Pop rocksters Lifehouse are back with their fourth album in seven years, Who We Are. It’s more of the same ear candy the band has become known for, but has more of an alternative edge akin to their debut, No Name Face. Bullz-Eye spoke with bassist Bryce Soderberg recently about the new album, life on the road and band cookouts in Los Angeles.
Bullz-Eye: I got a chance to listen to the record and I really like it.
Bryce Soderberg: Great!
BE: So just to clarify, how long have you been with the band?
BS: I’ve been with the band about three years now.
BE: Okay, so is this your second record with Lifehouse?
BS: Yeah. Well this is actually the first record that I’ve played on.
BS: Yeah, it was really cool.
BE: So you guys are what we’d call certified rock stars. How does that feel to you?
BS: (Laughs) Well, I don’t know if we call ourselves rock stars. On the outside of playing music and playing in front of a bunch of people, which we love to do and are totally happy to have, we totally live normal lives. Like, we’ll go out and go to dinner or do karaoke together. We don’t consider ourselves rock stars, but we are happy to be where we’re at.
BE: That’s cool. You go out and do karaoke? Does anybody recognize you guys at all?
BS: (Laughs) Actually, it’s funny because it’s not like we’ll walk down the street and…every once in a while we’ll get recognized, but it’s not as much as say, Justin Timberlake. (Laughs)
BE: Okay. So what are the groupies like at your level?
BS: The groupies like at our level? Well, it depends on what type of groupie you’re talking about. (Laughs) I mean, we have a lot of fans we call our “super fans.” They know a lot about us. They’re the ones that know our shoe size or the color of our eyes or whatever. They’ll talk on our fan sites. You know, groupies… (Laughs). Yeah, we’re so anti-rock star and we’re so anti-groupies.
BE: We’re a men’s magazine, so that’s why I asked. Okay, that’s cool. So how did you officially wind up joining the band?
BS: I actually got a call from our drummer, Rick, three years ago. Rick and Jason (Wade, lead singer) had just finished making their third record. They had seen my old band, AM Radio, play before. They just called me to go and have a jam with them. Actually, it was Rick’s brother who recommended me – Rick’s brother used to be in Lifehouse. And we went and had a jam session and got along really well. And they asked me to join the band the second day, and like, I stopped everything I was doing to do this. So it really worked out.
BE: Okay. This is the fourth album in seven years, right? And Lifehouse keeps churning out hits. Are you guys always writing songs when you’re on the road?
BS: Yeah. We have our back lounge and we have a little Pro Tools thing set up. And Jason is the main songwriter of the band. We’ll sit down and jam out little songs and keep the catalog going. Most of the record that we did was written on the fly. I’ll get to that later if you want to know about the record.
BE: Okay, you can tell me now.
BS: Our record was recorded at Iron Works Music, which is co-owned by Kiefer Sutherland and Jude Cole, our manager. We actually co-produced the record with Jude. We’re really proud of it. Basically, we would just show up to the recording studio every day, set up a mic and record a song right there. There was no pre-production. Jason would come in and say, “Okay, I have this idea.” And then Rick and I would be like, “Oh cool.” And then add to it. And by the end of the day we would have most of a song done, if not all of a song done. And that’s how we did the whole record. It was very old-fashioned. So we’re really proud of it.
BE: How many songs did you write for the album before whittling it down to what you have now?
BS: Man, we recorded maybe, like, 25 songs. And we whittled it down to 12 for the record, and then there’s about four or five bonus tracks that we have left over.
BE: With all of the major labels merging and fewer artists having longevity, you guys seem to be an exception. Does your label want you to release music as often as you are, or was that the band’s choice?
"We all live in Los Angeles. I live in Hollywood. There is always stuff to do. There is the beach there and there’s really cool clubs. We’ll have barbeques at Rick’s house all the time. That’s what we do a lot." BS: I think right now for bands that are surviving in the industry, which by the way is really hard to do right now, like you’ve said, everything’s changing. We’ve been rolling with the punches and I think it’s been two years since we’ve put out a record, which is normal right now for a healthy artist, I think. Back in the day, it would be like one record a year. Now with the amount of promotion that you have to do with the record and the proper timing with the singles releasing and stuff like that, I think two years is good.
BE: What are your goals for this album and for the next few years after this?
BS: We just want to make new fans. We have really good songs on this record, like I said. We’re really proud of it. We want to take this band to the next level. We’re always improving. We want to always be a better band. And I think by doing so with these songs, armed with these new songs, we can reach a new fan base. Like a better demographic, both older generations and younger generations. We want to play “sheds,” basically. We want to play amphitheaters and headline them.
BE: And right now you guys are opening for the Goo Goo Dolls, correct?
BS: We are opening for the Goo Goo Dolls.
BE: How’s that going so far?
BS: It’s awesome, man. They’re really nice guys, Johnny and Robby. They’re really cool. Their crew is really cool with our crew. We like their music and I think the sets are going over really well.
BE: Yeah, I can definitely see how the tour would work out well with you two bands.
BE: You’re not coming to Nashville, are you, because I didn’t really see it on the itinerary.
BS: If it’s not on the itinerary, then probably not. Maybe in the fall we’ll do a headlining thing.
BE: Our “shed” is gone, actually.
BS: Oh, really?
BE: Yeah, it was called Starwood.
BS: Oh, Starwood. Okay.
BE: They leveled it.
BS: Oh, no way. Why did they do that?
BE: Oh they’re putting in residential and housing or something. I’m not sure exactly what happened, but it kind of sucks. We’re losing a lot of the touring artists.
BS: Yeah, that sucks!
BE: So what interests do you have outside of music and what do you like to do when you’re not performing?
BS: Personally? Well, we all play basketball. Jason and I play basketball a lot. You know, we try and not let ourselves go. (Laughs) You know what I mean? We always try and be active. I don’t know. We have an Xbox on our bus. We’ll play Xbox. Xbox 360. We all live in Los Angeles. I live in Hollywood. There is always stuff to do. There is the beach there and there’s really cool clubs. We’ll have barbeques at Rick’s house all the time. That’s what we do a lot.
BS: I mean, it’s funny. We’ll be on the road together, we’ll be hanging out all day, and then we’ll get back into Los Angeles and we’ll hang out again. Like, now what do we do? Let’s hang out and have a barbeque.
BE: That sounds good. You’re always going to have good weather in L.A. too.
BS: Yeah man. It never gets bad. It’s always nice.
BE: Well, we have a couple of features that we did on Bullz-Eye recently, or that we’re in the process of. I’d love to get your input, if you don’t mind.
BE: One is the top albums from the 80s? Can you name me two or three of your favorite albums from the 80s?
BS: Wow. I’d have to say…uh, wow. Maybe Appetite for Destruction. Ghost and the Machine by the Police. And War by U2.
BE: Those are all good ones. I think those are three titles that a lot of us writers had on the list.
BS: Oh, cool.
BE: And then we did another feature that was just published called “Bands that should break up and Bands that should Reunite.”
BE: Could you give me one of each of who you think?
BS: Wow. Okay. Could I have like 10 seconds to think?
"Back in the day, it would be like one record a year. Now with the amount of promotion that you have to do with the record and the proper timing with the singles releasing and stuff like that, I think two years is good." BS: (Talking to self) Let’s see. Bands that should reunite. Well, the Police did that. (back to interview) I’d have to say, like, you know Led Zeppelin? Right now Jimmy Page and Roger Plant, they’re playing together but John Paul Jones doesn’t play with them anymore. I don’t know what’s up with that. If the Who can play without Keith Moon and John Entwistle, then Led Zeppelin can play without John Bonham. They should get back together.
BE: That’s a good point.
BS: And I think that bands that should break up? Oh wow. Has Chumbawamba broken up yet?
BE: (Laughs) I don’t know. That’s a good one.
BS: Okay, I’ll say Chumbawamba.
BE: I mean, for example, I had Aerosmith and Oasis to write up.
BS: Aerosmith to break-up?
BE: Yeah, that should break up.
BS: Oh, wow. I’d say Aerosmith sure, but I love Oasis, man.
BE: (Laughs) No problem. That’s about all I’ve got. Do you have anything else you want to plug or say about the tour?
BS: We just think that this record is one of our best and we want people to hear it.
BE: Yeah, I think it’s great, man. I think there’s more of a rock edge to this one than the last one anyway.
BS: Thanks. Yeah, totally. It’s got a little bit of everything, so we’re really excited about it.
BE: All right, cool. Thanks Bryce. Good talking to you.
BS: Thanks! Take care, man.