Interview: Arejay Hale of Halestorm Talks Knotfest Australia 2024 – Spotlight Report


Get ready to unleash your inner metal beast because Knotfest Australia 2024 is gearing up for an electrifying extravaganza! Brace yourself as legendary bands like Pantera, Lamb of God, and Disturbed, along with powerhouse acts like Speed, The Hu, Brand of Sacrifice and Halestorm, prepare to ignite the stage with their energy.

But that’s not all, as we had the opportunity to catch up with none other than Arejay Hale, the man behind the thunderous beats of Halestorm. But wait, there’s more! When he’s not pounding the drums on stages across the globe, he transforms into Dr. Magnificent, a fragrance aficionado who’s rapidly gaining traction on YouTube.

SR. Halestorm is probably one of the best live acts we have seen. What can we expect from your Knotfest shows?

Arejay. They’re going to be absolutely off the rails, so it’s going to be really fun. We love playing big festivals. It’s it’s a really fun experience for us and, and it’s just it’s a rush playing in front of that many people. And we’ve we’ve been to a few we’ve done a few festival shows down Under before and they’re always, you know, incredible.

SR. You guys almost dont take breaks. You tour a lot!

Arejay. True, but we took a little bit of a break this year mostly for writing and, and we’re going to be we did a little recording last fall and we’ve been writing ever since and then after this short little run that we’re doing to New Zealand, Australia, we’re going to come back and probably head in the studio pretty soon. So, this year has been lighter on the touring just because we’ve been focusing on getting another record out.

SR.  What bands are you more excited to see or hang out backstage at Knotfest Australia?

Arejay. I am really excited to see Pantera. I saw little bit of it in Copenhagen, but I never got to see the full set. That’ll be something. I’m really good friends with. Charlie and I was really stoked when he got that gig. So, that’ll be really cool to see, I think, cause I unfortunately never got to see Pantera back in, back in early days. I was also really tight with Vinnie (Paul) and so I was really sad when he when he passed away.

But, glad to see the Pantera is still going. I wish I could see them with their brothers, but, but from what I’ve heard, Charlie and Zac absolutely slay with with that project. And we’re also friends with Rex. He was really nice to hang out with. So yeah, I’m looking forward to seeing those guys. And I mean, the whole lineup looks absolutely bonkers.

It’s going to be awesome. So I’m going to do my best and see as many bands as possible and I’m going to smell good doing it.

SR. Speaking about “smelling good”. Tell me more about your Youtube Videos.

Arejay. It’s just a fun thing for me to do. It’s honestly kind of therapeutic because, you know, when you’re on tour it can be a bit grueling after a while. Just the constant traveling. It’s hard to get a lot of sleep and stuff like that. So it’s kind of meditative for me to to just put my headphones on and just edit fragrance content.

I always loved, you know, traveling with fragrances. I did since the since the early days of touring because when we were in a van playing little clubs, you don’t know when you’re going to see another shower, so you do a meet and greets. You don’t want to smell bad. So, you know, it’s like instant shower.

Over the years I just started really nerding out on the science and the process of perfume, which is an art form that really fascinates me. And at the same time kind of during the pandemic, I started really following and loving a lot of other content creators on YouTube and try to think of like, I’ll be fun to like, create content on something that I’m really passionate about, but also kind of inject my personality into it.

So, it’s kind of a combination of my love for perfumery and silliness. So it’s it’s a way for me to kind of tap into my the that my love for comedy and, and just acting silly on camera. So, yeah, it’s just become a really fun thing for me to do and to nerd out with. And it’s become kind of a fun thing for me to do interactively with the fans.

Now fans are coming up to me during the shows like The Magnificent, like, like what should I wear as a fragrance? And I’ll like and I’ll try to figure out what they like and and combine it with their personality like, check out what’s your price point? Like, check out these, these, these. And I’ve had fans come up to me.

It’s like, Hey, I checked out your recommendations and I’ve loved this one and now it’s my signature scent. And so it’s been a it’s just become a really fun way to also interact with fans and other fragrance nerds online and, and just kind of it’s just like a different thing other than music that I can just kind of stick my teeth into.

it’s just fun for me. But some it would be cool if it could become something lucrative if it my channel gets monetized and that would be another great little source of income. So, you know, the channel is growing slow and steady, but, you know, that’s that’s not that’s not the reason I’m doing it. And that’s we’ll cross that bridge at some point in the future if that ever happens.

SR. It’s not easy to be a stand out as a drummer, but you really  managed that well, you are a showman on your own. Who influenced you the most to become the drummer you are?

Arejay. I was more influenced by front people growing up but I just kind of like fell into being a drummer.

I always loved the idea of drumming. It looked like fun. But you’re right. Like I was more inspired by like Freddie Mercury and David Lee Roth and even modern people like like Jacoby from Papa Roach, he is one of my favorite singers.

“…I was a kid, I was like, like, let me see if I can play this thing and throw my stick way up in the air and see if I can catch it…”

As far as drummers go, I grew up on my dad’s music, so I was really into Ginger Baker and, and Keith Moon and John Bonham. These are drummers that put on a show like they were a show in themselves, and that just looked way more fun than just sitting there and playing.

I was a kid, I was like, like, let me see if I can play this thing and throw my stick way up in the air and see if I can catch it. In fact, I see videos of myself later on like, God, that’s so cringe. What are you doing? I feel like I look like an idiot on stage. But it’s it’s an extension of my personality. It’s it’s the way that I express my passion for performing songs, you know? And my instrument just happens to be drums. So I had to find a way to be able to perform behind a drum kit.

I think what really, really pushed me was in the early stages of touring before we could afford a light show, before we get to afford any production, Pyro or Confetti, like we had none of that. We had nothing. We had a back line and us and like the house lights. So our M.O. as a band in the beginning was finding ways to be the production ourselves, like, we have to be the first people to put the energy out, otherwise we’re never going to get it back.

We have to make the first move essentially with the crowd. And that’s, I think has been as continue to be our M.O. as a band. When we hit the stage, we want the audience to feel the energy, but we have to provide it first and then the reaction from that gets us even more pumped up.

SR. Back from the Dead, your last album was a perfect post-pandemic release. How hard was to put it together?

Arejay. After not playing with each other for like nine, ten months, we just really started feeling the itch to get back in the studio and start creating.

I think that the end result of that album was probably ten months of accumulated aggression from sitting at home. I mean, it was, it was a nice break for a while, but once we got back in the studio, we were just really hungry for it. We really wanted to go for it. So I think it just kind of inevitably became one of our more aggressive records.

SR. It amazes me how good your work with Lzzy, your sister.Many people always say to not work with family, but you guys have proven everyone wrong.

Arejay. I really don’t know why we get along so well (laughs). We really shouldn’t. You know, we’re very different people, but maybe that’s why it works. Also, like her and I are probably the closest family members that we have, like, besides like our parents, like we don’t have we we have some family, some relatives. But, you know, it was always kind of the two of us growing up. We didn’t have we always moved.

So, we didn’t really have the opportunity to like really establish a friend group. A lot of time we did, we had we had like friends from school and stuff like that. But I think that it’s it could be partially that the fact that we were so dependent on each other to entertain ourselves and each other growing up, but also also the fact that we’ve been doing it so long and we’re older now and we just don’t have the physical or mental energy to hold grudges or to argue about anything because we both have the same end goal.

SR.  What’s the weirdest item you have ever signed for a fan?

Arejay. Well, I signed a man’s ass once. That was. I mean, that was. That was weird. I probably wasn’t too caring. You hold a Sharpie at the very end to sign your name, and then you throw the Sharpie away like, you’re like, Yeah, there you go. But you know, the you know, you’ve got to give the fans what they want.

SR. I assume you also have plenty of funny tour stories. Can you share a quick one with us?

Arejay. There was there was a really hilarious and very kind of scary. I probably should mention this, but a long time ago we were filming a live concert and I thought it’d be pretty funny in front of the camera right before I went on stage. What I did was I took a bottle of vodka and I emptied it into the water bottles and I filled the bottle of vodka up with water.

And then I grabbed the camera and I chug this entire bottle of vodka. But it was water. And the camera man was like, What the fuck? And then I was like, I’m kidding. It’s water. I gotcha. Little prank. Fast forward to later in the night, I crawl to my bunk and I’m getting ready for bed and I reach for my water bottle in my bunk and I open up and I take a sip and I nearly gagged because my bandmates pranked me by putting one of the water bottles filled with vodka in my bunk.

I’m like, that’s so funny. So, I’m like, I’m going to get them back. And I took the bottles of vodka and I put them in random places in the in the case of water in the front of the bus. So someone’s going to grab the water, they’re going to get vodka but I didn’t realize that our bus driver used bottled water to make coffee in the morning, and he used me by some chance. Random bad luck picked that bottle by mistake and he took a sip of coffee was like, this coffee is awful. What the fuck? We were like, Why? Why is he yelling? You’re whatever. And he was this angry German guys like that.

I got out and I were like “sorry”, I could lose my license and all that…he was screaming. I was like, my God, I’m so sorry. That was a prank gone horribly wrong. So I’ve learned my lesson.

SR. Just to finish, any message for your fans ahead of Knotfest Australia 2024?

Arejay. It’s worth a 22 hour flight. It’s absolutely worth it. We love coming down there, Australia is one of the most beautiful, incredible places I’ve ever been. and y’all should be very proud of how nice your your country is.

I mean, it’s a place I could see myself living if, you know, if I had to. So we’re just excited to get down there. I’m excited about the weather, I’m excited about the food, and I’m excited about the rabid feral fans that are going to go absolutely nuts at Knotfest – thank you all for being the reason that we get to come down there!

KNOTFEST AUSTRALIA 2024
DATES AND VENUES:

Thursday 21 March 2024 – Flemington Racecourse, Melbourne
Saturday 23 March 2024 – Centennial Park, Sydney
Sunday 24 March 2024 – Brisbane Showgrounds, Brisbane

KNOTFEST AUSTRALIA 2024 Line-Up

Pantera and Disturbed To Headline
Plus Lamb of God
Halestorm, The Hu, Asking Alexandria,
Wage War, Escape The Fate, Thy Art Is Murder, Skindred, Speed,
Windwaker, Brand Of Sacrifice, King Parrot

Sideshow Info:

HALESTORM

w/ SKINDRED & RELIQA

Wednesday 20th March – Liberty Music Hall, Sydney
Tuesday 26th March – Princess Theatre, Brisbane 

Tickets From Knotfest.com/Australia

Stay up to date on all things KNOTFEST over at https://knotfest.com/australia/

 



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