Brainstorm – Haunting at Midnight

Monday, 3rd September 2018

Dead Rhetoric: Where do you see the importance of developing good relationships with management, record labels, booking agents, etc. in achieving the long-term goals and dreams for Brainstorm? Do you get the sense that hard work and consistency aid the cause even if it takes longer than imagined?

Franck: Yes, I think its very important to have a good relationship with your record company! (laughs). To pay your bills, they pay the producer, the studio, and everyone else. Sometimes I do meet other musicians and they say they are not satisfied with their record company, they are not satisfied with their booking agent, and so on. I always took care with that. I want to make sure that record companies and management people or booking agents are fans of the band as well, because they know how to handle and deal with the band. Especially in these days, they have to build up a band, to walk with the band with all these ups and downs. That is something you may not find everywhere, especially in the pop scene or these newer metal bands these days. If you come onto the scene and don’t sell enough albums right away, you’ll be dropped. In our case, we had Metal Blade and AFM, we went through our ups and downs but we are still true and honest with each other. I think it’s really important these days, because you can keep your mind free and concentrate on the music and you know they are doing a good job with their work. They will sell as many albums as we do, we want to sell as many albums as we can because selling albums brings you around the world. That brings you back on stage, and here the story goes.

Dead Rhetoric: With veteran bands like Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Slayer, etc. retiring or in the twilight of their careers, do you believe there’s enough talent from the younger generation to sustain the metal scene to become future festival headliners down the road?

Franck: That’s a difficult question we have these days. On the one hand, you have booking agents and festival organizers not willing to put a band up in the list. In our case, we know that we do fill places. Whenever we play a festival, the place is packed within minutes. People are freaking out- and that brings us to a point where there is a reason why they want us to play in the afternoon at say four or five o’clock. That brings people to the area, and when they are on the field they will never leave, they will stay, drink, eat- and it’s another way for the organizers to make more of a profit out of it.

Some of them do cry about not having a new headliner coming up- on the other hand, it’s their fault. They are just booking old bands. For example, many years ago you had bands like Twisted Sister. German organizers wanted to bring them back – it worked once, it worked twice, and after that they came every single fucking year to all the festivals for the rest of Europe. They did that for about 15 years – not bashing on the band or anything, I would do it myself as well. But why keep bringing back such an older band, why not put a younger band like Powerwolf and Sabaton, they are very big and there are other bands around. Sometimes we headline festivals as well, and it works out very well. We have no problems with that. Becoming as big as Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, or Slayer – I think that’s gone. In these days, there are too many bands around, and it’s a fast world we are living in. Whenever a new album comes out, it’s gone, old and forgotten as another band is releasing their album the following week. It’s a sign of the times – for example icons like Madonna or Michael Jackson, I think there will never, ever be another pop star as big as Michael Jackson back in the day.

There will be big bands of course, but never ones as big as Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Black Sabbath from the past. It’s sad but true. That’s just my opinion.

Dead Rhetoric: Where would you say the biggest differences have taken place in your metal career from your beginnings with Lightning and Ivanhoe through your time in Symphorce and Brainstorm? Do you have any specific benchmark moments where you knew you were reaching another level personally or professionally?

Franck: Always when I’m getting into a plane and I’m flying into a new country to perform that I’ve never been before. Like the first time when we played in the United States, when we came to Mexico, there would be fans at the airport and they know you – that was something that I never ever expected. When I was a kid in the case of Lightning, it was the biggest thing to be playing out in the neighborhood. Or the next village- it was the biggest dream ever to play outside of Germany. Then we made it over to Holland- I was 18, 19 years old when I made it there. Where is Holland? I had no map, but I knew you could smoke hash there, that’s all I knew. Now, I always think when we play in a new country we’ve never played before, or a big festival again, these are always great moments. The most important thing I’m absolutely proud of, after so many years this is the 12th Brainstorm album and after so many years we are still around, we are still playing a lot of festivals and able to tour and record albums. I think a lot of people never expected, myself either. I never expected to record 22 albums, I was happy to record my first demo tape.

Still being around, there are so many bands that jumped on top, and then they were gone. Brainstorm is still around, we have never been the peak of the metal scene. We’ve never been away, we are still there and we have a great and fantastic fanbase. We can count on them, still the fanbase grows, and I never expected this to be very honest. People are saying this is our best album- and this is our 12th album, which to me is ‘wow’. I’m really proud of this.

Dead Rhetoric: Does it get harder and harder to develop that balance between having a satisfying personal life with family and children and keep achieving all of the goals and ambitions you set out to do in music? Especially when you stepped away from Almanac after three years and two albums with that project?

Franck: To me it’s getting easier because my kids are getting older, so that’s more free time for me. And my wife too. I can spend more time on the music too. I wanted to concentrate on one band and that’s Brainstorm at this time right now. That’s why I left Almanac- to be honest I wasn’t really that happy in the band from the first day on. It was the best decision I could make to just focus on Brainstorm. A lot of people said be 100% for Brainstorm. The balance is okay, it’s easier these days because we are in a good situation with the band. Every musician, all our kids are older and somehow hopefully wiser as well so we can concentrate on the music a little bit more. There’s no five-year-old boy calling us in the middle of the night saying ‘daddy- I miss you’ when you are in Russia. It’s just the wife calling you, ‘hey where is the money- I must buy some new shoes’ or my son saying ‘dad- buy me some cigars or vodka’. That’s the deal these days.

Dead Rhetoric: What’s on the agenda for Brainstorm as far as touring and promotion over the next twelve months?

Franck: A lot. As you can see on the cover of the album, the twelve for midnight means it’s the twelfth album, that’s why we called it Midnight Ghost. That’s another reason to celebrate. The tour starts within four weeks – we are having five album release shows in Germany. We did this on Firesoul, but didn’t do this with Scary Creatures. That made some people very angry, so they wanted it again and we will do it. We will do some festivals in the fall, and the first part of the European tour starts in mid-January. We will do Asia for the first time ever in March-April, and then we will come back and do the second part of Europe- Scandinavia, England, Poland, and Spain is on that list. It will work somehow. By the summer we will play many, many festivals. This year we decided to not play the festivals to focus on the release.

For 2019 we have a lot on the list- our booking agent with us over the last couple of days, and he told us this is quite a list. And I said, yes- put us on as many shows as possible, and you will earn a lot of money! You can go to Hawaii or wherever you want. It was a list of two or three pages of festivals, and of course we want to play as many of these as we can. Hopefully we will get the chance to get back to the US as well. Since the first two songs have gotten released on the internet, we’ve gotten a lot of people asking us to come back to the US for ProgPower. As far as I’ve been told, the running order is done for next year – that’s not my job, whatever you want we will try to be there.

Brainstorm official website

Pages: 1 2