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Topic ClosedGerald Krampl (Indigo/ Kyrie Eleison/ Agnus Dei)

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toroddfuglesteg View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Topic: Gerald Krampl (Indigo/ Kyrie Eleison/ Agnus Dei)
    Posted: May 03 2010 at 10:37

Gerard Krampl is a man who has been through a lot during his long life. Both good and bad. 

He is most known for his involvement in Kyrie Eleison, Indigo and Agnus Dei. These three bands are well regarded in our community. This interview also brings good news about two of these bands.

But this interview also tells it's story about a tragedies and despair. This interview therefore may make some uncomfortable reading. 

But I am really proud to give you this interview. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


First of all; please tell us more about your musical background.


I started with music in my early school days, when I was forced by my parents to take classical piano lessons, which I really hated. Though I loved to listen to music, especially the Bee Gees, Beatles, John Lennon, Stones, were my first favorites, it was totally unsatisfying to just replay classical pieces, and so when I was around 14 I stopped completely with learning classical piano and just played on for myself the actual pop tunes. This changed completely when I suddenly came in contact with bands like ELP, Jethro Tull, Deep Purple, and of course Genesis. This opened a new dimension for me, and I suddenly realized how classic could be transposed into modern music, and when I was around 16 the next big thing happened out of the blue – I suddenly realized while playing that I was able to express my own feelings through a self composed piece of music. My first song was born! I then began again frequently practicing piano, took later even some harmony and composition courses at the Vienna Conservatory, and studied a few terms electro-acoustic and recording techniques at the Viennese Music University.




Let's start with a band with a very good reputation in ProgArchives; Kyrie Eleison.

Kyrie Eleison was in fact my second band. It all started in 1971 in school, when two school friends, Karl Novotny (drums, lyrics) and Felix Rausch (guitars, vocals), asked me to play with them in a band. I agreed, and we made our first experiences buy just covering popular songs we loved and performed on school events and student parties. The band name we choose was PHOEBOS, and various different singers and bass players were also involved in that project. But after school and military service, my ability to write own songs became always stronger, and we began to mix them with the cover songs, and indeed this worked that good that we soon became the self confidence to work out a program with only own material, moreover as Karl Novotny was in the meantime very profound in writing extraordinary lyrics to my music. So the first program “The Blind Windows Suite” was born, Wolfgang Wessely had joined as the new singer, and it was clear that the band should become a new name. During a nightly brainstorm with lots of wine “Kyrie Eleison” came out in the end, though nobody of us knew exactly what it meant, but it seemed to fit perfectly . Lots of performances in the Viennese region followed, and everything developed very well, but then came the first big break. Novotny and I wanted to go with our music in a more complex direction (Genesis like), while the other members preferred to stick to a more straight rock orientated music. So we split in 1975, and luckily found with Michael Schubert (vocals), Morin Norbert (bass) and Manfred Drapela (guitars) very fast a perfect new line up. The songs of the “The Fountain Beyond The Sunrise” was the main part of the new program, and heavy touring through Austria followed. In the meantime we performed on stage by using masks, a dia show, a unique own light show, very similar to the “Rock Theater” concept of Genesis. End of 1976, with the guarantee for a big Austrian tour in the pocket, I decided to take the risk to self produce an album with the band. “The Fountain..” was recorded very fast under horrible conditions on a 2 track machine, but without alternatives it was finally released and self distributed to the start of the tour in 1977. The tour became a financial disaster, as well as the LP, and Novotny and Drapela became even more involved in their families, so the next split was logical. They were replaced by Otto Singer (drums) and Gerhard Eder (guitars) and one more year of touring and writing new songs followed, but when it came to more and more personal disputes with singer Schubert about his alcohol and drugs problems the end was reached in 1978.

Please give us your thoughts and opinions on the two albums, starting with....



The Blind Windows Suite from 1975:

The recording for this album, which shows the very first own program of the band, was in fact done in our rehearsal room, just a live cut with an amateur tape machine that was meant for promo cassettes to present the band to promoters and event managers etc. Originally never planned to be released in any form, but put on CD in 1993 when Peter Wustmann of WWMS in Germany had successfully sold the “Fountain…” LP on CD, and saw a demand for more material of the band. Nevertheless it shows very good the development of the band, with the far more rock influences here.



The Fountain Beyond The Sunrise from 1977

This album makes me always sad. The compositions, the lyrics, the energy between the musicians, everything was perfect to a point we never reached again, and I still wonder today how we have been able to make such a complex music that is so timeless and still unique.
But then I hear this partly completely distorted sound, the many mistakes we had to leave on the tape, and then I always wish I could hear this record in a well recorded form, but sadly this is impossible.
The problem was, that the studio should have had a new 8 track machine at that time, but the machine arrived and did not work, so we were forced to record on two 2 track machines, as we had a very short deadline to finish the album. Without any studio experience we were lost in that situation, and accepted finally a result which I would never had done again.
But the development of the LP was real astonishing until today. First when it was released we sold in Austria about 1000 copies, which was not so bad for a self distributed album but far to less to cover the costs. Two years after the split of the band I donated the rest of the copies as there was absolutely no demand any more. But years later, suddenly inquiries for the album came from France, Belgium and even USA and Japan, and so in the ‘80s I had to make again two more issues of the album which were then sold all over the world, no idea how it came to this. Then in 1992, the German label WWMS of Peter Wustmann inquired me to release the album again on CD for them, which they then distributed successfully also worldwide again, which led then to the release of the “Blind Windows Suite” CD.



These two albums was later re-released as a box together with a live CD as The Complete Recordings 1974-1978 in 2002. The label from Israel who released it is now out of business. I know you are planning to re-release the two studio albums. Is there any plans to re-release the live CD ?

This was the next funny thing when in 2002 the Israelian inquiry of MIO Records arrived, to release a limited CD box edition of the two existing albums remastered by them and expanded with maybe some more material.
Real funny how some things develop, but unfortunately I had no more tape material, but there was this old live recording from a cassette tape which they found interesting enough to put on an extra CD. Though I am not very lucky with it, I see now the whole thing as a historical documentation where you have to accept the limited sound qualities as we just had not the technical possibilities as everyone has today now. But if I will release this particular live recording again I am not so sure, but maybe I will invest the time and work to listen to the whole amount of old cassettes recordings I still have, and compile then sort of an archive CD of the best parts of these recordings. Could be an interesting project.

Please tell us more about the planned re-releases of the two studio albums.

The situation today is, that all labels which had the distribution rights over the last years are out of order now. Not even I have any more CDs on stock that could be sold. So my first plan was, to put the existing recordings just digitally as mp3’s in the web. But lately, a friend of mine, who has specialized in restoring and remastering old LPs and tapes, made as an experiment a remastered version of the first Indigo LP from 1984, which was never digitalized before, directly taken from a virgin LP copy. This sounded that good, that we immediately decided to try what is possible with the old Kyrie Eleison recordings. At the moment we are testing different versions by taking tracks directly from an original virgin LP copy, from the existing CDs, from the old original tape, and we´ll see what brings the best result.
In any way I am sure I will be able to release the albums in a form that is much better than everything until now. And then it could make sense to make them also physically available on CD again.



Over to another one of your bands called Indigo.

Please give us your thoughts and opinions on the two albums, starting with....



Indigo from 1984:

At those days I ran my own recording studio, Norbert Morin, former Kyrie Eleison bass player still worked there with me there, as one day in 1983 a fantastic singer named Anzo came for a recording session in the studio. He liked the things I had done in the past, and soon it was clear that we should try together a new project. Material I had a lot, as I never had stopped writing music, and in the meantime I was also into writing lyrics, and so we could immediately begin recording new songs. A perfect guitarist, Robert Altmann, and a drummer, Michael Graf, were soon found, Indigo, inspired by the Peter Gabriel song was chosen as the band name, and the main concept for this first LP was to mix long scale prog-rock songs with more commercial, radio fitting pieces, to get so a chance for a deal with a major record company. Mike Oldfield proved in these days that this could work very well. Indeed we could get a lot of interest with this concept, and the LP was finally realized with my therefore founded label and production company IndigoMusic, co-financed by publishing company Weinberger, and distributed and promoted by BMG Ariola. The start was very promising, three singles were released by BMG which got very good airplay, the press was very good, some concerts in and around Vienna took place, but unfortunately the sales figures which everybody expected were by far not reached. In 1985 we had even completely recorded a new album, but all negotiations with BMG and other various record companies about a release failed, BMG just tried two more single releases, again with very good airplay but poor sales, and this meant, together with the closing of my studio due to financial problems, the end for my professional musical career for many years in 1986.


Short Stories from 1991:

Those days I was working for a big foto-electronic-audio department store chain, and just made music for fun in my small home studio, again together with my long time friend and first Kyrie Eleison singer Wolfgang Wessely and Indigo guitarist Robert Altmann. We made demos from time to time, but suddenly Peter Wustmann – WWMS from Germany contacted me with the inquiry to release on CD the Kyrie Eleison LP, as well as everything else I had to offer also from Indigo. So in fact that brought me to the idea to record the new demo songs I had for a CD, and let it run again under the name Indigo, and release it with WWMS parallel to the Kyrie Eleison CD. But just as we wanted to start a very sad thing happened, Wolfgang, who lengthly suffered from psychic problems committed suicide. So not knowing what to do now, I had no other chance as taking over the vocal parts by myself, though for demo purposes I had done this since the first Indigo days, so it was not completely new. The bigger problem was that I had already recorded the instrumental parts for Wolfgang`s voice, so everything was a bit too high for me, but with this I had to live. Clearly I´m not very satisfied with the result, it has also too much commercial pop songs, but Peter Wustmann distributed the CD internationally and was together with the Kyrie Eleison CD, which sold very well, quite satisfied with the result.


Silent Memories from 1993

With this album I am much more satisfied. It was the last contribution to Peter Wustmann’s WWMS label, the music was from the beginning planned for my voice, the lyrics I still find very good, and the whole album is far more in the prog-rock direction then Short Stories was. But nevertheless it was no big success, moreover as Peter Wustmann came more and more into serious financial problems, and suddenly was away from the scene. This marked also the end for my musical activities for many years, as also my daughter Nicole was born in 1994, I married Hilde, and family affairs became now more important.


and the compilation album A Collection of Tales... from Past to Present from 1992

To this album is not much to say, as it was just done because Peter Wustmann wanted as much material as he could get from me, this was the same why “The Blind Windows Suite” was released, and so I thought an overview over the various Indigo periods could be a nice idea, which I still see so. Peter Wustmann had a real good working worldwide distribution network these days, and it is in fact his merit that all these works have seen the light on CDs. This CD became by the way over the years the best selling Indigo product, and is even today frequently ordered or downloaded.

How much overlap in the musical ideas was it between Kyrie Eleison and Indigo ?

The main influences for both bands came obviously from my classical piano background, and the attempt to let the music transport stories or fantasy tales, and develop different characters and moods within a song. But the approach was quite different. With Kyrie Eleison we had absolutely no commercial thinking in mind, we were completely free from thinking about any structures the songs should normally have, we just let the music develop as it came, which was in the “Fountain..” period in a very good balance, but later it ran completely out of order and the songs were then totally overloaded with different musical themes. With Indigo everything was much more disciplined, to have also radio fitting songs had become over the years much more important. So in this band we worked much more structured, tough also our own musical horizon had more expanded, and we all had learned that writing good shorter songs can be much harder than just letting everything flow as it comes. When I listen today to both bands I still feel the potential that both bands had, all involved musicians played with their heart and had a real deep feeling and liking for what they did.

I take it that you are also re-releasing the Indigo albums now. Please tell us more about the re-releases.

As I told you before, the idea came from a friend of mine who liked the Indigo LP very much, and he offered me a remasterd version that he had done for himself which strongly impressed me, and I realized how good the songs sound in an up to date version, and how strong this LP really was that I had not heard now completely since so many years, as it was never completely digitalized. This led me immediately to the conclusion to try this with the other, never released Indigo recordings also, there even exists a never released complete album named “Just A Dream”, as well as with the Kyrie Eleison recordings, to have at last the complete catalogue available in a best possible sound quality. Some recordings for the first time ever. This work is in progress actually, and should hopefully be finished within this year.

What is your fondest memories of Kyrie Eleison and Indigo ?

With Kyrie Eleison I have very good memories of excellent concerts at big festivals in Austria together with bands like Collosseum, Van Der Graaf, Amon Düül, Eela Craig, Opus, etc., I also remember a fantastic open air show we self organized in the ancient Romanian arena in Carnuntum with thousands of enthusiastic people, no one had ever done this again, a complete Austrian tour where we played in elegant classic concert halls as well as in jazz and rock clubs, an one last highlight in ’78 were three sold out nights in one of Viennas best concert locations of those days.
With Indigo I will never forget when BMG released my first single song “Children Of The Past” that received luckily a lot of airplay, and this was a completely new feeling to know that now a real broad audience was able to hear my music. This was a complete new dimension. Also to be able to work with such good musicians, who were also good friends, in the own studio was very satisfying.



You took different direction with the project Agnus Dei which you set up with your wife Hilde Krampl who sadly passed away in 2002 after a battle with the big C(ancer). Please give us your thoughts and opinions on the four Agnus Dei albums, starting with....





Merlyn: The Return of the Magician from 2002
Lemuria: The Crystal World In Danger from 2002

These two albums are best to handle in one part, as they were released together pack to pack and are somehow like a double album. First I must tell you how it came to this Agnus Dei project. My wife Hilde wrote poetry since her youth, but just for herself, and we both became very involved through the years in esoteric and spiritual themes and practiced Reiki and Meditation, worked with Runes, Stones, Blossoms etc. But my problem while meditating was, that the usually used New Age “muzak” music made me completely nervous instead of relaxing me, so I changed to classical tunes, which led me 1999 to the idea that I could maybe try to activate my over the years sleeping home studio again, and try to write some meditative tunes using my classical background. So the basic idea was to use this music privately just for ourselves and some other friends. But the feedback that came back was so astonishing good, that I thought o.k. let’s try a small CD-R edition and see what happens. Hilde was also very enthusiastic, and we really began selling CD-Rs to friends, esoteric shops, therapists etc. But for me it was clear, that if we want to offer this for a real release there need to be a good concept, otherwise it makes no sense. And this was the time when Hilde had just finished her story about Lemuria and was beginning to write the Merlyn ballad. And as I read this, I saw suddenly clear that these stories were ideal to express through music and so give us both a chance to present our works. The Agnus Dei – Music & Poetry concept was so born. The music for the two stories came out of me in one float, at the beginning of 2002 the two CDs were completely finished, and we both were very happy with the result. I had just began to send them out to offer them to labels and distributors, as out of the blue came the diagnosis that Hilde has gastric cancer, and that with 45 years. In August she was dead.  



Angelos from 2003

After Hilde`s passing in August 2002 I was suddenly left alone with our then 8 year old daughter Nicole and Hilde’s first son who still lived with us. So on one hand I did not know how to live on, but on the other hand I could not let everything flow, and I also knew that Hilde had loved our project that much that it must have been in her mind that I should not throw away everything now. I also knew that she had already written a collection of angel prayers, that she had planned for our third CD. So I thought the best I could do is bring her poems to a musical life, this would surely be what she would expect from me. I don´t know how, but the music floated out of me like in trance, and out came an album in memoriam which is a very important work for me that I´m very fond of. Luckily my search for CD distributors in 2002 had led quite fast to contracts in USA, Canada, and Germany, and this CD was very well accepted everywhere.


Gaia from 2004

Due to the good resonance I had for the three other CDs and the lot of poetry Hilde has left me, I thought it might be good to make a last statement for our project by taking some poems of her I loved the most and translate them into my music, and this time the more “earthbound” ones to show her from a bit different side. Therefore the music on this album is a bit less meditative, and in my opinion with this album our joint project is very good finished.
On the whole the Agnus Dei project could have been a very successful concept for a longer time, but even so the music had finally made it into the U.S. New Age Radio charts, was frequently played on over 200 stations, and brought good sales until today. For years it was very good represented by renowned promoter P.J.Birosik in USA, who was a very lovely and helpful person for me, but sadly she died in 2006 under very tragic circumstances.

Believe me, but this is a truly terrible question to ask anyone in your position. But how much did Hilde's passing impact on your musical outlook and the Agnus Dei albums ?

I must admit, the impact on the outlook of my whole life was enormous. First I could not even imagine that a normal life would be possible again, Hilde and I were sort of “twin souls that´s hard to understand when you have not experienced similar by yourself, but even today I feel a part of me is just missing. But on the other side I have also experienced a lot of wonderful things when I accompanied her with Reiki healing through her last months, and she was in end completely free of fear and really heal in a wider sense than only concerning the body. So I am quite sure, wherever she or better her soul is, she is well. And that experience brought me also to starting teaching Reiki to other people, and also accompanying some other friends and relatives who shortly after also became cancer through their last days. So death has become a permanent companion I have to deal with in my life, but I think that is anyway quite normal the older you get. With my music the thing is a bit different. When I am composing, I have to step back and open up something inside, and then the music comes. I can´t make that conscious, and that was from the first moment so. So when I listen particularly to the Angelos album, I can´t tell you how it came to this music. My mood at that time was totally depressed and down, but when I listen to the music I can´t hear this, I really hear the mood of the poems which are in a quite positive manner. The same with the Gaia album. To me in the meantime making music is in a way very similar to open up yourself as a channel for the healing Reiki energy. This experience was by the way the reason we named our project Agnus Dei, as Hilde had the same feeling to be sort of a channel when she wrote her poetry.

You have later continued as both a solo artist and as the owner of Indigo records. Please tell us more about your solo albums and this label.

After finishing the Agnus Dei project with the Gaia album I made as sort of a coda two therapeutic CDs out of the material named Reiki-1:Heavens Gift and Reiki-2:Infinite Mind. Both focus mainly on the healing and relaxing effect that has been experienced by so many people in the Agnus Dei CDs, and I use it mainly in my Reiki courses and sell it to therapists.
2005 began a new chapter in my musical career. I was invited by multimedia producer Andreas Pflanzl to take part in his multimedia web presentation and TV documentary about the Holocaust in WW2 – www.31Projects.at , where I wrote the complete music for. This was an emotional very challenging project, but this time I could let out the sad and tranquile music that I would have awaited in 2003. I was so impressed by the authentic material used for this work that I spontaneously decided to expand the music I had written for the presentation and film and work it out for a whole CD, kind of a requiem for the victims, which was finally released as 31Projects-The Music in 2006.

Timediver, my 2008 follow up CD can be seen as an antipode to the very sad 31Projects work. It is also in a way a reminiscence to the early prog-rock days by using many old equipment and sounds of the ‘80s, giving the CD an early Mike Oldfield touch. Was very funny to record, but gave me also the certainty that this had to be now also one more final point.

The work for 31Projects had brought me into complete new directions. I began listening to people like Zbginew Preisner, Max Richter, Ludovico Einaudi, Peter Kater, Eric Satie, H.J.Roedelius…, and found it very interesting also to try a combination of classic, minimalism, ambience, electronic, which is all part of my musical background, and that led me to my latest release –
Innocent Wasteland. Built mainly around the concept of a classical trio of piano, cello and violin in electronic form, expanded with ambience and electronic sounds, the music in a classical/ambient style reflects the endless cycle of destruction in reawakening in general. Luckily I have today no more need to make any commercial compromises or look for radio playability etc., so I can now again really make the music I feel, and I can even imagine to put this trio concept someday live on stage again, should I find the right people therefore.

The company Indigomusic as a music production and label I started back in 1983 when I first released the Indigo LP and began to handle contracts with publishing companies and major distributors, and later recorded and produced also various other artists for different major labels. I always held this company alive, used it then for the re-releases of the Kyrie Eleison CDs and Indigo works, and even expanded it with the Sandrose Records label registered in 2001 especially for the Agnus Dei project. Until now it´s very useful to have the different kinds of recordings under one roof. I am besides also marketing branded promotion compilation CDs for companies, a fairy tales CD with music and spoken tales also for branded promotion for all kind of kids aligned companies etc.

Just to wrap this interview up; do you have any regrets in your music career ?

I have no big regrets. But one is surely that I have accepted the recording situation for the Kyrie Eleison LP. I would give a lot to have this album properly recorded. But in general I am more thankful for all experiences and adventures I had, and that I could find in me the ability to express my inner feelings and imaginations through music.

What is your five favourite albums ?

Genesis – Selling England By The Pound
Peter Hammill – Over
Porcupine Tree – Deadwing
Max Richter – Songs From Before
Bee Gees – Odessa

Anything you want to add to this interview ?

My plan for the future is trying to go on working in the classical – ambient crossover direction, actually I am recording songs for a new album in the style of Innocent Wasteland which should also be released this year, and then maybe work out these songs for live presentations with a small string ensemble and a visual concept that I am actually discussing with Andreas Pflanzl, with whom I am also cooperating on his new web projects, f.e. www.7minuten.at where I also wrote the music for. Luckily I can act very free no, but it seems that a circle has closed that brought me back to my classical piano background again.

Vienna, May 03
Gerald Krampl

A big thank you to Gerald Krampl for this enlightening interview.   




Edited by toroddfuglesteg - May 03 2010 at 11:06
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