Interview With Chris Brooks: Like A Storm

New Zealand’s hard rockers Like A Storm have just released their new album Catacombs.  Catacombs marked the first album from the band in three years since the release of Awaken The Fire in 2015. Vocalist Chris Brooks was kind enough to talk with us about the new album, the recording process, their upcoming tour with Godsmack/Shinedown, art, and music in New Zealand.

Alt Revolt: Congrats on your latest album Catacombs!

Chris Brooks: Thanks so much. It is an amazing feeling to have this one out there.

Alt Revolt: How excited and relieved are you to have this out for fans to consume?

Chris Brooks:  I like how you through in relieved! There certainly an element of that. With this record we produced it ourselves. We wanted to dig deeper musically and lyrically. We separated ourselves from what we have done in the past. There were months and months of no validation or no one outside hearing what we were coming up with. And one day everyone finally gets to hear it. It is a pretty great day! I wish this day was everyday.

Alt Revolt: I reviewed it about a month ago and think this is your best work yet.

Chris Brooks:  Thank you so much!

Alt Revolt: Was there a different process for writing this album than in your previous recordings?

Chris Brooks: Yes. There was. Not necessary the process but the time we gave ourselves to do it. The last album we were on tour when we tried to come up with that one. This time around we really wanted to go deeper. We really wanted to focus what was going on inside of us. We wanted to connect and write from that point. About six months in we found ourselves writing it on the road again and realized we need to be disciplined enough and stop touring. I do love touring. I love playing shows. It is really gratifying. But that is the reason we need to separate ourselves from that. The success of the last record took us by surprise. We produced the last record ourselves which took off and it gave us the freedom and drive to dive deeper into the lyrical content. That was a liberating and inspiring moment to set us up well for this one.

Alt Revolt:  It that how this album evolved into a heavy sound?

Chris Brooks: When we were on recent touring cycles, it pushed our connection with the heavier music. Heavy music is just so much fun to play live. You can pick any song off our album and it would be a great set opener. Plus you can pick any of those songs and it would be a great set closer. We knew we wanted to do that. It is much easier to be honest as writers when you have the heavy soundtrack. It frees you to stop second guessing how much you want to let people in. It is interesting because the music is much heavier with a lot of screaming on it.  It allowed us to grow as writers and push ourselves further and further melodically.

Alt Revolt: Will you be adding more songs from Catacombs to your setlist as you continue touring?

Chris Brooks: Absolutely. The goal was that every song we recorded we intended to play live. I think all of these songs lend themselves to the live energy.

Alt Revolt:  How excited are you to go our on tour with Godsmack and Shinedown?

Chris Brooks: I’m beyond excited. I love both of those bands. We have toured with both bands before. They are both huge inspirations. To be touring the States in the summer does not get any better for us. It almost has a summer vacation feel to them. 

Alt Revolt:  Do you live in the US or New Zealand? 

Chris Brooks: We split our time between the US and Canada. We moved to Canada a few years ago to follow this dream of touring in the US. It is really difficult to do in New Zealand. It is a days flight to get here and you are only here for a short time. How do you really make an impact? We liked the idea of starting from the bottom. We moved to Canada and started playing in bars and grew our fanbase. That led into playing more shows in the US.

Alt Revolt: What is the current musical climate in New Zealand? 

Chris Brooks: New Zealand has a lot of rock fans like there are in Europe and the US but because the county has 4.5 million people the numbers are smaller. There is only so much touring you can do. Our style of music as a rock band depends on touring and the energy and connection with fans. The fans and people of New Zealand are great but the best part and worse part is that it is so small. It is amazing to grow up there and be a part of that but as a touring rock band it is difficult. 

Alt Revolt: Is this dream of music something you have always wanted to do growing up?

Chris Brooks: It is. Yes. I can’t think of doing anything else. I have always loved music. Our parents started us playing piano at the age of six. My mom never imaged that she would start us playing instruments that one day we would be in a rock band touring the world. I bet she wished she would have enrolled us in an accounting school or something. It was important for them to expose us to anything we might be passionate about. They made sure we played sports, played music, and had an appreciating for visual arts. They just encouraged us to be passionate about something. Music spoke to me on a deeper level than anything else.

Alt Revolt: Do you ever get out your art supplies and paint?

Chris Brooks: I do. As an artist we can do all of the other stuff too. We design our own merchandise, stage cloths, and album covers. It is important to us that the art meets our vision. I painted an electric guitar for each song on the album. The fans are able to buy them through our website. It allows me to express the music in more visual ways. I find it so full-filling!

Alt Revolt:  Did you design the new album cover? 

Chris Brooks:  I can up with the cover concept and found the image of a Rorschach test from the 60’s. It is such an awesome metaphor for that idea of what everybody is carrying inside themselves. Everyone has things buried inside themselves. Things they are not even aware of. These things spill out and control how you view the world. And then bassist (my brother) Kent Brooks took that and came up with some of the images throughout the album artwork. 

Alt Revolt: Thanks for taking the time to talk.

Chris Brooks: It was great chatting with you.

Jason Bullinger for Alternative Revolt

Like A Storm Catacombs Album Cover