Los Angeles-based group Lifehouse burst onto the scene in 2001 with “Hanging By A Moment,” the first single off their debut album “No Name Face,” and since then, they’ve recorded four more albums and have another in the works. This weekend, they play MixFest with Michelle Branch, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals and some surprise guests. We spoke to lead singer Jason Wade about his writing process, the new album and how he’s spending his off-stage time in Beantown.
You’re playing with Michelle Branch, who you’ve toured with before.
I was really excited about it. Our drummer’s wife actually grew up with Michelle.
Small world! So how has your sound changed since your earlier material?
We have gone through a lot of transition. The last album, I did quite a bit more co-writing. In the early days I wrote predominately by myself, so I have been going through a transition over last two or three years learning how to co-write a little bit more, but now we’re back in the studio doing demos and I am starting to write by myself quite a bit more. And that can be tiring and wearing on you as well. You always feel that you are just bleeding on this canvas for everybody to analyze, so it was refreshing not using my own relationships for the world to see.
What’s your song-writing process like?
It is different every time for me and it is still evolving over the years. I will start with the melody sometimes and I will wait for the lyrics to come to me. Sometimes I will wake up in the middle of the night with a lyric idea. I am always trying to stay sensitive when that inspiration hits, because I find when I try to just sit down and write a song it doesn’t really happen. I feel like we are at that point in our career where we’ve written so many songs that we have to trick [ourselves] and I am trying to write more on the bass and the piano just to try to get outside of my own little tricks that I have learned over the years.
How’s the new record coming along?
It is going good. We are just in the process now of doing demos and I am transitioning into writing more by myself and channeling some of the earlier Lifehouse music. I really don’t want to put too much pressure on it and rush it and just make a record like our previous albums just because they did well. I really want to make sure that what we are doing is inspired and fresh. I am just trying to cleanse the palate and start over and pretend like it is just our first album.
How do you like Boston?
I just think it is an awesome city. I think it was 2004, 2005 when we were still playing smaller clubs, and there was this club called the Avalon [that] had the most amazing energy. Out of all the shows, that crowd just carried the show. We’ve had an opportunity to have a couple days off and just walking around the city, it just has so much history to it. And I am a big Celtics fan.
How have you been spending your downtime here?
We have been doing all these baseball games — and I had to throw the first pitch in Cleveland a little while ago — so all of us are into baseball right now. We will all go out to the amphitheatre and play some catch.
You threw the first pitch? How did it go?
I got to be honest, I was more nervous about throwing the pitch then I was about playing in front of 50,000 people. It was funny because I was on the flight and they were playing the ten worst first pitches of all time. I couldn’t sleep the night before because I was so nervous. I didn’t really try to throw it that hard, I think that’s what they try to tell you. It wasn’t a great pitch but I didn’t make the top ten worst first pitches.