Like a Storm Guitarist Matt Brooks Talks New Album, Meeting Mark Tremonti and Touring with Creed

2013-09-25

Story by Anne Erickson

Interview: Like a Storm’s Matt Brooks opens up about the band’s new album, ‘Chaos Theory: Pt. 2′

Like A Storm deliver high-energy modern rock that packs catchy melodies, thick distortion and clean vocals. It’s a style that’s earned the band kudos from rock heavyweights, including Mark Tremonti of Alter Bridge and Creed. On Oct. 4, the New Zealand band will kick off its “Love the Way You Hate Me Tour” with a show at the Foundry in Jackson, Mich.

During some downtime in the studio, lead guitarist Matt Brooks checked in with Audio Ink Radio to talk about the band’s latest album, “Chaos Theory: Pt. 2”; his longtime relationship with Tremonti; and what’s next for Like a Storm. For a complete list of Like a Storm’s upcoming tour dates, visit the band’s official website.

What was it like moving from New Zealand to Canada in 2005 to pursue a career in music?

Moving away from our home in New Zealand was really a defining moment in our lives. From the first time Kent, Chris and I jammed together, we knew we had a special musical chemistry. But moving to the other side of the world to follow our dream was the turning point; it was the first time we decided to really throw everything we possibly could into playing music.

Even though it was really hard to leave our family and friends, it was a huge adventure. From the first day we arrived in Canada, we were exposed to a lot of great music and great people. It was these friends and supporters in Vancouver who put us in touch with Mike Plotnikoff, a Canadian producer living in Los Angeles. After sending song ideas back and forth to get the best collection of songs we could, we went to L.A. to make our first record, “The End of the Beginning,” with Mike and his producing partner Igor Khoroshev. We couldn’t believe it. It’s awesome when these crazy dreams actually work out!

Tell me about how you got a spot on Creed’s Reunion Tour and the story behind Mark Tremonti stumbling upon your music.

The very talented Mike Plotnikoff is also a world class recording engineer. Mike was working on Creed’s “Full Circle” album around the same time that we were finishing up our record in LA. Anyone who knows Mike knows that his enthusiasm for music cannot be contained, so one day while recording Creed, Mike sat Mark Tremonti and his manager Steve Wood down in the control room and cranked up our first single, “Chemical Infatuation.” Mark and Steve must have liked what they heard, because the next thing we knew, we were being offered the opening slot for Creed’s reunion tour! We will always be so grateful to the Creed guys and their management for giving us, an unknown band from New Zealand, such a huge opportunity. That first tour kick-started our whole career!

Out of all the festivals and shows you’ve played, which one stands out?

It’s so hard to pick favorites out of all the amazing shows we’ve been lucky enough to play. That said, our first ever show in the U.S. was opening for Creed in Pittsburgh in front of 13,000 people, so that one definitely stands out! I just remember wandering around the arena in a daze… it just seemed so unreal. By the time we hit the stage later that night, I was right in the zone and having the time of my life.

I also loved playing with Korn and Five Finger Death Punch on a string of West Coast radio festivals. Watching Queensryche play the same stage we had just played was incredible, too. They are the best-sounding live band I have ever heard.

Tell me about your new album, “Chaos Theory: Pt 2.”

Making “Chaos Theory: Pt 2” has been an awesome experience. Kent, Chris and I all write songs, so when it comes time to make a new record, we get together in the studio and go through all of our different ideas. Having three songwriters means that we have a lot of different songs, so we choose what we feel are the very best ideas to go on the album. On “Chaos Theory: Pt 2,” we have had a great time incorporating a lot of different musical influences into the Like A Storm sound: everything from delta blues, black metal, stadium rock, electronica and screamo.

As far as favorite songs, there is a track on our new album that is really influenced by symphonic metal and I absolutely love it. It combines a lot of my favorite elements in music: huge riffs, heavy drumming and uplifting melodies, with some very cinematic strings and choirs. I feel very lucky that I get to make exactly the kind of music that I love.

What’s next for Like a Storm?

As well as working on our new record, we’re really excited to hit the road on our “Love the Way You Hate Me” headlining tour this fall. We’ll be splitting our time between touring and recording for the rest of this year– our two favorite things.

(Photo credit: Fadewood Studios/Terrence W. Blanton.)