AUGUST 4th, 2014

Welcome to Metaltitans, Guardians of Metal entertainment worldwide. We are here with Torsten Ihlenfeld, guitarist for German power metal band BRAINSTORM. Thank you for taking the time to do this interview with us.
1. In 1989 you formed the band with Milan Loncaric (guitarist) and Dieter Bernert (drummer), what made you decide to become a band at that time ?

The love of making music, the fun playing an instrument, the dream to play the stages of the world, many things, although we had been playing in bands earlier but BRAINSTORM started it all for the three of us.
2. Can you tell us how each of the members came to be in the band, I know the 3 of you started the band, but how did you get together to start it …
Milan Loncaric (guitarist) - played in the band Changes before, then in Twilight together with Dieter and myself.

Dieter Bernert (drummer) - first band Twilight, was (and still is) a friend of my former drummer back then. When he left, he proposed Dieter as follow up.
Andy B. Franck (vocals) - came into the band 1999, after the "Unholy" album and our tour with Iced Earth 1998, played in Ivanhoe before Brainstorm and also in Symphorce.

Yourself Torsten Ihlenfeld (guitar) - played in Thunderbird, then Twilight, then Brainstorm.

Antonio Ieva  (bass) - joined the band 2007, played in Letter X, Farmerboys and Stereopilot before joining Brainstorm.

Milan, Dieter and myself noticed very soon, that there is a very good chemistry between us three and the same enthusiasm when it came to making music, so it was kind of a natural thing we played together in a band soon.
Andy joined us after our 2nd album, which had quite some success over here and in Japan. He had just founded Symphorce, but when the singer position became vacant in Brainstorm he and me talked about him joining Brainstorm, and so he did.
Antonio was one of many bass players we auditioned after our old bass player left. But he was THE new bass player with the first song we played together. It felt like he was in the band since years already when he joined. He joined right after the recordings for "Downburst" in 2007.
3. I personally really enjoy the power metal, but what was your inspiration to create this style instead of death metal, or hardcore ?

Because we loved classic heavy metal and US Metal and wanted to create our own way and style of metal, we named it on the concert posters back then in 1989, "the new generation of melodic power metal". Maybe we have been a little bit too quick with that one. ;-)) We loved the NWOBHM, the 80ies metal szene, US (Power) Metal, .... those were great time and great concerts with bands like Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, DIO, Van Halen, Metal Church, Riot, Savatage, Crimson Glory just to name a few.

4.  You have a new album out now called Firesoul, what was the inspiration behind the name ?

Aren't we all "Firesouls" in one way or another? We liked the idea behind the title track lyrics and the cross reference to our Soul Temptation album 10 years before "Firesoul" and the album cover idea, so there was no other choice than to name the album "Firesoul". Plus the whole songwriting process had a special vibe, it felt like ten years ago when we wrote the songs for the Soul Temptation album.
5.  Who wrote the lyrics for the songs on this album ?

Lyrics are up to Andy.
6. Some have said that Firesoul is a new and unexpected side to you, why do you think they say that ?

I don't really know. For me, it has many typical Brainstorm trademarks, maybe a bit more modern, especially the chorus is something we never did before, well have done before but maybe not that eye-catching. I think this unexpected side is more related to the video clip, which is not the typical performance clip, we all are part of the story and play two different scenes without playing our instruments. We love it and we think it turned out great.
7. This is your 10th studio album, do you think that this is the one people will talk about ?

Hhmm, it will definitely be an album people will talk about, but I think we have a strong back catalog with a lot of good albums
8.  Of all your albums, do you have a favourite one ? And why ?

Definitely no - every album is a new baby and shows the band exactly how the band felt in that period. I still can listen to all albums without thinking of what could we have done better here and there. You can always do better (or different), looking at something from a future point of view and reflecting things. But at the time we wrote the songs it was the best thing possible to do.
9.  Who created the artwork for it, it’s a really cool image, did you give the artist something to work with, or did they create something on their own ?

The artwork was done by  Felipe Machado Franco and yes he did an amazing job. Cover design and torturing cover artists with an unbelievable amount of ideas is up to Andy, this guy is a never-ending source of visual ideas.                               
10.  Which album for you has been the most fun to create ?

All albums are fun to create, because we love recording, writing songs, playing live. But looking back, the first one was the most fun, because we had so much time to write the songs and no record company was asking for deadlines and all that. We were the wild and the young back then and enjoyed every single minute back then.
11. What age did you get your first guitar ?  And what kind was it, and do you still have it ?

I got my first own acoustic guitar at the age of 6 and then started getting classical lessons in music school. And I unfortunately do not have this guitar anymore. I got my first electric guitar at the age of 13.
12.  Firesoul has just entered the official charts in Germany on #43, does that mean anything to you, or do you create your music because its what you want and love to do ? Congratulations by the way .

Thanks a lot.
Of course this means a lot to us although we create music because its what we want and love to do but nobody can make a living from just love and air and some good words for the way of life.
It is hard enough nowadays to make a living out of making music or at least to a certain part.
13.  Have you ever dreamed of doing anything else other than music ?

Oh yes. Doing music that feeds my family better than the music I actually do, haha. We did several things besides making music back in the day to earn money to make our living.
14.  Since you had started the band in 1989, you must have seen a lot of changes over the years, have any of them affected you at all ? Good or bad ?

Not musically. We know what we love and we know that we will not make music just because this is more in or hip or out or old fashioned or whatever. We love our metal and stick to it. Besides that, of course a lot of changes happened in our and everybody’s daily lives. Reflecting this here and now many things have been better back in the days BUT the technical progress is helping us nowadays a lot. But ending this, things have been on a more personal basis back in the days.  

15.  Will you be touring in support of Firesoul ?  And where.

We did four special release shows over here already and will play a lot of festivals and are right now working on a European tour in fall this year which should soon be confirmed.
16.  Do you think that you may come to North America for a tour ?

We hope so but can not guarantee that this will happen.
17.  Do you think there is a difference in the fans of Europe to the ones in North America?

From what we have experienced in the US and over here in Europe, I can say that both are very dedicated, very good informed and very very nice people. And very faithful.
18.  What would be a surprise for people to know about Brainstorm, something no one would expect ?
We are a nice bunch of musicians. ;-)
19. Is there anything you would like to add to this interview that I might have missed asking that you think the people should know ?

Hopefully we will be able to play some shows in North America. Whenever we get a good offer to return to your beautiful country and play some shows, we will be ready to go.
Thank you ( Danke ) Torsten for taking the time to do this interview with us here at Metaltitans. We also wish you much success with Firesoul.