“For me the main thing about music is whether or not there is a songwriting,
and I felt like the songwriting is really strong”.
– Michael Stipe of REM about
Among The Suns album by BrainStorm
“This is a major band for future… I reckon My Star will be top three UK hit.”
– Jonathan King, British music industry expert at his Tip Sheet publication
BrainStorm’s story started in 1989 at Jelgava, the provincial town of Latvia. Back then they were five 14 year-olds and the choice of line-up was more logical than musical because all of them – Reynard Cowper (vocal), “Magic” (guitar), Peter Scott Jr. (bass) and Nick William Simon (drums) – were in the same grade. Only Mike Minolta (accordion and keyboards) was one year younger, and that’s why he joined the gang several months later. In any case, half a year after their first rehearsal (at a local registry office!), BrainStorm’s line-up was complete and hasn’t changed since then.
In 1995 Airplanes, an old song from the group’s early days, became the all-time best-selling single in Latvia and the Song of The Year for Radio Super FM!
BrainStorm gained their reputation as the good guys of Latvian rock with the 1996 release of the Veronica album. After some period of fascination with alternative rock, the band returned to more mainstream, more joyful and melodic sound with this. It was really worth it as at the end of the year their hit Under My Wing, after nine weeks (including Christmas week!) being at the peak of the Latvian Airplay chart became the best-selling single of year 1996.
In 1997 BrainStorm signed to Microphone Records (EMI Licensee in the Baltic countries) and it has been impossible to stop them ever since. BrainStorm’s next release All Is Just A Way As You Like It was one of the first albums in Latvia to go Gold, but that was just the beginning…
In 1998 the first international single Under My Wing was recorded at the Maryland studio in Germany. It was produced by Volker Hinkel (of the German band’s Fools’ Garden hit Lemon Tree fame) and received praiseworthy airplay all over the Baltics as well as in some other countries. This was followed by instant triumph at the Karlshamn (Sweden) festival where BrainStorm with their explosive stage show became the Grand Prix winners and the collective favorites. The excited media praised Cowper’s charismatic showmanship and vocal skills. (Cowpers, by the way, has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and have just starred in a new feature film by the most famous Latvian director Janis Streichs. Premiere planned September 2000)
At the end of 1998 the first international album Among The Suns sessions started at Denmark’s PUK Studio (producer Lars H. Nissen) and EMI Studio in Stockholm (Stefan Andersson). Released at the spring of 1999, Among the Suns got Platinum five months later in Latvia and all five singles from the album have reached #1 in local charts! Till now album has been released in the Baltic States, Greece, Turkey, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Belgium, Japan, Hong-Kong and Hungary by EMI affiliates, with numerous other countries (including UK and Germany/GSA) scheduled. Videos for both Under My Wing and Weekends Are Not My Happy Days singles have been play-listed by French music channel MCM. Add to all this their role as supporters for Supergrass shows in Denmark and you’ll see that that’s not the story you expected to hear from Latvian band!
Nor that was what Eurovision 2000 audiences were expecting at 13th of May in Stockholm! Performing their newest song My Star (the first ever Latvian entry for Eurovision), BrainStorm got maximum votes from four countries (Estonia, Norway, Belgium, Finland), coming third at the final counting. Written by Reynard Cowper and produced by A-ha guru Tony Mansfield, this truly lovely ballad (as they say – untypical for Eurovision, typical for a great hit) received excited praises and immediate interest from media all over the Europe (including The Times, Select, Tip Sheet, Melody Maker, Smash Hits, Fono, Music & Media etc.) and have been released in almost every European country since then with a UK release scheduled for July. Saying it short – it’s a success that nobody from this region has been capable of succeeding before…