Halestorm have been going from strength to strength and, with the phenomenal success of last year’s via Atlantic-released, Nick Raskulinecz-produced Vicious (stream/order your copy here), the band has reached heights many groups can only dream of. Having now influenced the Japanese 4-piece Love Bites and scoring the headlining spot on Download festivals Zippo stage, Halestorm are poised to become one this generation’s major heavy hitters.
Speaking to bassist Josh Smith on the third and final day of the just-mentioned Download festival, with the weather finally clearing up enough to allow the sun to shine, the spirits of everyone from bands to fans have risen. It’s clear that Smith, along with the rest of Halestorm, are on cloud nine and are only going to continue to drive towards global recognition. Herein is included our recent chat with Smith with the audio format available via SoundCloud.
This is Damian and I’m joined by Josh from Halestorm, how are you doing today, sir? Josh Smith: I’m fantastic!
Are you enjoying the weather so far? Smith: Yeah it’s manic, it’s hilarious, it’s like it’s cold and raining then hot and sunny and everything in-between, but we’re prepared so we’re happy, you know? I’ve got a rain jacket and some wellies and maybe a sweatshirt for times, so I’m good to go.
Halestorm’s latest music video is just “Vicious:”
Well, when you’ve been to this many festivals you know how to pack for it at the end of the day. I’ve got a small bag, wellies, I’m good to go, no problem. So, you’re set was yesterday, headlining the Zippo stage, this is the first time you’ve headlined a Download stage isn’t it? Smith: Yeah it is, and it was nerve racking, it’s like, man! Three Days Grace and Stone Temple Pilots played right before us and that was a hard act to follow, but not only that, the crowds energy was like, you know it’s hard to keep your mind going in the right direction when you’re just looking everywhere and enjoying everything and remembering to do your job so, yea, it was awesome.
Well I did catch your set and it was played phenomenally and it was really awesome. Now, the band Love Bites came and joined you and they names their band after you? Smith: Yeah, so we have a song called “Love Bites” and, well I suppose that was the influence. We’ve met them when we were over in Tokyo and it’s these 4 girls that rock, they’re like awesome. I don’t know f they were a cover band first or what, but they’ve been doing their own stuff and it’s crazy, it’s like a part of a process you don’t think about, like oh wow, maybe someday someone is going to be inspired by your music to start a band and maybe name it after us. It sounds so weird you know that someone would actually do that, but it’s really cool and they’re great people and they’re a great band.
So, when did you find out they’d done this? Was it when you were in Tokyo and how did it feel to release it was your band, the name of your song is influencing someone like that? Smith: We found out about it, I don’t know, last year sometime I guess that there was this band, yeah the idea came out that we would be in Tokyo playing Download, the first Download there, so we thought it would be a good idea to get Asami out on stage with us, it’s crazy, it probably dates us a little and we’re not the young kids on the bill anymore and that we’ve been doing this for a while and to see that, it’s just a trip.
John Gilleese’s shots of Halestorm (w/ Avatar) at Manchester, UK’s O2 Apollo on September 26th, 2018:
Now, of course, all of your albums are absolutely fantastic, but the latest one, when it was released last year, did you ever thing it would be the major catalyst to get you headlining main stages? Smith: It’s what you shoot for, you shoot to raise the bar on every album and play stuff you haven’t played, play harder, approach things differently but find yourself in the process as individuals but also as a unit, so to say no, it’s not part of the plan, the big idea is how would this sound in front of a big festival crowd, how would this sound in front of Download and we take that into consideration in everything we do. Does this rock enough? Does it make moments that would get Download festival going? And how does it translate? So I can’t openly say yes, this will get us headlining the Zippo stage, but it’s a huge part of the process is to make moments and picture yourself on Stage at Download.
Did you expect it to be a successful as it was? I know you were aiming for it, but did you see this coming? Smith: You hope for it, we were confident about it in what we did and what we put out, you just hope for it, you can’t expect anything, but you do your best and hope that everyone sees where you are coming from and likes what you’re doing and it’s cool, it seems to have worked. We took a little bit of a different approach this time and it seemed to go well so I think we will keep going there, keep doubling down on rock and make ourselves truly a rock band and nothing else.
Now that you have conquered the Zippo stage do you have aspirations for headlining the main stage? Smith: Yeah totally, we’d love that, we’d love to headline everywhere and have a huge band before us and try to follow it up and try and challenge ourselves to follow up tough acts, we went on after Stone Temple Pilots yesterday and that was really scary so yeah, that’s the goal, to play anywhere, everywhere and in front of anyone but, yeah, it would be awesome to headline the main stage. We’ll play anywhere.
The album Vicious came out on July 27th, 2018, via Atlantic:
Now if did want to ask, what is it like having two siblings in the band? Is it there an interesting dynamic between the pair of them? Smith: You know it was always this family thing, when we first started, their parents were out on the road with us and Arejay had just turned 18 maybe when we started touring nationally so it’s always had this family vibe and it still does, you know we’re all siblings at this point and I’ve been in this band more of my life then I’ve been with my family. It’s like 16 years this year I’ve been with the band, so it is family now, we’re all brothers and sister. We all take the roles that we are in age, in instrument and responsibility, so Arejay is just as much a bro to me as my other brothers.
Now once you’ve done all the press and the other stuff, are you going to be seeing any band s or will you be tasking of quite soon? Smith: We’re gone yeah, we’d love to stay but we have more show to play so we are gonna go to Luxembourg and play there and carry on to Scandinavian countries, so we’ve got another 2 weeks of touring ahead of us.
What is your favourite country you have visited and play shows in? Smith: Man.
This is where you say Download, I’m kidding of course. Smith: It truly is the UK, they are the best fans period. When you get into France, Spain, Italy the energy is insane, they’re such emotional people, but here the support is just ridicules and it always has been from day 1 it’s been this noticeable climb here and this feeling of support that hasn’t happened anywhere else, so the UK for sure is the best fans hands down.
Halestorm’s Lizzy Hale gets “MOST EXTREME” and discusses loads of fun stuff:
Now you are coming back to the UK I think in November/December time? Smith: Yeah, it’s November we will be here.
Again, it’s quite a big tour for you. What city are you looking forward to going to most? Smith: London is always fun, but there’s so many good spots like getting to Birmingham and Nottingham, there’s so many great rock towns everywhere you go, people love their rock here but to be honest I haven’t looked at the schedule so I don’t know everywhere we’re going but London is always fun providing we can get a day off. There’s places we still haven’t been, I’d love to get to Edinburgh and where else, I feel like we haven’t been to Newcastle in a while, that would be fun and if we can get out to Wales that’s always a good time as well.
If you can get a gig in Cardiff, go out there, there is an amazing night life down by the bay. Anyway, thank you for talking to PureGrainAudio today and good luck with the rest of the tour Smith: Thanks!