Hallelujah the Hills is gearing up to record its fourth full-length “Do You Have Romantic Courage?” and already frontman Ryan Walsh has looked for ways to “make other people part of the creative process.” With a Kickstarter campaign underway, he and his band will have plenty of time to make sure that happens before they record in February.
“Do You Have Romantic Courage?,” which Walsh admits may be a working title, is also a track on the album and the name has evolving significance. “I did ask someone that in real life once, early on in dating,” he says. “But to me, it has grown from there and can take on so many interpretations.”
Get your first taste of the album now with an exclusive demo of “Pick Up an Old Phone” and find out what the band is planning for its new release.
Q. The Kickstarter is up and you guys are off to a great start funding it, but how far along in the creative process are you with this album?
A. I’d say it’s about three-fourths finished, written and rehearsed with the whole band, so we’re definitely ready to go with it. I wanted to do some interesting things this time, as far as having a title and having album artwork ready when we ask people to pre-order. Deciding those things in advance has been fun, too. It gives you this leg up with each song you learn, knowing the end goal.
Q. And you’re going to be live recording it all in one swing?
A. We’re going up to Rochester, N.Y., for five days, sleepaway camp-style. We’re going to record it all there, just the five of us, no guests, which is something we’ve never done before.
Q. You must have a certain level of confidence to be able to nail it down in five days.
A. For the last album, we recorded two songs a month for five months. In between those dates though, there was a whole month to kind of second guess ourselves. I’m interested to see this time what an album from us will sound like in a vacuum.
Q. As far as Boston bands, you guys have outlasted the stereotype and stuck around. How has the local scene changed from when you started?
A. I’m not sure I’m the best judge of that, because sometimes I’m really plugged into the local bands, and other times I’m not. But I am proud that we’ve stuck around longer than the average expiration date. Personally, I think that’s when bands become most interesting, when you can see them develop over a long period of time. In two years, you might get some incredible songs but you’re not going to see that story develop. That said, I love playing with new bands and discovering their music.
Q. You tend to play bills with good variety, too.
A. To me, there’s nothing more boring than a jaded rock musician or fan. I have no time for that. You have to always be open. That’s how you’ll stay interested and stay interesting.
Q. After a few albums and a bunch of tours, how do you honor your band’s history and at which point do you clean the slate?
A. I think the only time we felt any sort of pressure was on our second album because it was the only time that we knew while recording that it was going to be released on a label. At that point, we felt a bit of pressure and some expectations to live up to these business people who had put this confidence in us. I love that album but we really tried to reach in every direction. It was like a Whitman’s Chocolate sampler. Besides that instance, we have always taken a very in-the-moment approach. I like to embrace the victories we’ve had as much as our failures because that’s all interesting to me. There’s no way we can scrub the slate clean but we try to make it fresh every time.