A mix of Nine Inch Nails meets A Perfect Circle meets Halestorm meets something a little different. Hailing from Virginia Beach, VA, Lifewalker isn’t pulling any musical punches. Every track is a journey, and every journey is visceral, and well worth your attention.
Ryan: A band name is one of the hardest decisions to make. How did you come up with Lifewalker?
Lifewalker: Lifewalker was actually the original song name for “Diagnose Me,” track 2 on our EP. Shane (lead guitar/songwriter) had originally named the song and I (Dan Halen – guitar/vox) had mentioned that it would make a better band name because it embodied everything I loved about music. Everyone has a song that has gotten them through a tough time in life or that reminds them of a poignant moment. We wanted Lifewalker to be life’s soundtrack.
Ryan: What is the story behind the formation of the band?
Lifewalker: All the members of Lifewalker with the exception of Stephen Dodge, our vocalist, were in a metalcore project for two years beforehand. We were dissatisfied with the lack of depth in our music and vocalist and all left to form a new band where we had more freedom to pursue multiple genres of metal and hard rock.
Ryan: Many albums embrace specific themes. Does the RX Ep have a theme that runs through it?
Lifewalker: I don’t know at what point it happened, but as the lyrics for “RX” (EP) and “Diagnose Me” (LP) evolved, it went from a few songs about mental illness to an entire concept album delving into this Shutter Island-esque story. We touch on alienation, anxiety, schizophrenia, depression, suicide, drug abuse, and the morality of the treatments used to address these issues. The full length culminates in a Tyler Durdin-like realization in the 13-minute epic “Revelations.”
Ryan? How would you describe your music to someone that has not heard you before?
Lifewalker: Lifewalker is a progressive metal/hard rock quintet set to a cinematic backdrop. Think the score of 300 with Breaking Benjamin and Tesseract fighting to the death in the foreground.
Ryan: Where does the band gather inspiration from?
Lifewalker: We try and incorporate some prog vibes mixed with the accessibility of modern radio rock and metal. Our subject matter is a mix of real life experiences intertwined with movie and TV show themes, mostly in the realms of suspense and horror.
Ryan: What does your song writing process look like?
Lifewalker: Shane is our lead songwriter and the kid just writes and writes and writes. He’s the youngest member of the band and quite the prodigy. Most times he’ll present us with a song and I (DH) will rearrange a part or two or add a few things. Then Stephen writes up all the melodies and lyrics and we pre-pro all the vocals at my home studio where I help with the vocal production and arrangement. We use programmed drums in the pre-pro process so by the time Pericles (drummer) gets to them he adds a much more dynamic vibe with the live drums. Take a jazz drummer and throw him in a metal band and its magic.
Ryan: If you could collaborate with another artist, who would you choose to work with?
Lifewalker: I think all of us would definitively agree that Nothing More has become one of our biggest inspirations and our spirit animal. Touring or co-writing with them would be a dream.
Ryan: You launched a video for the track Genesis, or rather a teaser trailer. What was it about this song that made you choose this particular track for a visual representation?
Lifewalker: We had the EP fully recorded and ready to go but were unsure about a release approach. We knew we needed to get some momentum going and quickly. I’ve worked on and off with Scott Hansen (Digital Thunderdome) for over a decade and we approached him about doing a quick lyric video for us. He took a simple project and created almost a movie trailer for us and is now the head of our media management. Genesis opens the album and we thought it was a quick, powerful foundation for which we could build on.
Ryan: At this point in your musical career, what are some of your biggest highlights?
Lifewalker: We are just now coming up on being a band for a year. We’ve been blessed with opening for Slayer, Godsmack, Halestorm, Nothing More, We Are Harlot, Papa Roach, Starset, and a few other heavy hitters. Our fourth show was in front of 2,000 people at FM99’s Lunatic Luau. This year we’re shooting for the main stage at Warped Tour (fingers crossed).
Ryan: Do you have any advice for any indie bands looking to create their own EP?
Lifewalker: I think sonically what makes us stand out with this EP are the live drums. There are so many producers out there who use programmed drums and amp simulations and the difference you can hear with real drums and reamped guitars is monumental. Will Beasley is now located in Moyock, NC and is amazing and relatively inexpensive. He’ll even mix your multitracks if you can’t get to him, including triggered live drum replacement.
Ryan: How long did the RX Ep take to make?
Lifewalker: About two weeks in total, we made three weekend trips up to Baltimore to record with Will Beasley when he was located at Valencia Studios and spent a week on vocals at his studio in Moyock.
Ryan: Lastly, and thank you for your time. Do you have any news that you would like to share with your audience?
Lifewalker: “Rx” will be up on iTunes and Spotify 4.16.16 and you will be able to stream the whole thing on our Facebook page starting April 10th. Expect to see us in a city near you come September, thanks Ryan!