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Class Of 2015: Messenger & Sweet Billy Pilgrim

Two frontmen, one shared mission: to make music with soul while still pushing back rock’s boundaries

It’s a meeting of scholarly minds when we bring together two lauded nu proggers: Sweet Billy Pilgrim’s Tim Elsenburg and Messenger’s Khaled Lowe. “Neither of us knew we were prog until people told us so,” says the Mercury Prize-nominated, professorial, prog-popster Elsenburg, laughing. “There was no: ‘Hey, let’s sound like Genesis, King Crimson or Jethro Tull,’” says Lowe, distinctively coiffed and arriving just hours after a Sardinian festival appearance with his deep and dreamy psych squad. Time to discover more from the swots of our Class Of 2015.

Congratulations, you’re our prog ambassadors! What does that mean to you in 2015?

Elsenburg: It’s about putting imagination before anything else. All good music has that, from hip-hop to heavy metal. But if there’s a thing that links all the bands I love it’s that everything comes from the imagination, without genre limitations or labels.

Lowe: I concur. Modern prog is not being afraid to push your limits, musically or visually. Back in the day, prog rose because of engineering with certain ‘new’ instruments, played by jazz and classical musicians who were technically very well trained. Now you can have progressive pop, progressive death metal… but not being technically excellent isn’t a barrier now.

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