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- Posted on Mar 4th 2010 3:51PM by Nick Scott
How did the band come into existence?
It was a very long time ago -- 1989, in fact. We were all teenagers with normal teenage dreams. We wanted to look cool and stylish in front of our friends and classmates.
What is your favorite memory of those early days?
So many memories, all of them good. If I had to choose it would have to be our second show, which we wanted to put on for our school. I can remember us being up all night the night before, dragging tables from all over the school in order to make a stage for us to perform on.
How did you come up with the name BrainStorm?
It was during that same show, actually. Back then we were going by the name Cuttle. Afterwards, we caught up with our friend who had come to watch us play, and we asked what she thought of the show. After a minute she said it sounded like a brainstorm on stage. We all really like the sound of that, so we talked it over and decided to make it our official name.
Did growing up under Soviet rule affect your musical influences at all?
We were just regular Latvian teenagers. We weren't rebels or anything like that. We had all been raised on Soviet music, Russian cartoons and Latvian composers. There was very little Western music that made it into the country back then. Occasionally you might have heard ABBA playing somewhere. Otherwise it was mostly traditional Soviet music.
What was the first Western band that did make it through that you would cite as one of your influences?
Definitely Depeche Mode. We were all really big fans of theirs.
What were your other musical influences?
That varied across different members of the band. Our guitarist [Janis Jubalts] was very much into rock and guitar-oriented music and bands like AC/DC. Our singer [Renars Kaupers] and myself, however, were more into bands like A-Ha out of Norway and Midnight Oil from Australia. Their song 'Beds Are Burning' was big for me.
How would you describe your sound?
So many descriptions and labels have been assigned to us over the years. We are not really rock, nor are we really pop. If I had to describe it, it would be closest to "indie," something sounding very similar to R.E.M.
Are you guys big fans of R.E.M.?
Oh yes, we are very big fans! In fact, we were the opening act during part of one of their tours. Each night Michael Stipe would always do our introductions and he was so nice and helpful in getting our name out there among the fans.
Favorite R.E.M. album?
Definitely 'Automatic for the People.'
What other tour experience(s) stick out in your mind as especially memorable?
We actually got to open for the Rolling Stones on Mick's 60th birthday. It was a very hot day in Prague in 2004. Our main concern was what to get Mick for his birthday. We couldn't decide what to get the man who already has everything. About a year prior the band had given our guitar player a saxophone we had found in a second hand shop, so we asked if he would be willing to present it to Mick as our gift, and he thought it was a great idea. So there we were backstage for the meet and greet and we ran into Charlie Watts, who noticed the sax and asked who that was for. We told him it was Mick's present, to which he replied, "Oh, well, that is just too good for Mick."
So I'm guessing Stones over Beatles?
Yes, yes, definitely the Stones.
What made you decide to attend SXSW?Well, our manager, Guna, is always on the lookout for new places and people for us to play for. Of course we all knew the legend of the festival -- that it was a great place to get exposure as well as meet so many different people in the music business. It just seemed like a good place to be.
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