For the best part of 13 years, hard rockers Like A Storm have been representing their native New Zealand all over the world. Having shared stages with names such as Alter Bridge, Shinedown, Skillet, Gojira, and Volbeat, the quartet are been on the rise in recent years.
This week they release their third record, ‘Catacombs.’ Roaring with a plethora of riffs, songs such as ‘Out of Control‘ and ‘The Devil Inside’ sees the band embracing a heavier, occasionally darker, sound, yet keeping an accessible shine that some of their previous touring pals are known for. While its title track is one of several to feature their signature didgeridoo sound.
Although they’ve relocated to North America, it’s clear their homeland of New Zealand has an influence on Like A Storm. For the Brooks brothers; lead vocalist Chris, lead guitarist Matt and bassist Kent along with drummer Zach Wood, they still have a fondness for their hometown of Auckland.
Known as the “City of Sails” – it has more boats per capita than anywhere else in the world. Auckland has also been cited as one of the world’s “liveable cities” with its high quality of life and overall friendly, multicultural population. It also has over 50 volcanoes!
To get an insight into how Auckland has shaped Like A Storm, we spoke to Matt Brooks.
Matt: I now live in Toronto, Canada so I can tour the Northern Hemisphere more easily, but we hail from Auckland, New Zealand originally.
Auckland is a real cultural melting-pot. And that spilled over into the music scene too. I reckon you could find an artist playing every single genre of music ever created somewhere in the folds of Auckland.
Its People and Culture:
Matt: New Zealand is famous for a laid-back lifestyle. But people work hard there and dream big. Kiwis have no qualms about backing themselves and taking on the rest of the world. But not in braggadocios or “dog-eat-dog” way – More just going after what you want out of life. Which for us was getting to make our own music and tour it all over the world.
The Local Music Scene:
Matt: I couldn’t speak to the state of the scene today… But when we were coming up it was all about a high-energy live show. Sweaty, loud, aggressive – I think the older bands who set the tone for us were very influenced by early UK punk and metal. That kind of high-energy show is contagious.
New Zealand overall is known for its dub and roots. One of my favourite bands ever, Salmonella Dub comes from New Zealand. We’ve now finished our 3rd album, and I go back to one of theirs called ‘Beyond the Dub Plates’ and I’m like, “Holy f#ck! How did they get everything sounding so good?..”
Its Most Famous Musical Sons and Daughters:
Matt: I think it’s fairly safe to say the most well-known musician from a band calling Auckland home is Neil Finn (Split Enz/Crowded House). Though he’s originally from Te Awamutu. I feel the same way about him I feel about Lennon-McArtney or Chris Cornell. I can totally relate to the art, but I’m completely in awe of the talent and legacy.
Its Unsung Heroes:
Matt: Man, there have been a lot… One is a band called Supergroove. They had like a “Rock Funk” sound, and with a name like that you’d better be in the ‘pocket.’ But those dudes were really young, and could really play. They had great songs too – the lyrics and melody of ‘Sitting Inside My Head’ is way too unacknowledged on the global stage in my opinion. Which is why we did a cover of it a few years back.
I wish I could give some local bands some love here, but I don’t really have my hand in it any more. I just hope people are still going out to local shows like they used to. That’s where a band cuts their teeth and learns how to put on a show.
The Venues We Visited:
Matt: There’s a venue in downtown Auckland called The Power Station. That’s where most overseas bands would play their first NZ show. So you could see like ‘Anti-Christ Superstar’-era Marilyn Manson in a crowd of like 1500 people. Pretty f#cking lucky in hindsight… We got to play there last year on tour with Alter Bridge, and it was a cool, “full circle” kinda moment.
The Venues We Played:
Matt: There was an awesome small club called The Kings Arms in Auckland. We played there heaps growing up. It was kinda long and thin, so it packed out easily. Playing small clubs is where you learn how to play with a level of energy and intensity that consistently becomes part of your live show when it’s time to play festivals and bigger stages.
The Influence Auckland Has Had on Our Songs:
Matt: Being a musician from New Zealand, everything’s stacked against you… Geographically, you’re literally isolated by water from the entire world, and the opposite hemisphere from Europe and North America.
Population-wise, there really aren’t enough people to put a decent tour together to play to. Not many overseas bands come down, so there really aren’t many opportunities to open for a bigger band. It’s made up of two islands, so buying decent gear is always really expensive.
On the new album ‘Catacombs,’ I wrote a song called ‘Until The Day I Die’ that’s about perseverance, risking it all and defying the odds. For any New Zealander heading overseas, that’s the journey really.
‘Catacombs’ by Like A Storm is released on 13th July on Century Media Records.
If you have enjoyed reading this article and would like to help us produce more content and promote more great new music, please consider donating to our Patreon page.