Author of the novel, Fat Man Blues
Congratulations on your album,
it's a quality product and you all should be proud of it.
For those of a certain age, the very mention of AOR (Adult Oriented
Rock) brings back memories of 1980s MTV Rock Videos featuring a
skinny, spandex-clad guitar hero atop a butte in Monument Valley at
sunset, waist-length hair flowing in the wind as a helicopter appears
behind him (there was always a helicopter in MTV rock videos).
The 1980s was its heyday and AOR bands such as Toto, Foreigner,
Journey, Asia and Yes (the Trevor Horn version) ruled the airwaves and
TV screens until, inevitably, music trends changed and AOR sank
without a trace. Well now it's back. Tokyo Storm are a four-piece band from the Midlands, who are making waves
on the Worcestershire music scene with their debut album, 'Optimistic
State Of Mind', a collection of ten original songs with an even spread
of driving rock songs and power ballads that offers something for
everyone. The album opens with the title track, a blistering, supercharged V8
engine of a song, which sets the tone for all that is to come, and, in
this reviewer's opinion, is good enough to stand alongside any AOR
classic from yesteryear. Releasing a debut album of original AOR material is a gutsy move, but
it's clear that OSOM is very well-produced. Each of the ten songs is
crafted well and delivered impeccably. The standard of songwriting,
musicianship, and production has resulted in a polished and
professional-sounding debut collection, of which the band ought to be
proud. Tokyo Storm are here to stay and have the chops to go on to bigger and
better things. Can they resurrect AOR? With an optimistic state of mind, I rather
think they can.
By Keith James Sinclair
ELO Beatles Forever
The title says it all. Once you've listened to the debut album from new Midlands based rock quartet Tokyo Storm, you will enter into an "Optimistic State Of Mind" thanx to an impressive array of well crafted songs underpinned by the guitar craft of Joe Bartnicki,
top class vocalist Ben Green, ace drummer Bob Peach and bassist Jason Edwards, their latest recruit.
Admirers of the rockier edge of ELO, Paul Rodgers/Free, Journey, Whitesnake, Foreigner, Yes, Kansas and those classic American rock
bands we all know and love will find "Optimistic State Of Mind" an approachable and familiar album blended with instantly likeable guitar licks,
searching lyrics with meaning and the heartbeat of superb percussion. If the title track doesn't grab your attention, then the moody "Silent Obsession"
and "Lady Darkness" will if not the jealousy tinged "Is This Love", the driving anthem that is "Tune" or elevated ballad "Stormy Night". "Kill The Machines"
is a call to arms hard to ignore too. The song that makes this album and closes it is my personal fave, the wonderful eleven minute instrumental piece
entitled "Signals". With elements of Pink Floyd and some superlative musicianship on display, it provides balance and a fitting album closer leaving the
listener with a knowing smile that they have just experienced a stunning rock album from start to finish. Tokyo Storm are looking for a label to provide a
platform for their music. The likes of Frontiers, SPV, Angel Air and Cherry Red would do well to sit up and take notice. A Tokyo Storm is coming! ____
Trax: "Optimistic State Of Mind" ~ "Is This Love" ~ "Tune" ~ "Stormy Night" ~ "Kill The Machines" ~ "Silent Obsession" ~ "Fire In Your Eyes" ~ "Lady Darkness" ~ "Summer Feeling" ~ "Signals"
Tokyo Storm are: Ben Green (Vocals) + Bob Peach (Drums, Percussion) + Joe Bartnicki (Guitars, Bass, Keyboards) + Jason Edwards
Q & A with
How did the album Optimistic State of Mind Come about ?
After a revamped project Joe and I was involved in collapsed, we thought we would revisit some songs we put together a while ago, with the thought of maybe putting an album together and adding some new songs.
I remember Bob asking me if I was interested in putting an album together, the task was to reconstruct some ideas we had from working together in the past. I laughed and said yea sure BUT, don't ask me to write anything new coz I'm all dried out. HOW WRONG was I? I can only liken Bob to the planet Jupiter. The gravitational pull he had on me in the form of inspiration soon taped in to a reservoir of ideas that I thought was a dust bowl.
How long did it take to put it all together ?
It's been a couple of years in the making, we made a decision to record all the backing at our own studio, and decided to write and record as we went along, a lot of the time there was a few eureka moments, and a lot of guitar and drum work on the album is as it was first recorded, then the arduous task of coming up with vocal ideas and lyrics before putting the feelers out for the right vocalist to bring it all together.
Mixing and mastering,
The basics of the songs came quite quickly the problem with the time scale wasn't helped by me swanning off to OZ for a month on three occasions not to mention other distractions and business trips. Thank the music gods that Bob has his own studio, the mix's were like a ping pong ball, I wouldn't have had it any other way, the results can be witnessed by listening carefully every detail is in every track this would have cost us millions if someone else got their grubby paws on the mixing desk.
How did you meet Ben ?
Ben was the first vocalist we spoke too, we were introduced through a friend on social media, met, had a chat, and a couple of studio rehearsals later we were three..
YEA, Bob and I were banging our heads together in the studio one night when I mentioned that I'd been befriended by a fellow muso on social media, turns out she was a vocal trainer, Bob and I agreed that we should ask if she would help with our search, the reply came in within a day, next thing I know the three of us were sitting in a bar in Bewdley interviewing each other the following Sunday morning.
The guys approached me about singing on the album and as soon as I heard the tracks I knew it was for me! I've grown up on this sort of music from an early age so to be asked to sing on this record was a thrill.
Where did you record the vocals ?
We decided to record the vocals at Sumerfield Studios in Birmingham, purely because the
vocal facilities were better than we could achieve, and we wanted it to be the best we could get, and
I think the results speak for themselves. Joe and I also decided early on that we wanted to mix
and master this album ourselves, a tough learning curve, but I think it sounds pretty good.
Wow! Summerfield Studios Birmingham, constant evolution, forever updating their business in the form of gear and may I add two top blokes..
To the mountains Dan Coley (so helpful) and the boss Phill, made light work of recording all the vocals for our album Optimistic State of Mind.
Recording the vocals was a joy. I recorded a couple of tracks per session which kept things fresh. I think we captured something very special in those sessions and Joe and Bob have worked wonders in mixing and mastering the album.
And Jason ?
Jason joined late 2017, a breath of fresh air, we're already starting to put song ideas together, already in full rehearsals and it's really starting to come together.
Jase, awesome guy, same as Ben, they will go the extra MILLION MILES if you ask them to... What a find..
Jason is not only a great bass player put a very good songwriter as well. We met over a couple of beers and haven't looked back; a great guy!
Kind words guys, the cheques in the post.
I was the last piece of the jigsaw teaming up with the guys late 2017. I recall Joe contacting me through social media with a sample of the material. I was blown away listening to the demo, thinking ' shit these guys are seriously good' In a world full of music pollution, this pro music production along with strong vocal stands proud. For me, It was a no brainer, I had to be part of project Tokyo Storm. The other thing worth mentioning is that there are no egos amongst us. We all work alongside one another, share ideas and have great fun at the same time. Sense of
humour by the sack full. Can I say sack full? Parting shot. We all know who we are and where we've come from, but together.it just feels right and very special. Exciting times ahead. Ben put the kettle on. He makes a great cuppa you know
So what's next ?
Video.. Promotion.. Gigs
Project after project. Next in the project menu is a video shoot at a famous West Midlands venue then its gig time and hopefully an album launch to follow
We will be gigging the album mid to late 2018 in venues up and down the UK. We can't wait to get out on the road!
Echoing what's already been said really. I think we are all keen to get the show on the road and currently working extremely hard to do so. Hopefully this is our year so watch this space. The crowds are gathering, the Storm is coming