With the European leg of their tour coming to an end at the historic Shepherd’s Bush Empire in London, I – along with Live Editor Will – was fortunate enough to be able to catch up with Lifehouse bassist Bryce Soderberg a few hours before their set. The towering bassist greeted us warmly before sitting down with us at a desk to talk about the tour, who he’d like to collaborate with, his major influences and what he does during his downtime whilst on the road.
Beth: How are you?
Fantastic so far! I don’t think I ever really recovered from the jet lag, you know? Obviously you’re touring and then you finish your show around eleven or twelve and then hang out until like three in the morning! But it’s great, it’s the last day here and I’m grateful for the whole tour.
Will: Is this the last day of the whole tour?
It’s the last day of the whole Europe tour, and then we go to the Philippines and Australia.
Will: That’s awesome! So jet lag is going be a bitch for the rest of the tour then!
Haha! Yeah definitely! We’re flying around the world so yeah, it’s gonna be constantly getting up earlier and get up earlier… But you know, it’s part of the work!
Beth: So how has the tour been so far then?
The tour actually itself has been phenomenal! I mean, we took a few years off and haven’t toured here since 2011, so to come back and have the response we’ve had and the same people coming out and singing the songs and not having our fan base go away is phenomenal. Especially where the music industry is at for us, we have our touring business and the fans aren’t going away, so it’s been great!
Will: With the music industry, obviously it’s been progressing a lot and becoming a lot more dance-orientated and there’s a lot of club music. How have you guys found it? Do you still get the same numbers turning up to your gigs, is it still as good as it ever was, or do you fins now it’s slightly less?
Yeah, I mean it’s like ninety percent of what it was in 2011. You know, there have been a couple of venues we’ve gone down and a couple of venues we’ve gone up, it just varies from place to place. I think the industry is very dance-infused all over the place but there’s still a place for rock, there’s still a place for alternative, and there’s a place for our type of rock and alternative, which is a separate entity on its own. The touring has progressed whilst record sales have digressed, so it’s a double edged sword. You know with streaming and downloading and everything you’re getting more exposure to people that wouldn’t normally listen, so we’re definitely staying in the positive and just rolling with the punches and learning as we go.
Beth: What has been your biggest highlight of the tour so far?
Honestly, and I’m not being biased, I think the Shepherd’s Bush show that we did was phenomenal! It’s a hundred year old venue, there’s so much history here and there’s an energy in the room every time you come here.
Will: You’ve been here a few times before have you?
We’ve been here a few times, yeah. People sing like crazy, I think it’s because of all the football games here, everyone has a love for chanting! And we went to Paris and we’ve never been to Paris before and we sold out a show within five minutes and the response there was overwhelming too. So I’d say those two entities have been the main highlights so far.
Beth: Is there anywhere you haven’t played that you would like to play?
Yes, Brazil. Specifically. If you look online I’ve noticed Brazil has had a really phenomenal reaction towards our music on social media. We just haven’t had the right offer down there. South America as a whole is an area we’ve never been to and we’d definitely like to explore.
Will: You don’t really see many artists touring South America really, do you?
You do and you don’t. I think it takes a certain level of touring to get down there and have it make sense financially, you know being able to pay for everything. And you’re protected too, you know some of those countries are third world countries and so you have to kind of figure out how the business side of it’s going to roll. But to be a baby band from the States, you’re not really going to go down there unless it was to open up for someone.
Beth: Which is your favourite song to play?
It varies, you know. I have a song called ‘Stardust’ that I sing which is always fun of course, but I think that the songs that invoke the biggest reaction out of the audience, songs like ‘Broken’ or ‘Hanging By A Moment’ obviously, the hits. A lot of people ask us if we’re tired of playing the hits, but you don’t get tired of them because they’re the ones that get the biggest fan reaction and that adds fuel to your fire.
Beth: Are there any you’re tired of playing?
No. I mean, once you get to that phase of your career then you’re admitting that you’re jaded and I don’t want to get into that mindset. There’s no gig too small, there’s no gig too big. It’s not fun if you go out to an audience and they’re kind of like staring at you, some places are just like that. I think that Los Angeles is very much like that because people get spoiled and they see a lot of music and it’s not that they’re not enjoying it, they just kind of watch. But then you go to a place like Paris and it’s crazy! That’s the only kind of hurdle where you have to put your entertainer hat on and be like, okay, this is what it is, we have to deal with it. But no, I’m not tired of any certain song.
Beth: Is there anyone you would most like to collaborate with?
I mean, is this like a realistic wish or this an unrealistic wish?
Beth: Do both!
Realistically, I personally would love to collaborate with Mark Foster, from Foster The People. I think that guy has got a unique talent and he’s a definite success story of Los Angeles because that’s where I come from. There are so many people there trying to do what he’s done, he’s living proof and he’s made great records. That’s the realistic one. Unrealistically, it would obviously be Paul McCartney, you know, I don’t really need to explain why!
Will: Have you tried? Have you tried an email or a phone call? What’s the worst that can happen, he says no!
Haha! I don’t know, maybe one day I’ll give it a go!
Beth: Who was your favourite artist when you were a kid?
Me personally, I can’t really speak for the band, when I was a kid my parents we into a lot of classic rock like The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, The Stones, a lot of Tom Petty, a lot of Bob Dylan. But if you had to pick the pinnacle of what wanted me to get into music it would be Nirvana. Because you know, I’m a nineties kid, it came out in ’91 and Seattle was right next to where I grew up so there was a certain energy flow that was lightning in a bottle in that area, with Pearl Jam, Smashing Pumpkins, the sound garden just kind of exploded! If I had to pinpoint the one, it would be Nirvana.
Beth: Who is your biggest influence?
Biggest influence… Wow… It’s so tough to say because there are so many different layers of the onion of music. But if I had to pinpoint one, you know musically and if you had to be trapped on an island and you could only have band to listen to forever, I would say The Beatles. Absolutely. They had so many different stories, different avenues and the explored music, they were pioneers and innovators of what we all do today. So yeah, The Beatles.
Beth: Do you still get nervous before you perform?
No, like I said I suppose have to stop and pause if I see an audience kind of not moving at times… But that’s the only self-hurdle I have to get over, but that’s rarely happened. No, I don’t get nervous, I get excited and I think that’s a form of nervous so I think it’s all kind of tied in.
Beth: So we’re a uni magazine, do you have any advise for aspiring musicians out there?
Yeah, I do. I think that musicians of this generation have much more of an easy paved path to get their music heard through social media with YouTube and Facebook and there are a lot of easier means of production these days with Logic and Pro Tools and all the different outboard gear you can use inside the box. So, just make music, get in a garage and suck with some of your friends for a while and just go for it. The main thing in life in general if you want to succeed in something is you just have to believe that it’s possible and you can do it. Otherwise it’s not going to be fun and you have to love it, you have to love what you do a lot. So you find those tools and you’ll succeed.
Beth: Has there been a new album out this year that you thought was really innovative and inspiring?
This year Kendrick Lamar. I’ve been listening to a lot of hip-hop lately. A couple of years ago I was listening to a lot of alternative – Imagine Dragons and Foster The People and AWOL Nation. But this year, the best records have been hip-hop records in my opinion. And I think Kendrick Lamar infused a lot of p-funk with great lyrics and he has such a unique style of hip-hop. And his song ‘King Kunta’ on his record is awesome – that would be my choice.
Will: When you’re on tour, what do you do during your downtime? Is there something you always definitely make sure you do, is there something in particular you enjoy doing in your downtime to just rewind?
We each have our own routines, some days we’ll hang out a lot, and other days we’ll give each other our own space. I like to meditate and workout everyday, it gives me that kind of clarity for the rest of the day because it can be like Ground Hogs Day if you let it. I’m a history buff so if we’re in a place in Europe I’m always trying to go on TripAdvisor and find what the number one visited places are to learn about the history. There’s so much history here.
Will: Do you have a favourite area of history?
Me, I’m kind of a World War II buff, so Europe is very rich in history with that. Like I went and saw the underground war basement of Winston Churchill here. And then we go to malls, go to malls and shop. That’s pretty much it!
Beth: Do you have any tour essentials that you bring with you? Like lucky teddy or something?
You know, we get asked that question so many times, but I’m not like a ritualistic person. A fan gave us these little sewed together, weird bunny-looking things and we put them on our amplifiers, you’ll see them tonight, Steve has one on his and we just thought they were the coolest things, so we just kind of kept those. But I don’t know… Always bring your toothbrush and Jason brings his pillow, but that’s pretty much it. Nothing seriously ritualistic.
Will: Is there a routine you’ve slipped into that you go through before you go on stage?
Yes, I warm up my vocals for twenty minutes two and a half hours before the set. I don’t each chocolate, cheese or coffee five hours before the set. I’m like full OCD with that! Because for vocals that’s huge, like you can hear Jason warming up right now. And we have like a little huddle before we go on and just say “Hey, have fun!”, you know and get the energy going.
Will: Do you go, “One, two, three, TEAM!”, or?
Haha, no actually! When I used to play rugby we did that though! Oh and I don’t eat an hour or so before the show otherwise ‘bleugh!’
Will: All over the front row! Then they’re definitely not moving!
Haha, yeah exactly! But I mean there’s a load of cardio that you’re doing for an hour and a half, getting the heart rate up.
Will: Do you have to condition yourself before you go on tour? You said you do a lot of gym work anyway, but when you know you’re going on tour do you up the cardio?
Yeah, it helps, especially if you’re singing to get a little bit of cardio going for sure. And we try to moderate our drinking, you know, because there’s just booze everywhere and food everywhere, and so you have all this free shit but you don’t want to be look, “Ooo free chips, beer…”. So we just kind of moderate our gluttony.
Will: So is there anything you’re looking forward to tonight in particular? Is there anything you’ve got planned?
It’s the last show of our Europe tour with the band Raglans opening up for us, but I think it’s too short of a tour to do a prank. On a tour, you know, on the last show you do a prank. You know, anything could happen tonight with those guys and it’s just going to be a nice goodbye to Europe. Because I don’t know when we’ll be coming back again. The future for us is that we’re certain we’re going to keep going, but it’s not certain that we’re going to come back here. I hope to though very soon.
Will: Do you guys pick your support acts, or is that something done by someone else?
No, that’s 100% of the time done by management, or booking agents.
Will: I see. This could be a very awkward question, but have you ever had a support act that you just haven’t liked?
No not us actually. But we literally opened up for Justin Bieber a couple of months ago and so I hope he liked us! No, we’ve liked every band. Like, Jason wore a Raglans t-shirt last night. We’re always big supporters of new music because it’s a tough industry and it’s really admirable when you see bands showing up and doing what they do because it reminds us of us!