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DON STAGG by DREAM ARIA (Canada)

Demetris "All Around" Katsikis

Apostolis "Retromaniac" Psarros

 

Don StaggOne of the most prominent Canadian prog groups hits the JustIn Case Prog Radio road! DREAM ARIA's Don Stagg gives some really cool and to-the-point answers about his musical vehicle! Trigger your ARIA inside you and get ready for the DREAMsounds of your life!! 

 

 

 

 

 

Well, Don, thanks a lot for your participation in that interview! It’s our honor to host your point-of-view in our radio!


Hello Don! Where this interview finds you exactly?

Right now I am in the Here and Now LOL , the band is in rehearsal and preparing for going live so in a few months we will have the chance to get out there and meet our friends and fans we have spent the last few years mostly recording and would like to change that.


Tell us some things about your career history as a keyboard player. How did you decide to become a keyboard player? Have you made any studies? Do you play other instruments?

My dad was a pro drummer but I never had the intentions of becoming a musician until I heard Switched-On-Bach by Walter Carlos {now Wendy Carlos} after hearing what you could produce on a synthesizer I went out and bought a Arp Odyssey from there I decided to take piano lessons and started to join different bands I do not play any other instruments.

 

What’s your influences as a musician? Musicians that you have as role-models in your life.

My influence would be classical music as well as world and prog music my fave bands would be early Genesis , Peter Gabriel , ELP , YES etc.


How did you approach keyboard playing on DREAM ARIA records?

I try to create moods and tell stories threw the music.


Tell us some essential things about the history and the foundations of DREAM ARIA. We know that in the beginning there were no drums, you had two female singers and you were called ODONATA, right? How things changed and progressed?

There was always drums {Garry Flint} but Dream Aria in the beginning did have two gifted female opera singers but once my music moved more to rock/prog/ the two girls decided to move on that is when I found Ann she was able to sing the opera as well as singing the hard rock parts so now we are a harder edge prog band.

 

What about the other members? Give us a brief presentation for each member.

Ann Burstyn-Vocals/Lyrics
Garry Flint-Drums/producer
Jon Casselman-Bass guitar

Dream Aria


You know, female vocals in bands like you are rare indeed! We really admire the angelic voice of Ann Burstyn and the Eastern taste she brings into your music! We believe she determines your sound greatly! What is her background as a musician and what’s so unique about her as a vocalist and as a personality? [Is it true that she collaborated with SHANIA TWAIN and PHIL COLLINS?]

She is a very gifted singer but never collaborated with Shania Twain or Phil Collins {they were copy bands she was in} but did sing with her idol Glenn Hughes {from Deep Purple}

ann burstyn

You have three official studio albums out there, “In the wake”, “Transcend” and “Fallen angel”. We like all three but me [Demetris] I think your last is the best in terms of production, compositions, lyrics and all the prog elements I expect from a band like you. Tell us some things about most (or your favorite) of the tracks of these three albums.

Glad you like our last cd, the best it has is the hardest edge to it {even touched the metal LOL}. Our first cd, “In The Wake”, was really just discovering who we were and where we wanted to go so you will find a dozen different genres. My faves from that cd would be “SunGoddess”, “In the Wake –Soul”, “Blue Lady”, “Snapshot” and “11th hour”. During lives, we play both “SunGoddess” and “11th hour”. In “Transcend” we now knew what band we wanted to be and we just went ahead and recorded it my faves are “Transcend”, “Serpent Nile”, “Pandora's Box” and “Labyrinth”. We play all those live plus “The Rhythm of Now”, “Tigress” and “Flower Duet” our third cd. With Fallen Angel all we did was to add a harder edge to it. My faves would be “Falling Angel” and “Gypsy Heart” as well as “Abstract Relations” and we do those live as well.

DreamAria-FallenAngel

And what about the writing process? Are you the main composer of the band or the other members contribute equally?

I was the main composure in the first two cds but in “Fallen Angel” we all put in a lot of work!

 

We didn’t find about any upcoming live shows. What are your plans? And, what are the reactions of people when they see you playing live?

We are now working putting a live show together we played in Toronto a few times to great reviews our last time we played live the audience sang to one of our songs.

 

What’s your personal philosophy in life? How do you cope with barriers? And, simultaneously, how do you build your strengths?

Just work hard!

 

What would you suggest to an aspiring keyboard player? Also, to someone who desires to play some prog rock out there?

Work hard at your craft and I always try to play with feeling I feel. There are a lot of great prog bands out there that are great technical but miss the emotions.

 

Do you write lyrics? If yes, with what issues do you deal with?

I wrote lyrics for the first cd “In the Wake” but now Ann does all the lyrics.

 

Could you give us a review of your musical collaborations besides DREAM ARIA?

I was in 7th Temple many years ago, the albums now go for $300 each LOL! I wish I had a few!


What is prog rock for you? And prog music in general, anyway? What do you think about the future of prog rock and music in general?

I really hope it makes a come back. I miss the old days where bands were trying to do something different.

 

What music do you listen to this period?

I like Porcupine Tree.

 

What about the conditions for a band such as DREAM ARIA in Canada? How is the scene for this kind of sound out there? We know that Canada is a country with a strong tradition in various progressive genres.

I think we would fair better in Europe. Canada is mainly a hard rock country not prog rock.

 

The majority of press labels DREAM ARIA under the Neo Prog category. We also have traced a blend of rock, techno, opera, world and classical. Yet, we will leave it up to you to describe DREAM ARIA’s music to someone who's never heard of your music!

WOW, thats a hard one because everyone of our songs are different and you may hear 2 or 3 genres in one song. I like to think of it as a emotional ride we take you on.


Which are the some of the DREAM ARIA plans for the future?

We would love to sign with a record company and tour!

 

Is there any possibility to see you playing with DREAM ARIA in Greece? Greece is not a prog paradise, so actually what should a Greek organizer do so that DREAM ARIA could ground in Greece for a live performance? [maybe JustIn Case Prog Radio could mediate about that! It’s in our future plans, actually!)]

Would love to!

 

A message from your part for the listeners of JustIn Case Prog Radio and all the prog’n’rollers out there is…

I think its great that there are a few prog stations out there playing great music and we would like to thank Justin Case Prog Radio for the airtime and the interview!


Anything that you might add?

Yes! Please check out our different sites!

http://www.reverbnation.com/dreamaria
http://www.myspace.com/dreamariacanada
http://www.facebook.com/Anndreamaria
https://market.android.com/details?id=com.reverbnation.artistapp.i102385 {APP for Android}
www.dreamaria.com

 

Dear Don, thanks a lot about answering those few (lol!!!!) questions!

Cheers
Don

 

With honor,

Demetris “All Around” Katsikis
Founder and PROGducer of JustIn Case Radio (www.justincasradio.com)

Apostolis “Retromaniac” Psarros
PROGducer of JustIn Case Radio and Neo-Prog collaborator in www.progarchives.com

«Τα μουσικά έργα παρέχονται μόνο για ιδιωτική χρήση κάθε επισκέπτη / χρήστη και απαγορεύεται η με οιονδήποτε τρόπο περαιτέρω εκμετάλλευση αυτών χωρίς την προηγούμενη άδεια της ΑΕΠΙ».

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