Canadian Musician - May / June 2018 - Page 36

Matt’s joining of the band was actually a reunion of sorts. Six years Brad’s junior, he was often hanging around during the early days of Three Days Grace. “Yeah, like Barry [Stock, lead guitarist] gave me a guitar when I needed it and Neil recorded my first riff on a four-track cassette player,” he says. “I never saw one dime for that record- ing!” Sanderson responds. “I don’t think it ever made it off that cassette player. And Brad has always helped me out with my career,” Matt adds. “What a lot of people don’t know is that when we were making our first Three Days Grace album in 2001 or 2002, it was all brand new for us and Matt was rocking, too. He actually has some co-writing on that album. You were pretty young then,” Sanderson says, turning back to the singer. “Yeah, 19,” he confirms. “Two songs actually,” Sanderson contin- ues. “‘Scared’ and ‘Let You Down,’ Matt is listed as a co-writer on there. A lot of people don’t know that but are rediscovering it now that he’s joined the band.” Outsider was recorded primarily at Jukasa Studios on the Six Nations reserve outside of Hamilton, ON, but really, it began at Brad Walst’s house in the country during the “Ca- nadian guy stuff” hang-out phase. Sanderson has what he calls a “mobile studio in a bag” that the band uses to capture ideas while they’re writing. It’s a simple set up, consisting of a Shure SM7B vocal mic into a Neve 1073 preamp and then into an Empirical Labs EL8X distressor and Logic X on a MacBook Pro. “We’d do a lot of demos and stuff and actually a lot of the stuff that we put down on keyboards or guitars and even, proba- bly, a couple lead vocal moments on the microphone end up on the record,” Sand- erson says. 36 • C A N A D I A N M U S I C I A N Matt, meanwhile, is especially fond of the VoiceTones CI HardTune and correction pedal from TC-Helicon while getting down ideas. “You just punch in the key that we’re in and you can almost just hum in the thing and it’ll pitch you on key. So it’s really cool to just hum some melodies in and it’ll sort of just pitch you there,” he explains, referring to the device as “the melody maker.” Sanderson adds on, “You can just experiment and come up with things that the mind would never otherwise [think of ] and start with that little hook and write around that. We experiment in a million different ways and that’s the fun of creating music.” The first song written for Outsider end- ed up being its lead single, “The Mountain,” though the many iterations it went through was indicative of the whole writing process. It’s a hard-charging, riff-heavy tune with a melodic hook that sticks in your head based around the refrain, “Every day I’m just surviving, keep climbing the mountain/even when I feel like dying, keep climbing the mountain.” “We joked about it by the end because every day we’d keep rewriting and rewriting ‘The Mountain,’” recalls Matt. “We changed the chorus and we changed the verse to pre-chorus, I think, four or five times and we changed the lyrics and changed the melody.” “One of the things I like is nobody is precious with a specific idea because we all are collaborative and trust each other, as far as songwriters,” adds Sanderson. “We’ve gotten to the point where we know that just because I don’t like your idea today doesn’t mean I don’t like you, right? There’s a big difference. It’s funny but a lot of people get that wrong and take offence and part of collaborative songwriting and not strangling each other is checking egos at the door. So like Matt said, we’re not precious enough to ever not consider something rewritable if we think it could be better or more concise. We know the idea we’re trying to say, but are we really saying it in a way that people are going to understand what the fuck we’re talking about here?” Matt picks up the thought: “We don’t settle for the first thing. We try to elaborate on that first idea and sometimes we do, and then sometimes we revert back to the orig- inal idea.” Between the writing of “The Mountain” in summer 2016 and when they entered the studio to record Outsider in August 2017, the band says they never thought of the batch of songs they had written as a concept al- bum, but concede that there is def ѕ䁄)ͥѕЁѡѡɽ՝ЁѡȁɅ̸)ͥѡЁѡ̰Ʌ䰃q)ͥȳtѡ䁑eЁᅍѱѼи%ӊe)ѡɔѡմѥѱ٥ͱ䰁ѡ)Ёݽɑ́ԁȁ5Ёͥ)ɅqIЁ1Ё]ɽt胊qMѥ́$)݅ЁѼո݅䰁ո݅企$݅ЁѼ)ͅȰȁɽɔ݅䁙ɽٕ役) ɔ$չѡѥ́t+q'eٔ݅́Ё$݅́ͥȳt)́ͅ5иq$ٕȁɥѼЁѼݡЁ݅)$݅́ѕѼɕЁͥѡ)ѡ͍́$ɕ͕ɕЁ)$ͥȸ$eЁѼЁt) Ʌ́́ɽѡˊéѡ՝胊q$)ݗeٔѠȁݸ$)ѡݔѥՔѼѡи$ѡݔ)݅ɐѼѡ)]ЁݡЁݔ݅аԁt)Qɱ䁍ɕ́ȁ5Aд)ݥѠѡѡ݅ɴͽѽѡ)́ѡմ ѥٔݡ)́ɕȁЁѡ́1ѱ5չх)MչՑYٕȰ́ݽɭ