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Halestorm’s Arejay Hale + Josh Smith Talk Plans for New Album in 2014 + More

Kathy Flynn, WickedGoddessPhotography.com

With a Grammy under their belt, Halestorm show no signs of slowing down. They spent 2013 touring in promotion of their most recent album, ‘The Strange Case Of…,’ and from the looks of it, 2014 will be another eventful year for the band.

During their headlining gig at Terminal 5 in New York City, Halestorm drummer Arejay Hale and bassist Josh Smith sat down with Loudwire and expressed their enthusiasm about their plans for a new album in 2014. They also talked about being on the road and recording cover songs for their latest EP ‘Reanimate 2.0: The Covers EP.’ Check out our interview with Arejay Hale and Josh Smith of Halestorm below:

What is the experience like headlining tours compared to being a support act?

Arejay Hale: It’s way more fun. We like to headline and put on our own show. It’s fun, you’re not trying cram everything into a 45 minute set. It’s cool because we get to take out new bands with us that we really like.

For both of you, what makes a great touring package?

AH: No egos. Everybody has to be super cool, no a—holes. If there’s one a—hole on the tour, it just ruins it for everybody. We got lucky, we’ve done a lot of tours and everybody’s been super cool. What else, nobody getting sick. [Laughs]

Josh Smith: That’s important and if we can get some good food, that’s a blessing right there. The biggest thing is that everyone gets along as opposed to dealing with turds on the tour. [Laughs]

AH: No turds on tour!

Is there a band out there you guys would love to tour with whom you haven’t toured with yet?

AH: Oh man, I would love to tour with the Foo Fighters.  That would be a lot of fun, it’d be awesome.

JS: Agreed.

AH: Or Bruno Mars, even though that’s a totally different genre. I love Bruno Mars. I’d love to tour with Eminem, too. I love that new Eminem record. So these are all different genres [laughs] but if we’re sticking to just rock though, Foo Fighters, Queens of the Stone Age that would be awesome. There’s a lot of new bands we’d love to tour with too. Who else? Metallica? Tool would be awesome. Oh! Muse, I would love to tour with Muse.

Switching gears a little, Lzzy Hale recently came out with a fashion line. As a couple of her stylish bandmates, did you happen to give her any advice or help her out with this venture?

JS: She’ll show us stuff and we’ll “Yes” it or “No” it.

AH: That’s what’s cool, this whole effort is a group thing but it all stemmed from Lzzy. She used to be the band’s designer and design our clothes for us and be like, “Hey I just stitched this together in five minutes.”

JS: She even asked for tool sets for Christmas to make her own jewelry. It’s going to be great and she’s so into that whole side of it.

AH: We’ll be the male models!

JS: We’ve all worn some of it onstage, it’s all unisex so it’s great.

Where did you find time to do another covers EP? Did you guys just sneak off somewhere and record the disc while on the road?

JS: Yeah, it was like a week of recording maybe.

AH: We did like a song a day. You’re not writing it but it’s also a challenge because you’re taking someone else’s song and turn it into a Halestorm song. It’s a great challenge but it’s a lot of fun. We did the covers EP when we were off for the Grammys and we just went into the studio and knocked it out. Then later our label’s like, “We want you to do ‘Get Lucky’ by Daft Punk” and we’re just like “Really? Sure why not?” We did a South American tour but we had two days off in Nashville before the States run and we just went in to Blackbird studios for two days and knocked it out. It’s just a fun thing for us; it’s a fun thing for the fans to keep them satisfied between albums.

To be honest, I can’t stand ‘Get Lucky’ by Daft Punk but I enjoy the hell out of Halestorm’s cover.

AH: Every time I hear the original I can’t help but think of Stephen Colbert on his show when he’s dancing with Jeff Bridges. It goes on for like eight minutes, it’s so funny. Maybe you saw that and that’s why you can’t stand the original. I’m glad you like our version. A lot of fans are very warm to it which is great because it’s a pop song.

Are there any songs you wanted to cover that didn’t make the cut this time?

AH: We went in to record a cover of ‘Don’t You Worry Child’ by Swedish House Mafia. I think that we did a really great job on it, we made it more acoustic sounding but it didn’t really fit with the rest of the songs so we scrapped that. That would’ve been a fun one.

JS: We start these cover album ideas months in advance. It’s basically just an email thread between us and label people and our whole team, friends and family and fans. Any potential song gets put on the list, then slowly we dwindle it down to ten and then choose the five or six that we’re going to do.

AH: There’s always the next EP. Actually on the first EP we did a fan pick, we put a bunch of songs on our website and it came down to two. It was ‘Sad But True’ by Metallica and ‘Bad Romance’ by Lady Gaga and our fans picked ‘Bad Romance.’ [Laughs] And we’re like, “Really, you want us to do this song? Let’s do it.” They were curious and we strapped on our big boy boots and we went into the studio and made it work.

So what does 2014 hold in store for Halestorm?

JS: Oh we’re going to get crazy. We’re going to lock ourselves in a basement and write an album. Then come April we’ll emerge from hibernation and we have to go on tour for a month in Europe. Then we’ll come back and finish up the album, whether it’s recording or what not and then go back out on tour. We’re excited, we’re going to strap down and make some new material and come out with a new album next year.

AH: It’s going to be fun. I feel like we write the best when all of us are together in one room and we crank out as many ideas as we can. Change is what gets us excited. I’m excited to add some new songs to the setlist because we’ve been playing the same songs for like three years.

Do you guys write on tour or is the majority of creating done at home?

AH: On the road, it’s more scattered because we’re more focused on the performance.  We just collect ideas here and there on our phones or on our iPads because we can punch out ideas really quick. I think it’s a lot easier for us to write when we’re really focused – away from the road, away from our families, away from everybody and it’s just the four of us locked in. We got a little basement studio in Nashville so we’re just going to lock ourselves in there.

Next: Halestorm Members Talk Christmas Gifts

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