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Interview: Halestorm

mit Joe Hottinger vom 22. März 2013 Huxleys Neue Welt, Berlin
Eigentlich gibt es Halestorm ja schon seit 1997. Als die Band damals gründet wurde, waren die beiden Geschwister Lzzy und Arejay Hale erst zehn beziehungsweise dreizehn Jahre alt und wurden noch von ihrem Vater Roger am Bass musikalisch unterstützt. Inwiefern man diese Zeit ohne ein freundliches Schmunzeln tatsächlich als ernsthafte Bandgeschichte betrachten kann, sei jedem selbst überlassen. Aber spätestens seit dem Jahr 2000, als ihre erste EP "(Don't Mess with the) Time Man" erschien, wurde die Sache ernst.
Nun, sechzehn Jahre, zwei Alben und diverse Singles sowie EP's später, ist die Truppe dort angekommen, wo wahrscheinlich viele Musiker gerne landen würden: in aller Munde! Und wie kommt das? Rein zufällig hat die Truppe um Lzzy und Arejay Hale den Grammy in der Kategorie „Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance“ für ihren Song "Love Bites (So Do I)" gewonnen.
Doch wie verändert so eine Auszeichnung eine noch wirklich junge Band? Wie fühlt man sich als Musiker persönlich dabei zwischen Giganten, wie Anthrax, Iron Maiden oder Lamb of God ausgewählt zu werden? Wie wird es nun stilistisch mit der Band weitergehen? Viele könnten vermuten, dass jetzt, wo die Band sich auf dem Ast des Erfolges befindet, man die Rockwurzeln kappt, um bei den Massen mit poppigeren Klängen erfolgreich zu bleiben.
Um diese und weitere Fragen zu klären, trafen wir uns mit Gitarrist Joe Hottinger - der seit 2003 fester Bestandteil der Band ist - kurz vor dem Auftritt der Truppe in Huxleys Neuer Welt in Berlin, wo sie als Support für Bullet for My Valentine eine zünftige Show ablieferten.
Viel Spaß beim Lesen!

The Interview:

Adrian: Hey friends, this is Metal Trails and today we are here at the Huxleys in Berlin and we are talking with Joe Hottinger (guitars) from Halestorm!
Joe Hottinger: Hey Folks, what's up?!
Adrian: So in February you received the Grammy Award for Best Hardrock/Heavy Metal Performance. Are you proud of it?
Joe: Oh yeah, we are totally proud! We didn't really expect a nomination or to win. So we were just pumped and went to the Grammy's. And when they called the name it was just awesome!
Adrian: There were really some other big names like Anthrax and Iron Maiden, Megadeth, ...
Joe: And Lamb of God were there!
Adrian: I think none of them has yet won a Grammy.
Joe: Yeah, I don't know. This is crazy. It's a great honor, yes.
Adrian: I've read that you got inspirated by rock acts like Alice Cooper when you started back in the 90s. But you joined later...
Joe: Yeah, I joined a little bit later!
Adrian: In 2004, I guess ...
Joe: It was 2003 actually! You know 90s Rock brought me to guitar heros like Nirvana and Pearl Jam.
Adrian: So not Limp Bizkit?
Joe: You know actually I wasn't into Limp Bizkit. But I've seen them live and they are great live. They've got a lot of energy. I think we played some Festival shows with them in the States this spring.
Adrian: So you met Fred Durst?
Joe: We did, briefly!
Adrian: What kind of guy is he? I heard he is a little bit complicated!
Joe: I'm sure he is complicated. But I can't judge him by saying hello and congratulations. This is what he said, it was just strange. He seemed super nice and also the rest of the band seemed super nice. So, whatever!
Adrian: I guess this was a nice experience?
Joe: Yeah, it's always a nice experience! I love meeting other musicians. You know most of the time an artist is meeting nice and descent people.
Adrian: With which bands have you been on tour up to date?
Joe: We've really been on tour with a bunch of bands. For example with Shinedown, Disturbed, Avenged Sevenfold, Stone Sour or Buckcherry,... actually with Bullet for my Valentine, obviously ... and Seether. All in all it's already a quite long list! (laughs)
Adrian: Which of the tours did you like most?
Joe: I had so much fun on the first Opera Festival Tour we did in the States. There were also Disturbed, Avenged Sevenfold and Stone Sour we shared the stage with. There was also another stage for bands like Airbourne, Hellyeah and others like New Medicine. And you know, we had so much fun on the tour, because everybody was cool. You know, it was really awesome.
Adrian: Do you live the Rockstar way of life?
Joe: (Laughs)
Depends on what your version of the Rockstar way of life is! I suppose, we have our fun ...
Adrian: Partying all night?
Joe: I like trying different beers in all the countries and sample the local flavours. There are definitively worse jobs and we're really lucky with making music and travelin' around the world!
Adrian: Have you tried German Beer yet?
Joe: Hellyeah! The Dunkelweiss is probably my favourite beer in the world! Our fans brought us some Dunkelweiss, some Erdinger. I really enjoy it, and I' a big fan of it … I had also some local Dunkel in Freiburg a few years ago
Adrian: If I knew before, I would have brought you a beer from my hometown!
Joe: That would be cool. Bring two next time so you can have one with me!
Adrian: Let's talk a little bit about contemporary music! Do you like Gangnam Style or Harlem Shake?
Joe: Well, I can honestly tell you that I've never heard the Harlem Shake... maybe I did but didn't realize it. I see that stuff happen, but it's pretty much weird. I make guitar music and that makes sense. You know, if it's a catchy song... but I don't really enjoy listening to that kind of stuff. Right now, I'm into Gojira. I just discovered them like a few weeks ago. Their new record „L'enfant Sauvage“ is fantastic! I would love to see them and I guess I will one day!
Adrian: Let's switch to your latest album "The strange case of...". After its success I wonder when we can expect the next one?
Joe: Honestly, I have no idea. We are writing slowly on the road. The next time we will be all touring, and we hope to release a Live-DVD. So I don't know when we'll record something new. That's in the wider future. We still got our work left on this record!
Adrian: For your second album, you wrote about 56 songs!
Joe: And that was just the first half! (laughs)
The second half was about 60. There's a lot of juice from!
Adrian: So you're writing very much!
Joe: We're doing it in our time ... We play the show, the next thing we're doing is recording and writing. This is the way we do it, and we do it hard (laughs)
Adrian: But in the end you used only 17 of them. Why?
Joe: You know, they were not right for the collection of songs. We recorded the ones we liked and in the end it has also to fit together. Not everything was a good song and not everything was right for the record. Some of them are really great, I love them and I hope they'll get out one day. Lzzy wrote a song about Weezer, that's just awesome! It sounds like Halestorm is Weezer, it's great. It has these Weezer Chords and it's such a cool song, but it wasn't right for this record.
Adrian: So you plan to release them in future?
Joe: There are actually no plans to do that, but I'd like to!
Adrian: Okay, fine! With the last album there was also some kind of development. I think it got a little bit heavier. Will the next one get heavier as well?
Joe: Maybe! You know, I really go with this strange case Halestorm was to just chase what excites us musically... You know, if there's a cool riff or a good song I just go after it, this feeling you look for! I have tons of heavy riffs written, currently when I listen to Gojira it inspires me. I'm sure there will be some heavy stuff, just because we are fans of heavy music.
Adrian: In the last few years electronic music became more and more popular, bands like Bring Me the Horizon and Korn used it on their latest albums. Would that be an option for you as well?
Joe: Well, probably not. I know we have synthesizers and that stuff on the record, but we are a rock 'n' roll band and we like to use tapes and tracks. These are nice things, but that wouldn't make sense. Our fans love us because we're playing rock 'n' roll and we love rock 'n' roll, so it wouldn't make sense to put electronic stuff into our record. I said that now, maybe I'll get pressured, but I don't see it happen!
Adrian: So if I will listen electronic stuff on your next record, I'll come back to you and we will talk about it!
Joe: Then it won't be my fault! (laughs)
Adrian: Let's talk a bit about music in general. Which releases do you look forward to this year?
Joe: There's lots of nice stuff coming out this year. I don't know ... I know that the Foo Fighters are in the studio. Queens of the Stone Age as well ...
Adrian: Dave Grohl seems to be realy busy this year!
Joe: Yeah, I think he also produced the new Ghost record!
Adrian: I'm so looking forward to this record!
Joe: Isn't Ghost touring with Gojira currently? I think they're doing the Jägermeister Tour in the United Kingdom! Yeah, I'm pretty sure! I'd love to see that...
Adrian: Do you like Ghost?
Joe: Well, I don't know! I just want to hear it. I like Dave Grohl, and I would say I'm a Dave Grohl fan, so any of his touches I'll check out!
Adrian: I thought you'd have listened to it. Okay, let's move on! Another big release this year will be Black Sabbath's album.
Joe: Yeah, cool! I like Black Sabbath. How can you not? The original rockers, you know? Hard rockers! Tony Iommi is a sweet heart an a great guy and guitar player, so... Who is playing drums on that record? Brad Wilk from Rage Against the Machine... Who is responsible for producing?
Adrian: Rick Rubin! By the way, do you know if it's right that he's never in the studio like Corey Taylor said?
Joe: It depends on the band, every band is different. His job is producer as I see and understand it is, he checks... I know one producer plays Scrabble while he is listening and is waiting for something that takes him out of it, you know? It's their listening process. One of the advantages of having something like that it's a big picture guy. When you are in the studio you want to know every small detail. It's good to have someone to come in and say how this is weird and „hey, this is really cool, change that“. Some producers are also in the middle of engineering and looking for every picky detail. Teachin' around, ya know?
Adrian: Would you produce another band?
Joe: Maybe once I got my jobs up and I still feel natural at the studio and once I figure out my shit, I'll think about it.
Adrian: I have one last question: Who got you into playing guitar?
Joe: It was Kurt Cobain! He made me first pick up a guitar. And you know, after Kurt died, there was Metallica, and then the Foo Fighters came out. The whole 90s rock scene, the Smashin' Pumpkins and so on.
Adrian: So I guess Nirvana was a great influence on you?
Joe: Yeah, I started out with it. It got me into rock guitar thing and then I got into Steve Ray, Led Zeppelin and that stuff, Jeff Buckley. Then I got more into Metal and Blues. It's always evolving and changing.
Adrian: Thank you Joe, I've got no more questions from my side!
Joe: Thank you man, I appreciate it!
Moderation: Adrian Erben
Wer in das aktuelle Album „The Strange Case Of... “ von 2012
reinhören möchte, kann dies hier tun:
[amazon "Halestorm – The Strange Case Of... (2012)"]2013/3/[/amazon]

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