Brainstorm Interview with
Interview by Rick
With the release of their 5th CD, SOUL
TEMPTATION, Brainstorm has cemented its position as one of
today's best metal bands. With the introduction of Andy B. Franck as
their vocalist on Ambiguity, Brainstorm has become a powerful
metal force which continues to gather momentum. I recently had the
opportunity to pose these questions about the new CD, and anything
Brainstorm in general, to guitar player Torsten "Todde"
It always amazes me that Brainstorm has been around since 1990
when you released your first demo HAND OF DOOM. How does it feel to be
finally getting some recognition after 13 years of releasing material?
Well, in our opinion getting recognition started way earlier. But
that obviously depends on the eye of the beholder. The way into the
public eye was constantly growing since the first CD release in 1997
followed by the first tour and so on. But getting back to your question,
it definitely feels very good when people like (and buy) your music.
Do you think that someday you might collect all of Brainstorms
demos on one CD and release them as a treat to your fans?
This seems to be something we will do for our fan club someday,
especially songs from the time of our first two demos, which have been
about 25 songs we recorded.
All the songs from our 2nd to our 4th demo tape have been with our
former lead singer, so if we someday will start seriously talking about
re-releasing our first two albums, we will for sure give the fans some
songs out of that as special bonus for the fans that already have the
has just released a new CD called “Soul Temptation” on Metal Blade
Records. Can you talk a bit about the CD? Where it was recorded? Who
produced it and was the recording process different than the other CDs
Brainstorm has recorded?
We recorded in different studios. The drums and vocals of the CD in
the "House Of Music" Studios near Stuttgart, guitars and bass
in our own "Storm Your Brain" Studios and the keys in the
"Gate" Studios of keyboarder Miro. The album was produced by
ourselves, Brainstorm. It have been the longest recording sessions ever,
the pre-production started in December 2002 and we finished the
recordings in April 2003, so we had much time to work on the details.
What if any is the significance of the title “Soul Temptation”?
It is related to the story of the trilogy called "Trinity Of
Lust", which is the main focus on the new album and the story ends
in that song title, starting with "Shiva's Tears", followed by
"Forever" and the monumental title track.
Are you happy with the way that SOUL TEMPTATION turned out and
what expectations do you have for the success of the CD? Do you think
this could be the album that makes Brainstorm a household name in the
I am very happy with the result. We entered the German long play
charts on #73 and is the most successful Brainstorm album so far. We
will start touring beginning of next year and it looks like we will be
on the road for a very long time. What is confirmed is that we will hit
the road together with Primal Fear and Rob Rock and we are very looking
forward to it. After that we will play some summer festivals before we
hit the road again for some more headlining club shows.
We are very well known over here in Europe, so I would say it is time
to come over to the US and let them hear and see what they missed 'til
“Highs Without Lows” and “Dying Outside” are 2 of my
favourite tracks from Soul Temptation. Can you tell me a little how the
band goes about writing songs and what songs if any on the CD are your
It is mainly me or Milan that bring the riffs or basic song ideas,
before we start arranging the pieces altogether in our rehearsing room.
Some favorites are also "Highs..." and the complete
trilogy, which I am very proud of.
Brainstorm has produced a video for “Highs Without Lows” which
has been getting some airplay on the Viva Plus network in Germany. Can
you tell us a bit about the video? Where it was shot? Who directed? And
will there be any other videos from “Soul Temptation”?
We shot the video in Gerstetten, our hometown, in an old factory
where we also rehearse and have our studio. There's so many cool
locations and enough free space to be able to do such a project. The
video was directed by Michael Schneider from "D2 Media" in
Germany, a very talented, cool guy.
We will see if we will do another video, if there is time enough to
do so, but we are right now preparing for the upcoming live shows this
Do you think that video is an important tool to use in trying to
gain new fans for Brainstorm?
It is a good chance when it gets enough airplay and luckily the
"Highs Without Lows" Video gets a lot of airplay over here in
You seem to bring in some eastern musical influences on certain
songs, “Shiva’s Tears”, on the new CD is one such song. Where do
these influences come from and do you use them because they sound good
or is there a deeper meaning?
No deeper meaning. We like that harmonies, the instruments and all
that musical stuff behind it and we think it fits very well to the rest
of the music.
The lyrics on all your CDs are not of the Dragons and Sorcerers
type but seem to be a more a reflection of real life and sometimes the
darker side of real life. Where do these lyrics come from? Do they come
from your own personal experiences or just from observation of the world
Both. Andy spends much time in writing the lyrics and is very much
into it and naturally kind of reflects what happens around us or to him
or us personally. But we are far away from being a political band as
much as we are far away from being a sword and sorcery band. We do not
want to limit ourselves on a certain topic. Neither musically, nor
On Metal-Rules.com we currently have a poll where our readers can
rank how important lyrics are to them and how they add to their overall
like or dislike of a CD. How important are the lyrics on a Brainstorm
They are also part of the music. But first of all comes the music.
But without lyrics it won't be the whole picture and an important part
Meininghaus who also did the artwork for your last album “Metus Mortis”
created the artwork for “Soul Temptation”. How did you get in
contact with Jan and how did you choose that particular piece of artwork
for the cover?
We contacted him some years ago, as we liked his style of doing
artworks very much. The first time we worked together was for the Metus
mortis album. We tell Jan our ideas and he tries to realize and
visualize what we have in mind. And he does an amazing job on that, we
For the new album, we had that trilogy as main focus and wanted to
express that in the album artwork and the album title.
The band released a limited addition DVD with the CD in Europe.
Are there any plans to release that DVD for North American audiences?
Not yet, as far as I know. But we really hope to have it released
worldwide sometimes in future. It seems to be available as import CD/DVD
at specialized dealers and in the www, of course. Also, our shop on our
will re-open soon.
It is a great DVD that shows our concert at the 2002 Summer Breeze
Open Air in Germany and also contains our video-clip
“Soul Temptation” is the third CD with Andy B. Franck on
vocals and the band seems to grow and get better with each release. What
do you think he has brought to the band that you might not have had with
Andy is one of the best singers I know and always gives 100%. So, I
don't think about how it would have been with other vocalists. Andy fits
perfect in the band and it seems that it was the right decision to have
him in Brainstorm.
Have there been any problems or conflicts with Andy being a full
time member of Symphorce?
No. Andy is not involved in the basic song writing process, so he has
the time to do something else, which is ok for us.
Does anyone else in the band have any side projects of interest?
Anything that might be a little different than Brainstorm but of
interest to the fans?
Our drummer played on the Tarot's Myst album some years
ago, which was a project of former Stormwitch guitar
player Lee Tarot and was a story about Odysseus.
I am working on something that will be called Beyond Pain,
but I am not in a hurry releasing it before we have a little time off
from the Brainstorm activities.
Since this is your 5th release do you think that you will have the
opportunity to do a proper tour of North America? Or maybe even a few of
the festivals like Prog Power, Metal Meltdown or Milwaukee Metalfest?
This would be very cool and we would live to do that. We get many
emails from fans from America that would love to see Brainstorm playing
live as soon as possible. We definitely will try to do our best to make
Brainstorm has just announced that you will be touring with Primal
Fear starting in March. How did you guys hook up with Primal Fear? Ralf
Sheepers was a guest vocalist on your first CD. Have you been friends
since that time?
Our bass player had the idea to have Ralf as guest vocalist for the
first album and we all think that Ralf is a great vocalist, so it was an
honour to have him on our debut.
As we started making touring plans it was one of our first thoughts
we had to go on tour with them and we are proud that it all works out.
This summer you played the Blind Guardian Festival. What was your
experience with such a new festival and how would you compare it to
Wacken Open Air or Bang Your Head?
We had a great time on the festival and it was very well organized
and the fans seemed to have a great time also, so it is another great
festival besides Wacken and Bang Your Head with a more personal touch. I
liked it very much playing there.
What is your gear (guitar, amps etc) and do you use a different
setup when you record compared to in a live setting?
My favorite is my custom made Balint guitar, which was built by a
friend of mine exactly as I liked it.
I also use special active pick-ups to exactly get the sound I like,
combined with an amplifier that works with 6L6 tubes which we modified a
That's the basic live set up and also part of the studio set up,
where I work with different guitars and amps, depending on the song.
Many metal fans consider Brainstorm a powermetal band. How would
you describe Brainstorm’s music? Do you have a problem with the “powermetal”
I don't have a problem with it, but I don't see Brainstorm as a pure
Power Metal Band.
For us it is metal music in general and we don't like to limit it
that much on a single topic.
I see that one of your influences is Riot and they happen to be
one of my favourite bands as well. What did you think of their last CD
“Into the Storm” and what is your favourite Riot CD and why?
"Into The Storm" was a very cool album, kind of more
relaxed than the previous albums, but still Riot. My favorite is the
I know that many people may not understand that, but for me, this is
the best Riot album ever. Besides many many very good Riot albums, by
What artist or bands do you think have influenced your music the
Judas Priest .... and sooooo many more .......
Do you keep up on the metal scene and do you listen to any newer
Yes, of course. I am always interested in getting to hear and see
That’s about it for now. Is there anything else you would like
to say to the readers of Metal-Rules.com?
Well, we hope all of you love the new album as much as we do and hope
to see you all on tour, sometimes, someday, somewhere out there.
Take care and cheers - Torsten & Brainstorm