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Progressive Rock Interviews

Mythos

Interviewed by Gary Hill
Interview with Stephan Kaske of Mythos from 2013
MSJ:

Can you catch the readers up on the history of your involvement in music - both individually and as a band?

Thomas Hildebrand, Harald Weisse and me had been just a school band, learning for our university admission. After we got it, and more than a hundred gigs in former West Berlin, we had our first West German tours. Some kind of adventure, believe me, driving through hostile GDR and tormented way in and way out by the communist border guards.  But we succeeded permanently and got our first record contract with OHR after we'd been the opening act (with sensational acceptance and several encores) at the legendary "Langelsheim Festival" (the German "Woodstock") in 1971.
MSJ: If you weren't involved in music what do you think you'd be doing?
Difficult to say. I've been engaged with music since I was fourteen.  I'm kind of speed addicted and until today I love racing. In summertime I participate at several speed skating marathons and some mountain bike events; during winter there are some enjoyable kart racing series in Berlin. In the 90s I competed some years in the GOSR, the German Open Snooker Ranking. With quite a lot of fun but no serious perspective.

I'm afraid, there's no actual alternative to music.

MSJ:

How did the name of the group originate?

It's all very well to say that it was kind of fortune. We needed a new name, everybody ruminated, made proposals, scanned the lexicon and finally somebody (not me) said "Mythos.”
MSJ: Who would you see as your musical influences?
Jethro Tull, Pink Floyd, Iron Butterfly, Genesis, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Mike Oldfield, Alan Parsons, Jade Warrior.
MSJ: What's ahead for you?
You know, all the Mythos albums are longsellers and available e.g. from Amazon  and so on but one album had never been re-released again - the Grand Prix LP of 1980 --- published at the former cult label "Sky.”

Finally also this album will be released in June now, that meant and means a lot of studio, archive and promo work for me. Additionally since some months I'm also composing and recording material for a new album which should be finished until November. Thus we reduced our concert activities for this season after more than three years of "wild" touring.

MSJ: I know artists hate to have their music pigeonholed or labelled, but how would you describe your music?
Not easy to subsume a bunch of 40 albums and a thousand concerts; remember the huge period from the end of the 60s up to today and what happened in those decades politically, socially and in conclusion musically. Over all these years the Mythos music has always been on the progressive side, ahead of all the mainstream and thus away from chart-success.  Often fruitful, sometimes a hit-and-miss project - but always authentic, genuine and unique. There are fans, especially the coevals, who affirm to recognize the musical handcraft, the"handwriting" over all those eras and variety of styles.
MSJ: Are there musicians with whom you would like to play with in the future?
After about 15 (long!) years of fun and struggle with lots and all kind of musicians I'm rather fed up with that issue. That's why I decided in 1980 to run Mythos as a solo project. I seem to be more a kind of Lone Wolf or maverick; and I'm afraid, the few people who could theoretically(!) could come into consideration, are "tarred with the same brush" - Klaus Schulze, Vangelis, Jean-Michel Jarre, Edgar Froese, Mike Oldfield or Alan Parsons.
MSJ: Do you think that illegal downloading of music is a help or hindrance to the careers of musicians?
The word says it: Illegal. How could an illegal action be a help for the victim? There are lots of legal ways to get music for fractions of a euro, even of a cent. Precious little, but after all it adds up and is important for the musicians and at least a compliment for their efforts.
MSJ: In a related question, how do you feel about fans recording shows and trading them?
Well, Project Mythos has not (yet) the standing of e.g. Rihanna; which means the commercial relevance should be limited. That's why we allow all spectators to record the shows. And for a wonder we had a big advantage by this strategy: In 2011 the record company "Sireena" dug out a tape from 1976! Found out my address and asked if they may release this concert. Thus resulting in the well embraced "SuperKraut '76" album and several rereleases as well as a brand new CD, the Surround Sound Evolution.
MSJ: If you were a superhero, what music person would be your arch nemesis and why?
Hello? I must say - that's what I am.  That's why I love everybody and haven't got any enemies. . .
MSJ: If you were to put together your ultimate band (a band you'd like to hear or catch live), who would be in it and why?
Mythos, I, me and myself, because of the lack of endless, fruitless discussions, conflicts of competence and bumbledom.
MSJ: If you were in charge of assembling a music festival and wanted it to be the ultimate one from your point of view who would be playing?
I'm a fan of a kind of “Medieval” Rock performed by some German groups like In Extremo, Tanzwut or Corvus Corax.
MSJ: What was the last CD you bought and/or what have you been listening to lately?
I do not buy or listen to CDs. In all my cars there's only one station pre-programmed: the so called “Info-Radio” with sport and weather news.
MSJ: Have you read any good books lately?
Just now a book from and about maybe the most successful German musician and producer who actually sold more than hundred million CDs: Bohlen/Modern Talking.

I read books every day. Mostly bios or autobiographies of music or sport stars, e.g. the British Snooker stars or Paul Gascoigne (in English), Formula-1 (Graf Berghe von Trips!, Schumi, Vettel), bike racers, Austrian ski stars, tennis players and so on. Some time ago I preferred literature of Stephen King and everything about the X-files.

MSJ: What about the last concert you attended for your enjoyment?
I do not use to go to concerts - although: I just read about a Wagner opera, performed in the traditional way, not in the so called modern style - everybody naked, with Wehrmacht steel helmets, wading through blood and bodily fluids and everything is taking place in a wh***house.
MSJ: Do you have a musical “guilty pleasure?”
I don't know if one could call it this way, but I love unusual measures and resolutions. Commercially not the best idea - but I'm kind of addicted to it and have to follow this passion several times in each album and concert.
MSJ: What has been your biggest Spinal Tap moment?
It might sound boring, but I just remember a few real drama (nothing to laugh about afterwards), maybe some mad drunken nights. . .
MSJ: If you could sit down to dinner with any three people, living or dead, for food and conversation, with whom would you be dining?
Scully, Mulder and Stephen King.
MSJ: What would be on the menu?
For the guests something they choose and told me some days before.

For me (during the Skate Marathon season) mixed pasta and grilled shrimps, prawns and scampi, Greece salad, non-alcoholic wheat beer and finally Austrian Kaiserschmarrn. During November to March, Bavarian Haxe (pig knuckle of meat), gravy, sauerkraut with caraway, mashed potatoes, ice cold apple or pear schnapps and a fresh Pilsner or Lager.

MSJ: Are there any closing thoughts you would like to get out there?
If you need a helping hand, you will find it — at the end of your arm. . . please visit mythos-music-berlin.de

http://www.youtube.com/MYTHOSmusicBERLIN

MSJ: This interview is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2013  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.
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