HALESTORM guitarist Joe Hottinger recently spoke with "The Unchained Rock Show". The full conversation can be streamed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On the group's new album, "Vicious":
Joe: "It was a long process getting this record together. We went in there knowing what we didn't want to do. We'd written a whole bunch of songs and were just like, 'Man, I don't know about this,' and we showed them to our producer Nick Raskulinecz, [who said], 'Yeah, this isn't a HALESTORM record I wanted to make.' [We said,] 'Oh, good — then we're on the same page.' Nick's a good buddy and he's always honest with us, which is the true test of a friend... he's just one of those dudes that never played games, and he kind of instilled in us, 'Just trust yourselves. If you're excited about the music, then your fans will be excited,' which is a concept we hadn't really thought about before. It was a process, but it was good for us — we needed to do that and get through it."
On how the group's new material is being received live:
Joe: "So far, so good. It feels like the new songs — which was by design — they sound bigger live, which is what we were trying to do. Bigger riffs, something that will sound better in bigger rooms. A fast riff, you can barely hear it in bigger auditoriums and arenas, but if you do a big, fat riff, it just bounces off the walls. Writing, we were kind of going for a lot of those. They just sound heavier. We didn't realize we were making such a heavy record. It wasn't the goal — we were just doing riffs and things that got us excited."
On why the group likes to change its concert setlists:
Joe: "We do new setlists every night. We just switch it up and try out new things, see what works... We always have kind of switched it up a bunch, and then this last summer tour, it was a co-headline tour and we had 75 minutes, and we got a bunch of really good moments together and kind of kept it the same for a few weeks. I think we got bored with it, and the crew seemed bored. We were just like, 'We can't do that — we've got to keep it interesting, keep us on our toes.'"
On how he ended up with an obscure Ronnie James Dio collectible:
Joe: "We were on the Ronnie James Dio benefit album [2014's 'This Is Your Life']. We played the [listening party], and there was a great silent auction in the foyer. We donated some stuff, and there was a bunch of Dio stuff there too. I found the weirdest thing I could find in there and I bid on it, and I got it — Ronnie's personal bookends with his initials on it. It came with a few books too, and one was this photo book. There are some amazing pictures from early DIO shows."
On whether the group plans to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the release of their debut album:
Joe: "I haven't even thought about it. We could definitely do something fun with it, but we're promoting 'Vicious' — and those songs are more fun to play anyway. The last few shows, we've been pulling out songs that we haven't played in a few years. We did one off the first album in Dublin, and then we did one from an EP even before the first album in Northern Ireland, and it was, like, 'Oh my God, what we were thinking? Why would you write a song like this? It's terrible.' There's a lot of songs on that first record that are, like, 'Whoa.'"
On the band's goals:
Joe: "I think the true goal is what it's always been — keep growing, keep getting better. It seems like when we focus on getting better and being better musicians and being better live... the more we focus on that, it seems to just keep building. The same with writing in the studio — just try to get better and write for those moments, and look for new ones. That's the journey... and hopefully it keeps growing."
"Vicious" was released in July via Atlantic. The disc was recorded last year at Nashville, Tennesse's Rock Falcon studio.