The Samurai of Prog
The Samurai of Prog (in fact a nickname of Marco) started as a project participating in Finnish Progressive Association Colossus's tribute box-sets produced by Marco. TSOP performed for the first time in Tuonen Tytär II in 2008. But, to be precise, TSOP got its final form shortly after that when Marco asked Kimmo to step in for the Italian Marillion-tribute recording. It was not many months before Steve was asked to join – and the permanent Finnish-Italian-US line-up was complete.
Doing music together was so rewarding that soon Marco came with an idea to do a full album. In fact, Steve and Kimmo had been composing music for their other bands, Resistor and Paidarion and for their solo albums, but for some reason TSOP's first two albums included mainly covers.
But there were originals all the way from the beginning as well: Besides Kimmo's The Promise, there was David Myers' Before The Lamia in Undercover (2011). In fact you could easily call David the fourth member of TSOP - as there has been at least one of his composition in each and every TSOP album ever since that.
By the time Secrets of Disguise (2013) came out Steve had composed an epic ”The Case of Charles Dexter Ward” for ”The Stories of H.P. Lovecraft”. However, maybe it was ”Sweet Iphigenia” that changed the course of TSOP and lead the way to performing original music instead of covers. Sweet Iphigenia was based on a Kimmo's simple barogesque melody, that was given a wonderful treatment and arrangement by Linus Kåse into something special.
Thus the idea of performing unreleased music (new of old) was born. That principle was pursued in The Imperial Hotel album (2014). It includes only originals – except the main track, which is based on a demo recording made by England in 1975. The big inspiration to include The Imperial Hotel- track was naturally the fact that we were happy to have Robert Webb from England's original line-up to join us. Robert's role was completed with his other track, Limoncello.
Maybe it is fair to say that The Imperial Hotel was a milestone for TSOP in many ways: besides moving aways from covers the groups own sound was better discovered because both the mixing and mastering were done by the group itself for the first time. Moreover, for a first time Ed Unitsky was involved with The Imperial Hotel and his works with TSOP have received a lot of positive response ever since after that. We have always felt that having great artwork and a proper package is essential part of our music, although it may not be so smart in these days of Spotify etc...
Even though TSOP's basic line-up has been the same in every album, we would not be here without our guests. They have played important role in every album. One reason why you don't hear so many songs by Marco, Steve or Kimmo is the the fact that especially our wonderful keyboardists (for example Octavio Stampalia, Linus Kåse, Stefan Renström Eduardo Garcia Saluena and Kerry Schacklett) have provided us with such a great compositions that it has been an honor to make them come alive.
Be it covers or originals, the basic idea of TSOP has been the same from the beginning: to make high-grade music with heart and feel - and by adding our own sound and touch there. There is a word for that: Samuraization. Alhough modern technology is sometimes utililised indeed, the music is still made and played by human beings, not machines.
So, thank you for joining us in this journey; a journey that is perhaps economically insane, but anyway a project which has given us friends all around the world – both musicians and listeners. Your feedback makes us very humble and grateful – and it certainly keeps us moving forward in this journey....