Halestorm – Interview with Josh Smith

HalestormPennsylvanian firecrackers Halestorm release their third album, ‘Into The Wild Life’, on April 6.  However, before that there is the small matter of their forthcoming return to the UK for their most extensive headline tour to date – as well as their first ever shows on the island of Ireland.  It was the prospect  of the latter which meant that, as PlanetMosh’s Irish editor, I needed no encouragement to take up the invitation to fire up the trans-Atlantic telephony device for a quick chat with bassist Josh Smith and find out exactly how he and his bandmates felt about finally making it to the Emerald Isle…

“We are so excited… this is our first time going over to Ireland.  I can’t say how excited we all are. I think we’re gonna head over a day or two early so we can take it all in.”

So, the guys – and gal, of course – intend to have a bit of a party and maybe down a few pints of Guinness?

“Absolutely!”

It’s obviously important for the band – as it should be for any act – to go out on tour to explore new territories when on tour?

“It’s what we most look forward to… you know visiting new spots and finding cool places within an area.  We all love sightseeing and, yeah, just seeing new stuff is very important.”

I point out that it’s very important to us as fans that bands come to this particular corner of PlanetMosh to play for us, ’cause it may not be a long way from Ireland to England but that little stretch of water makes it substantially more expensive for Irish fans (in terms of air fares, time off work and so on…) to travel to see their favourite bands…

“Yeah, I know,” Josh acknowledges.  “For nearly every trip now when we play in the UK we’ve got Irish fans coming over and saying “you’ve gotta come to Ireland”.  We’re “I know” (and we’re asking) “what the hell’s taking so long?”  (We’ve always said) we’ll get there… and finally we are!”

Josh also acknowledges that the number of dates on this visit – a dozen in all counting the Dublin show which kicks off the trek – is a sign that the band enjoy playing the UK and a sign of the good response they get every time they traverse the pond.  In fact, the bassist is so enthusiastic, he almost struggles to find the words:

“We absolutely love it.  The UK is…  I don’t know if it’s the passion you have… it’s not a standard, just, like, posing crowd support!   The time that it took to happen (in the UK) was,  I mean, less than half I’d say the time that  it took for us to make our way around things (in the States) and build up some momentium to keep touring on our own.  I mean, the support in UK has been like strong – but, like, it happened really quickly and it’s like you people don’t forget:  you know it’s not like a flash in the pan.  It’s like people will keep in touch out there – and there’s the whole social media thing going on… and I don’t think there’s anything like it.”

Obviously, the reason for the forthcoming visit to the UK, Europe and the rest of this moshing planet is the imminent release of the aforementioned third album, which is being preceded by a single, ‘Apocalyptic’:

Probably the most obvious question to ask about the album is to find out if it a progression from what Halestorm have done with the first two albums, or whether it is more of a consolidation of their sound.  PM actually finds out that the band have taken what might be perceived as a bit of a risk this time around and turned the recording process full circle, as Josh elaborates:

“A lot of it is the next step in growth of us as a band:  I think it’s a lot more honest and a lot less tongue-in-cheek.  We’ve retained the tongue-in-cheek sort of sassy songs, but there’s a lot more honest topics on this album, which is really cool.

“The big thing that we wanted to do on this album was bridge the gap between our live show and our (previous) recordings, because a lot of people constantly say “you know you guys sounded great live, you sound better than the record” (or) “I don’t particuarly like the sound of the record”.   We don’t want to take away from our old records – we love those records – but we did want to bridge that gap…  So, with this album we actually stood in a circle and recorded live.”

Hold on, live?  Like, old-fashioned, just play your instruments and go for it live?

“Most the tracks you hear are live!  Our producer Jay Joyce [best known for his work with country star Eric Church, with whom Halestorm are currently touring] had this whole keyboard set up (in the studio) and he was out there jamming along with us, and it was a really neat experience from beginning to end.  (It was) a first for us as far as recording experiences go, and we truly didn’t know that albums could still be made like that!  So, yeah, it was quite a growth on mutiple levels.”

We can find out about this growth experience when ‘Into The Wild Life’ is released on April 6, and when Halestorm preview some of the tracks on the forthcoming dates in Ireland and the UK:

Halestorm Live Nation AdmatFriday February 27 – Dublin, Academy
Saturday February 28 – Belfast, Limelight 1
Monday 2nd March – Norwich, UEA
Tuesday 3rd March – Nottingham, Rock City
Thursday 5th March – Leeds, Academy
Friday 6th March – Glasgow, Barrowlands
Saturday 7th March – Inverness, Ironworks
Monday 9th March – Wolverhampton, Civic Hall
Tuesday 10th March – London, Roundhouse
Thursday 12th March – Southampton, Guildhall
Friday 13th March – Cardiff, University Great Hall
Saturday 14th March – Manchester, Apollo

Support on all dates comes from Wilson, with Nothing More joining the tour as special guests from March 5 onwards.

You can win tickets to the Dublin show on February 27, courtesy of promoters MCD, at https://planetmosh.com/win-tickets-halestorm-dublin-planetmosh-mcd/

‘Into The Wildlife’ is due to be released on April 6 and is available for pre-order now.  For more information, visit Halestorm’s official online outlets:

www.halestormrocks.com
www.twitter.com/halestormrocks
www.facebook.com/halestormrocks
www.youtube.com/user/HalestormRocks

About Mark Ashby

no longer planetmosh staff