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toroddfuglesteg View Drop Down
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    Posted: December 12 2011 at 15:29

TRAVELHOUSE is the brainchild of keyboarder/composer Kalin Tonev. His experience includes more than 20 groups, lots of shows in the biggest stages and clubs, festivals and tours in Bulgaria and abroad. He also manages his own prog-rock show at the Bulgarian National Radio. Featuring guitar virtuoso Biser Ivanov and Pavel Milenov (drums) the band is the premier progressive rock project at their home.

I got in touch with Kalin and this is the Travelhouse story.


When and by whom was your band born ? Did any of you, past and present members, play in any other bands before joining up in your band ? Why did you choose that name and which bands were you influenced by ?

Well, drawing time lines is not the best I'm good at, but as far as I remember it was in 2002 when we, four already ex-members of a band called Allegro, were drinking coffee and I offered the guys to form a new band dedicated to instrumental prog rock. The last album of Allegro (“Bio”, released in 2000) contains one composition of mine, called Nine. Basically it's a sort of progressive-metal-fusion mixture, so the boys knew what to expect. The bass player left shortly after this and before we know, we turned into a trio: Biser Ivanov – guitar, Pavel Milenov – drums and me. Except handling the keyboardist duties, I also composed what would eventually become TravelHouse sole album.
In 2003 we picked the name Domestic Engineers. Under that moniker we recorded two songs- Neutron 1 was done in the same year, then Biser chose to left and other friend of mine – Daniel Eliseev – recorded the guitar parts for our second track - Neutron II. Next two years were time of searching and, as it turned out, not finding the right musical direction. We were making kind of new age influenced prog. Two more songs were recorded, but eventually abandoned. The whole thing started to freezing up. I begun making music only with my PC, and the songs created in those months were much more into progressive rock. The material was enough for a whole album and after reestablishing my connection with Biser Ivanov, we decided to record the songs together. But then life and other things pushed me to go in South Korea for almost an year. As a result after getting back to Bulgaria in the end of 2006, I put all the written songs in the recycle bin. Being kind of restarted, I was ready for another try and this time together with Biser and Pavel, we were decided to record a whole album. The funny thing was that after all these comings and goings, the new songs were created and recorded in a relatively short term. And the songs brought a new name of the band too – TravelHouse. I never understood why I picked it, I just knew we needed more “adventurous” name and one day TravelHouse entered my head. So the songs were ready but then again another life-and-other-things turned the band into a project. As a result I had to do all the work almost by myself which sort of killed the initial enthusiasm. Actually only the first two songs we ever recorded were rehearsed. All the rest songs were created on my computer including the drums. Biser and Daniel recorded the guitars and in the beginning of September 2007 the whole work was done. Pavel Milenov named it Mind Maping. On 24th of November 2008 Mind Mapping was officially released.
As for the influences – at that very moment I was thinking of the last King Crimson album – The Power To Believe, along with this cold but deep Peter Gabriel's “Up” approach. Put some Ozric Tentacles stuff too (or should I say Gong's “You”). Add little bit of those wonderful Genesis chords, also some Tears For Fears eerie feeling. And wrapping it all up with UK/Planet X edge.

How is the prog rock scene in Bulgaria these days ?

Sadly, from what I see, I can tell the whole Bulgarian rock scene is crushing down these days. Certain prog rock acts appear (mostly prog metal actually), gigs are very rare and in the and of the day “prog rock scene” is a term I wouldn't use to describe whatever here.

Over to your only album so far. Please tell us more about Mind Mapping from 2008.

Mind Mapping was the one and only journey of the project called TravelHouse. For me I felt it was something I must do. For the boys – I guess they enjoyed the songs. Although we never played them live, I think we spent some good time together. No hard feelings after all.
Mind Mapping was also the imprint of all the prog rock stuff I've been listening to through the years – one possible reason for the many prog styles you could catch while listening the album. Eclectic? Probably at a certain degree, but for me it's a better way to express yourself than copy/paste any prog rock classic act. Of course, while doing the stuff, I was realizing this album were becoming more of a compilation and I tried to unite all the paths when possible. One more thing was and still is, that prog rock is my all time fav, but I also like hard rock, pop, electronic..

How is the availability of this album outside Bulgaria ?

The only way to get it is through iTunes. Which reminds me that our contract with the local label that released the album just expired, maybe I should look for another deal..:)

For those of us unfamiliar with your music; how would you describe you music and which bands would you compare yourself with ?

Hahahaha, I guess almost all of prog fans are unfamiliar with my music, but having in mind all the things I mentioned, this is to be expected :))))) Well....describe,compare...I totally agree listening to music is more time consuming than reading few words, but from my experience tags are never enough to give you an idea of what you may like or dislike. Listening to music is something very private to me. I could tell you – imagine Genesis in the 80's married to UK, much more electronic UK with some pop weekends and metal arguments from time to time...I bet spending few minutes in my myspace profile or facebook page named Kalin Tonev – TravelHouse will give you much more precise idea of what is all about.

I have heard you are recording a new album now. But what else have you been up to since the release of Mind Mapping ? What is your current status and what is the plans for your band in the future ?

As you can guess, TravelHouse is no more. I'm working on my solo album now. I can say “my first solo”, but I'm not sure if and when it will be ready and if there will be consequent(s) :) Some details: 11 or 12 instrumental tracks. 10 of them are composed, 8 are tracked down. Sounds like I got the chance to make it :)
No plans for the future except to work, to fight with apathy, depression,to drink beer regularly with or without company, of course to love my wife...that would be enough..too many styles again :)
I really hope this new album to be ready within an year, we'll see. It will sounds quite different than TravelHouse although some hints remind my first step. And as you could expect this will be much better and musical effort :)

To wrap up this interview, is there anything you want to add to this interview ?

Well, thanks for the interest. I strongly believe is the first and last place one should visit if fond of progressive rock. I hope there will be a reason to talk with you again soon!
All the best from me!

Thank you to Kalin for this interview

The PA profile is here and the homepage is here

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