Celebrated hard rock band Like A Storm are perhaps most often associated with the didgeridoo. The group, which consists of brothers Chris Brooks, Matt Brooks, and Kent Brooks alongside drummer Zach Wood, plays loud, brash rock music, but they are always looking to push the envelope and explore new sounds.
Enter the official instrument of Indigenous Australian music, which the New Zealand-bred group began inserting into their music to provide unexpected sonic textures. Though it became a successful way to highlight some of the nuances in their songs, the band never used it as a gimmick or crutch. It was merely a way to supplement the music, to translate their feelings into song.
“The didgeridoo is kind of like an overdrive pedal for guitar,” Brooks explains. Calling from his home in Las Vegas, Brooks is joined by Wood, who is the only American in the group and lives in Philadelphia. “Creatively, it’s been a really compelling tool for us to make music that sounds different than even what we were expecting,” Brooks adds. And that’s the key to Like A Storm’s musical mission. They want to see how far their sound can go, in how many different directions it can stretch.
The band believes in the staying power of music as a universal language, fortified by the number of fans they have across the globe, in South America, Asia, and here in the U.S. They’ve found success because they’ve built a world unique to them that can still be understood by audiences from different countries who speak other languages.
Now, armed with a record deal courtesy of Edgeout Records, a UMG subsidiary designed to find and develop the next generation of rock bands, Like A Storm is eager to continue its mission. We caught up with the band to discuss how Like A Storm is a family band, the highs and lows of touring, and more.
You recently signed with Edgeout Records and have assembled a great team for the next era of Like A Storm. What does that validation mean to you and the band?
Matt Brooks: It’s a milestone for us. We’ve been lucky. We’ve had experiences working with a few different labels over the years, and something that we were always passionate about is getting to that point where, essentially, we had control over what we were doing creatively, and we had the ability to see that vision through. For any artist, the best version of that situation is to be able to do that with a bigger partner who can help you get that music out there. So for us, it’s been really exciting. It’s so exciting to be working with people who can help us take that vision and get it out there on a scale that we could never do on our own, but ultimately, it’s very true to what we have to say artistically.
Zach Wood: What I’m really excited about, which we were never able to do before, is to release as many songs as we want whenever we want, which is really cool. We’ve never had the ability to do that before.
What’s your recording process like with the band spread out across the country?
Brooks: We have an interesting process. Funnily enough, the way that we record now is the way that we’ve been doing it for quite a few albums, but it seems a lot more consistent now with the way that society has gone post-pandemic. Because Zach lives in Philly, Kent, our bass player lives in Toronto, and Chris, our singer, and I live here in Vegas, we are kind of spread out. We will get together for certain things, but a lot of the writing and recording process is done remotely.
The band has unique tendencies, like the use of didgeridoo, but it fits the music and is not a gimmick. Was that ever a worry for the band?
Brooks: That’s a genuine compliment. I think that because of the way that we make music, like anyone, we’ve had a lot of fans who have come with us on this creative journey. We’re getting ready to make album five, and we have pushed into a lot of different areas, and we’ve had a lot of fans who’ve come with us the whole way. It’s less about saying, “Hey, let’s not use the didgeridoo on every song because it becomes a gimmick.” It’s actually more because we have a lot of things that we want to say musically. The didgeridoo is kind of like an overdrive pedal for guitar. Creatively, it’s been a really compelling tool for us to make music that sounds different than even what we were expecting.
Zach, what’s it like being in a band with three brothers?
Wood: Yeah, it is funny. I don’t know if many people know this, but I knew them way before I was in the band. We have a long history of being friends, even before the group. I grew up as an only child, so it feels like I’m a fourth brother. There’s really nothing to me that stands out in any negative ways. It’s like I’m part of the family. We knew each other for five to six years before I even joined the band. There’s nothing about it I’d do any differently.
Matt, are there any sibling rivalries or things like that?
Brooks: It can foster a healthy competitive spirit, but I wouldn’t say sibling rivalries. I’m really lucky to have the relationship with my brothers that I do. That preceded being in the band together. We actually all started out playing in different bands. That speaks to the bond that we have. But as Zach was saying, the band is the four of us, and everybody is passionate about making music. Everybody is inspired, and everyone has something that they want to say. It’s about creating a space where people can express themselves.
That’s not to say that we haven’t had certain conversations over the years that maybe you wouldn’t have with people who you weren’t related to. In many ways, it’s like a superpower because a lot of the conflict that festers between people doesn’t exist because we’re very honest with each other.
It must be so special to share these big moments with your closest friends and family.
Brooks: It’s really special. Zach can attest to this, too, because I mean, Zach is our other brother. We are all family at this point. Zach’s dad is also our manager.
Our parents have been very involved. What’s really special is we have these times when we are playing festivals, and Zach’s dad will be there, or our parents will be there. So not only are you experiencing it with your siblings and with Zach, who’s like my other sibling, but also you look across the stage, and your mom and dad are there. I can honestly say that that is not something that I ever expected when we started making music, but it really does create these special memories.
As you envision the next iteration of Like a Storm, what are some goals for the next five years?
Wood: I know something all of us agree on, and we’ve only just hit the tip of the iceberg, is we’ve played Japan two times, and we really would like to, in the next five years, start expanding more into Asia and go to South Korea, maybe Indonesia, places like that. There are a couple of countries and continents we haven’t hit yet. Geographically, going to new places is a big one.
Brooks: Right before the pandemic hit, we were starting to go everywhere and play. It was a really exciting time. As challenging as it was, it gave us a lot of time with our family, though we’re all keen to get back to that place where, as Zach says, you’re going back to Japan, you’re going to new territories like South America. There are a lot of places that we were on the cusp of going to when the whole world shut down. We’ve all had a reset. In 2019, we traveled enough miles to take a human being halfway to the moon. That kind of touring can catch up with you.
What do you think it is about your unique style of music that is able to translate across borders?
Brooks: People talk about music being the universal language, but I feel like it predates language. Music has become more evolved and more complex as we’ve become more evolved and more complex. But ultimately, what speaks to people is very primal. I always consider it a huge compliment if our music connects with people across language barriers because that suggests to me that we’ve succeeded in tapping into something that’s very primal between human beings.
What do you hope listeners of your music take away from your songs?
Wood: After touring, you become so physically drained that you forget why you were touring that much. It comes down to the passion of it. We just did our first tour back in a couple of years after the pandemic in Europe, and it opened my eyes again, that, yeah, this is the best feeling in the world. It’s the best experience in the world, and it makes you understand why you did it in the first place.
I would like to see people, when they see us play live, I’d like them to see the passion that we put into things. Hopefully, that can inspire them to either start playing an instrument, write music, or do anything. I want to do it for the rest of my life and can’t live without it. So I want some people to take away our passion when we’re on stage, and hopefully, it inspires someone else to pursue a passion of theirs.
Brooks: As a songwriter, one of the most incredible feelings in the world is to write something very personal to you and then to have someone come up to you months or years down the track and say, “Man, that song, it spoke to me.” The bonus is when people say it inspired them to make some positive shift in their lives. I feel like that’s a very difficult feeling to top. When you get to do what you love, and it actually helps people in a meaningful way, that’s about as good as it gets.