I’ve just started marketing my new album – including sending it to people who write about prog. Yup, I’ve taken the plunge and chosen to openly use that most contentious of terms ‘prog’.
My name is Tom Slatter and I make prog rock music.
Why should I be wary of the term?
Certainly not because I want to be able say ‘my music doesn’t fit into categories – it transcends them’ I’m not quite that pretentious, and my music definitely fits into some rather obvious categories.
Also, not because ‘prog’ is an unfashionable term. I’m not writing top 40 pop after all, the mainstream does not beckon.
No, I’m a little wary of the term ‘prog’ because a few times I’ve seen a certain section of prog fandom engage in discussions about what is or is not prog – and discussions like that are always tedious. You know the sort, those who really care whether Deep Purple are hard rock or heavy metal, who really care whether you’re prog metal or just complicated, overlong metal. Whether you’re progressive – or just prog. Dull, dull, dull.
Being the pretentious muso that I am, my unversity dissertation was on genre distinctions in heavy metal – In particular comparing thrash metal to the NWOBHM.
Yes, I know, I know,
However while researching that I came across Running with the Devil by Robert Walser. This is a great book for anyone interested in heavy metal and sociology (isn’t that all of us?). From this I took the idea of continuums of genre, which is a much more useful idea than strict categories. Think of a continuum that runs from prog to not prog, or from heavy to not heavy. You can place different songs, bands, movements along those axis.
Much more useful than ‘It’s soft trance progcore,’ ‘no it isn’t it’s nervecore hardprog,’ ‘Rubbish, they’re clearly Clockpunk nanocore’
Making up imaginary genre names is fun.
What point was I making?
Oh yeah, my music is on the prog spectrum, somewhere near where it crosses the English singer-songwriter spectrum.
That’s the point.