Interview For Heavy-Metal.It Site (04/02/03)
By Stefano Muscariello
Translated By Marcelo Hashimoto
It's been a short while since I've listened to Masterplan's debut, therefore I've decided to contact Roland Grapow in order to have a couple of answers about this album. He has talked a little about everything, how the album was made, about the tour with Hammerfall, the relationship with his former bandmates and the future plans for Masterplan. It was a very pleasant chat with Grapow and I'm happy with the results. Have a nice reading!
Hello, Roland! Let's begin talking about the album. How did the worldwide press took it?
We had incredible press reviews, always with high points and we were nine times "Album Of The Month". Specially in Sweden, Germany, Holland and France, and many more. We also went very high on charts in Sweden and Germany, and we are number one in Japan right now!
How did you and Uli Kusch choose Jorn Lande as singer? More to the point, how important was his influence in writing the songs?
First we had Russell Allen from Symphony X in mind, as well as Michael Kiske, but both didn't want to join Masterplan. Jorn was totally interested and I guess he was the best choice for us, his input and voice give us a special sound. Jorn wrote about sixty percent of the lyrics and vocal melodies.
Can you briefly tell us what are your album's lyrics about?
In general about the four elements, which gave us also the artwork idea for the album cover. We don't have a concept album, but we wanted to always give people a positive message on the way. We are also pointing fingers on some themes, like on "Crystal Night", "Bleeding Eyes" and "Into The Light". But most of the songs are about hope and positive stories.
The album sounds both very heavy and very symphonic. Was it your intention to create a strong contrast between power and melody?
For me both belong together. Melody and powerful drums and guitars are one. I guess that is the key that makes a difference between a pop song or a metal song. Sometimes it's just the sound, look at Queen, Scorpions or Ozzy, the guitar makes them heavy. The vocals are nearly pop melodies and our keyboards are making it a bit more symphonic sounding as well. We have more keyboards than in our former band.
Lande duets in the album with Michael Kiske, a former mate of yours in Helloween. Since Kiske tells he appears as guest in his friends' albums, I assume that you are in good terms. Can you tell us about it?
Michael Kiske is a good friend again, I always loved his voice. I'm in contact with him already for more than 3 years. As I told you before, he didn't want to join the band, but he agreed to sing a duet with Jorn, which I really like, just to show people that our relationship is fine again.
Was your and Uli Kusch's departure from Helloween friendly, or not? What is your version of the matter? In what terms are you now with your former band?
We just received an e-mail from Weiki. That we were not welcome anymore in the band. No reason or statement. The management said to the press that we weren't 100% behind the band anymore, which was not true, we never wanted to leave the band. But after all it's good that we are not in Helloween anymore. Now we have our freedom and we are more happy than before. We don't have a relationship with Weiki and Andi anymore, but there are also no fights or stress. Just separate ways.
How's the tour with Hammerfall going?
The tour is over now already... The tour was really great, we had such a good time on stage and on backstage. One of the best tours we ever made! We're still doing a lot of festivals this Summer and planning maybe a little tour in September again. Maybe with CircleIICircle and another support act.
The band's name was chosen through a poll in your site. Do you believe in the internet as a commercial medium?
Yeah, we didn't know which name we should choose, so we asked the fans about the ideas. Internet has positive influence and negative also. Downloading songs is definitely killing the music business and bands. But for spreading news and rumours, it's pretty nice [Laughs].
Are you in favour of the continuous sprout of new webzines?
Yes, of course. People want information and sometimes fanzines and new webzines have better info than bigger media.
I know you are very busy promoting the album. But when you aren't playing, what do you do in your spare time?
I'm doing all the business for Masterplan, staying in contact with record labels, tour promoters and the band. That means we don't have a management. I take care of about everything, no free time [Laughs]. I like riding my bike and walking with my dogs. Music is my life!
We're closing now. It was very kind of yours to answer this interview. You have room to tell your fans everything you want. Goodbye.
To everyone who loves our album, I like to thank you a lot and hope to see you soon again on tour.