Mike Portnoy has been chatting to Prog-Sphere.com about his upcoming cruise festival Progressive Nation At Sea, the new Transatlantic album and tour, plus his other projects and musical ups and downs.
You can read a few excerpts below, and head over to Prog-Sphere to check out the full interview transcription.
ProgSphere: The cruise’s organization is totally different than doing a standard open air or arena festivals. We know that you started the whole Progressive Nation thing back in 2009, so how did you come to idea of organizing this event?
Mike Portnoy: Well, it was Derek Sherinian that came to me with the idea of doing a cruise. He was talking with Eric Singer from Kiss about it. And Kiss have done several Kiss cruises with Sixthman, who was a company that put on the cruise. And Eric Singer and Derek Sherinian were talking about the idea of prog cruise, so Derek immediately came to me with the idea because he knew, you know, how passionate and involved I am with the entire prog scene.
And I already had the Progressive Nation trademark and idea, and you know the whole brand name, so we kind of put our heads together. So you know, Derek is kind of overseeing the business side of this and I’ve been the one that’s overseeing the creative side and picking the bands and making the schedule, and you know kind of overseeing the music. So it’s really a combination of me and Derek together.
The new Transatlantic album is way more close to what you did on the debut album and 2001′s Bridge Across Forever. In your opinion, where does Kaleidoscope stand comparing with previous offerings?
I can’t be the judge. First of all, I’m too close to it to be objective, but second of all it’s too new to be objective. Usually, only time can tell. You know, usually you need a few years to see where an album sits in the big picture. But I will say I am so proud of each and every Transatlantic album. I think we really have such magic with the music the four of us made together, and Kaleidoscope absolutely continues with that magic.
You know, I think Into the Blue is one of the greatest pieces we’ve written, I think it’s absolutely amazing epic and Kaleidoscope is also an amazing epic. We just continued with the magic. Following up The Whirlwind was already gonna be difficult because it was such an epic album and you know, big, giant 75-minute concept piece.
When you do something as bold and huge as that, the next step is always going to be a challenge. But I think we really stepped up to the challenge and did what we do best and made a great Transatlantic album with the combination of great epics and great shorter songs. A little bit best of the both worlds.