10 Years of Hallelujah The Hills: An Interview with Ryan Walsh

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Tonight Boston’s indie rock stalwarts, Hallelujah The Hills celebrate 10 years of their existence. In that time the band has been responsible for some our favorite recorded moments. From their debut Collective Psychosis Begone to last years Have You Ever Done Something Evil?, Hallelujah The Hills have established themselves as one of America’s most vital and increasingly consistent rock bands. Plus, they write guitar anthems with gigantic hooks and we dig em’ for that. Lucky for us HTH are showing no signs of slowing down.

We recently caught up with Hallelujah The Hills founder and chief songwriter, Ryan Walsh to discuss this weekends performances, recording a new album, and the book that’s being written about them.

The Ash Gray Proclamation:This weekend marks 10 years almost to the day from Hallelujah The Hills 1st show, can you tell us how the band has evolved since then?

Ryan Walsh: For awhile, the lineup was changing at the pace of seasons of America’s Next Top Model. Instruments came and went. We just made our first LP that had the same exact lineup as the last record. I guess that’s a kind of stability. Sometimes feedback gets very popular inside the band, other times arpeggios become all the rage. But we never stop making new songs and playing America’s dive bars with the enthusiasm of a band playing an arena.

AGP: How does the current state of the band compare with your vision for HTH when you first started out?

Ryan: I didn’t look this far into the future. The crystal ball I purchased was off-brand and faulty. We made a joke in our first album’s press release that we’d release 33 records before breaking up. That still seems impossible, but a little less impossible now.

AGP: You were recently in the studio recording your new album and follow up to Have You Ever Done Something Evil? What can you tell us about the record?

Ryan: It’s a nutso ride through coo coo town. I tried to get confused while writing, and I tried to carry that feeling over to the band. There were many times we put something on the recording last week and we’d say, “that’s the strangest decision, but might be my favorite part of the song.”

AGP: Hallelujah The Hills will be the subject of a book from M. Jonathan Lee in the near future can you tell us how that collaboration came about?

Ryan: Jonathan opened his second novel, The Page, up with lyrics from our song “Hello, My Destroyer.”  I was so honored. Then he had this idea for the book about the band making a new record. I told him we weren’t famous; he and his publisher still wanted to do it. Whenever this band has had the chance to say yes to something unusual, we’ve done it. Jonathan’s been here for over a week now, at the recording sessions and hanging out back home here in Boston. He met my Mom last night. At the end of the interview, she made me take a trunk of VHS tapes I was storing in her basement away as I left with him. It’s good to stay humble.

AGP: What can fans expect from this weekends performances celebrating 10 years of HTH?

Ryan: There will be songs from over the years, sure, but it won’t be a nostalgia fest. The only reason I’m comfortable nodding to the 10 year anniversary angle of all this is because it coincides with forward-thinking stuff like a new record and this book. We haven’t played since June, that’s the longest we’ve gone without a show, I think. We rehearsed last night and all agreed: we are definitely American rock band Hallelujah The Hills.

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