On the group’s new album, “Vicious”:
Lzzy: “With this record, we basically chased after whatever got us excited, so a lot of the themes, and even the heaviness of the record, we weren’t entirely doing on purpose. We only kind of realized what we had done after the record was already finished. This record, looking back on it, thematically, it’s very much about ownership, and there’s an element of survival in that. The biggest thing that happened with us in the beginning of making this record was six months before we actually started recording, we had already written a ton of songs for this record thinking we were just going to go in and record, and ‘We got this.’ When we settled down and listened to a lot of the songs that we were writing, we realized that we didn’t really like any of them. It just sounded very much like we were trying to make everybody happy, and try to fix everything and please everybody but ourselves, so we threw a lot of those things away and then ended up starting from scratch. A lot of what you hear in [first single] ‘Uncomfortable’ is us being very unapologetic and talking about, ‘Look — I’m going to say all of these things that are important to me, and I’m going to do all these things because I can, and because I want to.’ Knowing that just by being unapologetically HALESTORM, the fear of making a lot of people uncomfortable with that and then owning that fear was very much a common thread throughout this record.”
On the difficulty of broadening the band’s fan base without alienating their existing audience:
Lzzy: “We’re so humbled and lucky to be in a position where we’ve been a four-piece for over 15 years; we’re signed to a major label; we’re on our fourth record on a major label; we’ve won a Grammy; we’ve toured the world. There’s this misconception that it gets easier. For us, it actually becomes harder to continue to connect with that baseline, that fire that got you in it in the first place. I think that was something that we hadn’t lost, but we were kind of having a hard time reconnecting with in the beginning. It took going through this record and writing this record the way it is, and going in with Nick Raskulinecz, who is an amazing rock fan and rock producer — it took doing this, I think, to really reconnect with that and rediscover our mojo.”
On other misconceptions about the band:
Lzzy: “What people don’t normally know about us is the hustle is very real, and it’s sorely driven a lot by how we consider ourselves. We don’t pay a whole lot of attention to any type of judgment that we might get from outside people. I think that comes from growing up onstage. The four of us have been playing out live since we were all 13 years old, so every night, you have people being like, ‘All right, what’cha got?,’ judging you. We don’t necessarily preoccupy ourselves with that, but we have such a deep need to outdo ourselves in our own eyes. That was a big, driving point [with ‘Vicious’] — we not only need to absolutely be who we are for the fans, but we have to be excited about what we’re doing. How do we push ourselves — not try to recreate the wheel and push the genre forward, but how do we push HALESTORM forward? That was a huge task at hand for us.”
Lzzy: “Nick pretty much [made] himself the fifth member of the band through the making of this record. He has this uncanny ability to help us be ourselves, and kind of own that. He made us realize there’s these four corners to HALESTORM — there’s four corners of this pyramid that we’re all holding up, and each one of us brings something to the table that the rest of the band mates can’t. We realized how much we depend on each other to make the sound that we do, to the point that even recording, he would tell us, ‘Don’t think about it — just be. Just be yourselves.’ Something he said early on was, ‘If you make a record that you really love and you’re super-proud of, don’t you think your fans are going to love it too, because it’s an extension of you?’ I think throughout this experience, we came out on the other side swinging and kind of realizing, ‘Okay, we got this,’ and reconnected with where we were at in the early days of HALESTORM, when all four of us first started to get together.”
“Vicious” will be released July 27 via Atlantic.