Canadian Musician - May / June 2018 - Page 35

“On any given day it could be any topic,” picks up Brad Walst about their conversations during those pre-album hangs at the cabin. “We spent a lot of time on this record just talking and laughing and, like Neil said, crying. It was pretty therapeutic in a way. It just depends on the day and you just go day by day and that’s just what it’s always about.” From there, Sanderson – definitely the most out- going and talkative of the three at the bar – picks up the thread: “Even a specific song, like ‘I Am an Outsider,’ which I think does carry the big picture that the album fits around. That is a real feeling of, ‘I’m sick of people and things and entities and messages trying to fuck- ing influence what I believe, what I fight for, who I’m against, what I’m against, and that being a barrage of someone trying to influence you and being the outsid- er of wanting to take a step back from that and get dis- tance from all that overload of everything – of sensory overload and people who are trying to change you and influence you. Just trying to get away from the things that are bringing you down or at least being able to see how ludicrous it actually is.” The two Walst brothers nod along as Sanderson speaks, showing the band shares a common sentiment. During the writing period for Outsider, the band had a familiar process. They believe in total collaboration, all contributing to lyrical and musical ideas. It’s part of the reason why even with a change of singers five years ago – with Matt Walst (formerly of My Darkest Days) replacing original member Adam Gontier before the making of 2015’s Human – the band’s style and lyrical themes have remained consistent. “Despite that, there would be some common misconception with how the process is with any band or singer and that relationship. From the beginning we’ve always been like that where everybody kind of has a bag of tricks, which involves a notebook with stuff scratched out and little ideas, like hook ideas and melo- dy ideas, or just a topic that’s pissing them off that isn’t a song yet and somebody else sees a song in that rant. We’ve always kind of bounced that ball around with each other right from the beginning,” says Sanderson. “Actually, [producer] Gavin Brown was kind of a big part of teaching us that in the beginning – that the most important person in this room right now is the song and nobody else really matters. If the song is great, then that’s a good situation and if egos get in the way, then you’re just stabbing yourself in the foot. So that collabo- rative process has remained the same. Also, the notion of staying true and that we can always take a song and direct it back to where the origin is. That [lyric] is a real thought that we were talking about or something that was pissing me off that got written down and used. It’s always genuine and Three Days Grace fans pick up on that, I think, that realness, and it becomes part of their realness, too.” “I say it all the time, but I think music is therapy “THAT [LYRIC] IS A REAL THOUGHT THAT WE WERE TALKING ABOUT OR SOMETHING THAT WAS PISSING ME OFF THAT GOT WRITTEN DOWN AND USED. IT’S ALWAYS GENUINE AND THREE DAYS GRACE FANS PICK UP ON THAT, I THINK, THAT REALNESS, AND IT BECOMES PART OF THEIR REALNESS, TOO.” -Neil Sanderson and I think without music and without venting and singing and writing songs, I don’t know what the hell we’d be do- ing. Probably be miserable somewhere,” adds Matt Walst, before Sanderson pipes in with, “jail.” “Yeah jail,” Matt re- peats as the three of them laugh. “So I think it’s definitely needed. So it feels real, it is real, and we have a lot of stuff that’s happened to us in the last 10 years and it’s great to be able to vent and write about it and the ultimate payoff is having your fans relate to that.” Older brother Brad picks up the thought from the singer: “We go through all the same things they do, you know? Depression, anxiety, loss…” he says before Sanderson chimes in again, “ self-medication.” With that, Sanderson raises his beer glass for a toast: “Cheers to self-medication, boys, on a Tuesday afternoon!” he exclaims, then pauses. “Actually, it’s Thursday,” and the group bursts out laughing, lifting the mood. “I think there is a new energy in the band, for sure. It was like a rebirth of the band,” says Matt as the conversa- tion turns to his joining the group five years ago. It’s certainly a different brotherly dynamic between him and Brad. For the 10 years previous, Matt was busy with My Darkest Days while Brad and Three Days Grace were, likewise, constantly on the road. There was a little combination of mentorship and competition between siblings. 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