HARDY | Audacy Check In | 3.29.24

Audacy Check-In

29-03-2024 • 19 minutos

HARDY joins host Abe Kanan for an Audacy Check In to discuss bringing his Country songwriting skills fully into the Rock realm on his upcoming album QUIT!!, his biggest career influences, and more.

Coming out of the last few years of turmoil within the music industry, from tour cancelations to venue shutdowns, “That was a point in time where I was like, ‘If this is our future, this is gonna suck,'” HARDY says. “It was like something out of ‘Black Mirror,’ you know?” Now, he’s fully loaded and ready to bring his live energy to fans again, this time with an all-new Rock album in the chamber.

“My next record is zero Country songs,” he tells us. “ROCKSTAR,” his latest hard-hitting single, will be included on the release, set to be out this summer he says, although no solid date has been revealed just yet. “It's kind of all over the place. I'm not even gonna lie to you, it's just a look inside of my brain attempting to write Rock songs. There's a lot of it that's like ‘ROCKSTAR,’ which is like pop-punk, if you call it that, maybe Hardcore or whatever you wanna call that. But then there's some stuff that's similar to my old record that has a Country lyric over a really sonically Rock N’ Roll song. It's the most different, and just a hodgepodge of what's inside my brain. But it's up and down, and left and right, and all over the place. I'm really excited about it. There's gonna be some features on it, but no Death Metal, nothing like that. Not yet, at least. But there's a couple of songs -- like my heaviest song is on this record. It'll be the heaviest thing I've done so far.”

Starting his career writing songs for others, HARDY says he had no intentions of being an “artist,” in the traditional sense, satisfied with penning tracks for Country artists like Morgan Wallen, Florida Georgia Line, Chris Lane, and Jake Owen. “I had started writing songs for them, and so my demos started catching their ear. Essentially, one day out of the blue, [Big Loud] offered me a record deal. And I mean, I was just a straight-up songwriter and that's all I wanted to be. Anyway, I held onto it and I thought about it for a month or so, and I finally decided to go for it.”

Diving into his video for “ROCKSTAR,” which includes odes to some of HARDY’s biggest Rock influences, he says he chose to ride a line between some of the more obscure and most recognizable faces of the genre. “I mean, KISS was my second concert I ever went to when I was eight years old, on the reunion tour,” he says. “That was the first ‘farewell tour.’ It was like 2000/2001,” he laughs. “The one that, you know, lasted 30 years, whatever. I'm definitely a huge fan of all the bands that we [included] and my favorite one was Limp Bizkit, because that's not one that I don't think, when you think of the most classic rock stars, I don't think Fred Durst or Wes Borland or any of those guys are right at the top of the list. But my band and I are such big Limp Bizkit fans that I had to tip a hat to them, 'cause I love them.”

“When I first started singing -- I'm obviously a huge Rock N’ Roll fan -- but I didn't know that it was possible. I just did Country because I knew how to write Country songs, and I grew up Country. But I didn't know that it was possible and I kind of had to ease into that world,” HARDY says, acknowledging some artists with similar backgrounds had been steered the same way in the past. “Go back to bands in the ‘80s; It was Alabama… Even Brooks and Dunn, or likeGarth [Brooks] in the ‘90s. There were guys that really leaned -- and Brantley Gilbert even more recently -- guys that really have leaned into the Rock thing. But it never full-on went Rock, but could have probably pulled it off in their own way.”

“It's a great time for music man, and there's just something about, I don't know, just the availability of music and just the freedom right now,” says HARDY. “I've always said, I don't think that music has rules, and you can do whatever you want, you can sound however you want, and you can make music however you want -- and right now it's just a really, really good time for that representation of that.”

With a new sound naturally comes a whole new set of fans, and HARDY tells us he’s been feeling a “constant state of gratefulness knowing how lucky I am to have this life and this job… not resisting it or resenting it at all, and living more in the lifestyle and in the headspace of, ‘Wow, this is amazing.’ Just trying to do that more and more helps kind of stabilize the crazy concept behind fame and success.” Living fully in the moment and going with the flow, he says, “kind of means you're not really thinking about what you did or what you're about to do… you're just thinking about what you're doing now. And that's very big. That's really important.”

HARDY is getting ready to rock fans this summer on his upcoming QUIT!! Tour with special guests Kip Moore, Travis Denning, and more kicking off in May to celebrate his upcoming album. Named after his December single, and as he just revealed officially, his upcoming album of the same name, QUIT!!, which centers around a bar-goer in his early days writing the word on a napkin and putting it in his tip jar. "I guess sometimes holding a grudge is a good thing. Thank you for inspiring me to be great," he's said of the motivation that one word provided.

“If it hasn't officially been announced -- most people have probably figured it out, but yeah,” HARDY says of his upcoming album’s title. “Again, there's some stuff that sounds like the old Rock stuff that I've done, like ‘Jack’, and even ‘Sold Out.’ I've got Cody Quistad from Wage War that's played on the record. So, he's played a lot of the really heavy breakdowns and stuff like that. There's even a couple of love songs, which I haven't really done before in the Rock world… It's got a little bit of everything. it's across the whole spectrum as far as sound, but I don't see that as a bad thing. I think that I'm just experimenting and I'm just making the music that I like to make. If it sounds cool, then let's put it on the record. It's really different. It's really cool.”

Don’t miss our full Audacy Check In with HARDY above -- and stay tuned for more conversations with your favorite artists on Audacy.com/live.

Words by Joe Cingrana Interview by Abe Kanan