Halestorm are just about to release their fourth studio album Vicious. The album doesn’t hold back seeing Front woman Lzzy penning some of the most honest lyrics to date. The band just keeps getting better with every album and Vicious does a great job of capturing the pure rock energy Halestrom generate when playing live. We were lucky enough to catch up with Halestorm guitarist Joe Hottinger to learn more about Vicious.

SCENEzine
How’s 2018 been for you so far?

Joe Hottinger
It’s great man, no complaints here. We finished making our new record. We’ve done a little bit of touring in USA now we are about to release our record and go on our biggest tour ever.

SCENEzine
Congrats on the new album Vicious. You must be stoked with how it turned out?

Joe Hottinger
Thanks we are stoked. It’s been a pretty cool response so far. We didn’t really know what everyone would think. We chased down the things that excited us and we didn’t know if that would excite everybody else.

SCENEzine
The album kicks off with “Black Vultures”. Did the lyrics come first when writing that song?

Joe Hottinger
The first thing that came with that one was the title. Lzzy and I wrote that with our buddy Brian Vodinh from the band 10 Years. Ironically we’ve known him for a decade now. 10 Years did a record with Nick our producer. When Nick was out of town he told us we should go in studio with Brian to write. When we were driving down we thought what were we going to write about. We saw a bunch of vultures on the side of the road eating something and thought Black Vultures is a good title. It was one of the fastest songs we wrote on the record it just kind of happened.

 

 

SCENEzine
Was the song “Uncomfortable” built around that main guitar riff?

Joe Hottinger
Yeah it was. I try to write a little bit everyday, even if it’s just one riff. I had been sitting on that one for a while. That came in the very first session for writing this record. We had ten or twelve songs we had written during the end of the last album cycle. They were good and some of them would of worked but they weren’t inspiring. We weren’t excited about them. We brought them to Nick and he totally agreed that it wasn’t the kind of Halestorm record he envisioned making with us. We wanted to do something that pushes us and pushes the genre, those songs weren’t it. We didn’t know what to do and were kind of lost. Nick set us up and the studio and said ok who’s got a riff. So I showed him my riff and we developed “Uncomfortable” instrumental out of that then Lzzy wrote over it.

 

 

SCENEzine
I really like the powerful acoustic moment on the album with “The Silence”. Can you tell us a bit about that song?

Joe Hottinger
Thank you man. I wrote that music and a lot of the melody probably five years ago. I was listening to a lot of Led Zeppelin and a Canadian band called Big Wreck who us a lot of open G. I played it with Lzzy and we knew there was something to it but we didn’t have the right words. Everytime we would write something it didn’t feel right. Then one night her and I were talking and she came up with some lyrics that were really cool and we got the title the silence out of it. The vocals are all from the demo that we made that night. That’s from the house and her demo performance of it. She killed it. It’s an autobiographical song by her. It’s really sweet I teared up the first time I heard it all together. We played it for the first time in front of people recently at some festivals in the States. It was awesome the crowd totally got it, we didn’t know how it was going to go over at a big rock festival playing an acoustic ballad.

SCENEzine
Is there a story behind how you decided on the album cover art?

Joe Hottinger
Lzzy and I were at a bar, there’s a really great bar in Nashville called Vinyl Tap. It’s a record store and a craft beer bar and cocktail bar. They are always playing cool music. We were in there and discussing the album cover. I have the napkin somewhere that we literally drew up the idea. We were thinking of a sexy female but not too sexy we didn’t want it to be a overtly sexual image. The big ideal was questions, to create more questions than answers. Like is she being torn in all these different directions? Is it an orgy type feel? It is sexual? Is it what women have to go through in the music business? We wanted to make sure we had the business guy hand in there with the watch. It seemed like it would be a striking image that would create more questions than answers. We did it with Jimmy Fontaine the photographer, he nailed it. I love the cover it’s exactly what we envisioned in our minds. It’s been a good response to because people are literally asking the three to five questions that we wanted asked.

 

 

SCENEzine
We are super jealous of American’s for getting that all female fronted heavy band tour you were a part of. How were those shows for you?

Joe Hottinger
It was amazing and it will be again when the tour continues in the Summer when the record is out. We will be heading out with In This Moment and New Years Day. It was pretty intersing we heard from Live Nation and they told us their were more females than males buying tickets. Which is unique for a hard rock show. I don’t think we’ve ever been in that scenario before. It’s so cool because you have Maria Brink, Ash Costello and Lzzy these awesome female powers on stage. They all play hard rock and heavy music but they are all from completely different corners of the spectrum of the genre. These women out in the crowd were totally rocking out. It’s such a traditionally testosterone fuelled scenario but these women in the crowd totally owned it. It’s a genderless genre and I think it’s a pretty powerful statement, the ladies have arrived and it’s only going to get better.

SCENEzine
What’s it like for you currently celebrating 15 years of being in Halestorm?

Joe Hottinger
Our lifestyle has changed but we are litrealy the same people we were fifteen years ago when we all started hanging out and making music together. I don’t think we’ve grown up in fact we may have digressed in our humour. We are doing the same thing we have always done. We chase these musical moments that excite us. We have all been on the same page for fifteen years now still fighting the good fight. We are getting better at it and it’s exciting I feel like with this record we have begun again, it feels like a second chance.

SCENEzine
Lastly can you rest all the Australian fans assured you won’t forget us on the album tour?

Joe Hottinger
(laughs) I already know that there are plans to come to Australia that I can’t talk about. So we will be there don’t worry. It’s one of my favourite countries in the world I can’t wait to get back.

Interview by Christian Ross

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