The Kiwi hard rockers; consisting of Auckland brothers Chris Brooks(lead vocals, guitar, didgeridoo, keys/programming), Matt Brooks (vocals, lead guitar, keys/programming), and Kent Brooks (bass, vocals, keys/programming), with Los Angeles-based drummer Zach Wood, have been touring hard and making a name for themselves in the USA. Their hard work has paid off and have shared the stage with acts such as Slash, Korn, Alter Bridge, Five Finger Death Punch and Creed.
Their song 'Love The Way You Hate Me' reached the Top 30 on the US Active Rock charts, while in NZ acheived Top 10 status on the NZ Rock Radio Airplay Chart. Their latest single ‘Wish You Hell' hit Number 17 on US Hard Rock Radio and in the process became first Kiwi song in history to break that Top 20, resulting in Like A Storm is now the highest-charting New Zealand Hard Rock act in US radio history.
I had the chance to chat with lead guitarist Matt Brooks, while the band were taking a well earned break in Chicago.
You have a month off in Chicago. Is that where you are based?
We're pretty much always on the road. Our bass player pretty much lives in Toronto, but to be honest we tour about 10 or 11 months of the year. So we're probably based on the road. When we go on tour it's just us and our crew. It's been awesome, we've been touring in the States now for about 5 years, so kinda everywhere we go we have friends there, which is awesome.
Your latest album Awaken The Fire, where did you record it?
That's actually a cool story. Awaken The Fire, we actually recorded half of that album on tour. We've always kind of loved recording and we've amassed enough studio gear so we have a mobile studio that we take on tour with us. So songs like 'Love The Way You Hate Me' and 'Never Surrender', those were actually recorded on tour. And we would literally walk off stage, go back to the hotel, set up all of our studio stuff, record all night, then get up in the morning and go to the next show. Which to be honest was a good way to make music because often when you make a record you spend about a year in the studio, which is so far away from playing live, and when you make music out on tour, you have the energy and the vibe of performing on stage. And that carries over to the music that you are making.
We're so excited about the record being released in New Zealand; the album is also out in America and Europe. So we've spent the last five months touring Awaken The Fire, and we're really excited to have the record come out in New Zealand because we're New Zealanders. It means a lot to us as Kiwis.
How long did the album process take?
We kind of did it in two parts. The first part, which we released independently, was the Chaos Theory Part 1. That was the part that we recorded on tour. We produced it ourselves so it kind of became this project, so when other people were asleep we'd stay up recording. Then we had the opportunity to make it into a full-length album, which would get released worldwide, so that's when we recorded the second half - which has songs like ‘Wish You Hell' and ‘Become The Enemy'. And that we recorded at a lake house in America. We took a month off tour towards the end of last year and we made that then. So it was made in two halves, but it was a labour of love when you do everything yourself.
How did you choose the songs to feature on the album?
We had kind of a cool writing process. My two brothers and I, we all write songs... all writing all the time. So when we go to make an album we had a huge list of songs that the three of us had written, and then we go through them and we just picked the songs that we all loved. It was quite a fun way to make a record.
You guys have toured with so many great artists, which have been your favourite to tour with?
You know, we have been really really lucky. One of the highlights was touring with Slash. This year we got tour America with him; we grew up huge fans of Guns N' Roses and pretty much anything that Slash has ever done. So to get to tour the States with him, talk music and see him play every night, it's been a real dream come true.
We also toured with the guys in Creed and Alterbridge about six times. That's been a really amazing thing, because Mark Tremonti the guitar player was one of my idols. So to get to tour so much with them and really become friends with them, that's been an amazing thing as well.
Is there a show that sticks out as being your favourite?
The first show we ever played in America. We'd been in the studio in Los Angeles making our first album for the last year, and the guys from Creed heard one of the new songs that we'd just finished; they were working in the same studio as us. They really liked it and loved the idea that we'd moved from New Zealand to follow our dream of playing music and they took us out on tour. So our first American tour was opening for Creed playing massive stadiums, and the first show was in Pittsburgh playing to 15,000 people. I would say that show will always stand out as being the one that totally blew my mind.
Are there any New Zealand shows on the horizon?
Yeah, we are actually looking at coming back and playing some shows in early 2016.
Besides friends and family, what do you miss most about New Zealand?
I think when I grew up there I took for granted how beautiful it is. Whenever we come home to New Zealand it's like paradise. So I think we appreciate it much more for having been away as much as we have. Our family has a lake house in Taupo, so for me if we've been on a long tour and I'm looking for some peace and quiet, Taupo is always the thing that I think of.
In the mid to late 90's, when grunge began to wither away and MTV strived to find the next easy to access label to attach to new batch of up and coming rock bands, global attention started to shine on the Alt Rock scene.
The I Love The 90s Tour returns to Auckland next year March 23rd at Auckland’s Spark Arena, with a completely off the chain lineup featuring classic Hip Hop crew Naughty by Nature. Vin Rock from the Grammy Award winning rap group speaks fondly of this country and love of our people.
The Soundsplash Festival is returning to Raglan in January 2018. Local reggae favourites Katchafire are returning to feature on the bill. We sent a few questions over to lead vocalist Logan Bell ahead of the festival.
Following 2015’s Kitty, Daisy & Lewis'The Third', the sibling trio are back stronger than ever, harnessing their ability to create pop-infused soul, blues, rock n roll and a large mix of genres to perfection, in the shape of their fourth studio album, Superscope.
Kylie Price has just released her new album Bones. Last week she appeared on theNZ Entertainment Podcast, where she sang a new song I Dont Want To Go off the album while talking shop about her dream gig to play with Ed Sheeran and her Philipino roots.
Last week I caught up withPeter Hook ahead of returning down under for Australasian leg of the Joy Division and New Order Substance tour. We had a great chat about the spirit of punk, what it takes to write a book and why shows like the X-factor are so unhealthy…
Long established as one of New Zealand’s finest acts, South Pacific reggae-soul legends, The Black Seeds are set to tour the country in September, following the release of their long awaited 6th studio album Fabric, (out today - Friday September 8th).
Jacqueline Nalpant is a Booking Agent for the Paradigm Talent Agency, and is heading to New Zealand early next month where she'll be one of the speakers for the Going Global Music Summit (Friday 1st & Saturday 2nd September at Roundhead Studios, Auckland).
Since making her musical debut with her song Drift early last year, fast attracting a solid fan base and over 1 million plays across Spotify and Soundcloud in just a few months, Madeline North, better known by her musical moniker So Below, has once again blessed us with a moodier, masterful electro-pop banger, titled Ruin.
Since forming in 1998, the Antwerp, Belgium based trio Triggerfinger have long become a mainstay on the rock scene, building a solid reputation across Europe, the US, Canada and beyond, as one of the hardest-driving and sharpest dressing bands around.
Popular metalcore group Northlane are on their way to New Zealand. The Sydney band are touring North America taking in countries like Chile and Mexico as they head our way down-under next month to play Wellington’s San Fran then Auckland at the iconic Kings Arms.
Returning to New Zealand for the first time in three years, Australian metalcore band In Hearts Wake are on their way to our shores next month for a quick run of shows supporting their label cohorts Northlane.
Courtney Marie Andrews has landed in New Zealand, and set to play two concerts this week with Joe Pug - tonight at San Fran in Wellington (Wed July 19) and tomorrow night at The Tuning Fork in Auckland (Thu July 20).
Auckland two-piece Skinny Hobos, Alex Elvis and Texas Holdom, are heading on a 5 date New Zealand tour with headliners Decades, Bakers Eddy and Dead Favours. Kicking off tonight in Hamilton (July 14), the tour will also take them to Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and finishes up in Dunedin.
Have you ever considered sharing your most personal experiences with the entire world? Well come this Friday 14th July, that’s what Emma Cameron, the rocking front-woman of kiwi band Decades is about to do, when they release their long-awaited full length debut album, The Truth And Other People, so we sat down with the cheerful front woman to discover just what truth this album reveals..
Whilst Sonny Landreth is a well known slide-guitar master, zydeco enthusiast and phenomenal blues legend, what you may not know about him, is that he is one of the nicest gentlemen in the entire universe.
He was always the boy next door type energy, that type of person you just always wanted to be around. From day one, Shay Taylor has always been one to break the mold and live life in such a vibrant and contagious manner, that no matter who he spoke to, they walked away feeling great!
Anthonie Tonnon is taking his new Extended Player and single to Australia, and to New Zealand towns that missed the first run of dates, or sold out too quickly. He’ll also be appearing at three summer festivals this February.
After a stand of three Auckland concerts that sold out in minutes in January, Connan Mockasin is hitting the road across Aotearoa for the first time in eight years this summer for a select run of headline shows.