ENTREVUE / INTERVIEW
King Of Agogik
WITH: Hans Jörg Schmitz
ALBUM REVIEW HERE
Richard Hawey - April 2017
PROFIL - To begin with, could you tell us about you as a musician and the beginnings of King of Agogik?
HANS Jörg Schmitz: I was born and live in Andernach, Germany. I started to play the drums in 1979 and since 1981 I was a regular member of several bands. From the beginning of the nineties until the mid-nineties, I was even involved with three bands at the same time. Apart from the approximately 1300 performances I gave, I have also worked in recording studios trying to increase my musical spectrum.
King Of Agogik is my solo project that started in 2006 with the album Membranophonic Experience. The name King of Agogik has to be understood in a humorous way. It is not grandiloquent to give this name to myself. Agogik means nothing more then ‘the art of changing the tempo’, but in fact I’m the ‘king of dawdling’. Today, in the wisdom of growing older I use this term wittingly as a kind of stylistic device. I always look at my music with the wink of an eye and I don’t take myself that serious, thus the name King Of Agogik fits perfectly. However, this self-created and self-chosen name is sometimes misunderstood and wrongly interpreted as big-headed and lofty…”
PR - Are there reasons which led you to progressive music?
HJS - It is my favorite, beloved music. Not boring, just exciting,..that's all.
And also most of the Top 40 stuff is so brrrrrr..;-)
PR - How is the composition process, is it difficult or does it come easily?
HJS - I’m kind of foolish and my head is filled with so many ideas: It comes so easily and natural.
PR - For the people who don’t know King Of Agogik, how would you describe the project and your music?
HJS - It is a eclectic mix, Neo-Prog, Power-Rock, Metal, Fusion a bit Folk, Retro and Modern Music mixed in a special way...hopefully. But I always find it difficult to express music in words. I’ve been influenced by many different musical styles. The word ‘progressive’ is essentially a positive word, so I’d combine my old passions with something new thus trying to create something new or something that’s hard to compare with other existing music. However, in the end I just do what I like.”
PR - Has King Of Agogik lived a turning point, a moment where you wondered if you would continue or if you’d end it there?
HJS - After finishing an album I always said to me: I'm too old for this ..;-)..because I do the most of the work by myself,,,but music is the biggest part of my life, and like a drug, not easy to stop with.
PR - Dago Wilms on guitars is present on all your albums. How long have you known him?
HJS - I played with Dago since 1991, we were bandmates for 17 years, and he played the Guitar at all KoA CDs. He is one of the best German musicans I know, still underrated.
PR - You released your sixth album entitled "Morning Star" on January 31st.
Is this a concept album?
HJS - In my opinon No,...an Album with instrumental music could never be a real concept album. Although, I have always an idea, a main theme, or like the new album,
something or someone that inspired me.
PR - The album is inspired by the poetry of Christian Morgenstern, what attracted you from this author?
HJS - It started like a Bukowski story (btw. he was born in my hometown Andernach) I sat on/at the toilet and found a book at the window board. My beloved wife had put it there. In that book there was an essay from Christian Morgenstern. Great Lyric, and I thought by myself...What did he write aside from that? I bought the complete work and go through the whole material the next weeks. The words...so deep..old...but wonderful, sometimes not easy to understand, and so adorable.
PR - Tell us about the presence of Steve Unruh and Andrew Marshall on 'Morning Star'. Weren’t they also on "Exlex Beats"?
HJS - Andrew is Willowglass, he writes all the wonderful music for Willowglass, and Steve and I have the opportunity to work with him for the " The Dream Harbour" Album.(2013)
and some more releases, like the Decameron Sets.
So, I asked them to be a part of KoA "Universe". On "Exlex Beats" a track is called
"Thin as a Skin", a musical "tribute" to Jethro Tull's "Thick as a Brick".
Steve is an extraordinary Flute and Violin player, and so I was lucky to have them both on board for "Morning Star", too.
PR - You have almost the same line-up that follow you on several albums. Are there special ties that bind you to these musicians?
HJS - Some are friends, but to some of them who are involved there is a special connection. Pantelis Petrakakis for example do I know since the early 80's and he first Gig with him was 1985, a fantastic Bass Player. Erik Vaxjö, I met him in Sweden, he is not really a Keyboarder, but he own a Mellotron, I need that sound...and so I ask him so many times, now he loves to record and have fun.
PR - We hear several styles of music on the album, (jazz, rock, metal, prog retro). What kind of music do you listen to?
HJS - All music that was "handmade" with a special kind of emotion or a felling. I called it Abba to Zappa, but I love Classical music in the same way like Prog, Rock, Fusion or what else...
PR - What is/are the band(s) or artist(s) which influenced you the most?
HJS - It starts with the The Beatles. I was and still am a big fan and John Lennon is acoustically represented on all of my King Of Agogik-albums. But then came Mike Oldfield, the "old" Genesis, Yes, King Crimson, Pink Floyd, Zappa, Barclay James Harvest, Rush... to many to mention all....
PR - Any last word..?
HJS - I’d like to thank you, the interviewer. Only by people with real interests in new, honest and non-commercial things, you enable further development.
PR - Thank you for this interview.
HJS - You're welcome.