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
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 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 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 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
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 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 Pure.fm 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!
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!