Interview: Chirs Brooks of Like A Storm

Like A Storm frontman, Chris Brooks was gracious enough to take some of his well deserved \”off time\” and catch up with us.

You guys are out on the road supporting Awaken The Fire. It came out back in February in the middle of the Hellyeah tour- let’s talk about that. Can you take me through a bit of what it was like to finally get the album released during that specific tour in that time? 

It was incredible. Firstly just to be on tour with a band like that is incredible. Obviously, Vinnie Paul- huge, one of the, I would say gods of the genre, so inspiring. Such an awesome bunch of dudes, great band, so we were super stoked to be on that tour and then to find out that our album was finally to be released. We had a first album that never released in stores in the US so it was an incredible feeling. More so because with Awaken The Fire, we produced it ourselves, we recorded it ourselves which meant the three of us, myself and my two brothers, were the only people in the room while we were recording that. We wrote all the music ourselves and we just played the music we really believed in, not listening to what anyone else would say what would be successful or what we should do. So to have it come out like that was a real personal triumph as well to have this album out there and have people bring it up to us at the shows and to be so excited to have them take it home and listen to it.

 Definitely. I remember seeing you guys last year a couple of times and the album hadn’t been released but Love The Way You Hate Me was the single at the time. This isn’t your first release, but it’s by far the most successful so far. What is it that’s made it so successful? 

I think, honestly, for us, I don’t know.  I’d like to think it’s the fact we did exactly what we wanted to and we weren’t afraid to try any crazy ideas. When we made the record we weren’t concerned with whether it was going to be successful or being in a huge studio racking up this big budget that we’re going to be in debt for the rest of our lives.  We made the first half while we were on tour, we made that in hotel rooms every night after the show and the second half of the album we made in a lake house, just the three of us in Michigan, and so it was really organic in that respect. We took the energy of playing live shows and we took the passion that we have with live shows and took that into the music. So it was really free. We weren’t spending a lot of time saying “should we say this, would more people relate to it if we say this” or “What kind of music is big right now?” we just had this music that we really wanted to get out there.

 The new single “Become The Enemy” really fits the mold of what the album talks about. It’s the third single,”Love The Way You Hate Me” and “Wish You Hell” were the first two. Tell me a little about where it came from. What inspired that song?

Thank you, man. I mean, thematically what inspired the song for me was a really close friend of mine that was dealing with different addictions and really falling down that deep dark hole and I was one of the last people really there trying to pull him out of it, you know what I mean? When they keep going back into it and it reached the point that I was getting sucked in it myself because when somebody’s in that place they can’t think of anything else apart from that and it’s a really negative cycle. So that was about that feeling of trying to help someone, trying to pull them out of something and they end up turning on you. That was a powerful message that I guess just came out straight away. So that was the lyrical meaning behind the song and I think musically it was just about capturing the energy of the live show. Capturing the emotion and intensity- they just seemed to fit really well together.

You guys live is just insane. It’s not the longest set ever but you pack so much into the time you have on stage- you even throw some AC/DC in there too!

I know, man! This tour we’ve been doing an hour set, we’re out with Three Days Grace and so we’re getting to do an hour set, which is incredible. Having played half an hour sets for the last couple of years, it’s incredible to play the majority of songs from Awaken the Fire, throw didge and drum solos in there, do some AC/DC, get out in the crowd and scream with them. It’s cool. For us, we’re really stoked to be on stage. It’d be impossible for us to be up there and act like we didn’t care. We just want to put everything we can into it to make it as much fun for us and hopefully as much fun for the people in the crowd.

You touched on the didgeridoo, which I’ve got to bring up because it’s such a staple of your show. You start your set with it and then bring it in again midway through. How long have you been playing?

Well I think…how long have I been playing? 8 years, I think? Something like that. When we first moved from New Zealand up to Vancouver, Canada to kind of play some shows there and try to grow as a live band and try and break into touring the States from that way and so when we moved to Vancouver nobody knew who we were. We didn’t have that, what we call the “rent-a-crowd” which is like your family and friends who come out for every show and cheer for you whether you’re good or terrible. So we started playing to people who nobody knew us. Nobody automatically stopped and watched the stage just because we stood up there, so we started incorporating the didgeridoo into the intro of our set because we knew it would be the fastest way to get people to turn around from the bar and just become transfixed on the stage. So we used it like that and then when we got to “Love The Way You Hate Me” we got two-thirds through the song and we didn’t know what to do next but we knew we wanted to do something cool and different and we had the didgeridoo in the corner of the room and we were like “You know what, we haven’t played much didgeridoo on the album and we’ve never heard didgeridoo played with metal, played with hard rock, so I wonder what it sounds like?!” and then we went and we did it and we listened back to it and were like “Man this is cool! We might be the only people in the world who think so, but we think it’s incredible.”  So that was really the first song that we started bringing it in to the music that we did.

What\’s your opinion of a place like Pierre’s in Fort Wayne.

I Love Pierre’s!

Oh my god, who doesn’t?! It’s just an awesome place! But I can only imagine the atmosphere when you’re at Rock on the Range or Rocklahoma and it’s a ridiculous crowd. What were those shows like for you this year? Those shows are incredible, man. To have such a huge crowd that’s got so much energy, that’s just amazing. I mean, we literally throw every ounce of energy into the show so to do that in front of a crowd that has at least as much energy as we do if not more…those are the ones that you write the music for.

So finally, we talked about it a minute ago- are you coming back to Pierre’s in Ft.Wayne, IN again soon? 

I’m sure we will! I’ve got to check our tour schedule because I’m pretty hopeless with where we are on any given day, let alone where we are tomorrow, but we love Piere’s. We’ve been there so many times, Ray and all the dudes there are great friends of ours. It’s truly one of the venues that we truly look forward to doing every time we can. I think we’ll try to hit it before the end of the year.

You guys played there twice in less than a week earlier this year.

That was crazy. Matt and I ended up flying in to do an acoustic set. Flew in from Phoenix or somewhere like that, we played an acoustic show, got on the plane at like 3 in the morning, flew to Indiana, and Ray the head of security who’s a great friend of ours, picks us up from the airport, we go straight to a radio thing, go straight to the show, go to the hotel for an hour, get back on the plane and fly to Rocklahoma, get in to the airport there, head for the stage, and literally get on there within half an hour of needing to be on stage. So that was pretty crazy. We were stoked to come back a week later a little more organized!

 That’s insane! Thanks again  for taking the time, the album is good start to finish- there’s not a bad song on it! We can’t wait for the next one already!