Protos

Home of the Resurgent UK Prog Rock Band Formed in the Late 1970s


Finally, a little information about the band.  A little profile on the founders of Protos - who, where, what - but not necessarily why! In Alphabetical order:

Steve Anscombe

My musical CV is somewhat different to the rest of the band. I learned to play acoustic guitar at primary school - folk, pop of the day, that sort of thing; and was taught by a teacher there; Dave French.

Just to make things more interesting, I am naturally left handed, but when I first picked up a guitar it seemed natural to play right handed. This only really became an issue when playing lead, as I don't use a plectrum and will never be a speed merchant - no bad thing in my book; knowing where to put the silences is as important as burning up the fretboard 

A reliance on feel led to an interest in the variety of sounds that I could achieve with a battery of effects pedals and a natural vibrato which, I think, has resulted in a rather distinctive sound. Think Mark Knopfler vs Steve Hackett, and you are along the right lines. Working with Rory certainly gave me the freedom to experiment.

Just before One Day was recorded, I spent some time at Airship with a friend (writer and composer Tony Rooke) playing guitar, bass and drums too. The result was an album of demos; the music is pretty impressive, the lyrics more so, but the album itself was not destined for release. We later recorded again at the BBC studio in Maida Vale.  The result was two further songs - this time on cassette tape.

After Protos, I spent some time with a local band called Stepping Sideways. We financed and released one single during my time there, while pounding the live circuit in and around West Sussex and Hampshire.

Later, much, much later, I formed a duo with another pal called Doug Shephard. We called ourselves The Recliners - and specialised in blues, rock & roll and ballads through the 50's to 70's. Just two guitars and one and a half voices! I do sing, you see, but only ever for money .  The two of us spent some time on the pub circuit with absolutely no pretensions or illusions and do occasionally hook up (by special request these days!) for parties and such. There is one demo CD of our time together, with 6 tracks on - three acoustic and three not. I'm rather proud of it, though again it has never reached an audience beyond family and friends.

In terms of composition, I am more an arranger than composer - actual compositions for the bands I have played in number three; whereas I can cause any amount of trouble through improvisation and alternative arrangements - often unplanned and on the night! 

While I have no real pretensions about being a rock star, I would happily give up the day job to travel and promote One Day! Even for a year or two. I remain extremely proud of the music, and would relish the chance to play it live again; with Rory, Iain and Nigel - as we were, as loud as you like!

Rory Ridley-Duff

I had a chequered history with music teachers.  At four, I was coached by a local piano teacher but gave up after one term (I think).  That was the extent of my musical training in early childhood, although I was fascinated by a grand piano in our house.  At age 7, I remember starting to work out tunes and chords for myself. Quite often, my mother would sit me down to play for guests who dutifully clapped at the clever child who had worked out how to compose music without any teacher. 

My mother had a rush of blood to the head when I was about 9 years old and started me on another course of piano lessons.  I hated them.  After a further term (and only after my mother had paid for a second series) I refused to go.  Terrifying as it was for a nine year old to refuse his parent, this is what I did and my tinkering on the piano continued until I met Stephen Anscombe at school.

My love affair with music composition took off when I persuaded my mother to sell the grand piano (inherited from grandparents) to get an organ with a built in synthesizer.  My family thought this was sacrilege (and that I would regret losing the piano) but the arrival of the organ started a love affair with music composition that would last for the next 10 years.  The organ, a heavy beast, gave way to Korg, Casio, Logan and Ensoniq keyboards in the years that followed.  At age 19, I suddenly wanted to learn the piano again and after enrolling on a Jazz/Popular music course, I finally did what my mother tried so hard to get me to do.  I diligently studied the piano for about 18 months before I again grew tired of playing other people's music instead of composing my own.  My interest lay firmly in composition and it was in this direction that I devoted my time when I finally studied for a degree in music at London University (Royal Holloway College).

By the time I completed university, I had written most of Protos's repertoire (released as One Day a New Horizon), an album of other progressive rock (later released as Passing Decades), an album of classical music (later released as A Question of Expression), a child's ballet (A Light in the Dark), a musical (Belloc), film music for a student at the London film school (Chinatown), incidental music for a theatre production and several tracks released on a demo tape for the jazz/rock band Danzante.  Yes, for a while I was prolific. 

When I discovered music technology - in the form of sequencers and Roland sound modules - my interest in music grew again for a few years (until young children took over my life!).  I was able to record (or re-record) most of my music in a way that finally satisfied me.  New material (such as 'Variations of a Theme by Iain Carnegie', and many of the arrangement ideas for 'Tempest') also derive from this creative period.  Meeting up with Steve again just after the Millenium was more for friendship than music, but as chance would have it music was again to become important in our lives.  In 2006, just as we started wondering if we might get One Day a New Horizon onto CD, we discovered the untapped potential of the album when orders started arriving from Japan.  These orders were a revelation - the result of an idle comment to a buyer of Passing Decades from my newly launched web-site.  The rest of the story you can read in the blog archives......

Like Steve, I would like to thank everyone who has kept the music alive.  It would be great to play live again although I'm unsure whether I could promote it full time (but 'never say never').  As for studio albums - yes, definitely - year after year if the energy levels are there.  It is fantastic that a whole new generation of people will discover and enjoy the music we created.  The story is not over yet - we've uncovered another album's worth of material written before/after One Day a New Horizon.  We'll record and release this next year, so watch this space...