Like A Storm’s Chris Brooks sits down with National Rock Review to completely dissect their new album Catacombs, which released on June 22.
Like A Storm have just released their third album Catacombs which shows a completely experimental and more exposed side of the band. In this interview, we mainly focus on the new album, completely dissecting the new album’s emotions, lyrics, and music.
NRR: So, the new album Catacombs has so much unpredictability in there. Did you guys plan for this to be an unpredictable album and for each song to have its own life?
Chris: I think we knew where we wanted to go musically and lyrically for the songs. So, from that point, we weren’t afraid to do something a bit heavy then from that point go to a more tranquil vibe and do something different. We knew we wanted to take risks for this album. I don’t know, when we started taking risks it just started to add up.
NRR: The way you guys place the instruments in the song to where it could be melodic yet heavy is quite awesome. “The Devil Inside” is a prime example. Can you expand on that just a bit?
Chris: Definitely! When we go to make a song, we don’t say “let’s play it this way with one guitar” or “let’s sing the song this way with one vocal.” We really want to create this emotional landscape. From there, we will try a whole bunch of things, a few of us grew up really playing piano, so we really love doing programming and that kind of thing. We added the didgeridoo in that song which really gave that primal feeling. We just continue to build and build and build until it hits us the way that we’ve intended. That song, we are really proud of the way that the music connects with the lyrics. It is what it is, heavy but also melodic.
NRR: I thought Catacombs was the perfect title of the album because the songs that you sing about are very relatable to others and I think the album does a good job of letting everyone know that they are not the only ones in that catacomb or in that dark place. Is there any more of a story behind the album title?
Chris: Yes, absolutely man. You’re right, we saw the catacombs on the off day. It was an incredible sight to witnesses, just all the skeletons piled up neatly under this beautiful city of Paris. The idea kind of hit us that this life is just an ignorant bliss, you know? It’s one way on the surface, but underneath it’s just a darker secret, and for us, that was really a metaphor for all the things that we have inside ourselves that we don’t want to address or the things we are not proud of. It’s the idea that if you try to move on and try to live your daily life you are always carrying them with you and they just build up. From our point of view, the album conceptually was about things that have gone on inside you and addressing them and making peace with them.
NRR: Now, when you guys were at the catacombs in Paris, was in an instantaneous thing or did you guys have to sit on the idea for a while with Catacombs?
Chris: There’s the title idea and then the more metaphorical idea. We had been touring for two years and touring is always nice, but it is also a nice distraction. You’re not forced to confront the things going on inside you because you’re caught in this sort of incredible routine of playing rock shows every night. Once that stopped and once we decided to start really writing this record, of course, there’s no other noises to drown out inside of you and there’s nothing really else to hide behind or to help push it down. We knew we wanted to at least dive into that thing, to address the things, but when we started Catacombs, I think Ken came up with such a powerful idea or symbol to articulate that idea that we were writing about. It’s not just something for us as a band as you say. All of us are able to distract ourselves from all of our daily lives. You get to these moments like where “The Devil Inside” was written in the dead of the night. There’s nothing there to distract you from what’s going on inside yourself. If you don’t confront them or kind of make peace with them, then they just continue.
NRR: Overall, one of the most notable tracks on the album is the outro song titled “Pure Evil”. You guys do it all here from key changes, riff changes, etc. Can you expand on “Pure Evil” just a bit?
Chris: Thank you, man! Yeah, we were talking earlier about the importance for us to create that emotional vibe. “Pure Evil” started with that. We had an idea to create this tranquil intro. It was just an intro in at that point and that night we were working on just making this soothing build up as best we could and then Matt had the idea to just kick into this really heavy riff. He got the idea to call the song “Pure Evil” I think. It reflects someone that can be pure and evil. That idea for us, someone who is preaching to everyone else and telling everyone else how to live, whose criticizing and condemning everyone else and then it turns out that they are the most evil person of all. So, that was kind of a theme that we wanted to put in the song, not just lyrically, but musically as well. That contrast between purity and evil, so it meant having those soft tones and then kind of contrasting that with the total chaos and the heaviness.
NRR: So, it seems like the theme is more of a resemblance of a false prophet?
Chris: Yes absolutely! It’s in the religious world and also in the political world with all these false idols. This idea of worshipping people, who are exploiting you and just taking advantage of you, exists.
NRR: So, how does the writing process work? You being the frontman, do you write most of the lyrics?
Chris: Actually all of us write riffs, we write full songs, and all that stuff. We used to play in our own bands and we were the lyricists to those bands. So a lot of the songs are very collaborative, then there will be some songs that one person has written the majority of, for us it just has to reach that emotional connection. There isn’t really just one way of how it must get there.
NRR: The reason I ask that is because it seems like on this album, you were able to expose yourself more to the fans and I really feel like they got to know more of what you guys go through and experience. Did that have to do with it just being the third album or maybe that the process for creating one has gotten easier?
Chris: That’s a great question, man! I think it was a combination. For us, we wanted to expose and we wanted to dig deeper on this record. From that point of view, you really have to choose to be more honest. Conceptually, with the record, addressing those things, you’re cheapening it if you choose not to be more honest and confront those things within yourself too. “I don’t know what I’m going to find, but I’m going to start addressing these things and I’m going to separate myself from everything else and I’m going to delve into myself and see what I’ve had there lurking for the last couple of years,” is what I said. So, I think we knew that we needed to be honest for the sake of the record. We have always had a good relationship with our fans from the beginning. They’ve given us the freedom to allow us to be true to ourselves and to find things in ourselves. I mean, from that point of view, we didn’t know we were going to be so honest at that time, but I’ve got to tell you, when we were writing this album, you really don’t focus on anyone else that is hearing it. I think that’s crucial to us when we are writing it. That helps that process of creation. It’s not till the album is coming out that you’re like “now everyone is going to hear this” and from that point, it’s too late to change your lyrics. That can be a good thing.
Like A Storm
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