Ghost Community's Matt Cohen gives us a glimpse into his prog world

A press shot of Matt Cohen

Where’s home?

I’m based just outside Cardiff at the moment but home is a place called Penarth, and I’m moving back very soon.

Earliest prog memory?

I was always a metal fan, but I went to a mate’s house and he had Genesis and Yes albums, Close To The Edge and Fragile. To me it was like a foreign world.

First prog record you bought and where?

Marillion’s Misplaced Childhood, bought in Oxford Street in 1986, on cassette. It blew me away, and that’s when I really started exploring prog.

First prog gig?

Not until 1993 – Dream Theater at the Bristol Bierkeller during their the Images And Words tour.

Favourite piece of technology?

I’ve loved technology ever since my ZX81! Everything in my house is Mac-based and I’d be lost without my iPad.

Guilty musical pleasures?

What was that Babylon Zoo song? Spaceman. I love that.

What would be your specialist subject on Mastermind?

Without a doubt, Iron Maiden.

Your greatest prog extravagance?

Bass guitars. I’ve been through every brand available, it’s a search that’ll never end.

Favourite prog venue?

The Robin 2’s great to play, there’s always a good vibe there. To see a show, St David’s Hall. It’s a very special place. I saw Yes there on the Magnification tour, it was phenomenal.

Outside of prog, what are you into?

Cats and owls. As a kid I found a baby owl in our garden. It sat on my shoulder, then followed us everywhere. It’d fly in the house and we’d feed it. So cats, owls, and curry and beer.

Your prog hero?

Steve Harris is my all-time hero, but my prog prog heroes? Steve Rothery, John Petrucci and Mike Portnoy. I’m grateful they introduced me to such cool music.

Are you a collector?

No, but people always bring me owls – fluffy owls, owl candles, owl cushions. People are so, so sweet.

Last prog album you bought?

Riverside’s Eye Of The Soundscape and Opeth’s Sorceress. They both really grabbed me, too.

Last prog gig?

Last weekend! I saw The Pineapple Thief and Godsticks in Islington Assembly Hall, then Steve Hogarth at the 100 Club.

Ever had a prog date?

Um, yes of course I have, but let’s just leave that there!

Who do you call in the prog fraternity for a good night out?

I always have a top laugh with my old chum Moo from Touchstone, and it’s nice to have a cup of tea with Rob Reed, too. Prog’s a great scene with many ace folk, I’m lucky to know and hang out with many of them.

Most important prog song?

I Walk Beside You by Dream Theater. A short, poptastic tune full of melody.

Prog muso you’d most like to work with?

Again, Petrucci. He’s just got this innate ability to pull something out the bag, it fascinates me.

A prog album to get you in a good mood?

The first Flying Colors album [Flying Colors]. They’re my favourite band of the last five years, and that one always makes me smile.

The best prog gig you ever saw?

Pink Floyd at Earls Court back in 1994. I remember sitting there mesmerised by the music and by the theatrics of it all. It was a stunning show.

Pick us a good proggy read.

I love historical fiction – especially the Viking era – so anything by Bernard Cornwell or MK Hume.

Your favourite prog album cover?

I love The Division Bell – it was the first CD I ever bought, and my first Pink Floyd album, too. The imagery, the symmetry really appeals to me. It’s so moody and thought-provoking.

What are you up to at the moment?

It’s so cool that Ghost Community were voted the Top Tip for 2017 in Prog’s Readers Poll. I’m actually in the middle of writing album two – it’s early days yet but I’ve got a load of ideas and demos for that. So that and gigs, gigs and more gigs.

Catch up with Matt at www.ghostcommunity.co.uk.