Interview with Brainstorm vocalist Andy B. Franck

- Jan 24, 2008 at 02:22PM
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If you’re looking for one badass band then you’ve come to the right place with Brainstorm. These guys have been in the metal scene now for almost twenty years and are still going strong with the release of their brand new LP titled Downburst, a fierce collection of metal songs that will be sure to please any metalhead. Written and produced with the strong production team of Sascha Paeth and Miro, Downburst is looking to be Brainstorm’s biggest record in years. To support the album, the band has a number of European tour dates planned for 2008, starting with a string of dates in March with the bands Pagan’s Mind and Powerwolf. Currently no North American dates have been set, but that is likely to change in the near future. Recently we caught up with Brainstorm’s vocalist Andy B. Franck for a few questions about this new record and what’s going on with the band these days. Here’s how it went:

Your band has been together and prevalent now since 1989, a span of nearly twenty years. Is there anything in specific that you think has helped contribute to Brainstorm’s longevity as a group?
Andy: Ha, I have no idea... maybe there’s something in the water over here, ha ha. No, to be very honest, I think it has something to do with the friendship we have also outside the music. But that also helps us in good and difficult times.

Your brand new studio album is called Downburst which comes out this month. How do you feel about the record now that it’s done and how do you think it compares to Brainstorm’s previous work?
Andy: I think that Downburst is one of the most important albums in our career... probably THE most important as we have discovered us in a new way and opened a new chapter as well. I still think that Liquid Monster is also an amazing album and I’m really proud on every single note we played, but some of the songs could have been on the other albums as well. All songs on Downburst now, are a bit different. The album is darker, sounds heavier, but on the other hand it’s our most catchy, most intense and a more diverse album. So yes, you see I like it, ha ha!

What was the writing and recording like for Downburst? When did you start writing and how many songs did you write in total for the record?
Andy: We wrote 13 songs and recorded them all. We started writing songs at the end of 2006 and we promised ourselves to write the maybe best songs ever. You know, over the last few years, we always recorded our albums together with the same guy in the same studios near our hometown. After we listened carefully to our latest efforts, we asked ourselves if we’re close to a point before copying ourselves. So we decided to change a lot of things. We wanted to show the people that Brainstorm has more, even much more to say than many fans expect. So we wrote our songs at home and went over to Wolfsburg just to be focused on the music for 24 hours a day. We had nothing else to do than playing and recording... okay, sometimes drinking, he he.

To produce Downburst, Brainstorm worked with the production team of Sascha Paeth and Miro. Why did you decide to go with them as producers for the new album?
Andy: Oh, we know them, since years and they wanted to record a band “with balls” and we wanted to record the new album with great producers. So we decided to record the new album far away from our hometown and stayed there for 1 ½ months. Together we arranged all songs and I also think they helped us a lot to reach this new level! It was amazing to work with them as they really know what they want! Together with Sascha Paeth and Miro, we reached a new level and made Brainstorm being ready for the next 20 years, ha ha ha....

Speaking of Sascha Paeth and Miro, what do you think was the best thing they brought to the studio in the production of Downburst?
Andy: Okay, Mille and Todde wrote the basics, but together we arranged and re-arranged everything... and in the end, they were really important for the result. I think that we will work together for the next years as this is an amazing combination.

From what I’ve seen and read of Downburst, I get the feeling there is some sort of concept behind it. Is there a general theme or idea behind the album or would you consider it just a collection of songs?
Andy: Hmm, it is more or less a compilation of amazing songs, as I basically hate concept albums. I’m not a preacher and we don’t want to tell anybody what’s right or wrong. I’m writing a lot about things I read or heard about, situations I personally went through and also me and my personal problems I had some years ago. There are definitely songs on the album where I’m talking about social problems for example. But as always, Brainstorm is a band you can read the lyrics and listen to. But also... you can have a beer and bang your head to!

Just towards the end of 2007, Brainstorm announced that they had found a new bass player named Antonio Leva to join the band. How exactly did you find Antonio and why did you decide that he would be the right choice to play bass?
Andy: You won’t believe it, but we had several offers from bass players all over the world. At the end, we decided on Antonio Leva, as he’s an amazing bass-guitarist, good songwriter, cool guy and comes from near our hometown. So as long as he’s as friendly like he was over the last 4 months, he’ll stay for many many years, hahaha. But yes it’s not so easy as many guys only see Brainstorm as a well known... a good selling band. So they tried to make money with us. But we needed someone who’s really into our music. Antonio knows the rules of the business as he’s the former member of a band called Farmer Boys. I think we decided on the right guy!

Since Antonio only joined the band a short while ago, you haven’t had much live experience with him but from what you’ve experienced, how has it been playing with him on stage?
Andy: Hmm, it was just that one show in Hungary, but it felt good. You know, Andreas just has lost his power since many, many months or years, and it was the best for both sides. I’m fine if there’s a new guy in the band as long as I can see and feel that he loves to be on the stage and loves the music we play. So it felt really good....

Now the band has a bunch of tour dates lined up through March in Germany and surrounding parts of Europe. How did this tour come about and what other bands will you be taking with you?
Andy: We'll have a Norwegian band call Pagan's Mind with us as well as some Germans called Powerwolf... that’s all for now, as this is just the first leg of the “Downburst” tour as we have to jump over to the USA in April/May. After this, we will play some festivals in Europe and in late August/September the second leg of the Tour will kick off. I’m sure there will be some more shows in Slovakia hopefully!!! But right after we’re leaving Europe to destroy South America and Japan... haha Downburst everywhere!

Aside from the upcoming tour in March, what else does Brainstorm have planned for 2008 in terms of concert dates?
Andy: As I said... tons of shows... all around the world... the Brainstorm is ready to strike!  [ END ]
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