Andy B. Franck – Brainstorm & Symphorce
Interviewed by EvilG
Transcription by Alxs – Live Pics By Arto Lehtinen
Andy B. Franck is easily one of the better metal vocalists to emerge in recent years. His tone, power, and melody-lines combine to make a style that is hard not to get into. Since Symphorce’s first album, I’ve followed Andy’s band and his Brainstorm stuff. It was with Symphorce’s BECOME DEATH album however that I personally catapulted Andy from “good vocalist” to one of my favorites. In this interview we talk about the demands of being in two bands, the perhaps precarious position Symphorce finds itself in right now, the creative process, and what 2008 and onwards has in store for Andy. Enjoy.
I’d like to start out with a topic that I’m sure a lot of people must speak to you about and that’s with regards to where you’re fronting two bands. I’m sure you’ve been asked a lot about how you juggle the demands of two bands and I’m just wondering does it get easier or harder with time as both bands gain more of a following and things like that.
No, I’m doing this now about since seven, eight, nine years and so far I’m doing good with that. We will see what will happen with Symphorce this time around. I’m not sure, Brainstorm’s taking a lot of time now. My schedule’s pretty packed because of Brainstorm for the next one and a half years now. I’m not pretty sure what to do now. We’ve done about six albums with Symphorce and we’re doing good. It’s all fine but probably it’s, for the other members of the band it’s also not that easy to wait until Andy’s got time or not. On the other hand you also got Markus playing in the band; he’s playing in another band as well. So he’s on tour also, so you got two members of the band just hanging out with other bands. So we’ll see what will happen in the future. Right now we’re talking about some record labels about a new deal and so on, we have several offers. But ok, we’ll see sooner or later. It’s not that hard fronting two bands. It’s what I always wanted.
What motivates you to keep doing things with two bands and is it also maybe a factor of being in two bands allows you to do music exclusively for a living, kind of thing?
Not really, you know, it’s just the fucking fire that burns. (laughs) It’s maybe more simple then you think. It’s just, I grew up with that kind of music and my biggest dream was always just recording and releasing albums, going on tour, playing as much as possible live and so on. And then I started making music on a professional level in a band called Ivanhoe more then about fourteen years ago now. Then I formed Symphorce in ’99 and that was also the same time, more or less, one year later, when the guys of Brainstorm searched for a new singer. So, I never wanted to become a lead singer of two bands, that’s a fact. So, it happened and as long as I can do it, why shouldn’t I. The cool thing is that, Brainstorm is a fantastic thing, I love the music and everything else. But on the other hand I’ve got Symphorce where I can do whatever I want. Sometimes I call Symphorce something like my playground because I can do there whatever I want. We can record whatever we want, whatever comes to our minds we can record it, because nobody really knows what the next Symphorce album, how the next Symphorce album will sound like. What will the next song be all about? This is of course something for musicians that’s a fantastic thing. You can really express yourself in so many ways and that’s fantastic. In the case of Brainstorm, a lot of people know exactly what to expect. They say, ‘ok, this is the typical Brainstorm style and songs, this is how we like and love the band and this is also the way we love Andy’s voice.’ In Symphorce I can do whatever I want. For musicians it’s a fantastic thing to have those two options, so I think that’s ok.
So are you able to help with the writing in both bands?
I do more the arranging stuff. I stopped writing songs. I wrote the first two Symphorce albums. But since then, that’s also the same time when I joined Brainstorm, I haven’t got that time left to do a lot of, to write songs, as I do the managing, the management, the marketing, the promotion and everything else for both bands. That takes a lot of time. Since then I stopped writing songs and I personally think since then, since I stopped writing songs, the music of both bands is much better. (laughs)
I guess you still write your own vocal melodies over the songs that the other guys put together.
That’s it. I do have to write enough stuff. I do have to write the lyrics, the vocal lines and I do arrange all the songs so that’s enough to do. I’m fine with not writing the basics. That’s fine for me.
From a musical point of view, what do you think the main differences are between your two bands?
Symphorce is more just kind of a modern melodic, modern metal band as we do feature a lot of modern influences. We have new synthesizers working there and so on. Yea, the modern kind of metal band. Brainstorm is much more the traditional kind of metal band. You know metal since years, this is what Brainstorm is all about… you know Brainstorm combines all the traditional metal things.
Is the creative process different between the two bands for how you write and record things? Is it done differently or are both bands pretty much similar in how things are put together?
It’s now, since this year it’s different. Since this year it’s different because in Symphorce we do not see each other more or less in the studio and since this year we stopped this kind of recording an album in the studio like we did it with Brainstorm. We did it with Brainstorm the same way years ago and I haven’t seen the guys when I recorded something in the studio, I haven’t seen the other members. I personally don’t like it that much because sometimes we do record stuff or we listen to stuff and think ‘oh we should have changed something here or we should have changed something there.’ But, then it’s too late and everybody else has left the studio so you’re alone and then you have to sing or have to record something here and there. In the case of Brainstorm, this time we changed that and we said ‘No, we want to hangout in the studio together as long as possible’. So we stayed in the studio, all the four members of the band stayed in the studio for more then one and half months just to record everything. To be there when anybody else in the band records anything. Until that point, if everybody in the bands says ‘ok, now it’s a hundred percent perfect and I think I love the song and whatever, you know, then the song is done. Then you say ‘ok this is it. This will be the final version that will be on the album.’ That’s in my years, in my eyes now, that’s the absolute a 100% perfect way to record and release an album. That’s the difference. In Symphorce we do write the songs, I do arrange the songs and then we do record it and sometimes it sounds a little bit different then what you practiced in your practicing room. What you hear in your practicing room sounds sometimes a little bit different then what you hear after it’s recorded. That’s why I think it’s much better if everybody spends twenty-four hours a day in the studio just to find out if he really likes it or if he thinks no we should change something here or there.
So with your two bands do you have any downtime throughout the year or are you pretty much steady-go with work?
I got a normal day job and I think it’s also very important because that keeps me down to earth and also allows me to make the music I like, the music I want. On the other hand, if I would live because of the music, because of the money and everything else I must, in one way take care of what’s going on in the scene, what’s trendy, what’s style, what’s hip, then I should always be open-minded and all these things. Now metal-core is up to date, so I should stop singing in high notes. I should start growling and whatever. This is what I never wanted to do. I always wanted to make the music I like. As long as I have my own day-job and as long as it works with going on tour and recording and going on the promo trip and so on and so on. As long as it works like this I should do it that way. I think I will always do it that way because as I said, at the end of the month all my fucking bills are paid and I still can do whatever I want and I can make my kind of music. Probably, whatever, you never know, in about two years, nobody really cares about metal anymore or about this kind of metal anymore. Probably grunge is back, you never really know. If grunge should come back or whatever I should still make Brainstorm metal music because I do not care. I can say no, c’mon there’s still some fans out there if they want to listen to my kind of music then here we go. If it’s just about 10 people buying the album, I’m fine with that. I’m still making that music for those 10 people because at the end of the month because of my day job, my bills are paid. It’s not because of those 10 people. (laughs)
So although both bands are identifiably separate entities and anyone that listens to them enough can tell the difference. I’m wondering, do you have to consciously push to say this riff or this song sounds too much like one of the other bands or do both bands writing take care of itself and they’re different enough? Is it something that you have to push towards making sure one is not too much like the other?
No, you know, it’s a fact that in those bands both of the guitarists who write the songs just makes it really easy because Milan and Todde in Brainstorm they have their own style, their own typical style. This is the style why you know Brainstorm since years. This is how we sound like. Symphorce, Markus and Cedric write most of the songs. They record whatever they want and they have their own style as well. I personally never had the problem to say ‘well this sounds a little too like Brainstorm or this sounds a little too much like Symphorce. They have a totally different style of writing. If I do arrange Symphorce songs, I’m a 100% behind those songs and if I do arrange Brainstorm songs, I’m thinking only about Brainstorm songs. I think that’s the best.
I’ve curious, does one of the bands get more sales, more tour offers, better festival spots, or whatever, then the other? Or are both bands pretty much equal in terms of how they’re doing overall?
No, no, no, no, no. Brainstorm is the much much bigger band of course. In Symphorce we have a huge fan base and we have good sales but in the end, it’s how do you say… we’re doing ok. Brainstorm we’re doing very, very good. I think, certainly in Europe, we’re one of the top bands these days. We’re selling really good. I do receive at least, I do not know really, between, something like between 50-100 emails a day just because of the new album now. This is not the same thing when we do release a Symphorce album. When we do release a Symphorce album, we might just receive between 50-100 emails a week or every two weeks. So, there you can see there’s a big difference. Of course, Brainstorm is the main priority. I have no problems to say that. I never ever said something different because Brainstorm is the bigger band, we’re touring a lot and I like doing a lot of things with Symphorce as well, but everybody in Symphorce knows that Brainstorm is the main priority, the top priority. I have to take care about Brainstorm. Like I said, I do all the promotion stuff, the marketing stuff and so on. That’s it.
Although this interview here today is mostly a press push for Brainstorm I just had to tell you that the “Become Death” by Symphorce is likely going to be my personal number one album of the year for our webzines’ ‘Best of’ list. I really think Symphorce the band really came together with “Become Death” songs, variety of the songs, the sound. Everything to me was absolutely perfect.
Thank you very much. Wow.
I was wondering did it feel any different on the inside with this album? Did you think you had put together something so great or did you think it was your best Symphorce album to date? How did it feel from the inside?
I still think it’s the best and of course always said that “Become Death” is the best Symphorce album and it’s the most intense Symphorce album ever. I think it’s just quite easy to understand that Symphorce, that “Become Death” is just the album where we made the things perfect, the same things we tried on “Godspeed”. On “Godspeed” we tried to change a little bit here, tried to change a little bit there, but it was just… yea we just tried in some ways. After another tour and after a few festivals and after hanging out many times, practicing, jamming and blah blah, we found our way how to make it perfect. I still love “In the hopes of a dream” and “Condemned” and so on. They’re amazing. They’re still in my cd player and will ever be so…
Yea, I haven’t taken the disc out of my rotation since it was released. It’s just one of the ones that I kept playing over and over all year, so, it’s a really good album.
Thank you very much. Wow. Honoring me, thank you very much.
Yea, I always liked Symphorce but when I heard “Become Death” I was just blown away. I was like ‘wow’.
Thank you, that’s amazing. Cool.
No problem. So I guess part of the thing is, a band like Symphorce releases an album that is that good but it doesn’t get a whole lot of attention. Does that bother you at all that the band, as many people aren’t realizing how good an album it is or maybe haven’t heard of the band or haven’t listened to them a whole lot yet?
The thing is we do… the funny thing is really that all the people that have already known Symphorce since years have recognized Symphorce because of “Become Death”. That this album is fantastic and amazing and maybe the best Symphorce ever and so on and so on. I do, personally I do agree. Of course it bothers me. Of course it pisses me off to see that we do not get the attention we need and that’s of course the most important thing these days. If you want to sell records you have to become a press priority and a label priority. Probably also the problem we had with the last album is, we’d been on Metal Blade at that time and we’ve never been a top priority to Metal Blade. So it was that problem. We wanted to leave Metal Blade just before “Become Death” as we had several offers but they always said “No, we want this album. Make it make it make it.” It’s sad but true. We hope with the next album probably we can get attention we need, the attention we deserve. We still have a lot of good songs written now, already written now again. It has a lot of things to do, there’s so many things coming together. The attention of the record labels, the attention of the fans. A lot of luck of course. Being there at the right time at the right place and so on. But, ok, we’ll see what will happen. I’ll never give up. Of course not. I still like this album. I still love to do what I want. I still love to write songs nobody expects from us and of course that’s a cool thing. We will see. In that moment when we do release a Symphorce album and to see how we do not get the attention – in that moment, I’m fucking pissed off, of course. And I can be very angry and I can be very bad about that, so in that moment if I do release another Brainstorm album, in that moment I do take care about Brainstorm. I’m totally focused on that album. What I expect from myself is what the people can expect from me, so I think it’s just honest to give a 100% for the new album you do release. Be sure though, there’ll be times again when we will release, when I will release another Symphorce album. Then I will be focused on that a lot, so a 100%. Probably a 200% with a newer label in the bag.
So could we expect maybe a new Symphorce album sometime in 2008 or probably 2009 before we hear something?
No, the schedule for Brainstorm is so fucking packed. That’s a thing we can’t make. I think we can probably start recording the album in 2008, that’s possible. But we will see what will happen. I do not expect a release before 2009. Next time, if we do release the next Symphorce album then I want to make a lot of things better. I want to be sure about being the press priority, about the advertisements and everything else. I just want to be involved in everything. In the case of Metal Blade I did not do anything. I just always wanted to do it. I know I can make it and I know the rules and everything else, but I did not do anything last year. So I was really pissed off about that. Really angry in that moment. I just promised myself that on the next album, the next Symphorce album, I’ll be involved a 100% about every single step. This is for me the first and the most important thing. If I do sign another deal, another contract, that contract will feature where it can read, ‘ok, Andy is a 100%. He knows everything.’ Then I’m fine.
Off to some more Brainstorm stuff. Your new album “Downburst”, I received a promo last week or so, a week or two ago. It’s a really good album and I think a lot of people are going to be looking forward to that in January over here. So I’m wondering, the title “Downburst”, what does the “Downburst” refer to?
What is a downburst?
Yeah, what does the title mean? I’m wondering where you got the title “Downburst.”
The thing is the title and art for the cover doesn’t have anything to do with each other. The thing is, we sit in the studio and we thought about an album title and we just had to just sit just cursing, you know and we said to ourselves ok, the listener should be blown away by the new stuff. Like musicians do talk to each other, their typical blah blah. So we said to each other, the listener should be blown away by the music, like from a hurricane or from a tornado and this is what we wanted to express with the title. We wanted to tell the people ‘ah, what’s coming up next is something like a hurricane that blows you fucking away. But, we never wanted to call our album “Hurricane” or “Tornado” or whatever, so we searched for a very cool, very strong name and something that’s in nature. A downburst comes up for about 1 hour. It leaves something like an impact, a big impact. A lot of things are broken and so on. But it’s not something that stays for hours or weeks or stuff like that, or days like a hurricane does. A hurricane can come and stays for hours and days, but a downburst comes down from out of nowhere. Boom just one hour and then it’s gone. And all you can see is …wow….
Flattened trees everywhere.
Scattered things, toys, whatever. We wouldn’t say that the new album will kill your speakers or whatever but will blow your speakers. Again, don’t take this too serious, because we don’t. We just wanted to say ‘Hey, what comes up next just will blow you away for at least fifty minutes’ and that’s it. And this is all the time the downburst just comes down to you and bringing you down, whatever. (laughs) We’re not taking this too serious, you know. We’re musicians, not politicians.
Is the Brainstorm album cover in reference to “Assassin’s Creed”?
Not really, not really.
Have you heard people mention that?
I like the game but there’s ton of killers and whatever running around and 11th, 12th to 13th, 14th century, you know. They all look like that. We searched for a fighter and we had this idea two years ago and right after the release of “Liquid Monster” we thought about having somebody undercover like a fighter. So we thought about someone who looks like from Persia or from India but it’s also a mixture with something new you know, with all the tattoos and stuff and the metal mask and so on. The thing was just to have somebody on the cover who fights for his right, you know, like we do. We sometimes have also fight for our right and sometimes we have a lot of luck but on the other hand we sometimes have to really go through tough times. What we wanted to have on the cover is somebody who fights for it and this is what we have to do all day long. That was, I think at least one and a half years before I’ve seen the first picture of “Assassin’s Creed”. We had the cover I think around the end of 2006, something like that. There’s so many covers, so many killers and pictures and so on with those guys running around.
But that’s ok. That’s fine with us. Maybe we can do the soundtrack for “Assassin’s Creed” part II or whatever.
Why not, eh?
You think it looks like that?
Well, at least one other person caught the similarity to the video game art…that’s all.
I don’t know. I’ve been told that there’s a comic series out like Batman, Superman. A kind of a superhero and he also wears something like this white coat. I was like ‘who? Ok.’. Then I searched for that in the internet but a friend of mine just told me, ‘well c’mon guy there are just hundreds of covers of video games and records and pictures and whatever. They all look like the same. It’s just funny. I personally think it’s one of the best covers of art in our career. To me it shows a lot of strength and power and that’s cool.
I believe I’ve read on your website with regards to the recording of “Downburst” you said, or one of the band members said the band discovered themselves in a new way. Can you explain a bit about what that means to you and what environment made that possible. Maybe it relates back to what you said earlier about the band being together in the studio and taking the time to do the things a bit differently.
It was me who said that. The thing is, really, in our case “Metus Mortis” was something like our breakthrough. Since “Metus Mortis” the last two albums “Soul Temptation” and “Liquid Monster” they sounded different but not so different. We had some songs on those albums, they were different but on the other hand we had songs like for example, “Lifeline” on “Liquid Monster” was described for example in my opinion – this song could’ve been on “Soul Temptation” or “Metus Mortis” as well. This is the point, when we’ve been on tour for “Liquid Monster” I said to the other members of the band ‘Ah, we should take care of not copying ourselves.’ We could’ve made it the easy way. We could’ve made it and said ok hey c’mon we’re feeling good and we know we can record everything in our own town and we know, together with Achim Köhler, he’s doing an amazing job. He knows us. He knows exactly what we want. There’s no need to talk anymore, he’s just recording it and we do release it and we’re on the same trip.
But, I’ve listened to those three albums, exactly those three albums, “Metus Mortis”, “Liquid Monster” and “Soul Temptation” a lot and one evening I said to Todde, ‘Todde, c’mon this sounds too similar. Ok we have all those words. We have “Inside the Monster”, “Worlds are coming through”, these songs sound different but all the other songs could’ve been on “Soul Temptation” as well. This is something I never wanted to have on the new album. So we decided not to record near our hometown, not to record together with Achim Köhler, something like that. We decided just to go far away, to hang out in the studio for at least twenty four hours. Just being there for the music 100%. Record the album and arrange and produce the album with somebody else. Not with Achim who already knows us. So we started recording everything in Wolfsburg which is about five or six hundred miles away. We’ve been there for one and a half months hanging out in the studio, recording everything, arranging everything and so on. Nobody has ever left the studio before he agreed with the song a 100%.
Years ago when we recorded something and I just entered the studio, I came in to the studio because I was recording my vocal part. Sometimes I thought, well we should have changed something new, we should’ve recorded something different here, but it was too late because everybody else was left and gone. I had to record something on that music, you know what I mean? This is exactly what we never wanted to happen so we started writing songs on another level. We said, ok now hanging out together always 24 hours, recording, arranging and the most important thing was this time the song’s got written all in the practicing room and all in the studio. The most of the songs we wrote for the last two, three albums were the songs we wrote on tour or somewhere; backstage when we’ve been on the road, in festivals or somewhere else.
This time we said no no no, it’s ok, we recorded enough songs while we’ve been on tour. This time we have to record a song as if we were at home in a practicing room, the studio and wherever. After, first we need a break and then we had to record it. And then to write the songs and do these songs from another point of view. From the typical point of view we’ve seen it and heard it. We tried to do that. I personally think that “Downburst” sounds different; it doesn’t sound like the albums before. You still know it’s Brainstorm, a 100% Brainstorm but it’s Brainstorm 2007, 2008 and not Brainstorm like we saw in 2000, 2001, 2002. That’s the most important thing but it’s still great, we can still play the songs together. We can play a very new song right after an old track. That’s something we can do. That’s something Metallica can’t do anymore.
So hey, we’re a lucky band huh? I think you won’t tell me that Metallica can play “Seek and Destroy” right after a track from “Load” or “St. Anger.” I think that doesn’t really work.
I think we’ve all given up hope on them at this point. (laughs) At least I have any way. I’ve given up hope since 1991 that they’ll ever do anything good anymore.
Earlier this year, a little while ago, Brainstorm released the “Honey from the Bees” DVD and I guess everyone from this side of the pond is asking you is it going to get a release in North America for NTSC coding because it’s only available in Pal right now. So have you heard anything about that being released over here?
I’ve been told that it should be released within the next year. As far as I’ve been told Metal Blade said something like you want to wait until the new album’s out and then just when everybody’s focused and you release the album. Then you say well I have the new album then they will release the DVD right after on NTSC. So they probably can make it the promo, one thing, and then so on.
As far as I’ve been told. It’s an amazing package and it would be a shame if it was just there for the European fans.
For sure, because part of the DVD was filmed in the United States so why not release it over here, right?
The “Live in Atlanta” wasn’t it?
Exactly. Second show ever in the U.S. That was of course something very important for us, very cool.
Of course, everybody wants to know is Brainstorm going to be playing in the U.S or Canada even in 2008. Do you have any talks of a tour over here or any kind of a festival show or anything?
The thing is why nothing’s official these days is that we have now several offers for single shows but we denied everything so far. This time we need a tour. We do not fucking care in the first place if it’s an East Coast tour and then we’re coming back for a West Coast tour, whatever, you know. We do not really care about that. The only thing is that we do receive so many emails from fans from everywhere especially from East and West Coast and it’s just a shame if we do say ok if we play in a festival here and this is an exclusive festival. If we do play at that festival we cannot play in the U.S for the next 10 months or something like that. So we said no, we’ll play one or two festivals of course, no problem but between those two festivals we will go on a real tour. We will have a good package and we are running down the East coast or running down the West coast, or whatever, so playing here and there. Hopefully also play a few shows in the middle of the U.S as well.
But I think we’re not talking just about U.S, we’re talking about Montreal, Toronto, should be amazing places. I’ve been told the fans in Montreal are going totally nuts.
Yeah, Montreal probably has one of the biggest metal scenes in Canada if not in North America, really.
So I’ve been told. The funny thing is, I think it was in Cleveland, when we played in Cleveland and I said something onstage like “well you guys, you’re freaking out of here” and somebody from Canada just stood in one of the first, probably the first or the second line, he said something like “you just can say this because you haven’t seen us freaks in Montréal,” something like that. It was cool, it was cool, it was cool. You just can say this as long as you haven’t seen us in Montreal, something like that and I said ok, we have to come over.
Definitely. Someone pointed out to me that on Wikipedia somewhere it says that you were born in the United States, in America. Is that true or is that just some wrong information out on the internet?
No, I’m not born in the U.S.
Oh well, somebody’s going to have to fix the Wikipedia information because it says on there that you are U.S. born. So, make sure that that gets edited hey? (laughs)
Ok, I’ll check that out. (laughs) Well, I haven’t heard about that. If I would have born in the U.S., my English could’ve been better. (laughs) No, I’m sorry… To go to the U.S later and play North America and so on, it’s probably besides making music in general, it’s probably those are the biggest dreams for me. When this came true, that was so amazing. If you had a dream when you’ve been young about 10, 12, or 14 years old and about 14, 15 years later somebody tells you, ‘ok, this dream will come true now.’ You probably would know what I am talking about.
It’s still something I like to watch on my DVD that I recorded when I was in the U.S. I recorded every single fucking step, you know. First time I went out on the plane and so on and so on. I had a lot of trouble with the guys on the airport because I never wanted to close my video camera and so on so… I said ‘no no no, come one guys next time you can say leave that thing at home but this time I just have to make a documentary about my first steps, you know.’ The first man on the moon, it’s the first time for Andy in the U.S. Ya know?
Right on, cool. So is there any other news or things going on with either Brainstorm or Symphorce that we didn’t touch on that you’d like people to know about in the interview here?
So now we (Brainstorm) have a new bass player in the band which is pretty cool. He’s a former bass player from a band called Farmer Boys and an amazing guy Antonio Ieva. That’s the first line-up change since about 10 years now I think since I joined the band. So far we’re really looking forward to having this album released. I personally think it’s really by far our best album. We spent so much time recording the album and writing the songs and everything else. I just personally really can’t wait to let the people here it. First reactions from the press, the media, are pretty good, and also overwhelming…but we take it step by step anyway (laughs).
I’m really proud of the new album, so that’s part of the game I think. That’s the most important part of the game.
What I like about it is that you’re still able to keep the melody yet a lot of aggression which a lot of bands who play in this genre of music get labeled as Power Metal and people will go ‘oh, they play flower metal.’ You guys are not in that ballpark at all because it’s a lot heavier. It’s almost thrash at some moments.
Probably that’s because we’re all married, so we still have balls. Some others might say we’re pussy-whipped, but anyway. (laughs)
Well it’s been nice to talk to you and I’d like to thank you for your time and for all the great music and hopefully we’ll get to see you in Canada sometime.
Of course, I really hope so. Do you still live near Montreal?
Not really near, no. I’m on the far east coast of Canada. I have to fly away for 3 or 4 hours to go see concerts.
Ah, I see you go long distance. That’s too bad. In Germany we do not have those long distances. Maximum two hours and you’re at the next place and inside the club at the next show. Whenever we’re out, come over and if you want to join us we’ll have a beer together or water or whatever.
Cool, well hopefully you’ll be playing here soon.
Thanks so much for the support and nice talking to you.