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Carol Of Harvest interview with Axel Schmierer


First I would like to say thank you very much for agreeing to do this interview. You don't have idea how long I was searching for you, to get the interview. I'm really glad I finally did. Carol of Harvest is one of the most beautiful albums I have ever heard in my life. I would like to know, where did you grow up and if you can share a story about your childhood and teen years. Were you in any bands around that period?

Once upon a time - long ago - I was born in Stuttgart, a town in Germany. When I was 3 years old, my parents decided to move to Fürth in Bayern. I have a sister - she is 3 years older than me.
I really don`t remember much about my childhood - its like a black hole. My mother used to say - that I was a very quiet child, always friendly to everyone.
When I was 14 my life began. I started smoking, did a lot of sports and had my first girlfriend.
With 16 years I began to learn playing the guitar.
My dream was to play in a band called: "After curfew". The bassist was in my class and they had a wonderful playing guitarist called Peter.
But - they didn`t want me - I was rather disappointed.
With another friend I started to cover songs from the band "America" - but this was just for fun.
But life goes on and so someday I decided to make my own music.

How did you start band called Carol of Harvest? I believe you were named by Walt Whitman's fameous noval?

When I was 19 years old Robert Högn, Heinz Reinschlüssel and I decided to form a band - making my music.
I had a lot of stuff and I think it was Heinz who knew Beate Krause and so we visited her one day and she agreed to sing in our band. She was 16 - but had a beautiful, strong voice.
Jürgen Kolb followed joining the band.
I had a book from Walt Whitman - and the poetry "A carol of harvest" was exactly what I wanted to say...........
a song of the good green grass .....
We got a wonderful place to make music - a very large building out in the green, where we could be loud - no neighbourhood. This was a place for a lot of parties and good songs.

You were probably very influenced by early-1970s English folk-rock and progressive bands. Please tell me more about your inspiration.

My inspiration were bands like Camel, Pink Floyd, Gentle Giant, Renaissance, Clannad etc.

The line up consisted of then 16 year old singer Beate Krause, drummer Robert Högn, keyboard player Jürgen Kolb, bassist Helmut Reinschlüssel and you as a guitarist. Is that true, that Beate Krause was then only 16 years old?

Yes it is true - Beate was 16 years old - but already had a great power in her voice.

In 1978 you released self titled album. It was released by Brutkasten record label. Can you tell me more how did you first get together with this label etc.

At that time there was not so much choice in record labels - where we lived. I think the price was also very important for us. We still were in school - did`t had so much money.

How many pressings were made (some people say 200) but I would like to know for sure now.

It is correct - only 200 pressings were made.

The album is mixture of beautiful, dreamy melodies, melancholy lyrics which I absolutely adore. I would like to know what are your strongest memories from the recording sessions and the production of the LP?

When I write songs - I just sit down and play my guitar. From one moment to another there is a riff or chords and thoughts of a story - I can imagine very strongly. I record the ideas - melodies (the heart of a song) follow and in my head a song
is created. In 1978 I did the same thing - poetry, melodies, chords etc.
When we played the songs in our band room it was a very good feeling to everyone of us - something like extasy.
We were rebellions against the old regime.

Who did a cover art of the LP?

At that time I was in love with a girl called Rita - she came from Munic and one of her friends was a boy, Manuel, taking wonderful pictures of nature. The front cover was taken in a park - called "Nymphenburger Park" in Munic.

After the LP was out, what happened next? Did you have any gigs? If so please share a story about them.

Yes we had some gigs. I remember one in Würzburg. It was a band competition. There was another band called "Blitzlicht" - I liked them very much - cause they covered "Snowgoose" from my favorite band Camel.
We never thought we could win - but in the end and after a good performance we did win - together with Blitzlicht.

Now I have a questions about your songs. Put on Your Nightcap is such an amazing song. I actually can't tell you enough, how much I love this song. Can you tell me how it was recorded and what's the story behind it. ( Somewhere at the End of Our Rainbow another beauty along side with Try a Little Bit, You and Me and Treary Eyes) I would be very glad if you could share a few words about this songs...

Put on your nightcap - it was our first song. When i wrote the song, I had these pictures of war - people dying - people suffering and on the other site this man with his nightcap on his head - going to bed, living in his own and only small world - not interested in anything but himself.
Somewhere and You and me were just love songs -
Try a little bit was inspired by the tragical dead of a friend.

May I ask, why did you disbanded? What happened next to you and what the others did after?

The main reason we disbanded was the move of our keyboard player - afterwards we tried to continue with another guy, but somehow the record was the end of carol of harvest - at that time.

Many years later you reunited forces with Ewa Grams. Ewa comes from Poland, and duo decides, that new songs had to be sung in Polish language. The album is done very good. I really like it. It has a great atmosphere.
You added a lot of ambiental additionals. Please share a few words about this releases. Do you like it? How was in the studio?

After carol of harvest disbanded I never stopped playing music. I have material for 20 CD`s on the hard disk of my mac.
Somehow everything came together :
Ewa came into my life and a friend who mixed the songs - so we published "TY I JA".
We got a radio award from Radio Indy in America and rather good critics for example (progarchives).
We were played in polish radio for several times - but until now we did`t sell very much CD`s. I think the reason is the polish language - but we don`t matter.
I like the CD very much - it is my music, my feelings - the things I want to tell the world - thats it.

What are you doing these days?

I am a social worker - working with young people who have no home.
I am also a non medical practitioner and a "breath therapist".
I do a lot of meditation and of course a lot of music.

Are you still in contact with members?


What are some of your future plans, Axel?

Publishing new music, opening my own practice.
Being happy, loving - living.

How do you feel about the fact, that young people from other parts of the world listen and enjoy your music (I’m only 21)?

This is really great - I love this. It is a great thing to leave footprints where you have been going.

Interview made by Klemen Breznikar / 2011
© Copyright 2011


space88 said...

Intressting,good Job!

lrwguitar psychedelic said...

Love carol of harvest, it's a beautiful album. A lot of really good music came out of Germany in the late 60's and 70's.