(Confira a entrevista em Português)
After leaving Helloween, Roland Grapow founded the band Masterplan, which, with a great line-up, with musicians who had a large experience and also blunted as big names for a new generation, as the vocalist Jorn Lande, it raised the band to a condition of a possible new "super-group" and great promise, generating high expectations. The debut album was very well received, but, after this good start, the results did not reach the posterior expectations generated, and due to internal conflicts, comings and goings of members, the group was losing ground.
However, now with a new and refreshed line-up, the band released "Novum Initium", and as the name suggests, they intend to catch up and raise the Masterplan to the level expected in its foundation. We talked with Roland Grapow to know about your expectations about this "new era", and some issues, where we realize that many edges with former teammates were not trimmed. Check it out!
Road to Metal: Roland, one curiosity, in 1997 you released your 1st solo album, the excellent "The Four Seasons of Life", where you also was the lead singer in the midst of all these changes in the Masterplan, have you thought about taking the vocals in the band final?
Roland Grapow: ;) You know… I love to sing, but i could not take the pressur e after such a great singer like Jorn to sing for Masterplan alone… But in the future i love to have my small parts… Live i sing a lot of harmonies anyway.
RtM: The Masterplan has just released "Novum Initium", which this album differs from previous releases? And as this is the reception from the fans?
RG: It has a little more direct or modern sound for my taste, it is this time also mixed by me… But songwriting we don't want to have a different path... I wrote most of the songs with Axel anyway… Like all the years before.
RtM: "Novum Initium" marks a new beginning for the band, please tell us what the album's lyrics deal?
RG: We still want to keep the positive energy of Masterplan, always sending hope, even we like to be critical sometimes, but we are never negative!
RtM: It's been 13 years since his departure from Helloween, you maintain some kind of contact with the musicians? Amidst this time, never rolled any chance of Helloween and Masterplan play together?
RG: I don't have any contact with Helloween, i guess they are still negative against me… I searched many times the contact, but no response so far… It is not my problem ;).
RtM: Still on his time in Helloween, many say that the album "Better Than Raw" and "The Dark Ride" are like a pre-Masterplan, do you agree with that?
RG: For me only the "The Dark Ride" is a pre Masterplan… At that recording and period i changed a lot, because i worked with Roy Z very close together and i must say "The Dark Ride" is really cool, i am proud that i left after such a strong album.
RtM: Certainly one of the doubles more thinking in terms of composition of Power/Melodic 90s and early 2000s, it was you and drummer Uli Kusch, which created great hymns in Helloween and released two albums together in the Masterplan which are true classics style. However the output of Uli shocked fans because nobody expected size event, you keep some kind of contact today? And because of all the changes in the Masterplan drummer, you thought at some point in calling him back?
RG: No i must admit Uli is a great musician and drummer, but as a friend i don't want to work with him anymore..he is out of business anyway.
RtM: How did you come to this new line-up? What criteria did you have in mind when contacted Jari, Rick Altzi and Martin Skaroupka? I believe that diversity has been one of them, the background of each of the new members, as the Martin, for example, in addition to working as a studio musician, also played with bands like Cradle of Filth and Mantas.
RG: I just search 1. For great musicians and 2. For great people… You are not creating anything good for a long term or period with ego maniacs...
RtM: More specifically about Rick Altzi I believe the choice was perfect, even by his influences, well as yours, which comes much of the 70s and 80s, (it's fantastic to hear him sing songs in the vein of bands like Whistesnake, Rainbow...), and one of his favorite bands is Toto, also one of yours favorite. Would you comment a little bit about this partnership with Rick, who, along with a great vocalist, also writes great lyrics.
RG: Rick is the most down to earth and niecest guy you can imagine… I love to work with him a lot… He is still able to listen and to learn from my experience. I am really looking for the next album already… And i am glad he was a big Masterplan fan even before, which means he really is happy and proud to be a member of this band now.
RtM: Still on '70s influences, Axel Mackenrott love the sound of the Hammond, very present in classic bands like Deep Purple and Uriah Heep. Tell us a little about the contribution that Axel brings and can still bring to the sound of the Masterplan in the future (by the way, the hammond present the new songs have brought a very special sauce).
RG: Axel is my best friend and also partner in crime… He took the part Uli had long ago in Masterplan, i write many songs with Axel together and we all arrange all the songs together… I can really trust him as a brother and a great friend… That is not about money or fame! We all love the 70tes, but not showing it too much in Masterplan till now… Who knows? Maybe we do something very drastic in the future???
RtM: And what are your expectations for this "Novum Initium" to the Masterplan? Do you believe that this new line-up will be able to have a longevity able to put the band on a higher level?
RG: Yes we have great feelings and friendship right now. We do more shows already than the last 10 years... I am very positive about it!!!
RtM: Something that was evident in these last years was his disappointment with vocalist Jorn Lande, and in a recent interview at his webzine Myglobalmind.com you mencioa that "Jorn never turn anything by the band." Could you tell us more about it because we have the vision that Jorn just a certain way "harming" the Masterplan in its path.
RG: I don't like to talk so much about Jorn… He is a great guy and somehow still my friend, but he loves himself only and his solo band… Nothing i could change… I wish him all the luck and hope we still drink a beer together in the future!
RtM: Targeting The musical, seems to be more heavy and darker, also remembering those influences of '70s and '80s. That would be the sound that you believe to be the most natural for the Masterplan? Since the first album we can find songs heavier, more direct and more darker, and I believe are the best moments of the Masterplan, always liked that band’s side, more heavier and less "Melodic/Power".
RG: They are 2 hearts in me. The heavy one... Like bleeding eyes and also the one i love is like heroes and wounds… I love that… I was always like to write not only in one direction. Music is feeling for me... And i have many feelings sometimes balladesk or happy or progressive… and happy Metal like… like Helloween.
RtM: About the songs on the new album, you could comment on some of them, those that you believe will have the greatest impact, or which you bet that more will fall the fans preference and why?
RG: Hum it is alway a matter of taste... I love "Keep My Dream Alive", "Black Night of Magic", "Novum Initium" and "The Game", "Betrayal"… And we play all live as well on the next tour ; ).
RtM: Roland was an honor for us to interview one of the most influential musicians of the Metal scene, I leave you with the final space.
RG: Thanx a lot and i love to say that i am very happy that we are back and touring again… I hope to see you all soon!
Thanx to all our fans!