|.||with Craig Carter from the Australian Progressive Rock Band BRAINSTORM|
Motta, Rio de Janeiro - Brazil
Motta - I have heard in the very beginning of Brainstorm you used to
play covers by
Craig Carter: At the start we learned covers of some of our favourite songs. This was a fun way to learn how to play together. However, we always wanted to be an original band and we were very sure that we would be performing our own songs as soon as we could write enough material. The second time we met to play was when we wrote the first song. It was a song called "Freeway" and we eventually recorded it for our second release, "Brainstorm Two, Earth Zero" (we have just re-released this album on cd). This song was written about the singer of the band at that time who was trying to follow the drummer to the rehearsal in his car. A very deep and meaningful lyric! It's a kind of pop-punk song about how much fun Chrysler cars are and how bad a driver the drummer of that time is. Anyway, this song has proved enduring, much to our surprise, and we continue to play it at gigs when it is requested.Brainstorm was formed by musicians from many music eras, each one of you with a
different idea of what good music was. Was it difficult for you to get to a consensus of
opinion in what direction to proceed musically?
Craig Carter: It was very difficult. We almost broke up several times due to "musical differences" before we even figured out what those differences were. This question touches on a very interesting topic for me. Australian society is made up of people from many different countries who have all come here to work hard to make a better life. This makes Australia a fascinating melting pot of cultures and ideologies. Brainstorm reflects this diversity in a musical sense. We are a band that has taken different ideas and beliefs about music and attempted to blend the good parts of all of it to make something unique and progressive. The songwriting process consciously involves all the members so that everyone has an influence on how the song is formed and the direction it takes. We all believe that each member has an equally valid opinion so that we will all try to put aside ego to consider the benefit to the music of any idea that is presented. Of course, in practice this may be as simple as allowing one member to write his own part free from the constraint of needing the approval of the person who initiated the idea for the song. This system has taken us some years to evolve and in the beginning people did argue about the direction of the music. We had people leave the band due to these disagreements but invariably it was down to personality and not music. Despite the differences in personal taste that each member has there is a huge crossover that we share. We all love music. We do not love "X" type of music or "Y" type of music. If it is good, done with integrity and expresses a deeper truth about the life, then we can agree to like it. We also tend to agree rather strongly about the music that we dislike. This can lead to some fun at rehearsals when we will parody all sorts of bad music.The first work composed by you was ''Earth Zero'', which was at first only available on
cassette. According to an information, that cassette was warmly received by all those
who had eventually the chance of listening to it. Was all of that within your expectations?
Craig Carter: This was actually our second release. There was a cassette only recording called "Brainstorm" released in 1993. "Brainstorm Two, Earth Zero" was certainly our first "real" album in that we tried to present a coherent whole collection of songs. We got good feedback from this recording and some airplay on public radio here in Australia. We were happy with the album and even happier with the re-mastering we have had done for the cd release this year but we were always conscious of the shortcomings of the album in terms of songs, performances and recording. Because we have always been a band that has done EVERYTHING by ourselves we have had to accept some considerable limitations to what we would hope to achieve. We have limited time so this means that each project takes a long time. This recording was done entirely on 8-track so the quality is limited by this. I think that the recording is pretty good for only 8 tracks. We record, engineer and produce all of our own releases so this means we each need to multi-task to make it happen. We have become more proficient over the years as musicians, audio-engineers, producers and managers but this makes for a lot of time spent doing other things other than writing and performing which is the key to putting out great music. Each album has shown an improvement in quality of songwriting and recording so that we are definitely encouraged to continue. We are currently recording our next release and we are keen to finish this so that we can get it out and start work on the next project which we hope will be a concept album.''Earth Zero'' is now available on Cd. Why has it taken so long to be changed from
cassette into Cd, whereas the two other posterior works by Brainstorm were issued
ahead of it?
Craig Carter: No long answer for this one. Time is the problem. "Tales of the Future" was always conceived as a cd release. We just needed time to organise having "Earth Zero" re-mastered for cd and a new cover done.You have once said that Rock music is not hard to do when you don't expect too much.
On having three albums upon your band's credit, would you then say that you have gone
far beyond your initial pretences?
Craig Carter: Once we had big dreams and small expectations. Over the years I think that we have changed to having more realistic dreams and goals but greater expectation of achieving them. That is certainly the way I feel anyway. I do not feel that we have achieved our aim yet. Ask me after the next album is written and I will tell you! I hope that we can continue to improve and make exciting, interesting music that connects to people intellectually, emotionally and spiritually. You tell me if we are achieving that!I have read in your homepage that you used to play in people's houses, backyards and
dingy pubs. Does it still come about in the current days?
Craig Carter: We have always enjoyed playing to people in all sorts of places. We don't play at parties or so many dingy pubs these days. In truth the live music scene here in Melbourne has contracted dramatically over the years and continues to do so. There are simply very few places for bands like us to play. We are hoping to find other Progressive style bands to play shows with and we would like to play at festivals if we can.I have been noticed that Brainstorm's second album '' Tales of the Future'' is softer and
more progressive than its predecessor. Did that new musical experience get to bring
some reaction to your audience?
Craig Carter: I think that it was more of a natural development of the music than as a result of any comments that we got from the album. We have always had the philosophy that we will make music that we feel represents how we think and feel and allow our audience to try to connect with that. We have never consciously written songs to please an audience. Of course, we do note what people say about our music, we are interested and the idea is to communicate so we try to find out if we are doing this successfully. "Tales" is a more progressive style. We have always had the softer, more ambient side to our work and that is given greater prominence on "Tales". We think that this is one of the albums strengths and we plan to develop that style even further. I believe this has a lot to do with our drummer, Vittorio, who joined between the albums. Vit has a very jazz influenced style and his impact on the playing has been immense. He takes a very active role in the writing of the material and his ideas and songs are different and very exciting for us. The songs on the album we are currently recording are another step along the road.. I believe that they are our best yet and I hope we can finish soon so that everyone can hear them!Speaking about your audience in Australia, is it restricted to Melbourne, or have you hit
already other cities over there?
Craig Carter: We have a limited audience for our music in Australia. We are based in Melbourne and try to find fans of our style in other cities in Australia. This is difficult as Australia is so big and touring to other cities is difficult logistically. We find that we get far more support from other countries than we do from Australia which has rather narrow musical tastes generally.Before having access to the Internet, the band Sebastian Hardie was the only Australian
one I knew, today I can see there are a lot of other bands playing this sort of music over
there in Australia. By the way, have you lately been optimistic towards progressive rock
scene in your country?
Craig Carter: I have to admit that I am not optimistic about the Progressive scene here. Sebastian Hardie were a long time ago. There are other bands playing cool music of course but there is definitely no "scene" happening. It's every band for themselves. Unless the tastes of the local market change or the bands become organised to tackle the problem the only option is to look at other countries where this music is appreciated more. We would love to meet other progressive rock or similar bands here, we just can't find any!Just to close this interview, would you like to impart any message to all Brainstorm fans
in Brazil and in the world?
Craig Carter: We would just like to say thanks to all our fans everywhere and to ask everyone to keep the faith in good music and the good in music.
Bechervaise - Keyboards
formed back in 1988. After spending far too much of my precious youth doing
as little as possible, talking about grand plans in smoky living rooms
but never getting around to actually doing anything, a drummer friend,
Gary Simonite, with whom I'd done a fair amount of this announced to me
one day that it was time to get off our backsides and get organised.
for use with Netscape
and IE 4.0 or later
Best view 800x600 HiColor
Please send e-mail to: Progressive Rock & Progressive Metal