Progressive Astronaut travels through cyberspace to bring you the best tracks in the universe.
The term progressive is a soft spot for many underground electronic music fans, a genre description that covered a movement and style, a sound that first began their addiction to the music. The term has seen some tumultuous times, being taken over by an EDM sound from producers looking to benefit from the popularity of the genre, and just recently “taken back” when Beatport announced they would remake the Progressive House section to fit its original definition. It’s obvious, people are passionate about progressive. Progressive Astronaut takes that love and brings it to those listeners through a curated YouTube channel featuring the latest in progressive (and more) tracks, as well as live events that bring that sound to the dance floor. You’ll find many FRISKY artists among his lists, their underground style receiving the attention of the space traveler and his followers. I caught up with the Astronaut himself, to go behind the scenes of this project:
What was the moment when you first discovered your love for progressive music?
Well I gotta say, that everything started for me when I heard Steve Porter’s – Porterhouse Vol. 2. I think this is what got me into progressive music and since then I have moved back and forward with genres, exploring underground music. This exploration has defined the taste I have today. Oh boy! Those were good old days when I used to listen to Steve Porter 😀
How would you describe “progressive music” today?
How would I describe it? Well it is quite difficult. I see more and more artists mix progressive sounds into techno and vice versa – the music I tend to like varies between these styles. Of course, there is still pure progressive house, but most DJs and artists love to explore other genres and to take you on a journey by designing different sounds 🙂 The definition of progressive has changed quite a lot since its beginnings; the progressive music that people like John Digweed & Sasha used to play back in the 1990s and 2000s is not quite the same as the progressive sounds played today, that said, I am soooo glad that Beatport has now managed to define progressive house more clearly.
Where do you find the music for your channel & how do you select what makes the cut?
Haha Good one! Well for the most part, I am sent promos and official requests by record labels and PR companies for releases they want to promote. I also follow certain labels and artists on Soundcloud and that helps me to know about upcoming stuff. At the moment, it feels like I am trying to deal with an overwhelming flow of promos, it’s like a tsunami. I receive them on a daily basis and I have to admit that I struggle to keep up… I think the volume is down to the fact that I’ve been following the scene for quite some time and because the YouTube channel is becoming more and more popular.
These days I’m interested in producers more than DJs, because I know what I like and know which names to look out for. If I see a familiar name, I try to check out the promo and see if I like anything. I do want to support new music, but recently, the amount of music that I have been sent means that it’s impossible to listen to it all. I realise that the filters I use mean that I miss cool new music and artists that I don’t know about yet, but I only have so much free time to run the channel and this is my hobby. I can’t commit myself to sitting in front of a pc all day listening to music! 😀
In the end, the things that make the cut are the things that I like 😉
What is one of your favorite tracks right now?
There are quite a few favourite tracks that I can’t get out of my head at the moment, I can’t select just one, but here are a few that I listen to on a daily basis:
Dan Croll – From Nowhere (Ame Remix)
Mind Against – This Must Be The End
There are also quite a few Secret / Unreleased tunes i should not be talking about so I’ll keep that private for now! 😀
Who is an up & coming producer that you think more people should know about?
I would say Bonaca, I’ve heard some of his upcoming works (originals and remixes) and I think that he will be big in couple of years. One to definitely keep an eye on! 🙂
How did the idea for a Lunar Eclipse party begin?
The choice of date follows on from our first event which was in May this year. We wanted to do another event later in the year, so my business partner looked at the calendar, saw the 16th September date, noticed that it was also the same day as a lunar eclipse and thought that this would be a good date. We thought that a lunar eclipse (which always falls at the same time as a full moon) might bring a lot of creative tension with it and that it might be a great time for a party as a result.
The lunar eclipse party wasn’t our first party though. The idea of doing Progressive Astronaut parties emerged from discussions with one of my followers earlier this year, she proposed to start doing the parties – organising them and taking the financial risk. The genesis of Progressive Astronaut events was the result of many hours of discussions with her at the beginning of this year and as a result of these, we turned the digital into the physical. It has been a really exciting metamorphosis – one that I am really proud of.
Can you tell us more about the idea behind the selection of DJs and venue?
The reason these particular DJs were chosen comes down to us wanting Progressive Astronaut events to be associated with the best progressive music! Having seen Sonic Union play such a fantastic 3 hour set in room 103 at Ministry of Sound in April 2016, we knew we definitely wanted him. On that night, his set was so good that even when the main room opened, people stayed where they were. It was pretty spell-binding.
We chose Cid Inc because practically every single release from him becomes an instant favourite of ours, he is one of the best progressive house DJs of our generation. We chose Cid Inc and Dave Seaman specifically, because they both have a certain moodiness to their sound – we thought they would compliment each other well. Both guys did a fantastic job, their reputations are very well deserved.
We wanted to work with Dave Seaman not only because we thought his style would be a good fit, but also because with a career spanning 30 years, he is an icon of progressive house. He was there when this all began and he is still here producing great tracks and rocking dance floors all over the world.
Dmitry Molosh was selected because although he’s not hugely well known, his work is outstanding – fantastic sets, fantastic productions. Progressive Astronaut does want to support newer artists as well as more established artists. We’re very proud to have been the first UK promoter to work with Dmitry.
Then apart from myself on the line-up, we also had The Real Xperience, who hails from Transylvania, but now lives in London. He is also new to Djing and music production, but his tracks stand out because of the way in which his basslines and sycopations work together. He has a style that really gets dancefloors moving.
The venue for the first party was chosen because it was the same venue for the first party and because we already had a good working relationship with them. The Qube Project was formerly known as Pacha, it’s a club with an amazing pedigree and they have a fantastic Martin Audio Sound System – it is a real pleasure to behold the sound!
It has been a privilege to be able to hold our events there and it is with sadness that we note that The Qube Project will actually be closing its doors for the final time in January next year.
What do you think are the most important qualities for a great live music experience?
I think trying to weave some element of magic or surprise into an event is always a good call. One of the tragedies of the second party in September was that we didn’t have the astronaut who was there for the first party.
At the first party, we had an actor dressed up in a replica Apollo Mission space suit with a gold visor. The UV lights on the dance floor illuminated him in the most unearthly way. It looked so amazing and the crowd loved it.
Sadly, for the second event, the space suit got lost in the post! It was such an agonising moment when we realised it wasn’t going to arrive.
On a different note, one thing we know from our own clubbing experiences is that a great atmosphere can be shattered by poor service behind a bar or by bad mannered security staff. I think sometimes venue owners overlook this, but bad customer service leaves a lasting impression.
All in all, I think having some unexpectedly magical elements always helps a party go with a swing; having performers / acts who are capable of enchanting an audience is definitely the most important element and if you have performers who work well together, something very special comes of that too, but it’s also down to having a supportive crowd, a good venue and a good sound system.