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Update From the studio - Lzzy Hale & Halestorm



Earlier this year, Halestorm singer-guitarist Lzzy Hale trended on Twitter—albeit with her name misspelled as “Lizzy Hale”—when she blew minds performing at the CMA Awards, “country music’s biggest night,” dueting with crooner Eric Church on his song “That’s Damn Rock & Roll.” That, plus the fact her hard-rock group will open on Church’s November/December tour, has led some fans to question whether Halestorm’s third album would see the group going country. See what the frontwoman has to say about this and more in our exclusive in-studio interview below.

Interview by Sammi Chichester

Halestorm is in the final stretch of recording, right?
LZZY HALE Pretty much. It’s been a whirlwind. It’s been a blast. We’re blowing through it and having a great time.

Why has it been so great?
It’s going back to the beginning—the four of us standing in a circle and playing these songs for the past couple of months. We’ve done our past two records very differently from this one, where it was more of an assembly line. You would go in for two days are all drums and then so on. We’re never all in the same room playing songs together. So this time we decided to go back to the basic days and all jam through these songs together and see if we can get one solid take. It’s really challenging but it’s awesome because you can feel the energy billowing through the speakers. I remember turning to the guys and our producer Jay Joyce and said, “I don’t think I’ve ever heard such excitement in the music.” You know, we’re all playing together like it’s live.

But it has to stink when someone messes up recording because you have to do it all over again.
Yeah, but it cuts out the whole rehearsal time [laughs]. It’s so cool and there was one or two songs where one of us hesitated—like my brother [Arejay, drummer] was going into a fill and hesitated, but it ended up sounding amazing. So some of those are happy mistakes. We would never be able to get those things if we were doing it by the grid.


You’re recording at Saint Charles Studio, which is church in Nashville. What’s that like?
Our producer bought this church a few years ago and turned it into a studio. There’s a huge main common room where we’re doing most of our recording. It has every instrument you can imagine—keyboards and a grand piano. I’m a keyboard player too so I was excited about all these toys. Then there’s all these secret hallways and different rooms—like down in the basement. So depending on the sound you want, you can utilize all these different rooms. The vibe overall is just great. You walk in there and just feel like playing music. We’re comfortable there. It doesn’t feel like a dentist office which is how these big fancy studios feel like, “I don’t know want to touch anything.”

You told a story in one of the videos that while you were recording “Sick Individual,” you were dropping all these f-bombs and looking at a cross. So has anything bad happened to Halestorm yet?
Not yet [laughs]. Maybe it’s the church of rock and roll.

It sounds like the band is utilizing it more piano. How’s it been revisiting your first instrument?
It’s amazing. It’s kind of hard to describe. We’re doing this one song where I’m singing and playing piano at the same time. I’m getting flashbacks to when I’m 15 years old [laughs] and my fingers would revert back to some of these old songs I wrote. So it’s been cool to go back to an instrument you’re comfortable with, almost childlike in your own mind. The overall vibe and feeling has been wonderful. One thing that we’ve been doing consistently which I’ve never done before, and I don’t know why, is I’m singing and playing at the same time instead of doing them separately. It’s so weird how different I sing when I’m playing an instrument. It seems like an, “Oh duh” thing, like I should have done it years ago. But I haven’t. So it’s been neat to compare.

Recently were onstage with country artist Eric Church and you’re also going on tour with him. People have wondered, is there a country influence this record, even in a non-obvious way?
Maybe the laidback-ness. I have a great appreciation for country music and while I’ve been down here I’ve written with a couple of different country artists. There was some rumor going around for a while that we were making a country record, but we’re not. But it is one of these things in the opposite sense that the country community has accepted us as we are, which is weird. But as Mr. Church so eloquently put it—“I don’t necessarily believe in genres. I believe there is good music and shitty music.” But I’m sure if I listened to every song on this record, I’m sure there is some influence but at the same time this whole record is unapologetically us. We’re starting to hear all our influences from Fleetwood Mac to Metallica to Eric Church. I’m excited to see what people think because we didn’t stray from what we are, but it’s a lot more of what we are.

You moved to Nashville, right?
Yeah, but it’s basically a more laid-back Pennsylvania. Everyone is so nice and that took me back a bit. It’s so funny because a friend of mine visited and she’s from Detroit so she’s from a place where if you smile, they think you’re on crack. Halfway through the day she’s like, “What is wrong? Is there something on my face? Everyone is smiling at me and opening doors.” So I was like, first of all, you’re a girl and pretty. But really people are just really nice here. The one thing about the community of Nashville is they are still very roots-based. They are so proud of their music. You go down Music Row and they put out banners for whatever writer had the recent hit, like it’s a birthday party. They support every aspect of this art. I can go out to a restaurant and the waitress is like, “What do you do?” “I’m a musician.” “Oh, me too.”

By the way, with Eric Church, we wrote two songs together just for fun. Neither one of them will probably go on the record. He’s a great songwriter, very quick and witty. This church is actually where he’s done his past couple of records. Eric contacted us for the tour, before the CMTs, because his bandmates are all rock dudes. Like one of his guitar players plays Ozzy Osbourne for soundcheck. So his bandmates introduced Eric to us and then because he’s crazy like that he said, “Let’s shake it up and get them on the tour.” So a few months later he said, “The CMT awards, they want me to do my single but I want to do this song [“That’s Damn Rock & Roll”], but only if you’ll sing with me. So I was like, “Sure! [laughs].” At the same time we were talking to this producer and when I talked to Eric about using this producer he was like, “Dude, just do it. You’re going to love it.” And he was right.

Many country artists can seriously play guitar too.
Oh my god, yeah. These people shred. That’s what I was saying about Nashville—you can go to an open mic night at the Holiday Inn and probably see more talented musicians than the ones touring. When we first came down here I was like, “Wow I’m glad we didn’t cut our teeth down here, there’s so much competition.” You’re being challenged constantly because you’re surrounded by these amazing musicians. And I think what Eric was saying about genres—I think they’re starting to blend a little bit. In this day and age of iTunes and Spotify, you can probably pick out the poster child for metal and he probably has Lady Gaga. Maybe you can like Metallica and Eric Church. It’s a matter of open-mindedness and your preference. There are no rules.

SOURCE: Revolver

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