Grammy award winners Halestorm are set to unleash their most recent effort Vicious to the world next week and we were lucky enough to sit down with frontwoman Lzzy Hale to chat all about the album and more.
Hale admits that the lead up to the release has been a bit of a waiting game and she’s glad it’s almost over. “We’re almost out of purgatory, you know? It’s a small period of time in between when we’re done with the record and we’re no longer working on it, but it’s not in anybody else’s hands yet, so I can’t wait to release it into the world. It’ll be a mix of excitement and relief I think,” she giggles, the anticipation clear in her voice.
Speaking about the inspiration behind the album’s title, Vicious, Hale explains that it almost had a different name. “It actually came at the eleventh hour. We were going to name the record ‘Vultures’ after the opening track ‘Black Vultures’ just because we thought it was a cool word, but it just didn’t feel right. It felt a little too negative for the empowerment and the survival aspect of this record. It needed something with teeth but something a little less ‘bird’ and ‘dead things.’ So I think it was around four in the morning after we had figured out we pretty much had the record done. I ended up writing like four pages of weird gibberish, murk stuff, like I do. I ended up really loving the word, and I ended up writing the song based off of a Nietzsche quote, which is “What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger,” and I thought ‘well, what doesn’t kill me makes me vicious is so much more my speed,’ and also realising that this record that we were making, there’s so much more in this life right now. It’s so much more than being strong. You can’t just be strong and weather the storm, you have to kind of come at everything with a little bit of teeth and be fierce about it. So I ended up writing the song and we were like, “Oh my God, we’ve gotta record it.” Then I told the guys, “I don’t know, I think we should call the album Vicious” and they immediately got back to me like, “oh great, that’s perfect, let’s do it,” So I ended up calling the powers that be and telling them we’re calling it Vicious and they’re all like, “Oh great! That’s awesome, we didn’t really like ‘Vultures’ anyway.” So for me, at the eleventh hour, looking back at what we had done on the record, it just made sense to me.”
It doesn’t take long for the conversation to turn to the fan reactions to the singles released so far, which have been overwhelmingly positive. “I’m waiting to the catch.” Hale laughs. “You know, it’s one of those things, we never expect the worst, but we kind of prepare for it. As a band and as people, we’ve never been preoccupied with people’s opinions about what we do, it’s more the judgement on ourselves. We’re our biggest critics and we love what we do, but it’s also really exciting that it’s been overwhelmingly positive because it gives you a little confidence that you did the right thing.” No strangers to judgemental comments on social media, however, Hale adds with a laugh, “I’m sure we’ll get our fair share of people who care enough to post hateful comments.”
The conversation soon switches to Hale’s open relationship with her fans and how a semi-joking late-night tweet took off in the form of the hashtag #ViciousBitches. She explains by saying, “There have been a lot of people lately that have struggling with things. They’ve been struggling with self-harm, they’ve been struggling with addiction, and there’s a couple people just struggling with their self-worth and their self-love. I started, just as words of encouragement, you know, because Vicious was on my mind, and I said “You know, we’re all vicious bitches. Who wants to be a part of the vicious bitches club?”
A natural continuation, we speak about the track ‘Killing Ourselves to Live’ and the stigma surrounding mental health in the society we’re living in. When asked if she thinks we’re moving in a positive direction, Hale doesn’t hesitate before answering. “I hope so. I know that it’s less taboo to talk about it. For years I think that when you talked about mental health, you’d think ‘oh god, psychology and mental hospitals and oh you’re crazy’ and so a lot of people would shy away from talking about it because it made them feel worse. That’s becoming less of a taboo and it is a real thing, and it doesn’t just happen to people who have been diagnosed with a mental disorder. It happens to everybody, especially in this day and age where it’s hard enough just to be yourself. You can put up a picture on your Instagram of you at a birthday party in your favourite dress and someone is going to tell you you’re fat, someone is going to tell you that you’re ugly, someone is going to tell you that you shouldn’t be posting that, or that colour doesn’t look good on you – whatever it is, you’re going to get all of this negativity and it’s disheartening, especially for young people who are trying to grow up in this post-digital world. I’m in a very lucky position where people do pay attention to what I’m saying. When you chose to open your mouth, chose to make somebody’s day. Chose to make it positive. It’s so easy to fall into that negative trap and if I’m going to push something out into the world, It’s going to be in a positive way and try and make somebody smile because there’s too much of that going on right now.”
Halestorm had previously shown great interest in playing the now-defunct Soundwave Festival but had opted to release Into the Wild Life first, causing them to miss the boat. Speaking about the expansion of Download to our shores this year, Hale says, “We were just talking about that a few days ago and it turns out that you never run out of dreams, so I’m going to put that on my bucket list, hopefully to be ticked off. Maybe next year, who knows?” As for another tour? Well, Hale fesses up – it might be time to start pinching those pennies again as it sounds like we’ll be seeing them back sooner than we thought. “Definitely sooner rather than later. We’re in the works of actually trying to book that so it’s definitely happening, I just have no idea when,” she laughs.
“Some of the most fun we’ve ever had as a band has been when we’ve come over and there’s something to be said about Aussie rock fans, because you still consider it a lifestyle the way that we do. Not every country is like that, so thank you.” Are just some of Hale’s parting words. Oh, and – she’s promised to make sure she won’t be unwell when the storm hits out shores this time around!
‘Vicious’ is out on July 27th via Atlantic Records and you can pre-order your copy HERE!