An interview with the creative force behind Lifehouse: Jason Wade
Jason Wade talks to The Upcoming about his newest album, what has changed since his last album and his creative process.
It’s been 15 years since you released your first album and you have enjoyed a lot of success since then. Do you still live the rock-and-roll life?
I do man. We took a couple years off of touring which I think we really needed. Since No Name Face came out, our pattern was to release an album, then tour that album for two years and then right back in the studio. So we didn’t get any time off for over a decade. After the last album came out and it kind of fell short, we felt really burnt out and we couldn’t bring ourselves to go back out on the road to promote that album, so we unplugged the machine a little bit. Ricky, our drummer, went to play with the Goo Goo Dolls, Bryce, our bassist, started side projects, and I just immersed myself back in the studio and really just started writing songs. I really tried not only to recharge my batteries, but to get inspired again. It took me a year-and-a-half to come up with a collection of songs that I really felt I could stand behind, that I could get excited about again. A song called Flight and a song called Hurricane are really the two catalysts that got the band back together. They really reminded us all of our fist album, we got really excited about returning to our roots. We became independent artists leaving our major label, really taking creative control of every aspect of the band. We are in our 30s now and its really about turning the page and starting a new chapter where we are excited to get back out there.
What was your inspiration for leaving your label?
It felt like we were getting lost in that pond, so to speak. There was a lot of competition to get our music out there and it started to become very political. The musical landscape has changed so much where… we are kind of old-school in the sense that we want to make good albums, and have track one through 12 be just as good, and its different now. I feel like what is expected of you from a major label is to deliver 16 singles and until you have your first single, they keep sending you back to the studio. So we felt like we were getting suffocated that we needed to break away to have complete creative control. Even something as simple as making your own album cover.
As you mentioned, your band went on hiatus in 2013. What do you think are the most significant results to come from this break?
We all have a sense of excitement to get in a room and play music again; I think that’s what the two years was. Touring is using a different side of your brain. It is the same songs over and over, it’s not as creative as being in the studio, it’s not coming up with fresh ideas. Just being a normal human being able to go to the grocery store. Recording during the week and just not being on the tourbus was essential for us to fall in love with music again.
What do you get up to in your spare time then?
A little bit of everything. I love being outside, hiking, playing basketball, anything active. When you spend a lot of time in the studio, it can kind of feel like a cave. You don’t get to see the sun, you’re in there for 13 to 14 hours. So anything I can do on days off to be outside and be active.
Are you looking forward to touring the UK?
I have so many great memories of playing Shepherd’s Bush Empire and we are really looking forward to it. Some of our best shows were played at that venue.
How does the writing process work for you?
In the beginning it started as very traditional, sit down with a guitar until a song starts to take shape. Or sit down at a piano until a song just starts to come into the room. I wrote like that for a good ten to 12 years, but now I use the studio as a blank canvas where I will go in and if I hear a rhythm in my head I will get the drums down and then I will just start creating atmospheric sounds. It is almost like a stream of consciousness. The track starts to feel a certain way and then I will get inspired to sing a certain melody. So its really just throwing paint on the canvas and moving the brush around until you start to see something. I think the process always has to change, otherwise you just keep going back to the same material over and over again. The same song over and over again.
Finally, what would you be if you were not a professional musician?
I don’t know. Being a musician is all I have ever been. I guess I would be a street performer if I didn’t have any success.
For further information about Lifehouse visit here.