On the stage at Ørland Rockfest, ROLAND GRAPOW announced that there is a new MASTERPLAN album in the making. And that is not the only album he’s working on at the moment. Curious? Well, read the interview, then!
First of all: a little bit late, but happy birthday! And congratulations with the 40th anniversary as a musician! I believe you joined Rampage around 1979?
Grapow: Thanx a lot! Yeah, we formed Rampage around 79 or 80, but I had already been involved with 2-3 other bands before that. I started at the age of 16 with Troja, Prisma and Crystal Sin.
Thanks for a great show at Ørland Rockfest! How was your impression and experience with the festival?
Grapow: It was great! The organization and venue were just fantastic, the crowd was awesome, we had a lot of fun. And soon we are back in Norway again!
It seems that there are a lot of energy and good vibes within the MasterPlan camp at the moment? At least that is what we could notice from the crowd; that you are enjoying playing together?
Grapow: Yes! We do this just for fun; just for the fans and for ourselves.
There are no management involved, or any other reason to spend the whole weekend with good friends and the fans! We really enjoy it, and I love this lineup the most.
Yes, talking about the lineup. Besides drummer Kevin Kott, who is the newest member, the lineup has been stable in many years now. How would you rank this lineup compared to the previous ones?
Grapow: Like you said, it is the most stable one. In addition, the guys are very easy to work with; if we get offers playing live somewhere, or there are other future plans we must agree upon, I just send an e-mail and ask. There are no discussions or complainers anymore!
And yes, Kevin was the latest new member, but it feels like he has been in the band for 20 years already.
Besides a few concerts this summer it has been pretty quiet from MasterPlan lately and it is also 6 years since the last studio album. But it seems that you are quite busy anyway, mainly as a producer/in the studio. Do you consider yourself more as a studio guy now, rather than a musician?
Grapow: I am more in the studio nowadays working for other bands; producing, recording and or just mixing/mastering.
That is basically my main job, and it has been for the last 10 years.
I have my own studio, Grapow Studios, located in Slovakia where I have been living the past 15 year.
Why the change in priority?
Grapow: Because we don’t make enough money with MasterPlan! Everyone in the band has normal jobs besides MasterPlan.
From the stage at Ørland Rockfest you said that you were working on new material for a new MasterPlan album! I know that the songwriting process has just begun, but do you have any idea what kind of album this will be?
Grapow: Yeah, I mentioned it on stage that we are working on a new album… I hope we get it done till March/April 2020, at least recorded. About a release date, I don’t have any info so far.
We try to do the best we can with the new songs. The last album was written for Jorn [Jørn Lande], but he never replied my e-mails, so I worked with Rick [Altzi] on the Novum Initium  album instead.
And now we can go back to our roots and write together with this lineup from the start and not worrying about if we are too heavy, or using German elements and double kick drums again, which our former singer didn’t like, haha!
Considering the setlist from Ørland Rockfest it seems that everyone agree that the first two MasterPlan albums are the most successful; how would you rank the MasterPlan albums? Do you agree that the first two albums stand out from the rest?
Grapow: Yeah, we still had our roots in the first 2 albums. Like I said; faster, higher and more German elements in it. After that we went a bit more rock and blues oriented. I like it as well, but now we try to get a bit more modern again. More Metal!
Do you prefer to do the songwriting alone, or do you involve the other guys?
Grapow: I prefer to do it alone to a certain point. If not alone, I love to write or arrange the songs with, mostly, one partner and that is usually with Axel [Mackenrott].
But we also have songs from other band members or guest writers.
When it is good it is good, haha!
What is the timeline here; when can we expect to hear something new from MasterPlan?
Grapow: I hope September 2020 is realistic. AFM Records needs 6 months to release an album, not sure why it takes so long nowadays…
Besides MasterPlan: do you have other projects that will see the light of day in the near future?
Grapow: It looks like I am ready for a new solo album, with new songs and myself on vocals!
It won’t be a neo classical album like I did 20 years ago, but something heavier and modern.
I hope it will come out at the end of next year as well!