"Review and interview"
I have a lot of problems with the Pennsylvania music scene. So, I usually
don't pay any attention to what goes on. But, when I did, one name came
continued to pop up...Halestorm. So, I decided to get in touch and see
what the big deal was. When the press kit arrived and I finally got the
chance to hear the music, I understood why everyone was talking about
Paul: At what age did the two of you befome musically active?
Elizabeth: Well, Arejay started at two & I started at five.
Arejay: Elizabeth, don't breathe too hard into the telephone (laughs).
Paul: What about drum lessons, piano lessons, are you taking them or have you taken them?
Elizabeth: We took them on and off, we've never had anything straight through like all our lives. It's basically been on and off like, I had one when I was five & then, when I turned twelve, I started it up again. Now I'm off it again now that I'm fifteen. Same thing with Arejay.
Arejay: I think I was about, like nine. Then I started again when I was eleven.
Paul: When did Halestorm officially become a band?
Elizabeth: We started Halestorm in 1997. But, it really began to take off last February.
Paul: And at what point in your career did you decide to release a CD?
Elizabeth: When we first started, we went into the studio & did nine hours straight & we had a little demo tape so we could prove to people that we do write our songs & to get people to take us seriously. We decided to do the CD in August. It took a long time to do this.
Paul: Isn't "Don't Mess With The TIme Man" your first album?
Arejay: We had an album before & this is now our second album. It was sort of like a demo. But, that's what we're gonna say about this CD once our next one comes out.
Elizabeth: It (the demo) was professionally done in a studio. But, it was basically just to get stuff down. So, you probably wouldn't be able to call it an album. We don't sell it anymore.
Arejay: That's probably because we only have six left.
Paul: How was your studio experiences?
Elizabeth: We had a whole lot of fun doing both of them (demo & CD). The demo was the first time we were in a studio. It was weird and we were a little nervous about it.
Arejay: But, it was fun.
Elizabeth: Yeah, it was really fun, it was a great experience. When we went back in to do our CD, we kinda had a backround about what was gonna happen. We had an awesome producer and he was very open to our ideas and everything.
Paul: Are you happy with the way the CD turned out or is there anything you would change if you had to do it all over again?
Elizabeth: Actually, at this point, I wouldn't wanna do it over again. I feel we have become so much better msuically since we did the CD.
Arejay: I think it's pretty well done so far.
Elizabeth: Yeah, it was pretty well done for the time it took to make it. We did five days in the studio total because of financial reasons.
Paul: Since you're both home schooled, do you miss being in the school environment, like you're missing out on something?
Elizabeth: In my opinion, if I wasn't doing what I love to do & I wasn't having so much fun doing the music, I think I would be really depressed about it. But, I see my friends every now and then. I just don't see them every day. It's kinda like when your best friend goes to a different school, you still keep in touch & everything.
Arejay: Well, school was pretty tough. We had a lot of homework. We got up very early, got home really late. Now that we left, school work has been a lot easier, but, I didn't wanna leave because of my friends.
Elizabeth: I think he would like to go back for the social stuff. What he's saying is he didn't like the homework. But, who does?
Paul: Do you have any plans to go back or will you continue the home school?
Elizabeth: As far as we're concerned, right now, we're probably not gonna go back. It was a hard scedule to keep up with, we had to juggle around the school scedule & then the music scedule. That really didn't work.
Paul: How would you describe the music you create? I've seen some reviews where you've been compared to the doors, I noticed Hanson keeps popping up. But, I think Hanson more for the age thing.
Elizabeth: Our inspiration was 50's and 60's classic rock 'n' roll.
Arejay: Matchbox 20. We kinda get inspiration from all the, you know, from The Beatles and lots of christian music.
Elizabeth: It's kind of hard to put it into one category because we just like so many different kinds of music & we've had so many inspirations. Anything from pop rock to classic rock.
Paul: And you're also considered a christian band, correct?
Elizabeth: Yeah, we have a christian backround, and we are christians. But I also write about other stuff going on with teenagers and just what's in my heart at the time.
Arejay: We don't make the record from the christian label, we don't make the record from the secular label, we just make the record. That kind of thing.
Paul: Now, you're album has been getting a lot of well deserved praise. But, is there anything that stands out, like a certain review or article that makes it all seem worth it?
Elizabeth: Well, everyone has their own opinion of who we are. We've been getting a lot of good press & everyone's been so supportive & it's really amazing because a year & a half ago, we would've never seen this. It blows me away.
Paul: Has success changed you in any way?
Elizabeth: We've learned so much & I think we've grown and matured through this because we've learned so much. I think we've become more open to everyone's ideas & more open, for me, as a songwriter. It gives me so much hope, like, I can have a unique style, I can write about this or that, you know?
Paul: I haven't seen the band live yet. But, I've heard a lot of stories about the rotating drum kit. What brought on the urge to do that?
Arejay: Well, we got it from a band called The Newsboys. They had a rotating platform & that was my insipration. I was like four or five when I saw that & I was like, "Wow, it would be neat if we had something like that. That would make a really neat show."
Elizabeth: Well, you basically just wanted it to ride on it.
Arejay: Yeah, it's fun too, it's like a rollercoaster. My father & I built it and when you go to a fair or a church, you don't expect something like that. We try to bring it to as many places as we can, stores, malls, fairs, chruches & all that stuff because people don't expect something like that.
Paul: How would you describe Halestorm live?
Elizabeth: Very interactive with the audience, we like to get the audience involved. We like to create a lot of energy and have fun. People have told us to keep it up because it's so much fun to come to our concerts.
Paul: Now, I've notice that you've gotten more press than the bar bands, yet, you don't play that scene.
Elizabeth: That suprised me. If you play cover tunes & songs that people are familiar with, that would get a lot more press because people would come around to hear other people's songs. I don't know how that worked since we're playing all originals .
Paul: What inspires you to write what you write about?
Elizabeth: Basically anything. If you think about it, everything inspires you to a certain degree. High school graduation could inspire you for a song. Anything that happens to you could inspire you. Things come out of me & I sit down & write a song. It could be a good song or a bad song.
Arejay: You could even write a song about a plunger or a window ice scraper, exhaust fluid or break fluid, you know? That kind of thing.
Elizabeth: It's very true. I get inspired by all kinds of things & if it ends up to be a good topic, yeah, I'll write a song about it.
Paul: For being only 15, you have a great talent for writing mature lyrics. Now, does that come natural for you or is that something you have to sit down and work on?
Elizabeth: The way that I write songs is usually, you can't just put a piece of paper in front of me & say write a song about this. It needs to come from your heart. What usually happens is I'll have an idea for a song & I'll start writing down things. If I get stumped, I will let it go & it'll come to me sooner or later. It might take maybe a month, but, it will come.
Paul: I noticed that your dad plays bass on the album. But, in all the articles I've read, they all say that he's just a hired hand. So, does that mean he's not an official band member?
Elizabeth: That's what we call him. See, when we first started Halestorm, he was willing to help out & everything. But, he didn't want to be part of the band because he didn't want people to think he wrote the music or that he was pushing us. That was his choice. We needed a bass player & he was the cheapest one we got. So, he said, "Why don't you just call me the hired bass player. I won't be in the band, but, I'll play bass with you." So, we agreed on that.
Paul: I also noticed that there's no guitar on your album. Was that by choice or because you couldn't or haven't found one yet?
Elizabeth: We don't have a guitar player yet, we're looking for one. We hope to find the right one soon because we do want a guitar player, it makes the music sound so much more full & being in the rock scene, you tend to lean towards the guitar.
Paul: Halestorm is considered a family band. You're a brother/sister team, you have your dad in the band. So, what does mom contribute to the band?
Elizabeth: She's the executive producer...no. She helps out so much. She took on the position of manager before we signed on with Josh Lickter. She has been learning with us. She's so good at putting together our press kits & she contacts people through E-mail. She does a lot of the business work. She does our lighting show too.
Arejay: And she's the mom!
Elizabeth: She's just so supportive. Even though she doesn't play an instrument, she's still part of the band. She says she plays the radio.
Paul: You all seem to have a sense of humor, but Elizabeth, you seem to be the more serious member of the band.
Elizabeth: I'm the only sane one in the band.
Arejay: I'm the one who always pulls pranks and sets up traps.
Elizabeth: A lot of people say that my personality does change when I'm up on stage. I have two roles, I guess.
Paul: When you're not making music, what do you like to do in your spare time?
Elizabeth: I like to go on the internet and catch up with friends through E-mail. I also like to read.
Arejay: I like to go on the internet and I like to, you know. Let's see, in my spare time...
Elizabeth: Arejay likes the tv.
Paul: Now, I've gotta lay a heavy question on you. When you're up on stage, do you consider yourself a role model or an entertainer?
Elizabeth: I think a little bit of both, really. I want to be a role model, especially for the younger kids. We get a lot of little kids who kinda like stare at you. We had five year olds follow Arejay around one day, that was interesting.
Arejay: There's one kid who follows me around, I just wanna mention him. His name is Ben. He's like a little brother, I just wanna mention him cause he's a really great guy.
Paul: Since most of the people who will be reading this magazine have never heard of Halestorm, is there anything else you'd like to add before we end this interview?
Elizabeth: Basically we're, like my mom said, we're kid tested, mother approved. We're trying to be an example for kids like us & kids who are younger than us. We have a lot of good morals in our songs, things that people need to hear. We want to be a band that, not only do kids like, but, the parents like too & they say, "That's the kind of band I want my kids to listen to." That's what we're striving for.
Arejay: I just wanna say that playing the drums is a lot of fun & I love playing with Halestorm & I wouldn't want to play with anyone else.
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