Like A Storm have gone down, ironically, much like a storm internationally. Bearing a unique brand of pent-up hard rock mutated with the calming qualities of a didgeridoo, the New Zealand quartet have a bright, innovative future ahead of them, pioneering ‘didgeridoo metal’ through fifth album ‘Awaken The Fire’.
At the end of a long day after their Maverick stage opener, guitarist Matt Brooks stopped to chat with Already Heard about the origins of “didgeridoo metal”, his influences and his intentions for the band as they go from strength to strength.
Already Heard: How are you doing today, Matt?
Matt Brooks: I thought we’d seen a rare spot of sunshine and it’s gone already! England strikes again!
AH: So where did didgeridoo metal come from?
Matt: Didgeridoo metal has evolved out of my brother Chris, our lead singer. He plays didgeridoo and from the first time we heard him play it, we thought it was the most heavy sound we’ve ever heard and as musicians, it really grew into us, seeing the didge as a way to push hard rock into a place it’d never been before.
AH: What was your biggest musical influence growing up?
Matt: We grew up listening to all kinds of stuff, a tonne of British and American rock bands. Our dad was a huge Creedence Clearwater Revival fan. What’s cool about those guys is that when I listen to them now, if they came out now, they would sound modern and relevant. Creedence Clearwater Revival is still a really heavy band among today’s things. We just grew up listening to a lot of stuff and when we come to write our own music, we were predominately a hard rock band but we’re always pulling on these different influences. Everything from folk music to the blues to electronica, it’s hard to narrow it down to one thing because we were such sponges growing up!
AH: I guess being related helps a lot, you don’t differ too much in your interests when it comes to songwriting.
Matt: It’s really cool, we’re really lucky, all three of us write songs. It’s cool to have three songwriters in one band, it could be disastrous, but we all have a shared vision. We all had different sides of that vision that we bring to the table so when we write together and make albums together, it just kind of meshes into the sound of our band. I think it’s really cool, being brothers growing up, listening to the same kind of stuff, we do really have a shared vision of the kind of stuff we want to play.
AH: Surely you guys have domestic episodes though, right?
Matt: Oh yeah! Anyone who you tour with 10 or 11 months out of the year you’re going to have issues with sometimes. And being brothers, the cool thing about it is that stuff comes up, but you don’t pull any punches with your family. If someone’s pissing you off, you tell them, they say what’s on their minds and then you move on. On tour, that’s kinda how it has to be because you can’t have a big rift with someone when you have to see them the next day, the day after and the day after. So being family I think means you can really get over any hurdles you have.
AH: So we know a setlist will never please everyone, especially not with your back catalogue! What song do you wish would make a setlist but never will?
Matt: It might never make it, but when we do headline sets, we can do much more of the acoustic stuff. For me, it’s always cool to do our heavier stuff and more mellow stuff within the same set. So it’d be awesome to do that at a festival one day.
AH: If you could relive one of Like A Storm’s albums to rerecord a few tracks or just remember how it felt at the time, which would you go back to?
Matt: As we’ve progressed, we’ve grown into ourselves as a band. If we could re-record some of our earlier songs in the way that we sound now, the way our latest album ‘Awaken The Fire’ sounds, I think that would be cool. I think every artist finds their sound as they go along, but especially when you play earlier songs live, because then they sound the same as your new stuff. That would be a cool opportunity but on the other hand, every record is a snapshot of time, so maybe it’s sacrilegious to go back and change it too much. That’s kinda what makes it special. Our first record really summed up the first couple of years we were in North America and everything we’d gone through at the time, so I don’t know that I’d go back and mess with it too much.
AH: If you could bring one artist back from the dead to perform with, who would it be?
Matt: Jimi Hendrix I think! It’s hard to pick one but that guy was one of the most electric performers ever. I heard he was pretty shy, one of those kinds of artists where he had this really extroverted stage persona. You can’t be the same person you are on stage, you’d be in a lunatic asylum!
AH: If you could bring one band with you to support under you or headline above you, who would you bring along?
Matt: I’d love to play with Tool, maybe they could bring Chris out and he could jam some didge with them! I love Tool, so to play with those guys would be awesome.
AH: How did your set go this morning?
Matt: It was great! It was cool because 11am is the earliest we’ve ever played and it was unbelievable! The tent just kept filling up, we had an awesome time. If it was me, I would’ve still been asleep, so I don’t hold it against anybody!
AH: Are you coming back to the UK again soon?
Matt: We really wanna come back again this year. This is our second time here and we absolutely love it!
‘Awaken The Fire’ by Like A Storm is out now on Century Media Records.
View more of Already Heard’s coverage of Download Festival 2015 here.
Words by Ali Cooper (@AliZombie_)