Brainstory Promo Photo 2024

Brainstory’s new album Sounds Good, simply put, lives up to its name.
Based in L.A. but hailing from the Inland Empire’s own Rialto, CA, two-thirds of Brainstory, Kevin and Tony Martin are
brothers by blood, while Eric Hagstrom is a brother through their music and long term friendship. While the group’s
initial connection comes from the heady mixture of jazz-performance-focused music school and the grind of playing
local shows, their bond has been strengthened through countless hours on the road touring and the making of two
studio records—2019’s debut full-length, Buck, followed by 2021’s Ripe EP. “Being on the road, doing our own tours,
and backing incredible people like Lady Wray, has sharpened our skills and really revved us up for this record,” Kevin
says. “It’s been four years since our last full length record, and with everything that’s happened since, it’s like we’ve
been catching up to ourselves.” That’s one way to describe change: catching up to oneself. Each member of
Brainstory has gone through shifts, both personally and musically, and all of that thread through this record.
Since they started the band they have constantly faced situations that forced them to rise to the occasion. They got
signed to Big Crown Records, they stepped up their game. Covid happened, they learned to record themselves. They
started touring a ton sharing the stage with the likes of Lady Wray and they got their live show super tight. All of this
time spent grinding and growing has certainly paid off. The path to take their art to the next level is clearer than ever
and once again, they are here for it. If there is one thing that is abundantly clear on this album, it’s that Brainstory
leveled up.
Part of their evolution is undoubtedly attributed to having access to and working constantly in their own studio in Long
Beach. Another major factor is that their brotherhood has expanded. “I’ve been playing music with my brother all my
life and now with Eric for a long time,” Tony tells us. “Leon, though, is like another brother I’ve just met.”
Leon Michels, Big Crown’s co-owner, produced this record and applied his unmistakable golden touch in crucial ways.
One glaring example is “Peach Optimo.” “When we brought that song in, it was originally at double-time to what’s on
the record,” Eric explains. “And Leon said, ‘Let’s do it half-time.’ So we played it a few times, then nailed it in one
take. We were just like, ‘Damn—that sounds so good.” Another example of how gracefully they work together is
Leon’s encouragement of Kevin’s Delfonics-style singing on “Gift of Life.” The B-side of Sounds Good’s first single,
that manages to be drop dead gorgeous, haunting, and profound all at once. “I have never done that on a record
before, singing like that,” Kevin admits. “It was a little uncomfortable at first, but, again, Leon’s like, ‘No, it sounds
good!'” The other member of the Brainstory brotherhood whose contributions are essential, is studio engineer legend
Jens Jungkurth who controls the tones and textures of the music. “That’s what you’re hearing, our connection, the fun
moments, the little details,” Kevin describes. “This record isn’t half what it is without them—and it made us want to
match that effort.”
It’s easy to say that the music industry can be short on lasting, genuine relationships. However, for Brainstory, from
day one it’s been about standing by each other, for each other. Their friendship started the group, and now, this
expanded brotherhood is supporting them to push it further. The stars have aligned for them to take a big and well
deserved step with this new album, and you can hear it in their music—music that just Sounds Good.

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DJ Mike Moses

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