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BRAINSTORM: Eleventh Power Attack!

Interview with vocalist Andy B. Franck of Brainstorm by Vera in December 2015

German Brainstorm has been a strong magnitude in thrash-injected power metal since the late nineties. They released ten albums since then, yet the fire is still burning! After touring for predecessor ‘Firesoul’ (2014) they instantly started writing songs for their eleventh power attack. ‘Scary Creatures’ will hit the shops mid January. We had a debonair talk with the ever enthusiastic front man Andy B. Franck.

It is not so long ago that you released the former album ‘Firesoul’ in 2014. What happened after that release? Did you tour a lot?
Oh yes we did. We have been on a big European tour with our partners in crime of Alestorm. It was a co-headlining tour. We have also been to Holland, to Nijmegen and Eindhoven and both shows were sold out. We had a fantastic show over there in Eindhoven at the famous Dynamo club. To me Dynamo club is always something special. When I grew up Testament recorded their show at the Dynamo Open Air and that has been one of the first Open Air festivals I ever went to. So we have been on the road for a very long time and we toured a lot in 2014 and then came back and started working on the new album of the ‘Scary Creatures’ (laughs).

Yes, that reminded me of David Bowie’s ‘Scary Monsters & Super Creeps’, but this is different, since I read that it should be an emotional, almost personal album…
I just read many books and magazines; stories about terrorist attacks, about torturing people, about religious and political groups over the last decades. What I found out myself is that everything comes back sooner or later. It is a very scary feeling, to be honest, to see that things that happened thousand or two thousand years ago now happen again, just in a different way, but more or less it is the same thing. They kill people just because of simple reasons and so on. The reason why I have chosen a theatre as a cover – it could also be a TV for example – but a theatre should show you that this is something you are watching and you think it is far away. It does not defend you. Yet it is so close. For example what happened in Paris, that is not far away. Paris is only a four hours drive from my home town. It is not thousand miles away, but in front of your home town, your house... It can happen everywhere. This is what I tried to describe here and there, just simple short stories. It is not a concept album though. Some of the lyrics are about above mentioned topic, for example ‘Scars In Your Eyes’ is about what kids have seen. Children coming from Syria, from Afghanistan, they have seen how their parents got tortured, they got killed, the mother got raped and everything else. This is something that will never go away from them for the rest of their lives. There are also personal lyrics; ‘How Much Can You Take’ is a good example of that. This is a song about a friend of mine who is in Indonesia. He just tried to find himself a new world. Now he is lying there in Indonesia. He is close to death, but he is not willing to let somebody help him. He refuses everything and says it is the will of God. I think it gets worse day by day. To me it is unbelievable to see him suffering that much. When he was still able to talk, I always asked him: “How much can you take?” When will this end? How deep must you fall until you say, okay please help me. But he is not willing, he does not want that somebody can help him.

There are already two new video clips. A lyric video for ‘We Are’, but a real video for ‘The World To See’ and that one is special. Can you tell a bit more about the shooting adventure?
We went to the Ekhof theatre in Gotha to shoot the video and I shot the making of the video. It is a very special place, because it is the only original theatre from that age in Europe, which is really cool. We got invited there, but we never expected that we really can do it and shoot a video over there. Everything happened and I was so astonished when I came in, I was in awe. I just wanted to take pictures, but I thought: this is something you cannot see in a picture, I have to make a video and this is what I have done. I just made videos with my mobile phone. In the end I thought: wow, it looks so cool. Why should I keep it for myself? This is why I released that on the homepage (chuckles). I think it is quite funny and it shows a little bit how we got masked and everything else. They tortured me again hehe. Last time they tortured me inside the video, this time they tortured me outside the video. It was a great experience to be honest. Ryan, the guy who did the video clip, came up with the ideas and I am extremely proud that we did it this way. Because to me, when I grew up, I loved watching video clips from Dio’s ‘Last In Line’ or ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Children’ to name a few. Those ones were clips like a short movie. That means a lot to me. I never wanted to make a video clip with just the band playing the song in a huge factory hall or something like that.

In 2014 you did a special show in Essen, which is now featured on the bonus DVD of the special edition from the new album. Can you tell me about that evening and what it meant for you?
It was not just that one. We played four release shows for the ‘Firesoul’ album and we recorded the last one, which took place in Essen at Turock venue. It was nearly sold out. It was a special show as this was the first time playing an entire new album, which is not usually these days. Most of the bands record an album and they do never ever play some of the songs live. There are so many great songs on the album that we wanted to share them all in a live situation with the crowd. We were not able to decide which songs we were going to play on tour, so we decided to play the entire album (laughs) and it worked out amazing. The cool thing is: we always choose a special gift for the special edition. We always say: it is great for new fans, if they discover Brainstorm for the very first time, they can buy the new album and then they find that they are able to listen to older songs as well. So they can find out what the band has done in the past. Last time we had this live CD extra with ‘Firesoul’, which was also something like a ‘best of’ live. It is something we have loved to do for years. It is a kind of value for money thing. It gives new fans the opportunity to find out what’s the band all about.

You have been around for quite a while, but the good thing is that your success still seems to grow. Previous album ‘Firesoul’ happened to be your highest charting album ever in Germany…
Yes, that is true. The funny thing is, we do sell way more CD’s than many other bands do, but it seems like our buyers do not buy the album in the first week after release. There is a continuing flow of selling CD’s, not a peak after the release. The record company is always surprised: look how many CD’s you have sold, you should have an entry at no. 15 or so. Our fans are always relaxed, they say okay, let’s wait hehe.

Which era do you like the most: the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s or later?
Of course the most important times for me have been the eighties. I was born in 1971 and I grew up then. To me, when I became a young boy, I was 14/15 years old when all the classic metal albums came out, like ‘Number Of The Beast’ (Iron Maiden), ‘Defenders Of The Faith’ (Judas Priest)… Those were the times when I said: okay, this is my kind of music. Every week, every month you had about four or five albums. Almost every album that came out became a classic later. Those were fantastic times to be honest.

Who did the artwork?
That was again the guy from Colombia, Felipe Machado Franco. He is pretty hard to work with, because he takes his time. So I had to introduce him into the material and tell him a thousand times what I wanted on the cover, but finally it worked out. I am really happy with it, but he killed thousands of my nerves (laughs). Yet he did a great job in the end.

I see that you will be touring again in February and I am very glad, because you come to the Biebob as well…
Yes, finally again. We are going to tour again with Primal Fear, good friends of us. I had a nice talk with Tom Naumann and Mat Sinner of Primal Fear and we found out that we both are releasing our albums in January. Both of the bands wanted to go on tour in February. Okay, we can go separately and play in smaller venues. Now we can share the fans and that’s way much better. Again here you have that kind of value for money thing, because of course the fans always decide how much money they can spend. Now they have about three and a half hours pure heavy metal of their favourite bands. It is going to be a real big heavy metal party. Again!

I think you really have a busy time these days, because one week ago we met at the pre-listening of Almanac, the new band from ex-Rage virtuoso Victor Smolski. You are one of the lead singers in that band as well. So let us shine a light on that new challenge for you as well…
It is going to be a busy year for me indeed. We are going to tour with Brainstorm and with Almanac. But I love singing in both bands. I know it will work out. I have been in touch with Victor since many years now and I am the first guy to be asked by him regarding Almanac. It is an amazing album, what else can I say than: being a part of two great bands is amazing. I have done this for many years when I was in Brainstorm and Symphorce. I stopped with Symphorce years ago, but I know it works out very well with Almanac again. I am really looking forward to that, to be honest. Both bands are different, which is also important, but absolutely great.

Are there already plans with Brainstorm after the tour in February?
Yes. We will play a lot of festivals in the Summer. We will also have a smaller tour in the Fall coming up, probably we will go to South America and so on. And all in between I am jumping from Brainstorm to Almanac and from Almanac to Brainstorm. That’s fine with me, I like it…

Geplaatst door Vera op vrijdag 15 januari 2016 - 20:34:31
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