M!NDGAMES est une formation qui nous vient de la Belgique, le groupe s’est formé en 1997 suite à l’initiative de Bart Schram et Eric Vandormaal. Le batteur, Benny Petak et le claviériste Tom Truyers complète la formation de façon temporaire. Après la sortie d’une démo en 1999, le guitariste Rudy Vander Veken les rejoint. Leur premier album « International Delight » parait en 2002, leurs influences viennent principalement des années 70. Quatre ans plus tard le groupe belge nous offre l’excellent « Actors In Play » qui fait l’unanimité chez les spécialistes. Après un délai de quatre ans « MMX » sort en 2010. Cet album concrétise ce que l’on savait déjà, M!NDGAMES nous offre l’album qui les place parmi les grands. Mais comme rien n’est simple, le guitariste Rudy Vander Veken décide de quitter. Cinq années séparent les deux dernières productions, la recherche d’un nouveau guitariste est la raison principale de ce silence. La rencontre avec Sandro Starita est la solution à leur problème et ils procèdent à l’écriture de ce sera leur dernier album sorti en 2015 « Paradox Of Choice ». Aujourd’hui nous avons le privilège d’avoir en entrevue tous les membres du groupe Bart, Tom, Benny, Maximilian et Sandro qui ont accepté de répondre aux questions de Profil.



Before starting I would like to thank you for your great cooperation.




PROFIL - Five years separates 'MMX' of 'Paradox of Choice', what happened during that period?
Tom: It’s a combination of several things that postponed the release of ‘Paradox of Choice’. After the release of MMX we focussed on playing gigs. Until our first guitar player decided to move abroad. So, we had to look for a replacement. This resulted in a collaboration with someone who could pick up the existing songs very easily, but when we started writing new songs our styles clashed. We decided to stop our collaboration and looked for another guitar player. In other words: back to zero. We lost about 1,5y. Months later we met Sandro Starita. Furthermore, we had to look for a new rehearsal room. It took us months to find an appropriate location. All this caused a delay of more than 2y.




PR - According to you is that there was a turning point in the career of the band?


Bart: I don’t know exactly what you mean, but I’ll try to answer the way I see it. We already had to replace 2 members in the past. For the outside world it may look like minor events, but it certainly has an impact. It almost seems that you have to start all over, again and again.  As far as I know, there’d never been a turning point. But rather, we seem to carry on after all these years. We’re glad that time gave us the right people to continue.




PR - Of the original group, there are only three members, what is that still motivates you to make progressive music?
Benny: I guess it is just the making of prog music that give us the motivation to carry on.


Bart: It’s the type of music that brought us together many years ago. In our hearts and minds we were already Prog before we found each other in 1997-’98. We defined our own sound - which is of course influenced by many other bands, I admit – with Actors in a Play. Now it’s like a second nature. We compose songs the way we feel.  And that still happens to be prog everytime.


Tom: We’re on the same line when it comes to writing songs, and of course without a good understanding this fellowship wouldn’t survive.




PR - With this new album you welcome a new guitarist, Sandro Starita, you want to introduce ourselves?


Sandro: Hi there! I am an Italian who moved to Belgium a few years ago and joined M!ndgames at the end of 2013, when they had just started to work on the new album. Therefore we had the chance to get to know each other while composing the new material, and I think that the result is pretty good! I have played guitar since I was 14, and my musical tastes are quite varied. But what always got me is the energy of rock and the compositional skills of classical music, and prog combines them both beautifully.



PR - On your new album "Paradox of Choice" you talk about the choices we make and the contradictions that are often associated with these choices. What are the reasons you have decided to choose this theme?


Bart: It’s not really meant as a concept album. The Age of Plenty is the only song that is actually linked to the title. But in a way, the title does reflect the times we’re living in. It reflects uncertain times. While the artwork lays a counterweight in the balance. An open door as a sign of hope.




PR - On the track "Prologue" that opens 'Paradox of Choice' means the Narrator recited this very profound sentence of sense: "Excellence is never an accident. It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent and execution; It represents the wise choice of many alternatives - choice, not chance, determines your destiny." Aristoteles (384-322 BC). According to you, what is the best choice that a musician can do for his career?


: I don't know? Learn how to read and play on time. It depends on what kind of career this question refers to. 



Tom: Play whatever you like to play and keep your ears open to discover more. And if you want to play prog: leave Belgium.



Sandro: actually I joined a prog-band after moving to Belgium! Seriously, we have the “luxury” of not doing it for a living, which gives us a lot of freedom. But in general, and not limited to music, the first and foremost choice is to put high intention, sincere effort and intelligent execution in whatever you do.




PR - At the time of the creation of M!ndgames in 1997, what was your primary goal? Now do you have achieved this?


Benny: Well the primary goal was to find a guitarist and keyboard player and for the rest it was more “carpe diem” and see what happens along the way.



Bart: The primary goal has always been: making the music we like. Apart from all trends and apart from the prevailing movement of contemporary prog. People who are looking for innovation, may not like us. That’s possible. But people who do like M!ndgames know why. It may be a complex 16 minute piece or it may be a simple 2 chord song. As long as it’s created with the five of us, it’s M!ndgames.




PR - What are your main musical influences?




Sandro: I’m very much into classic metals band from the ‘70s/’80s, Iron Maiden in particular, classical music and musicals.


Benny: Saga, Pink Floyd, Genesis (old school), ELP and Heavy Metal.


Max: Classic Rock, some Prog, classical music.


Tom: Pink Floyd, Film music (Zimmer, Morricone), and classical music (Saint-Saëns, Pärt, Bach, Schubert).


Bart: I like The Beatles, Vangelis, Yes, Genesis, Supertramp. I think Roger Hodgson inspired me the most as a singer.  Not Nick Barret as most people think. I like him. But I got to know Pendragon much later.


Sandro: Sometimes in the reviews we are associated to bands we are really not familiar with. Each of us has some “dirty little secret passions”, which shall remain unknown, that sometimes show up when composing new material, adding unusual spices to the mix.




PR - Do you think progressive music is still alive?


Bart: I can still feel a pulse!

Max: Well, we are so yes :-)


Benny: Prog music never died but now with all the modern technologies like internet and all its possibilities bands are able to make their own publicity. Due to the Internet bands can sell their albums to the people. And those who are really into this kind of music knows their way around and know where to find the kind of music they like.


Tom: Of course it is, the number of small internet radio stations and personal blogsites focussing on prog are still increasing. But I guess it’s the result of all kinds of modern media making it easier to discover and making it more visible. Perverse side effect: Prog will never be mainstream music, but like others it’s more and more subject of commercial trends.


Sandro: It is always tricky to define a style, and the temptation is always there to introduce dozens of sub-categories. Tastes tend to evolve, not in a linear way, and music is both driving and following this evolution. All in all, if progressive music means taking extra efforts chances to craft advanced yet enjoyable compositions, then it will never die. Who know how this style will be called by critics in a few years?



Maximilian von WÜLLERSTORFF


PR - What are your future projects?
Benny: To play as much concerts as possible.


Max: Another album


Sandro: The current line-up didn’t actually play any live yet, the focus was on crafting Paradox of Choice, and therefore we look very much forward to being on stage! Then, we will start working on new material...




PR - You have the final word...
Sandro: Thanks for your time, it is nice to see that our music has reached Canada.


Bart : Acta est fabula, plaudite!






Thank you very much for your collaboration!




Richard Hawey for Profil


Published January 8, 2016







Chronique de « Paradox of Choice » de




M!NDGAMES - Paradox of Choice – Auto production - 2015


Par Philippe André




1997 --- 2015, déjà dix-huit années que le quintet belge M !NDGAMES s'est formé, avec un premier disque paru en 2003 ; de la formation originelle subsiste aujourd'hui trois membres Benny PETAK le batteur, le vocaliste Bart SCHRAM & Tom TRUYERS claviériste & leader musical du groupe d'Outre Quiévrain.




Musicalement M!NDGAMES œuvre avec bonheur & talent dans la branche néo prog symphonique héritée de la première mouture de MARILLION, période FISH donc, avec une énergie qui approche parfois les rivages hard prog sans jamais en tomber dans l'excès, car le groupe a cette particularité de savoir gérer les climats entre moments calmes & passages plus métalliques. D'une manière générale, l'équilibre est quasiment parfait entre les ambiances "low" & les ambiances "high", l'ennui ne s'installe jamais à l'écoute du cd.  




M!NDGAMES possède dans ses rangs un immense chanteur pour le néo prog Mister Bart SCHRAM qui sait moduler ses capacités vocales suivant l'agencement des titres, avec un phrasé anglais digne des meilleurs vocalistes britanniques, ce qui n'est pas un mince compliment, de plus le monsieur gratouille joliment de la guitare acoustique sur quelques passages instrumentaux.


Même si cela n'est pas volontaire, vous pouvez retrouver sur cet album des passages machiavéliques, le pont central de "The Age of Plenty" le plus long titre de l'album, Bart nous la fait Mario comme si vous y étiez........pendragoniens "Requiem for a Dancing World" (proche du symphonisme de Nick BARRETT & Clive NOLAN) ou bien encore dreamtheateriens "The Sands of Time" (pour la paire rythmique en plomb liquide). Les deux ballades "Out of Sight" & surtout "Context ? Anyone ?" sont délicieuses meme si elles n'apportent pas une réelle valeur ajoutée à l'ensemble. A contrario le titre le plus gabrielien dans sa théâtralité comme dans son titre "Revenge of the Wizard" est le seul qui n'emporte pas mon adhésion car justement trop différent de l'ensemble de l'opus. Le disque se termine par "From a Drone's Perspective" un titre plus aventureux, avec des passages légèrement cuivrés (avec des samples de trompette & de trombone) assez proches de ce que produisent depuis quelques temps les ROCKET SCIENTISTS & la guitare incandescente du nouveau venu Sandro STARITA mise en vedette, alors qu'elle avait été relativement discrète jusque-là.




"Paradox of Choice" offre aussi la particularité de développer un "gros" son, Pierre DOZIN & Thijs BOYEN ont effectué un travail d'enregistrement & de mixage digne des tous meilleurs studios " all around the world", rien à envier aux plus grandes structures en la matière.




M!NDGAMES, un beau canevas musical, digne de figurer parmi les très bonnes réalisations de cette année 2015, "Excellence is never an accident......".


Cote : 4/5




Pistes :


1. Prologue (0:20)


2. The Whistle-Blower (5:36)


3. The Age of Plenty (11:17)


4. Out of Sight (5:38)


5. Revenge of the Wizard (6:53)


6. Requiem for a Dancing World (8:14)


7. Context ? Anyone ? (4:46)


8. The Sands of Time (7:35)


9. From a Drone's Perspective (10:01)




Musiciens :


Bart Schram / Chant, guitare acoustique


Sandro Starita / Guitare électrique


Tom Truyers / Piano, Synthétiseurs, Hammond, EFX


Maximilian von Wullerstorff / Basse


Benny Petak / Batterie, percussion




Après un long silence de 12 ans voici qu'on annonce un nouvel album pour la formation des Pays-Bas TRIANGLE.

Un groupe qui décide de s’appeler Standing Ovation parait de prime abord prétentieux. Ces 6 finlandais nous ont présentés en 2012 leur premier album "The Antikythera Mechanism". Et voici maintenant leur second "Gravity Beats Nuclear". Les références sont nombreuses, Spock's Beard, Dream Theater pour ne nommer que ceux-là.


MOTORPSYCHO nous présente leur quinzième album studio, il a pour titre « Here Be Monsters ».

Et oui un nouvel album pour cette formation suédoise qui paraitra le 14 mars sous le titre "Seaside Air". Une entrevue avec le groupe est prévue. À suivre!

Trio américain auteur d’un premier album baptisé "A is for Ampledeed" en 2013, Ampledeed est assurément une formation originale.


Évolutif, moderne et conséquent - sur When We Were Beautiful, DANTE a pris le meilleur des albums précédents pour créer un chef-d’œuvre musical. Disponible sur Gentle Art of Music le 18 mars.



SECTION IV est une nouvelle formation du Royaume Uni qui offre avec "Superhuman"une musique progressive accessible, remplie de richesses sonores qui rempliront vos oreilles. À découvrir !



EL TUBO ELÀSTICO, un jeune quatuor originaire de Jerez au sud de l’Andalousie, qui nous présente leur premier album éponyme.




In Vacuum




20, 21 & 22 MAI 2016   Québec

Tous les profits de la vente de l'Univers Progressif 4 vont à CKIA !! Merci de nous encouragez ! La compilation est disponible maintenant.