Interview BRAINSTORM – Andy B. Franck, lead singer.

Written by on 2014-04-24

As he stopped by to promote “Firesoul”, we got a chance to talk with Andy B. Franck, lead singer of BRAINSTORM in Paris on February 25th. A long and intense interview.

Get your headphones ready !

Excerpts, check the podcast for the full interview.

BRAINSTORM Andy Franck Photo
BRAINSTORM Andy Franck Photo

I think the fans know what to expect from a BRAINSTORM album. I definitely think so.

Listen to the full interview

Gus : Another part of the uniqueness of BRAINSTORM is the fact that you’ve always to renew yourself and innovate in every single one of your albums. So I guess the question is : are you still surprised that your fanbase and a lot of new people every single time have a positive reaction towards those innovations ?

Andy B. Franck : : I think the fans know what to expect from a BRAINSTORM album. I definitely think so. But, you know, on the last albums I have to say that we went into the studio and then we started recording something, then we stopped the recording and made up our mind again and we thought about what we could change here and make better there. This was kind of a process we had to go through . It was okay but now with the new album, I think that we stopped this because we went back to our practice room and wrote songs like we did fifteen years ago, practicing and jamming and so on. And what works out well in the practicing room will work out in the studio as well. And this is what makes the new album so special to us, because this is a really honest album coming straight out of our… how do you say… “stomach”. This is not a typical album we thought about many times, thinking about every notes. We just started writing the album, recording the album and this is also the reason why I feel like the new album is a bit of a redefinition of ourselves. So probably, yeah it took us a while.

Gus : And it also has that typical BRAINSTORM sound. I think that sound has stuck because you’ve always been involved in the producing and mastering process of all your records. […] Was it the case once again, or did you choose to work with somebody who was completely outside of the band?

Andy B. Franck : It was ten or twelve ago we worked together with Achim Köhler for the last time. Then we tried something different, we went to Wolfsburg to record the next two albums with Sacha Paeth and Miro, who are very well known for their recordings for EDGUY, AVANTASIA and KAMELOT and we thought that was the right step at the right time, but we also had to find out that it wasn’t the right step for BRAINSTORM because we are not known for the kind of music they produce. We learned a lot over there, it helped us a lot and then we went back to our area and recorded “On The Spur Of The Moment” with a good friend of ours. But that was the right step in the right direction but it wasn’t a “Real” step. We tried to go back to where we started. And on the last tour we wondered who could produce our album and we had names like Andy Sneap in our minds. But then we decided to ask nobody in the first place, just go back to our practicing room, writing songs, jamming, as I said. And then we recorded the songs and we sent them out. So the first guy who answered, was Achim Köhler again and he said “People, please let me produce this album, it’s gonna be fucking amazing. Let me do it.” so I said “Achim, you don’t have to beg for it, since you’re number one on the list but we weren’t sure if you were gonna do it after ten years.” And he said he’d love to do it. And the funny thing is that Achim really speaks our language, he speaks the same dialect, he comes from our area, he eats the same thing we do (he laughs), which is not typical for a Suebian guy and he knows what we’re talking about. When I say I want more echo here and more sound on there, he knows exactly what I’m talking about and that makes it so much easier. And he became something like the 6th member of the band for the two months we were in the studio and that’s also something that made it so easy to focus on the music and not on the production. And that’s why we didn’t produce the album as much as we did over the last years. We just gave him more or less the entire production so we could focus on the music, on the guitar, on the vocals, bass, drums to give 150%, not 90% because of the 10M you have to put on production. And this is why this album has much more power than the last ones.

BRAINSTORM Band Photo

To me it’s much easier to write about something real, something that happens in real life, something that I can tell my kids and other kids out there.

Gus : […] Being with the same guys for so long, does it make the writing process easier?

Andy B. Franck : It depends, it can make it easier and it can make it not that easier, because they have their own way of thinking. When somebody plays a guitar riff you know exactly “Oh, oh, this is the guitar riff he wants to get on the next album”. And sometimes it’s not easy sometimes to tell him “No, this wil not be on the album”. This answer will cost you a lot of sympathy you know. But in the end, fifteen years, these days, is something very special, and we went through our ups and downs, of course, and when you’re on tour sometimes for seven to eight weeks you can nail everybody on the walls so sometimes you wake up and think “Oh god, this fucking face again” but I think this is a normal thing you know. I think we’re old enough and wise enough, well I hope so, to act this in a normal way. We can talk to each other and we know that at some point it’s not good to talk about it today, so we can go on our separate ways today and we’ll meet each other on stage and then we go separate for another day but on the third day we’re sitting together and having a drink. So, I think we’re focused on the same thing. We wanted to record a good album; we wanted to have a good time with each other. And this helps a lot. We know that we’ve reached way more than we could possibly imagine. And none of us is sitting there thinking that he’s a rockstar. But it’s not easy to be very honest, because the majority of the journalists and the fans they’re always behind the vocalist, the singer or maybe the guitarist you know. And if you have a bass guitarist and a drummer and they have a huge ego, they’re always like “Hey what’s up with me ? Come on !! Well, fuck you !”. It’s not that easy and you need to have a bass player and a drummer as well that can deal with that. They know that they’re important for the band and that they’re one out of five, no more no less. And that’s very important. The other four members of the band are sitting at home. They would have loved to go to Paris as well of course. But it’s just me being here. (he laughs hard)

Gus : I really love the cover art for the album. Who did it?

Andy B. Franck : His name is Felipe Mercado, he’s from South America and he’s a huge fan of the band. He just asked to pain the cover art for an album three years ago but back then I still had a deal with Tom. But Felipe always tried, again and again and again. And on the last tour I asked myself if we could change something here by having a new painter. So I checked my emails again and I sent “Felipe you emailed so many times and you said you were a fan and you would love to do the cover artwork so I will tell you know what I’m thinking about and what I want on the cover and let me see what you can do with it.” And then he sent that cover and I was just fucking blown away and I was like “Okay now you’ve got a job”.

Gus : We have a few less serious questions now. What is the weirdest place you ever had to play at?

Andy B. Franck : The weirdest place is… The place still exists so it’s not easy to say. It must have been the.. There were really bad places in the past, when I was younger. But one of the worst places I’ve been to, not too long ago, was the “Bastard Club” in Osterburg. Oh my fucking god, I’m getting goose bumps just thinking about it. It’s a small venue, more or less there’s nothing around, there’s a huge skate hall in the back. The catering was… arrrhhh… was nothing. The toilets was… everything was not cleared in cleaned since years I think, you know. When you come out of your bus, you’re really happy “oh, there’s a toilet inside” and you go in like “let’s go, let’s go” and when see something like that “oh my god what is this???” And even places in Croatia, in Poland or in Romania haven’t been that worse really. That was in the middle of Germany and that was horrible.[…]I’m pretty sure, after this interview we’re never going to play there againg. (we both laugh hard)

Full interview to be found in the podcast.


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