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Andy B. Franck (Brainstorm)

Interview with Andy B. Franck from Brainstorm
by Makis Kirkos at 19 February 2002, 1:16 PM

Before we move on to this interview, I would like to apologize to Andy B.Franck for the huge delay we had on uploading it. First, I lost it when I formatted my hard disk drive, but Andy was extremely kind and sent it to me again. Then, when everything seemed to be ok, I had to leave Greece and go to Belgium and Holland for 12 days, so the interview remained in my computer. Finally, I am back and the first thing I did is to upload this interesting and detailed interview. I would like to thank Andy B.Franck, Andreas from Metal Blade Records and Brainstorm generally for their extreme patience. Hail!

 First of all congratulations for your new album, it's really good. Well, let's start now. How are you? How is life?


Hey,…thanx for your kind words! So far, I'm feeling really good! The reviews for the new album are fantastic, sales are very good, and it looks like the Tour in January will be very successful! So…how good can I feel!

 Since I am from an Internet Magazine, would you like to tell us what is your relation with the Internet and what is your opinion about mp3's?

Oh, I like surfin' in the Internet! It's very cool! You can get so many information from all over the world! You can get in touch with every single band or band member! That's cool! So nowadays, fans are much closer to a band than we've been many years before! All we had were just some fan-letters and some official photos…now you can take a look behind the curtain! Also mp3's! Hmm,…I think real metal fans care a lot about a booklet, a real cover also! So I'm not afraid or something like that! With the Internet, fans all over the world can now listen to our music! This helps a lot, and since then, we have much more fans in Asia, Australia and South America! That's unbelievable!

 Now, lets talk about some things that concern more your fans. Metus Mortis is your fourth release (and in my opinion the best one). Can you tell us why you chose that title?

Yes, we always searched for a title that's fits to both: cover and lyrics! So after I did the cover design and I wrote the lyrics Torsten (guitar) came to me and asked me what are the lyrics all about? But we never wanted to call the album Death Fear or Scared To Death…you know, this could maybe confuse some old or new fans! So he said: Metus mortis means the same, sounds different but interesting, so we used  this title! We love it and it sounds very special! SO,….this is : learning Latin with Brainstorm lesson one, ha ha ha!

 Metus Mortis sounds to me heavier but it also maintains your usual variety. What things are common between Ambiguity and your new release? What are the differences?

I think the main difference is, that on Ambiguity, all the songs were written before I joined the band, so I only wrote the lyrics and the vocal melody lines! Now, on Metus Mortis, we arranged the whole shit together! I also did the lyrics and melody lines, but now I was much more involved into the songwriting process! ….and of course, the tours and festivals we played together helped also a lot!

 Are you satisfied with the album sales? Do you have any feedback from magazines and fans? What is their opinion?

Oh, so far we have only 2 or 3 bad feed-backs! The most of the fans love the new stuff! You know, when we entered the studio, we just wanted to record the album which we like the most! So we love it! Now magazines worldwide and fans worldwide love this album! That's okay, but what's most important: We are satisfied! That's what really counts! So….also the sales are fantastic right now! So it seems that many fans want to see us live! That's good!

 I believe that you have evolved on the rhythm structure part and that your song writing diversifies more on this release. Do you agree?

Yes,…it's a bit more catchier! Songs are a bit shorter! So they're really more down to the point! It's more Brainstorm than ever!

 Can you put a label on the music you play? Does this label represents 100% your work?

Yes, it's 100%  pure BRAINSTORM! We only record our own ideas! Noone tells us what to do! So we just call our music simply heavy metal! We don't care so much 'bout power-, trash-, speed-, or whatever metal! Think about Brainstorm, think about pure Metal!

  What were your basic influences on this album?

Not only on this album! You know, we grew up with those NWOBHM Bands and also all those Bay Area Thrash and Power Metal Bands! So these are our roots! We do not care so much bout trends hypes or whatever!

 What are the songs talking about? What inspired you to write them? Would you like to tell us a few words about each song (their main story, not the deep meaning)?

Okay, so here we go:

 Blind Suffering:

The Opener! Something like the (secret) title track of the album. Both -the album title and the album cover- are represented best by this song. You should be open for critical and other opinions than yours, but stand for your opinion, if you think you're right. Doesn't matter if wrong or right in the end. Don't stand silent without saying your opinion. That's what makes people sick. Stand for your rights and strike back if necessary!

 Shadowland:

Nowadays, there are obviously more hidden, secret religious groups as most of us thought. This may be OK for people who think they get help (physical and mental) out of this and that gives them hope not to be alone it this cold world but -strange and bad enough- most of the time there's only one person who makes profit out of it. (Financially or bodily) The so called leader of such a group. And many, lonesome and disappointed from life, people follow those leaders with totally giving up their own personalities. This song is written from a (possible) leaders point of view, his way to find the weak points of his followers and use this for his own advantage and profit. In the lyrical story, some groups are operating together like independent, but very close companionships. The so called Shadowlands!

 Checkmate in Red:

As we had on Ambiguity, here again, some oriental tunes in the music. Something like the musical and lyrical brother of Maharaja Palace from the last CD. The story brings us to India and is about the oppression and the torture of people, who are differently minded than the leaders say they have to be; and shows the cruel, despising machinations behind the golden towers in the dungeons and oubliettes of the palaces. The lyrics show the situation of an adolescent, who is abased by the leaders. He sees himself being part of a bloody chess game, unable to control and react on his own authority. In Maharaja Palace we had the entry into the dungeon, now we have finally arrived in the deepest dungeon of the palace. With a little preview into the future and the historical revolt of the oppressed slaves and the end of the torture. But more of this next time…

 Hollow Hideaway:

Within various religious conflicts there are always the so called leaders who try to influence weak characters to act totally for the leaders wishes. This is the way, such otherwise aimless fanatics arise. This dissipated, violent potential of such leaders brings people to intimidate and to give up their social contacts and relationships. That's the wrong way to give life a new sense. You should hear deep into your inner voice and think twice. To be dependent and to let your whole life be controlled from one single, rather unknown person cannot be the real meaning of our existence.

 Weakness Sows Its Seed:

That's a song about spacial and psychical restriction. About people, who can not leave their houses due to certain phobias and trepidations or people who are trapped in their own mind. Some people, who realize their weakness, or better, their fears, give themselves up and let their fears take control over their lives. And there are some that create their own demons without having any problems just because of a maybe boring life. Try to accept, often natural, fears is sometimes the best way for a healing process.

 Into The Never:

Losing well known people or being always misunderstood or even not understood can arise refusal and anger against mankind. You feel like you fall Into The Never. The lyrics describe, sometimes from one's own, sometimes from another persons point of view the morally break-up of a disappointed human being.

 Under Lights:

Do you know the feeling, when you look into a lamb or into the sun and you try to watch a certain object after that? You don't see anything, you're still dazzled. Dazzled like we are through the Media, through the advertisement, nowadays. Even if we know or feel, something is wrong, we often can not or aren't able to see the truth. And sometimes we just don't want to see it. Although under such lights many things come to the surface, no one should believe everything he sees and hears in the media without trying to question himself / herself critically, if this is correct or not. Again, face your fears and be brave enough to try to get to the bottom of your questions and doubts. Here compared with dark powers - mights that try to possess your soul and enslave you.

 Cycles:

A persistent recurrent spiritual cycle. Everything comes or gets back sooner or later! Doesn't matter how you squirm and wither (or dodge), life and everything that happens on your way of life is imprisoned in a recurrent cycle. Your past stands as future in front of you, sometimes. But when? From that point of view, i think it is important to believe in yourself and always work on yourself. Try to solve problems on your own, if possible and don't trust too much in the help of others. Maybe next time, you fail if nobody helps you. Compare - do mouth and eyes speak the same language or are the words spoken with a cloven tongue?

 Behind:

The escalation of religious wars in the middle east and on many other parts of the earth is very convulsing. Everything is done to show the antagonizing religion as hostile to the own faith and their effacement is the only alternative. So, many people eschew to look behind the facade and get a different, personal point of view. Children are really not responsible for where they are born and where they grow up, however, they are passing for enemies from their date of birth, just because they are born on the wrong side of town, i.e.. What kind of a world are we living in?

 Meet Me In The Dark:

This one has a more futuristic touch. The story is about two guys who meet in the cyber space. I am a pc-game freak myself, so I can absolutely comprehend, how fast reality and fiction can become blurred. In this song, the consequences are by far ghastlier, crueler: The one who loses in the cyber space, loses also his real life. Addiction drives people insane. Here only the cyber space, but  also comparable to many other situations.

 Strength Of Will:

Your will is deciding. When your past overtakes you, this can tamper you more or less, depends on how strong you are and were from your character. It either strengthens you or makes you weaker. But there's no reason not to stand upright. What happened, happened. Stay as you are and stay yourself, as we do!!!

 I loved the album cover (it's one of the best metal covers I ever seen). Can you tell us some things about it? Do you feel it represents 100% the concept of the lyrics?


Oh, thanx!!! You rule! Yes, I had this idea with a burning angel also. He burns from the inside because of all the emotions and sins he has! It's not easy to tell what I thought when I designed it! Best is to check out the lyrics, read the meanings and take a look at the cover… soon you'll find out the deeper meaning! There's much more to see!

 Achim Kohler was the producer. Are you satisfied with the outcome? How long did the whole process last? Did you have any problems while you were in the studio?

I know Achim Kohler for more than 8 years now! He's great and it's very easy to work with him. He helped also many times Dirk Schlachter on Ambiguity, and also I produced together with him the latest album of my band Symphorce (Sinctuary). So I told the boys, that Achim could be the perfect choice. And he was, ha ha…so for about four weeks, Achim became something like the 6th Band member of Brainstorm, and that was perfect! So we recorded in two different studios, House of Music and for the first time in our own little studio Storm-Your-Brain. That was cool, cause we were able to record whenever we wanted!

 Do you have any plans for the promotion of your albums? Are you going to film any videos?

No, cause videos doesn't make any sense nowadays! We care more about tours! So best promotion will be our Tour early next year!

 How about your tour plans? You are going to be the support act of Grave Digger's European tour right?

Yes, as I said! We coming to every single town …and we'll not leave the stage until the club is destroyed, he he! Sure, …it'll be fun! For us, and especially for the fans!!!

 You have performed live in Greece twice, with Labyrinth in 1999 and with Armored Saint last year. What are your memories from here?

Unbelievable, that was so great! You know, those fans are so honest, so full of power and energy! We love it playing in Greece! They come to a show to have fun! That's what makes us live like a union! We and the fans want to have fun! So that's what makes fans in Greece very special! Jon Schaffer (Iced Earth) once told me: Go down to Greece, and you'll see what I'm talking about … and we did it and now we know it …and we want to come back! Soon!

 How was the response of audience in Bang Your Head festival? How did you feel playing in frond of so many people?

Oh, ha ha,..that was great! Playing in front of 15.000 or in Wacken 32.000 fans was just unbelievable! Big stage and enough space to run around! That's very cool!

 Let me ask you some general questions now. Do you have any funny stories from your life with the band?

Maybe, when we were on the second part of the Ambiguity Tour ( together with King Diamond):

On the last day ( the Joke day) the intro started to play, everything was dark and the roadies just gave me on second before I ran on stage instead of a microphone a sausage! Holy shit, there I stood, all lights on: Me and the sausage! All the fans stared at me like an Alien! That was unbelievable, but after the first ten seconds we all started to laugh… and especially me, I started to eat the sausage on stage in front of the drums! During the set! So I felt good! Ha ha!

 What musicians inspired you to become one yourself?

Hmm….maybe Bruce Dickinson and Rob Halford? Yes… I'm a metal fan now for more than 15 years and since then I always wanted to make metal myself …and here we are!


 Does music takes up all of your time or you have some other occupations as well?

Everyone has of course a normal day job! So we do not have to care to much 'bout sales! But I love playing computer games! Man, I'm counting the days until Unreal 2 will be released! Yeah!

 Tell us whatever comes to your mind when you listen to the following band-names:

Iron Maiden: Best metal singer! Unbelievable shows and very cool guys!

Manowar: They ARE true metal! They LIVE true metal!

Helloween: The original! I don't like all those Cover bands nowadays! I love their old stuff!

Metallica: Until 1990 : GREAT! Opened many doors for all metal bands! Now: forget them!

Running Wild: Oh, … typical German metal! Many bands now are totally influenced by them!

 What is your biggest ambition?

To play our own headliner tour! The best Thank you to all the fans we can give!

 What should we expect in the future from Brainstorm?

A headliner Tour, ha ha ha ha! No, we'll see! Of course many live shows, hopefully more albums the fans like so much! And of course: raw power!

 Is there any message you want to send to our readers and your fans?

Thanx so much for all your support over all those years! We know who you are! Thanx and hopefully you have as much fun while listening to the new songs as we had fun in recording 'em!Thanx again, and soon we'll hang out in a club near your hometown! Take care! You rock like hell!

Thanx a lot for your time guys.

Thank you very, very much!

Take care, Andy B. Franck



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