Exclusive: Halestorm talk to Overdrive about new album and European Tour!

Posted on by Oran

To have the words”Grammy Award Winning” before the title of your band, is indeed, quite an achievement and in this case well earned. Halestorm have been relentlessly wowing audiences with their punchy, infectious anthems, all the while threatening to bother bigger venues and win over armies of fans the world over.

Joe Hottinger - Halestorm

Joe Hottinger – Halestorm

The forthcoming release of their new album “Into The Wildlife” in April will see them embark on a short European tour, that will include their first ever debut performance in Ireland. Overdrive grabbed hold of Joe Hottinger (guitars) as they were loading into a venue in Arkansas earlier this week (Jan 12th), to find out all the news on the new album and what can be expected from the highly anticipated European shows next month.


OD –  Let’s talk about the new album and the approach of releasing the mystery letters on line. This has been a great success in terms of getting the fans excited, who came up with this idea?

JOE – I don’t really remember exactly. We were having loads of talks with our management about the release and we figured that instead of just dropping the album, we could have some fun with it. Our fans know us well and it’s not the first time we have taken the “lets mess around and have some fun approach”. We knew that we would have a laugh with them and it turns out that we did.  The album title is “Into The Wildlife” and when we released the final letter on our Facebook page, there was one guy who was like, “Ok, I’ve figured it out it’s Into The Wildfile” ha ha!

OD –  What’s the most absurd title you have heard already?

JOE – The were some great one’s, like “Little White Lies“, I can’t remember most of them, because there is literally thousands of combinations. When we released the first four letters it was almost spelling Hitler, which was real funny. It was kind of like a personality test as to what the person see’s in the letters. Either way, it was a really fun way to get the album title out there.

OD – What was the concept behind the title “Into the Wildlife“?

JOE – Well, Lizzy and I wrote a song called “Into The Wildlife” a while back, which is not featured on the new album. It’s a great song and I’m not sure if we will every release it, but for now, I just don’t know. Anyway, the idea was that we have been doing this for a really long time time now and although this is our third label release, I have been doing this for twelve years with Josh and Lizzy and Arejay have been playing together for almost seventeen years now! In the last few years we are finally seeing the fruit’s of our labor, as we won the Grammy Award and are playing bigger venues as well as headlining great tours.

We are having such a good times right now. This is really “living the dream” that we always wanted since we were kids and getting to play our music and party with amazing people all over the world, caused us to look at where we are in life we were kind of like, “we’re going into the wildlife here and getting a little crazy“, which we were. I guess we were really getting a little crazy and we have actually started to chill out a bit now which is funny timing, because the album is about to come out but it makes sense and it’s where we are in life right now.

OD –  In a recent interview Lizzy talked about the approach to recording the album and explained that you guys just plugged in and hit the record button. How did it feel approaching this album that way and will you consider doing it again in the future?

JOE -We were so excited to record this way. We had never approached our previous albums in this manner and although we had worked with Howard Benson in the past, who is super talented and amazing, it was something that we had always thought about doing. Howard has a way of making records and he is brilliant at it. I would do my guitar parts separate to Josh’s bass tracks and Arejay would come in and lay down his drum tracks with Lizzy doing vocals on another day. The whole process is kind of like constructing a house and laying down foundations.

People had mentioned to us that we have this amazing sound live, which got us thinking about how to capture that on record, rather than the previous methods of recording that we were used to. So we looked into who would be suited to help us and how we would go about capturing this sound and vibe in the studio.  So,  we met with Jay Joyce (Iggy Pop, Cage The Elephant) and explained what we were looking for. Also, we really wanted to capture Arejay’s big personality on this album and felt that we did not really do that justice in the past.

The idea was to make a bridge between a live album and a studio album. We didn’t want to make a live album, so we had to get it just right. Jay knew exactly what we were looking for and had us basically set up in a circle and hash out the basics of the songs with Lizzy singing and he just recorded every session.

Some of the recordings were done in one take! You can hear it on the album, which I just love. You can really hear the room in the recordings which is just awesome. Jay has a big converted Church where we recorded everything and the sound is just mind blowing. We posted up a bunch of videos during the recording which you can see on our YouTube channel (see below).

OD – Would you consider recording the next album using this method?

JOE – Absolutely! We were just talking the other day about this and we were saying that we can’t wait to get back into studio and record again like that. Obviously we have to put in a couple of years touring first. (ha ha)

I hope that Joe will have us back again because he was like the fifth member of the band. We would be jamming out a song and you would hear something like an organ or another guitar come into the arrangement and we would turn around and Joe would be sitting there totally rocking our with us! He would shout over to us and be like “Ok guy’s, let’s just work in another riff here and turn this thing left, lets go leftfield with it“. Joe is totally awesome.

ODRob Fenn produced some incredible shots of you guys over the last few years. What was it about Rob’s work that caught your eye?

JOE – Well, Rob was with us on the road for about a year during 2012 and over that time we became great friends that totally understands who we are as individuals as well as Halestorm, the band. Ever since then he has blown up and has worked with Rob Zombie and Dream Theater which is really cool. I would love to get Rob to join us on the up coming tour cycle for this new album, as he’s such a cool guy to work with.

OD –  Reanimate – The Covers Collection was released as a joint package with a selection of covers from the likes of Marilyn Manson, Judas Priest and AC/DC, were there any covers that did not make the cut on those albums and can we expect to see them in the near future?

JOE -There really were not any more covers that we had. Prior to recording those covers, we went through a list of songs that worked well with us and others not so much and just focused on the ones that made it on record. It was a great learning experience for us and I’m sure that we will do more in the future. Actually, “Love Bites (So Do I) was a direct influence from our cover of “Slave To The Grind” (Skid Row). We just thought that the tempo and vibe of that song was something that we really wanted and from recording that cover, came “Love Bites” and the rest is history.

OD – You won a Grammy last year for “Love Bites (So Do I)”, this must have been a mind bending experience for you all. Did you find that things changed a little for you as a band, in terms of offers and acknowledgment from media etc?

 JOE – You know, I think it did a little bit. We were wondering just after we won “what does this mean now, winning a Grammy, what do we do with it?“. It most definitely raised the profile of the band, especially amongst the old school show booker’s and promoters who run the state fairs and stuff like that, which enabled us to play some really cool shows that I guess we normally would not have been booked for. Those old school promoters feel that if a band wins a Grammy, then I guess, they must be good (ha ha).

OD –  This will see the bands very first performance in Ireland, how does it feel to be playing new territories at this point in your career?

JOE – I can not wait to get to Ireland. None of us have ever been there before and we are just tripping out about the prospect of playing over there for the first time. It’s funny, I was talking to Josh (Bass) the other day and he had just finished an interview with an Irish publication and we were like “I can’t believe that we are talking to Ireland, this is amazing!”We just want to get there and check out the city and the Guinness and where they make Jameson Whiskey. We can’t wait to get there and already want to come back and play again for some more dates!

OD –  Halestorm contributed a track for the Friends Of DioThis is your life” project that was released last year, can you talk a little about how this came about and the decision to cover “Straight Through The Heart”?

JOE – We were going to put “Straight Through The Heart‘ on our covers EP and then we heard that Wendy Dio was planing this release, so we sent her the song and she got back to us and asked us to take part in the project, which was incredible.

We performed at the Gala Event in May of last year in Hollywood which was just mind blowing as we got to hang out with some amazing musicians. There was also this fund raising auction where I won some very cool stuff. I now own Ronnie James Dio’s personal book ends! Ha Ha. It was just so random, but very cool. I also got some coffee table books that he owned and one really cool limited edition photography book that was done for him. The whole event was just really special to be part of.

Halestorm - March 2014

Halestorm – March 2014

OD – Do you have any stand out memories from that event, as you shared the stage with some pretty cool artists such as Corey Taylor (Slipknot) Scott Ian (Anthrax) and Duff McCagan (Guns n’Roses)?

 JOE – We played and Duff McCagan came up to us and was just super excited about our set. He said some very nice things and we were just so pumped to be hanging out with some of these guys that we grew up listening to. It was a great event that raised a lot of money for a great cause. It was a win, win situation for us and we had a blast.


OD – Regarding the set list for your live shows, do you mix things up on a kind of spur of the moment thing, or do you have set concept of each gig before hand?

JOE – We have been recently experimenting with set lists for this coming tour and are planning to play some stuff off the new album that we have never played before. I just can’t wait for tonight as we are debuting “Apocalyptic” for the very first time (hear the track below). We have been really careful not to have anything leak out and decided to hold back on playing it live until it’s released officially. Dublin will be the first show on the European tour so, I guess you guys will be the first in Europe to hear us play the new stuff!

OD – Finally, if you have a message for your Irish fans ahead of the show next month?

JOE – All I can say is that we are just so excited about playing there. We can’t wait to compare you guys to the fans over in Italy and South America, who just go nuts during the show. Also, I can’t wait to sample the local Guinness, as it’s one of my bucket list things to do. We are stoked to be playing Ireland and are just counting down the days until we get over there! Get ready for a killer show and one hell of a party!

HALESTORM play Dublin’s Academy on February 27th with support from WILSON (debut Irish show). Tickets are on sale now and selling fast. Please check MCD for more information.

For your chance to win a pair of tickets to HALETORM‘s Irish debut show, click on the graphic below and tag your friends, invite them to like our Overdrive Facebook page and share the love!

We will pick a winner on Monday 23rd of February! Good Luck! \M/


Into The Wildlife will be available from April 3rd* (Ireland) and April 6th (UK). Pre-order your copy here and hear “Apocalyptic“.


Words Oran O’Beirne