The Halo Method—Featuring Former Members of Evanescence, Papa Roach, and Rock Star Supernova—Give First Interview, Debut Song
By Jon Wiederhorn
Ethereal and euphoric, the debut single from new supergroup The Halo Method, “Beauty Is the Beast,” is a haunting anthem about unrequited love that combines elements of hard rock, goth, alternative metal, industrial, and pop. While the track, which can be streamed below, is flush with striking sonic juxtapositions and gripping layers of sound that suggest it was labored over for weeks, that’s hardly the case. The band members–ex-Evanescence guitarist Ben Moody, ex-Papa Roach drummer Dave Buckner, and the winner of the 2006 CBS TV 2006 reality show Rock Star: Supernova, vocalist Lukas Rossi–banged it out in just a few hours, working on most of the song from their home studios and wrapping it up in August 2012, during a brief session at Moody’s Studio 119 in West Hollywood.
“That song started out as a rough idea I had from years ago,” Moody says. “I sent it to Lukas over email along with four other songs. He sent them all back to me 24 hours later and ‘Beauty and the Beast’ was 80 percent there. He turned it into this humongous track about about killing yourself only to be rejected by something you’re dependent on. After he did that, I just had to go back to the song and make the music worthy of the vocals.”
So far, The Halo Method have tracked three songs for an upcoming EP and they’ve got another album’s worth, on which they’re still working. The band will debut live on the ShipRocked cruise, which departs Fort Lauderdale, Florida, November 27 and also features Korn, Godsmack, Five Finger Death Punch, and others. Revolver talked to The Halo Method about how they formed, their musical aspirations, memorable moments, and how they landed such a plumb first gig.
REVOLVER How did Halo Method get together?
Dave Buckner I was on the ShipRocked cruise last year hanging out. I wasn’t performing or anything. And I was talking with the owner of the cruise and I said, “Man, I’m having a great time. I just wish I had a band to play with.” And he said, “You know what? If you put a band together, we’ll put you on the bill next year.” So that’s what started this all. I had known Ben since 2003. We did some writing together after he left Evanescence and before he formed We Are the Fallen. We were pretty wasted at the time, but somehow he remembers it because he’s a musical genius.
Ben Moody I was producing a band called Park Lane. Their manager is Danny Hill, who manages Dave Buckner. So Danny comes by my house while we were recording and says, “Hey, I think you know Dave. He’s gonna drop by.” The last time David and I saw each other we were so fucked up we were barely standing. I wasn’t sure exactly who was gonna show up at the door, but I’ve gone a different way with my life since then and apparently so has Dave. I had dropped 100 pounds. He dropped almost 200. So we clicked right away again. I had been looking to mess around with some new sonic landscapes and wanted to find people to work on all this totally cool, weird shit and didn’t care about getting a hit song out of it. So I invited Dave over to spend a week at the house and write.
Buckner I went out there in early May and we picked up right where we left off minus all the booze and drugs. After we wrote some stuff, I said, “Well, you know, if we do start something, I’ve got this gig.” And Ben was like, “Yeah, let’s do it.” It all fell into place. Once we knew things were happening we decided to get a singer and the first name that came to mind was Lukas because he and I had been in a band in 2009 called Daylight Division with [guitarist] Marcos Curiel from P.O.D. and [bassist] Joe Loeffler from Chevelle. We had an hour’s worth of material. It fell apart before anything happened with it, but I thought Lukas totally killed it on that stuff. So when Ben said, “We need a vocalist,” I said, “Let’s call Lukas.”
Were you surprised to be called by Dave and Ben to join the band?
Lukas Rossi I wasn’t surprised, but I was pleased because Dave and I worked so well together in Daylight Division. This feels like it was meant to be because, musically and message-wise, it’s totally original. We don’t feel hindered in any way. We’re trying to do something above the rim, kind of like Queen. It’s super exciting and fresh.
Moody It was one of those lucky cosmic accidents. All three of us were in a place where we were really hungry to create something. And the first couple things we played around with really inspired everyone.
Who came up with the band name?
Buckner We were tossing around a bunch of names via group text on our iPhones and Lukas came up with it. We must have gone through 200 names and all the ones we thought were good were taken by other bands. Halo Method was the first name we liked that wasn’t taken.
Rossi It comes from a show about brain surgery that my wife was watching. All these people passed away because the operation for this certain condition was so complicated. Then doctors came up with this procedure called the Halo Method and it saved this woman’s life. I found that very inspiring.
Did you jam together a lot before you wrote these songs?
Buckner We’ve only been in the same room a few times writing, and we have yet to play in the same room. So this is very much a studio project. Hopefully, it will be a pleasant surprise when we get together to start rehearsing.
Ben you and Lukas worked together in Nashville on the song “Porcelain,” didn’t you?
Moody Again, we weren’t really together and it was a happy accident. Lucas lives in Nashville. I have a place in Nashville where I spend half the year writing country/Americana stuff. We agreed to meet up there. I was already working on a song for a solo project . Lukas got there early and I said, “I have to finish this other project first. Make yourself at home.” I was trying to be polite because I had just met him. So I said, “You know, it could be a duet. I could write a different one for this other person if you wanna pitch in to this one.” I just said that to be polite, honestly. But he went into the booth without me, set everything up. The mic sounded like shit, but he hummed some melody ideas. He did two passes of free association ad-lib. He wrote the song on the fly and it was 10 times better than the vocals I had written for it. Within 10 minutes of him showing up, we had our first song. That set the tone for everything else. And it turned into a song called “Porcelain.”
What’s that one about?
Rossi It’s about how fragile we are. On the exterior we may look all shiny and new but it just takes one false fuckin’ move and we’re done. You shouldn’t flirt with life whether it’s substances or drinking and driving. You fuck with life and life’s gonna fuck you back. People call it Karma. Call it what you will. Life has control of us. We’re just here for a brief spin, man and then we have to deal with the consequences later.
Will Halo Method be a conventional rock band when it comes to the live presentation or are you planning to bring new elements to the table?
Moody We’re coming up now with some ideas for a groundbreaking show. I’ve been working with a couple of groups of people for a couple of years that develop technology for companies like Disney. They’re very passionate about entertainment and they have tons of brilliant ideas. Also, I’ve been fortunate enough to meet performance artists and be accepted into their world, including some of the people who did the original Cirque Berserk. I’ve been trying to develop a show that will combine everything I love about every possible theatrical production into a rock concert. The ShipRocked show won’t include flesh suspensions or aerial acts. We’re just gonna rip your face off and have some fun. But in the future, we want to do something that’s really out of the box.
Lukas, are there particular lyrical themes in Halo Method’s music?
Rossi Oh, yeah. This is not just a record of cool, hooky fun phrases. I think the bands that really leave a mark in the world are the ones that aren’t afraid and have no inhibitions to take you out of your life and open your mind to things, and teach you a new way of thinking. There’s a narrative to these songs because when I write, it’s a story and the story advances with each step. Life is a beautiful nightmare. This band is our lives turned into this crazy fairy tale.