Mark Blasco, Anisha Norflet, Bill Gillham, Sarah Sanderson

CIRRUS BAY is an American band which began in 2001. At the beginning it was a duo composed of Sharra GILLHAM and Bill GILLHAM. Someday Mark BLASCO (engineer and drummer) approached, this meeting would change the destiny of CIRRUS BAY. On the occasion of the release of their fourth album "The Search of Joy" it is our privilege to introduce you to the meeting that we had recently with the leader of the Group Bill GILLHAM.


PROFIL - I would like to start with a thank you for your generous participation.


Bill GILLHAM - It is my pleasure!




PR - As the first question, I would like you to speak briefly of the beginnings of Cirrus Bay? And where does the name of the Group?


BG - Well I've been writing music since high school, but for a long time I would record music where I played all the instruments and did all the vocals, and sometimes I would collaborate with Alex Brighenti, who sang on our first album. In the late 90s, I started playing live with another singer, Chelsey Mann, who was very good and dynamic live, and the songs sounded so much better with her singing than me-no surprise there! We recorded several songs together, and in fact, though we didn't record it, she was the original singer for 'Slipping', from our first album. When her life took her in a different direction, my daughter Sharra, who was about 13 or 14, became the singer. She even wrote a lot of music, and especially lyrics, so we had a lot of songs we played together. When she got older, my youngest daughter Anisha joined in. My friend Mark Blasco, after hearing us play live, offered his services as drummer and engineer. As to the name Cirrus Bay, I had a lot of names in mind, but Cirrus Bay was the one that no one was using. I just liked the sound of it and thought it fit the outdoorsy feel of our music.




PR - How do you define your musical style?


BG - Hmm. You know, I just write what I feel. That's probably what everyone says (laughs). I could say progressive rock, or I could say things that some people would find cheesy, but they are still things that are meaningful to me, and maybe no one else. Things like, this is what I feel when I take a walk on a hillside near where I live, and the clouds are magnificent, and the sky is beautiful, and there is a feeling in the air and in my mind that is profound to me, but I can't possibly describe it in words, so I try to describe it in music. And I fall short.


PR - You want to talk of "The Search for Joy”?


BG - There are so many bad things that happen to people. A lot of suffering in the world, and so joy can be an elusive thing. There isn't a lot of it. And I think it is important that people find joy and happiness where they can, and so I want this album to help if it is at all possible to. It could be that it won't help at all, but I have to try. Because I don't want to add to the massive quantities of depression in the world. I'd rather add to their happiness.


PR - Is that there are differences between “Whimsical Weather” and “The Search for Joy”?


BG - Yes. With “Whimsical Weather”, I would say, hey we sold some cds this week, we can afford to go into the studio and record for 3 hours. Then I would rush to do as much as I could as fast as I could because I had no money. But with “The Search For Joy”, my bank was kind enough to finance the cd, and even though I had a limited budget, I was able to take a little more time with it. Also, I utilized Mark (Blasco) as co-producer, and he is experienced and has a very good ear, so when he came up with a suggestion, I learned it was a good idea to listen to him. So overall, I think this is a much more consistent album. I was only happy with a couple songs on “Whimsical Weather”, “Circles and Seasons” and “Gathering Clouds”. None of the other songs completely capture the feeling I was striving for. On the new one, 7 of the 8 songs I'm happy with.


PR - The theme from “The Search for Joy” seems filled with hope and I guess one side green compositions, am I right?


BG - Yes, hope, and ways that we can better ourselves so that we can be happier. I've learned that how we feel about ourselves affects our level of happiness. And how we treat people affects how we feel about ourselves. Now I'm not sure what you mean by “green compositions”, but if you mean green, as in nature, then yes I would say so.



PR - When we hear “The Search for Joy”, you can feel the influences of groups such as Renaissance, Genesis and even Camel, you agree?


BG - I grew up listening to Genesis, Bo Hansson, King Crimson, Camel, and Renaissance, so that makes sense as this is the music I love, and I always try to write something that I will love. I don't end up loving everything I write of course, but I can't help but write what I write, and it can end up sounding like a mix of those artists. The last song on the album has a Camel feel at times I know, though it was not intended. I know we're compared to Renaissance, but I never thought we sounded much like them personally. But that's just me.


PR - Where do you take your inspiration when you write?


BG - I just go with it. Sometimes I'll just jam away on the piano and work out melodies, and other times I do that on the guitar. On occasion, I'll write from my head onto paper without an instrument, but not very often. Its always about capturing a feeling, an emotion that I feel deeply, and trying to recreate feelings into music.



PR - You have two special guests on the album, Amy DARBY and Phil MERCY. How was the contact?


BG - I've admired Amy and Phil as musicians for years, and we made contact through email. The first time Phil and I corresponded was on a progressive music website called Progressive Ears.



PR - You seem to favour women on your albums singing even though on your first two albums he had a singer, is there a particular reason?


BG - Well its mainly because my daughters sing better than me. And I like female singers too, which seem to fit a lot of our music. But if I had a great voice, I would do the singing myself.


PR - You want to present us Cirrus Bay musicians on "The Search for Joy?


BG - Well we just added Sarah Sanderson, who offered to play viola on the album. So I wrote viola parts, and music where viola would fit. Besides Phil and Amy of Thieves' Kitchen, it is still Mark Blasco on bass and drums, and Anisha Norflet and Sharra Acle on vocals. They used to be Anisha Gillham and Sharra Gillham, but have both gotten married. And then I play the rest.



PR - The booklet artwork is beautiful, what is the name of the artist who made them?


BG - I went to the Anacortes art festival last summer in search of the right artist. The one that stood out for me and had a number of wonderful paintings was Randy Van Beek. And then Mike from Limelight Studios who had done the previous artwork did the design and packaging once again. Mike, by the way, is the brother of Alex Brighenti who sang on our first album.



PR - Do you think that progressive rock is back for good or it will remain an underground music that only a few fans continue to listen?


BG - I think it is back for a while as an underground music option. But I think there will always be creative composers, whether it sounds like progressive music of today is anyone's guess.



PR - You definitely listen to music, what are your groups or favorite artists?


BG - Depends on my mood. I do have a special fondness for Tony Banks, and some of Anthony Phillips. Most music classified as “progressive” I tend to like for some reason. But I also like other artists such as Swing Out Sister, Prefab Sprout and The High Llamas. I like a lot of newer indie artists as well, of which there are tons of.


PR - You definitely listen to music, what are your groups or favorite artists?


BG - Depends on my mood. I do have a special fondness for Tony Banks, and some of Anthony Phillips. Most music classified as “progressive” I tend to like for some reason. But I also like other artists such as Swing Out Sister, Prefab Sprout and The High Llamas. I like a lot of newer indie artists as well, of which there are tons of.



PR - What are your future projects?


BG - Perhaps a full scale instrumental album.



PR - You have the final word, if you want to add something...


BG - Thank you for caring enough to interview me. Its an honor, and I appreciate your helping to promote music like this.




Thank you very much.



Interview by Richard Hawey




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.