Halestorm’s Lzzy Hale Talks ‘Into the Wild Life’ Disc, Touring With the Pretty Reckless + More
Halestorm are moving toward that all-important third album for most bands and feel they’ve taken things up a notch. We’ll soon find out as their ‘Into the Wild Life’ album drops on April 7. ‘Loudwire Nights’ host Full Metal Jackie recently had a chance to chat with frontwoman Lzzy Hale about the disc and she also shared her feelings on the band’s upcoming tour with fellow female-led act The Pretty Reckless. Check out the interview below:
Halestorm have some shows coming up with The Pretty Reckless. Lzzy, how conscious will you be onstage that you’re empowering young women in the audience who are seeing both you and Taylor Momsen on the same bill?
I just think it’s wonderful. This is something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. In my opinion, Taylor just has it. She’s a freakin’ rockstar and oozes that from stage. It really is just completely genuine and I haven’t seen a whole lot of that in the past many years as far as women doing that. I just thought, man — wouldn’t it be awesome if the two of us could just go out there and kill it? I’m just so glad we were finally able to make it happen. Between my schedule and her schedule, it’s crazy. Trying to find that time, OK, can you do a tour — months ago, just making sure we can actually do this together. I know we’re going to be inspiring a lot of young little girls, which is amazing. We’ve seen so much of that in the past couple of years. Lots of girls coming to rock shows and really identifying themselves with people like myself and Taylor. Not only are they going to be inspired, but I am going to be like side stage the entire time Taylor is onstage [laughs]. Fangirling it up too. It’s going to be a good tour.
A band’s third album is usually the one that really solidifies their style. What’s the most important thing about ‘Into the Wild Life’ that establishes Halestorm that maybe wasn’t so evident with the first two albums?
With this record, we kind of threw everything out the window that made us feel comfy and safe and normal. The past two records we’ve made we’re done very differently than what we just did on this new record. This new record we really wanted to bridge the gap, so to speak. What people see on our live shows and then what people hear on all our records. We basically went back to the beginning. We went with a completely new producer, a new town, a new mindset. We did all of the tracks live, just the four of us standing in a circle in this beautiful church in Nashville. The goal was to capture performances and moments that the four of us only know when we’re in our practice space or back in the day when we used to practice in our parents’ basement. [laughs]
It’s such an amazing thing to capture the type of energy that you feel from your guys and your bandmates every night onstage and try to get that down on tape. We did the record with Jay Joyce in Nashville and what an awesome freaking mad scientist of a dude! He brought some stuff out of my little brother that I haven’t seen him do in a studio, ever. Just really was kind of our fifth member and was there from beginning to end. When we told him about this idea and said, ‘Hey, we want to set a standard for this record. We want it to start and end with us.’ He definitely was the one guy who had the guts to actually do that with us when everyone was like, ‘No, people don’t do that anymore.’ It was wonderful. We accomplished what we set out to do and hopefully everybody likes it. Honestly, I’m warning you. It’s Halestorm, warts and all [laughs]. In every aspect of the word, everything that makes us pick every aspect of music that we get excited about we put onto this record. We’re stoked to show it to the world.
‘Into the Wild Life’ was recorded more of a live performance than typical assembling of each song in piecemeal fashion. What was most liberating about not being so pristine and perfect?
Honestly, singing wise and performing wise for myself. It’s a very mental game, to me when I’m onstage. To me it’s almost a euphoric state of mind. How you feel mentally definitely affects how you are physically and how you perform. You can be having the best night of your life and if you go out onstage and you’re performing in a studio thinking, ‘Oh my god am I going to be able to hit that note? Is it going to be perfect? Am I going to be in time and in tune?,’ you sing differently. Maybe you won’t hit the note because you’re thinking about all of these things. So what was so liberating about going into the studio and basing this one, you know, is it doesn’t matter if we’re perfect. Having that mentality of, ‘Hey, let’s have a great time and play some music that we love and capture some happy mistakes and really be human on this record.’ It took away a lot of the staleness I feel like on some past records that comes across in some of my vocals.
Yes, it sounds great — I’m not knocking anything we’ve done in the past, but obviously we’ve had a lot of success [laughs] with the last two records. I love them to death, but they were very much based on let’s get this as perfect as possible. It was so freeing to just walk into the studio every day and you should see it, Jackie. It’s beautiful. It’s this reformed church that Jay Joyce bought and he actually had to become an ordained minister to actually buy it. [laughs] So even though he’s not necessarily a crazy religious man, he could definitely marry somebody if he really wanted to. The whole common room is full of any instrument that you could possibly think of. There were so many days where I would just sit down at the piano and start playing and we’d end up recording it and putting it into the record. It was such a wonderful state to be in with the guys and I. We were having fun and chasing anything that got us excited and basically the finished product, Jackie, what ended up happening through that was we actually made a record. We made an album. It wasn’t based on singles or EP sections, anything. We just went in there and did our thing and what came out, like I said, for better or worse, Halestorm.
What challenged you most about making this album and how did it make you a better musician?
It’s a lot harder to do a record based on the four of you in a room than it would be going in and doing everything separately. The last two records that we did, we did them differently. We did them very assembly based so we would go into the studio for the last two releases and it would be, all the drums were done in two days. So Arejay would play all the drums, to a cooked track and a scratch dummy vocal track that I’d do. Then the next day, we would start all the guitars, all my guitars for two days, the next day all Joe’s guitars, the next day all of bass then I’d start singing. We were never actually all riding the same wave together or actually played the songs front-to-back together in the studio. So to me, it was actually a lot easier to do it that way. The goal wasn’t anything more than hey, let’s make sure we can hit these notes. Whereas this was a lot harder to do because we have to trust each other and be looking in each others eyes and also, because we’re trying to create a performance, we’ll run through the song recording it and if one person royally screws up the rest of us all have to do it all over again [laughs].
So, really, in all honesty this is how Zeppelin used to do it and a lot of our idols used to do it because you had to be good to go into a studio because there was no real re-do’s. There was no “you can fix that in post.” Even though we do have a lot of this technology today, obviously, we can do all that stuff by us setting a standard and having people, our engineer and producer Jay Joyce really keep us to that. Every time we’d say, ‘Yeah we can probably fix that, right?’ He’d be like, ‘No! We set a standard, we’re sticking to it.’
It was challenging as a band but also it really helped us grow because just when I thought you know the four of us couldn’t get any tighter, with all of the years we have been touring together — 250 or 300 plus days a year — we found something in ourselves again. We found this kind of grassroots confidence in the four of us and what we do together. Because in all honesty Jackie, we’re not virtuosos, none of us graduated college, none of us went to Berkeley. There is really only one of us in the band that can still read sheet music. But whatever happens with the four of us is magical and unapologetically Halestorm. You know?
Sibling rivalry is typical in any family. How is it amplified in a band setting and how has it been healthy to the betterment of Halestorm?
You know Arejay and I have always walked a very fine line with that. He and I have been in Halestorm since I was 13 and he was 10. I feel like we have been in a band together longer than we have actually just been brother and sister. So we teetered the line a lot. I feel like at this point in time he knows that if I am yelling at him because I am his big sister or I am yelling at him because he is my bandmate. I think that in all honesty us being sister and brother really helped. I know we hear a lot of stories about brothers in the band or just sisters in the band and I think that by us being different genders and there being a definite line and really a lot of respect.
He respects me because of what I can bring to the table. I respect him because obviously he is a freaking legendary drummer and person. We have always been really close but I feel like it is that respect that we have for each other just as people that has really helped us. Not really falling into that whole “Oh we are just going to get into fist fights or whatever.” You know we definitely spat every now and then but its not, you don’t break up the family therefore you don’t break up the band. It’s very much one in the same. The term you don’t s–t where you eat — really I think that I threw that away a long time ago. You just gotta make things work. What I really do think beyond anything that could ever happen between us beyond the fact that we are brother sister has really bled its way into the rest of the band and our crew. To the point that we all have this very family mentality. Like our tour manager is Uncle Mike — you know basically. Everybody has this kind of camaraderie. That same mentality — like you know what, we got to work through our problems. This isn’t just like a job for everybody. This is a family. We have to make it work every day. Right now there is none of us living on one bus and we got to make it work. So it’s actually been a blessing more or less than anything else.
Halestorm has started appealing to fans of other types of music, especially recently touring with Eric Church. In what ways has the crossover appeal started you thinking about bringing some drastically different style into the Halestorm sound?
You know it’s funny. The rumors have been flying for months that we have been making a country record and we definitely did not make a country record. Even though we did do it in Nashville which I am sure that influences a lot of peoples’ minds. There is a lot of that going on. But what I will say is that genre — I honestly — I challenge any audience and in right now we have opened for David Allan Coe and we have opened for Megadeth. So whatever the hell Halestorm is — we A) don’t say no to anybody. Eric Church called – you want to go out on tour – Sure! B) I just love it, man. I’m actually standing right in front of a huge Eric Church truck right now with his face on it. We get up on this stage, on this country tour fully aware that we’re a rock band. It takes everybody like three songs, because I’m sure we seem like Slayer to them but everyone is amazing.
In all honestly, the country community is much more accepting of rock and roll than rock and roll would be to country. So we’re aware of that but it’s amazing, this whole camp, Eric Church included and his entire band, they’re all metalheads. Speaking of Slayer they played some ‘Reign in Blood’ in between some of their songs. They’re fans of our genre, that’s the only reason we’re on this tour is because of their adventurous attitude. Eric Church’s guitar player has our records, introduced Eric to us and it’s definitely just opened up a whole new idea and the idea is that it’s not really about whether we’re country or rock and roll, it’s about — is it good music? That’s been the vibe this entire tour and yeah, his fans have been awesome about that. Although I have gotten accused once or twice of having a potty mouth, but ya know. That comes with the territory, I feel like [laughs].
Thanks to Halestorm’s Lzzy Hale for the interview. The band’s ‘Into the Wild Life’ album is available for pre-order in a variety of bundle options here. Plus they’ll be on the road at these locations. Tune in to Loudwire Nights With Full Metal Jackie and Tony LaBrie Monday through Friday at 7PM through midnight online or on the radio. To see which stations and websites air ‘Loudwire Nights,’ click here.