HALESTORM’s AREJAY HALE: ‘We Are One Of Few Bands Who Don’t Use Any Backing Tracks Or Any Type Of Sound Enhancement’

In a new interview with May The Rock Be With You, HALESTORM drummer Arejay Hale spoke about the band’s insistence on performing completely live — without the aid of backing tracks.

“We’ve always kind of prided ourselves by being one of the few bands that doesn’t use any backtracks or any type of sound enhancement,” he said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET). “We always felt it was more important for us to get the playing right within the four of us and to get the sound right with our playing. And that’s always been a really — it’s an uphill battle, but it’s worth it, ’cause live, we don’t even play to a click track, and without a click track, we’re able to adjust the tempos and let the songs breathe and kind of react to the energy of the crowd. But it’s also harder for me because I have to really focus on not playing too fast or too slow. So, I think that’s always just kind of been a unique thing about us, is that we just don’t want to [use tracks]. And also we’re not very technologically savvy, so we know that if we start running backtracks and stuff like that, sure enough, something will go wrong. So that’s kind of always been one of our main objectives, is just wanting to be as raw as possible.”

Back in June 2020, Arejay‘s sister, HALESTORM frontwoman Lzzy Hale, told “Offstage With DWP” about why she and her bandmates choose to play live: “We do it more selfishly, not necessarily as a statement. But it has kind of become this interesting statement. We’re very proud of that. But also, just again selfishly, I don’t think I’d enjoy myself. I’ve guested with people — I’ve dueted with people and got up onstage where they have those things and I can hear it in my in-ear monitors — and some of it is, like, ‘Chorus in one, two, three, four…’ I’m, like, ‘Oh my gosh! This would drive me nuts.’ And also, I would rather have us sound imperfect than have somebody figure out that I’m miming, or a shaker goes awry — ‘Where’s the tambourine coming from?’

“I’m not a fan of when I find out my favorite bands do that,” she continued. “And, like I said, I’m not knocking anybody who does it — you do you. But for us, that’s just not our M.O. And there’s nothing more fun that going out on stage and knowing that you’re responsible for either we’re gonna be tight, we’re gonna be loose, something’s gonna go wrong, we’re gonna have to pull the train back onto the tracks, but that’s cause we’re listening to each other.

“And also, if we weren’t actually playing, we would just get worse as musicians,” she added. “We’ve been to shows where somebody’s computer went down — the tracks are no longer there — and then they don’t play anymore. And we’re, like, ‘Can’t you just plug the instruments in?’

“I honestly think you would get so used to kind of like doing a music video and just miming along that maybe you can’t [play live] anymore. So we’ve become better musicians because we challenge ourselves in that way.”

HALESTORM is currently working with producer Dave Cobb on the band’s next studio album after making three records with Nick Raskulinecz.

Cobb has shared in nine Grammy wins, including four for “Best Americana Album” and three for “Best Country Album”. He’s also been named “Producer Of The Year” by the Country Music Awards, the Americana Music Association (twice) and the Music Row Awards, and has been a Grammy nominee in the category.

Lzzy and Arejay formed HALESTORM in 1998 while in middle school. Guitarist Joe Hottinger joined the group in 2003, followed by bassist Josh Smith in 2004.

Last May, HALESTORM teamed up with country singer Ashley McBryde for a reimagined version of the band’s song “Terrible Things”, which was originally featured on HALESTORM‘s latest studio album, “Back From The Dead”.

In December 2022, HALESTORM released a deluxe edition of “Back From The Dead”. “Back From The Dead: Deluxe Edition” includes seven previously unreleased B-sides, including “Mine”, a 1980s-inspired rocker. “Back From The Dead: Deluxe Edition” is available digitally, on CD, and cassette tape, marking the first time that the album has been offered in those physical formats.

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