INTERVJU: Lzzy och Joe i Halestorm

Vi språkade med Halestorm när de besökte huvudstaden i november. Det blev ett samtal om gitarrer, turnerande, nytt skivkontrakt och AI:

We´ve asked it (Chat GPT) like ”Write a song in the style of Halestorm!” and it´s like a bastardized version of whatever we might think people think we are. It´s really wild.

You´re nworking with Dave Cobb now after three albums with Nick Raskulinecz. How come?

Joe: We´ve been a fan of Dave for a long time. He does like everything from country stuff like Chris Stapleton and Jason Isbell to Europe and Greta Van Fleet, Rival Sons and Airbourne. He´s a rocker at heart and we needed to switch it up. It´s our last record on Atlantic. Luckily he wanted to work with us.

Lzzy: We were seeking him out for a while and the people at our label and everybody were like ”No, he´s too busy. He´s not gonna wanna work with you.” and we were like ”Well, just ask him. Just reach out to him. We can take the  rejection because we´ve been doing it our entire life.” It´s like, why be all sensitive now? They went ahead like ”Hey Cobb, there´s this band Halestorm…” and he went ”Oh my God, I love Halestorm! What are they doing?” and they told him ”Well, they´re thinking about doing a record…” and he said ”I wanna do a record with Halestorm!” He had a whole plan apparently.

Joe: And it´s not like ”Fuck Nick!” because he´s one of our best friends. We talked to him and he went  ”Fuck yeah, switch it up!” We made a bunch of records. It´s not like we´ll never not record again.

And Cobb is based in Nashville too, right?

Joe: Yeah, he´s got like the coolest studio, RCA Studio A, but he´s in Savannah, Georgia and he´s got a house down there on the water and his whole basement is his studio and upstairs is like the bedrooms, so we just kind of moved in, the four of us. You wake up, start writing and recording. It´s been fun.

Lzzy: It felt like we were all in my parents basement again. That´s how we wrote for the first record. We wake up, we have coffe and we go downstairs and we´re making stuff and then we don´t stop. It´s from 11 am to 11 pm and maybe break for some snacks.

Working with a new guy, are there a certain number of days where you´re kinda feeling each other out or do you just dive in?

Joe: Oh yeah! We dive in, but it´s just like trial by fire and you see what works, ”Oh, somebody´s getting a little pissed, hahaha!” It´s fun and spicy, but it´s nothing bad. Everyone is good people and we all have the same goal to make some good music.

Lzzy: We definitely dive in, like ”Ok, who´s got a riff, who´s got a line? Let´s go!”

Joe: And I love him because he doesn´t make demos, so we just start recording, ”Let´s put the drums down!” and we´re flying by the seat of our pants.

Lzzy: He literally wanted us to come in without a plan, which we´re not used to. Usually, with every single release it´s like ”So, what do you wanna do? What´s the vision? What´s the idea?” Usually you start out with a vision and then the music tells you what do to half way through.

Joe: I was like ”Well, let me just work out this guitar part before we get there.” and he was like ”Why worry about that? You´ll get it.” and it was like ”Oh yeah, we´ve got a new thing now. Time to learn again.”

You mentioned this will be your last record with Atlantic. What´s that like?

Lzzy: It´s weird.

Joe: It´s been almost 20 years now. 18 with them.

Lzzy: I remember when we first signed the deal. We were like ”Seven albums, we´re´re gonna get through that in like three years!” That´s not how it works, hahaha!

Joe: It´s cool, whatever. We´ve had a good relationship with them and we´ve recouped all our stuff. It´s all good. After that, who knows!

Lzzy: We´ll either continue on with them with a new deal or trouble the water and see what happens.

You joined 20 years ago Joe. When you´re young, 20 years is a long time and as you get older, the years just go by like that. How do you look at those 20 years?

Joe: Looking back it feels like a flash. We are getting a lot more nostalgic lately, just looking back at everything, especially after Covid and not touring and taking a break from the one thing we´ve been doing for so long and now doing it again. It´s always been fun. It´s never been difficult…, I mean, it´s hard, it´s difficult yes and it can be stressful, but…

Lzzy: It´s never been a hardship.

Joe: Right. Even when we were living on $10 a day. Three meals and if I did good I´d have a buck for a beer. That was great! Some of the best times. I get sad sometimes looking back because I can never feel the excitement of not having no idea of how this works and diving in headfirst, like ”We´re gonna tour Europé for the first time. What´s that like? No idea!” All that beginning of a band thing. I never get to experience that again and it was awesome.

Lzzy: But aren´t we lucky to even have had that oppertunity? We know so many bands that either never make it to their debut record and they´re so good or they never get to come to Europé and they never get to travel. We´re so lucky and I feel we´re grateful. Like he said, we´re said about it, but we´re also super grateful.

Joe: Once this label deal is done, whatever is happening, it´s new levels of what´s going to happen.

Lzzy: One more milestone that recently happened and it´s a really big one, which is more times than not somebody will stop me or Joe in the street and go ”Oh my God, are you Halestorm?” and we go ”Yeah, we´re Halestorm!” and they say ”Can I get a picture with you? You got me through middle school.” or ”My mom loves you!” That´s a whole new first, because some people never get to that point and now it´s like multi generations. There´s like the kids that were listening to us in 2010 and now they have kids and their bringing their kids. It´s crazy.

You get to travel the world, see different cultures, meet all kinds of people, eat all kinds of foods and that is something you wish every single person Earth would get a chance to do and not just be stuck in whatever town they grew up in It must really broaden your minds?

Joe: It would solve a lot of the world´s problems.

Lzzy: It really does and then you realize how many people in your life that you have, that have really closed themselves to that. There´s been a lot of friends and family members that have kind of fallen off the train with me, mainly because it´s like ”You´re so close minded because you think you´re the God of your tiny little ant hill, but there´s this whole world out there for you to appreciate.” Everytime I go home it´s like ”Wait, you don´t get it and I´m tired of sitting here arguing with you about it.”

Being on the road… Slash is a guy who says that he really loves being out on the road touring. Do you feel the same?

Joe: Absolutely. Being able to play shows, there´s nothing that compares to that feeling and that energy exchanging. Nothing.

Lzzy: It´s why people go sky diving. Especially the way we do it, with no tracks. There´s no choice. We´re in the plane and we´re gonna get kicked out of the plane and hopefully the parachute opens. It´s exciting.

It´s got to be an insane ego boost every night and have people sing stuff back to you?

Joe: I can se how it could be an ego boost, but being that we´re the best at what we do, it doesn´t boost us anymore, hahaha! I´m just kidding.

Lzzy: It´s gotta be weird for people of this generation when you´re making music in your bedroom. You have this kind of online fan base and to go out for the first time from that, it must be crazy.

Joe: That´s what we were saying during the pandemic, that´s our favorite drug on stage. As far as I know I have not tried all the drugs, but it´s not the same, hahaha!

I read an old interview with you Joe, where you metioned that your favorite guitar was a Gibson Flying V 1984. Is that still your favorite?

Joe: No, but I really like that one. Now I´ve got so many favorites. I´ve got guitar problems. I don´t know if I can pick a favorite anymore. At the time… yeah, I remember getting that when we were making the first record. It was an 84 reissue silverburst guitar from 2007 and I love that thing. Made most of the first album with it and some of the second and toured with it. I still have it and I should bring that out again, but I´ve got like 60 or 70 guitars now and a lot of them are my favorites.

Lzzy: We´re having a hard time at the house because now there´s like guitar cases in the bathroom and it is what it is.

Joe: ”Where´s that Strat? I´ve looked everywhere!”

Lzzy: We need a database now. We need to chip them all so we can have directions on our phones.

Do you have as many guitars, Lzzy?

Lzzy: Probably. Joe might have slightly more. I´m a little choosy with stuff. It has to be really like ”This is the one.”, but I end up making so much stuff with Gibson I almost feel guilty sometimes, for grabbing stuff.

What attracts you to a guitar? Is it just the sound of it?

Joe: No, a lot of times it´s looks lately. ”That´ll look cool on stage. I hope it sounds good.” Sometimes you get stuff that doesn´t really work. I´m gonna put together a little collection of my not so favorite.

Lzzy Hale

Have you ever had a guitar that you´re really fond of and you´ve broken the neck or something?

Lzzy: Yeah, the first Gibson I ever bought, which is a 91 tobacco burst Les Paul custom and I´ve broken the neck on it twice. Once on stage and once in the studio and we ended up fixing it twice and it actually sounds better now.

How do you look at AI? It´s getting bigger and bigger and I know there´s a metal band who´s made an entire album with AI. It´s a cool tool than can help you with a lot of things, but it´s also really weird.

Lzzy: It can´t replace the soul. Something I have used it for is kind of like you would with a rhyming dictionary. Like ”Here´s a phrase!” and I´ve been doing it like ”What can you tell me about this subject?” The things it comes up with are really dumb. There´s no… I´ve never been like ”Wow, that´s fucking amazing! I would´ve never have come up with that.” It´s a way you can look at things differently.

Joe: I asked our lawyer like ”Can we copyright Lzzy´s voice, the essence of it?” and I don´t think they fully understood. I don´t know if that´s possible. What if somebody uses it like that, how do you…

Lzzy: There was this thing with Chester Bennington´s voice.

Joe: Yeah, like ”Here´s Chester singing Slipknot!” or whatever. It´s not them, but they somehow manage to capture the essence of that person so it does kind of sound like them. It´s weird. Who knows?

I heard an AI version of David Lee Roth´s voice in a Van Halen documentary on YouTube. If no one had told me, I would´ve had no idea. It was spot on.

Lzzy: With the Internet and everything that you have put out and that has been put out there with your career, there´s so much to gain that knowledge from and how to put it together. It´s like ”Let´s put together an AI Halestorm!” and have that be a whole other event.

Joe: I´m a camera nerd and Leica just put out a new camera and inside there´s a chip and everytime you snap the shutter, every picture gets a code or something. Basically, once it gets online it sticks with it, so you know if it´s been manipulated and you know the source of it and where it comes from, especially for news journalists and stuff. I wonder if you can do that… I´m sure you can do that with recordings. I´ve been using the Adobe Firefly AI imagery to make weird setlist art and when you choose to download the image, it creates some sort of like… all the content it has drawn from. It´s some sort of source code or something, which is interesting.

Lzzy: We´ve asked it (Chat GPT) like ”Write a song in the style of Halestorm!” and it´s like a bastardized version of whatever we might think people think we are. It´s really wild.

Text: Niclas Müller-Hansen

Foto: Therés Stephansdotter Björk, Josefin Wahlstedt