurt Cobain, and I bought every Nirvana album, every DVD, and the biography of Mr. Cobain at some point. I picked up a guitar for Christmas one year promptly deciding I wanted to be a rock star, and started to enrol myself in guitar lessons. In this time period I was addicted to Nirvana, The Vines, and Weezer.

Stage 2: Tiesto. The Tiesto/Armin years were roughly grades 11-12. I had heard about electronic music on various websites, but I was so consumed in alternative rock that I never paid much attention to it. Then one day I caught a glimpse of the Trance Energy theme song by Marcel Woods and I kind of liked it. Seeing as Tiesto was the main trance guy at the time, I went out and bought the album “Just Be” and it changed my life. Songs like “Just Be”, “Traffic” and “Nyana” really impacted on me and I fell in love with trance and electronic music. I started downloading podcasts like Club Life, ASOT, FSOE, and really just became part of that community.

Stage 3: Daft Punk. The Daft Punk years were grades 11 – present. I was still very much into trance when one day as I was over at my friend’s place to play video games, he put on a song called “Robot Rock” by Daft Punk. Again, I was captivated by the sounds. I went out and bought “Discovery” and AGAIN my mind was blown. However, this time I was really affected by what was on “Discovery”, and it also affected me on a personal level with songs like “Something About Us” and “Face to Face”. I decided I wanted to try my luck at making electronic music so I asked around for ideas on where to start. I first thought I’d team up with my friend and buy samplers and whatnot, but that was too much money. Someone recommended a program called Fruity Loops, so I went out and “obtained” it from someone/somewhere and started making basic sounds. I started getting the hang of it, so I decided to make a YouTube account. Now I needed an artist name. My first artist name was “DJ Vine” in honour of The Vines, but that didn’t stick. I thought up the name “Frostwave” and that became my trance alias. I continued to make tunes and upload them, and built up a pretty good following. I remember always saying “progressive sucks. TRANCE FOREVER.”

… but then one day I heard a TATW show and they played some Dinka.

I dived head first into progressive and house music. I could really relate to this kind of music for some reason. I had listened to a lot of the more popular progressive stuff like Dinka, PROFF, and Jaytech, and I stumbled across Mango on YouTube. I think the first song I heard was “Kisses”, and it blew my mind. This was an artist I could relate to as much as Kurt Cobain, yet I knew nothing about Mango. It was his music that spoke to me – it connected with me. It reminded me of faces, places, and moments in my past. It was around this time that I had just broken up with my first serious girlfriend after 8 months, and I had so much feeling inside of me. I decided to make new tracks under my real name that were more house oriented. Then I decided to get more serious with progressive and make trance on the side. I needed another alias. I had a strange fascination with the Russian language and their culture in highschool. I played a lot of online games, and I met people from that area and they told me about Russia. Personal things also demanded that I find myself an identity because I don’t know where my blood kin is from, so I chose a Russian identity. I chose the name “Lessov” because it roughly meant “from the woods/from the forest” in Russian. I had been drawn to the woods and the sea every since I was a boy, and I had played there all the time. I had written short stories about what was in the woods, and always imagined there was some mysterious realm in a forest nearby. Therefore, the name Lessov made sense to me and carries on to this day.

So basically, I started out with Fruity Loops because I loved progressive house music ;)

How would you describe your sound, and how long did it take you to find that sound once you started producing?

It surprisingly didn’t take me long at all. All I knew was that I wanted to be as meaningful to my audience as Mango was to me. I copied his style and invested huge ammounts of time into just exploring FL Studio and downloading various synths. I spoke with a whole bunch of producers such as Aiera, Juventa, Scott Batt etc and we exchanged ideas. We were the YouTube producers, and all we wanted to do was make ideas turn into sound. I would describe my sound as atmospheric and emotional. I believe music, like all art, should speak to its audience. If you want to feel love, listen to this. If you want to remember the feeling you had when you were a child, look at that. So I have an emotion or a feeling I want to tell my audience about, and I pick and choose sounds that make sense to me; ones that connect to the message very well. That process mixed together with drums, percussion, etc is what happens in most original Lessov tunes. It’s crazy to see some of my feelings turned into songs, and how much people respond to them. “Sunshine Girl” and “Whisper” are some of my most emotional ones, they’re very popular and I am so thankful for that. It’s what keeps me going to be honest.

Who are your biggest musical inspirations and influences?

Haha well I think I may have already answered this one, but I forgot a few: Nirvana, Weezer, The Vines, Rammstein, Armin van Buuren, Tiesto, Above & Beyond, Mango, Dinka, Mossy, PROFF and Owsey.

Do you DJ too?

No, I don’t DJ live or anything. I have an all in one mixer with some really awesome speakers my parents got me for Christmas, but I don’t play live because I’m not exactly into playing club music which is popular these days. If I could just play progressive that would be really cool, but I don’t see that happening.

Who would be your dream to remix/to remix one of your own productions/to collaborate with (answers to all 3 please!)?

To Remix: Mango/Shoreliners
Remix My Own: Mango/Shoreliners, PROFF, or Matao.
Collaborate: I don’t work very well with others, but I think I’d work well with Mossy.

How and why did you come to start up Portrait Digital?

I started Portrait Digital for two reasons: the first was because I didn’t believe there were enough labels around to properly promote all the excellent music that was unsigned at the time. The second was that I wanted to have music go hand in hand with visuals. This quote by Samuel Butler sums up a lot of why I started Portrait Digital: “Every man’s work, whether it be literature, or music or pictures or architecture or anything else, is always a portrait of himself.”

People like Roald Velden had a surplus amount of excellent tunes lying around unreleased. The only other label that was willing to take on any of these people was Arrival, so I decided to make a label myself. I contacted Jesse from L8 Night Records and he set me up with the basics and taught me a lot about how to manage a label. I drew up a few basic ideas with my friend Ryan Petersen (Aiera) which included a logo, release artwork, that kind of stuff. I soon after signed my distribution contract with Believe Digital and then I officially had my label. Roald and I had been talking for a while about collaborating, and when he heard I was starting a label he said he was a graphic designer, and that he could whip up a few covers. I said sure why not, and now you see the work he has been doing for me. He is an excellent graphic designer, musician and label partner.
Now we see labels like WeRecommend Records and Neuroscience Deep sprouting up, so there is more variety, but my goals for the label still remain the same regardless.

Lately Portrait Digital has been accompanying the EPs with music videos, created by Wahed Achterberg from Sunset Melodies on YouTube. He does a fantastic job with those and I want them to be a core principle in every Portrait Digital release. I also want to expand on this idea of music + visuals, and I want people to buy an EP or listen to music – whether it be from Portrait Digital or Lessov – and associate it with an emotion or a feeling. If you’re having a bad day and you want to be lost in something, my idea is for you to just browse the Portrait Digital catalogue and open up the music video and enjoy.

What would you say is the label’s USP, and how do you make it stand out from all the other progressive labels?

I’ve never thought about a USP for Portrait Digital. I just try and release great EPs that mean something. I guess the fact we release HD Music videos with each release is unique, but besides that it’s all about good music!

With the digital music market currently struggling in terms of sales, how do you think labels and artist should/will evolve to deal with the situation?

Well there’s a lot of debate between two sides on this subject: 1. People who make music invest a lot of time and energy into their productions. They feel they should be paid for it, and that illegal downloads deter them from continuing. 2. Music is made for everyone, and it should be shared freely and openly. I believe that it doesn’t matter. People will do what they please with what resources they have. If they want to buy the tracks then they will, if they don’t want to they don’t.

This is a hobby to me. It’s a very passionate hobby, like any hobby is for someone who’s passionate. It was collecting cards when I was younger, but now it’s music. For labels, I say just continue what you’re doing because there’s no big money in progressive or melodic house music. For artists it’s the same thing. I say branch out wherever possible and try and get as many people listening to your music and message as possible, because we’re all artists and as artists the ultimate goal is to represent metaphysical concepts or past memories to people trying to get by in everyday life and trying to connect with something…or that’s what I think anyways.

What’s coming up for both you and Portrait Digital?

I have a bunch of tracks coming out on labels like Arrival, Macarize, and Undertechnical. I’m also planning on starting my artist album for Spring Tube sometime. My goal with Lessov is to reach as many quality labels as I can, reach as many people as I can and try to help people if I can. By the way, I have a formspring account you can reach me at and ask me anything you want, whether it’s related to music or not.

For Portrait Digital, I plan to release more and more EPs and reach spots on various charts and get some major radio support. That’s all I can hope to do, and I hope people will join in along the way.

You’re obviously still quite young, so tell us – what’s your ultimate goal that you want to achieve in your musical career?

Well I’m in college right now going to be studying music industry arts (business, producing, recording etc). I guess I’ll just complete the course and see where it takes me. I’m an ambitious guy, so I’m confident that wherever I go I will be happy and successful.

My ultimate goal for a “music career” though I guess would be…well. I’ve always wanted to work with movies. I believe music and visuals should go hand in hand, and I experience so much emotion while watching a film with captivating soundscapes or music. Movies and music are such brilliant forms of art that really connect with people, and I guess my ultimate goal, both as a musician and as a human being, is to change someone’s life for the better in one way or another.

Thanks Kev – I think you’re already well on your way to that! 

Lessov’s new track ‘Atlas’ is released on 4th March on Undertechnical.

Lessov on Soundcloud
Lessov on Facebook
Lessov on YouTube
Lessov on Beatport

Portrait Digital on Soundcloud
Portrait Digital on Facebook
Portrait Digital on YouTube
Portrait Digital on Beatport

Share on TwitterShare via email

LBR068 | Samee – Winter Landscapes (Out 13.02.12)

Share on TwitterShare via email

MRIZE046 | Labtracks – Driver (Out 20.02.12)

Share on TwitterShare via email

Pick And Mix 29.01.12

Share on TwitterShare via email

PDR014 | Fresh Produce – Believers (Out 07.02.12)

Share on TwitterShare via email