Prog Primer: Intro to Cardiacs (Featuring Charlie Cawood)

Have you ever wanted to get into a band, but you feel intimidated by their discographies? Prog Primer was created to help you, the listener, get a sense of where to start.

Not too long ago, I discovered the music of Tim Smith and his band, Cardiacs. The music was so unique, but it also felt familiar. I realized that this was because the band’s unusual compositions had influenced many of my songwriting idols- Devin Townsend, Mike Patton, Thom Yorke, Steven Wilson, and many more. Echoes of their unabashed creativity and influence can be heard all over the place in modern prog and rock. However, Cardiacs remained a “cult” band for much of their career.

For this episode of Prog Primer, I had the great fortune to talk to Charlie Cawood, who is not only a huge fan of the band, but also an adopted member of the Cardiacs family, having played with Cardiacs guitarist Kavus Torabi in Knifeworld, and several other members and friends of the band over the last several years. We talked about the Cardiacs discography and history, their intense stage theatrics, their lovely fans (affectionately referred to as ‘The Pond’) as well as some of the barriers that a Cardiacs neophyte might face when starting out with their music.

Below is a playlist, curated by Charlie, of some essential Cardiacs tracks.

Are you an expert on a band or an artist who would like to be interviewed for Prog Primer? Let me know at

Intro music intro provided by Advent Horizon. (Song: “Invasion Theorem”)

Outro music provided by Avandra (Song: “Threshold of Evolution”)

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