2014 saw some changes in the Hellyeah camp as the band of brothers parted ways with Greg Tribbett and Bob Zilla on the eve of recording fourth album Blood for Blood. Without missing a beat, Christian Brady and Kyle Sanders stepped into the breach to allow Hellyeah to keep bringing on their good-time Southern groove metal attack. With their first Australian dates since 2012 booked in for August, Loud Online got new bass recruit Sanders on the line.
Thanks for your time, Kyle. Tell me how things are with Hellyeah right now.
Things are great man. We actually just got home from Europe a couple days ago for a good little run out there. So we got a couple days off before we head out here in the States for a tour and then we go straight over for the Australian tour. We’re extremely excited about that. We’re finally getting over there.
It’s going to be the first time you’ve come here with the band, isn’t it?
It will be my first time with Hellyeah. I’ve definitely been over there before. 2008 was the last time I was over there, I think, so it’s loooong overdue.
Did you enjoy your time here back then?
You know, Australia’s always at the top of my list. I don’t know what it is about it, whether it’s the attituide or the vibe or the people or the weather. When you’re there on tour you don’t really get a lot of time, just a few days or a week. I just always wanna spend more time there.
It’s certainly been a while since we’ve had Hellyeah on these shores.
It’s been several years. For whatever reason, the band has not been able to get back over there. I don’t know if it’s been timing or schedules or what it is, but basically there’s no excuse for it. So I’m dying to get over there.
Hellyeah has always enjoyed a good audience here in Australia. The tours and records have always done very well here. Do you think that’s because the vibe of the band has always just been about having a good time?
Bottom line is, you have to have fun no matter what you’re doing. We take everything very seriously but you’ve gotta have some kind of release. Everyone’s just working every day, happy or unhappy with their lives, whatever it is. Everyone has to have that release, and music is that release – for me, anyway and for a lot of other people. So you’ve got all this built up energy and you don’t know what to do with it so you go to a concert or a show and let everything go, and then go on and live your life.
What’s it been like for you, coming into Hellyeah?
I’ve known these guys for a long time. Even back to Chad’s Mudvayne days, he got one of my previous bands Bloodsimple… he got us our record deal, he took us out on tour. And with Hellyeah, he took my bands out on tour. So I’ve been with these guys since the beginning. It wasn’t like a new, weird, awkward kinda day. It was like a meant-to-be kinda thing. It’s been a long time coming, but all things happen for a reason and now we’re all in the same band. It’s nice to be able to know each other this long and be tight friends. It’s just a perfect situation.
It’s festival season in Europe right now. Tell me what the tour was like there.
It was very cool. We opened for some bands, we did a lot of headline show and we did a lot of festivals. So it was a little bit of everything, so it wasn’t routine by any means. Playing early one day, late one day – it was a little taste of everything. We ended it at the Download Festival in the UK, which is huge! It’s a really good show to go out on. It was a great night.
You have a bit of a lay off between tours now. How much time off do you generally get from touring? Is it too much, not enough?
We have just the right amount of time off. In between album cycles you get a few months, but it’s good to get a couple weeks off between tours to regroup and everybody goes home and gets their head back together… but if you’re home for too long, you get out of the groove and out of the routine of touring and then when you’re on the road too long you get burned out, so you’ve gotta find that perfect balance of just enough home time and then time on the road. It’s good to be busy. That’s a good problem to have – a lot of work going on. But you have to have time to just step outside the box now and then and just have a little time to yourself so you can prolong the touring cycle of the record.
What do you do to decompress during your time off? What outside interests do you enjoy?
I have a small house with a big yard and I live outside the city of Atlanta, Georgia. So I spent a lotta time outdoors. I do a lot of hiking, I try to get to the beach as much as possible. I go camping, I have a cabin in the woods and have gardens in the yard, so there’s plenty of nature going on to keep my personal balance between touring life and home life.
With bands touring so much, especially these days, that must be incredibly important.
It really is. You see it all the time with bands that are being kept out on the road for way too long, they keep pounding and pounding and they never go home. That’s when bands implode. They stop getting along and people start arguing and fighting. You’re around everybody 24 hours a day. You have to get along. Everyone has different attitudes and different ways of life and it’s all about respecting everyone else. You have to take control of your own career and not let someone work you too hard to the point where the band’s just gonna implode and break up.
When it comes to writing, what process do you have? Do you get ideas while you’re out on tour or have a chance to put anything down?
There’s always the idea that you think you’re gonna write on the road, but once you get out there and you get in the routine of touring everyday, it’s really hard to do that. Unless you have a rolling studio with you all the time, it’s really hard to do that. So basically, everyone just comes up with their own ideas – a little blurb or a melody or a guitar part or something – and everybody keeps a log of everything. If you have an idea, or a dream or anything you get up and write it down or record it on your phone so that throughout the touring or whatever you’re going through, you’re developing a catalogue of all these ideas you’re having and when you have time at home, that’s when you piece everything together. Listening back to things you definitely would have forgotten about if you hadn’t recorded it or logged it. And then you piece it together on your own and get together with the band or who you’re writing with and colloborate and see what fits together and what doesn’t. It’s definitely a mistake if you don’t write or record these things when you feel them, because that’s the moment, and you’re never gonna get that moment back. As long as you can capture that, you can go back to it and that’s when you can start writing the next record.
Well it’s going to be great to have Hellyeah back in Australia again. By the looks of things, a lot of people are really looking forward to it because it really has been quite a while since the last tour here.
People don’t really understand it, but it’s hard to travel across the globe and put a tour together. If it was easy, we’d be doing it every year. There’s a lot involved to make it happen but if you know the fans are waiting for it, if there’s a will there’s a way and you can make it happen. It’s kind of a different band now. There’s a brand new life and brand new fire. There’s a couple new members and the new album is heavier than the previous one and the previous one was heavier than the one before that, so we’re constantly evolving, constantly changing and hopefully for the better. Hopefully people will dig it.
Catch Hellyeah in Australia in August:
25/8: The Gov, Adelaide SA
27/8: Metro Theatre, Sydney NSW
28/8: Eatons Hill Hotel, Brisbane QLD
29/8: Corner Hotel, Melbourne VIC
31/8: Rosemount Hotel, Perth WA