According to a recent press release regarding the new release: “Today, Three Days Grace debut “I Am An Outsider,” the second track from their forthcoming album, Outsider (March 9th, RCA Records), along with the album’s track listing via Billboard, who say “I Am The Outsider” “…defines both the theme of Three Days Grace’s upcoming album Outsider and the Canadian band’s lyrical outlook in general.” Drummer Neil Sanderson spoke to Billboard about the process of creating the new album and the band’s upcoming tour dates. Recently, Three Days Grace debuted their new music video for the song  “The Mountain” which Alt Press called a “…seismic new single” and has been streamed over 3.5M times on YouTube alone. The song is the #1 greatest gainer on the Active Rock Chart for the second week in a row, and currently top 10 on the Billboard and Mediabase charts. Taped at a UFC octagon, the music video for Outsider’s first single was directed by Sean Cartwright, and features a cameo by UFC fighter Misha Cirkunov. Three Days Grace, the internationally acclaimed and multi-platinum certified Canadian band with over a billion streams on Spotify, will release their new album, Outsider, on March 9th via RCA Records. Outsider is the sixth full-length album from the band, and is their latest since 2015’s chart-topping album Human. “To me, Outsider represents the journey to find your place,” says bass player Brad Walst. “The world feels crazy at times. We try to get away from that every once in a while. We do our own thing, and we’re comfortable doing it. We have always looked forward—and not backwards. That’s an ongoing theme.” Preorder Outsider on all formats here:”  We got bassist and co-founding member Brad Walst to discuss the new disc, singles, touring, and much more…

Photo Credit: Todd Jolicoeur – Toddstar Photography

Toddstar: Hey Brad, how’re you doing?

Brad: Not too bad, man. How’re you?

Toddstar: Excellent, excellent. Thank you so much for taking time off for us. I really appreciate it.

Brad: Hey, no worries man, thanks for having me.

Toddstar: Always good to talk to a musician that you love, so it’s always fun for me. As a longtime fan of the band, I am super excited about the latest project – Outsider – dropping March 9th on RCA. What can you tell us about the album Outsider, that a Three Days Grace fan may not grab the first or second time they listen through the album?

Brad: That’s a good question. Well Outsider, we actually wrote quite a few songs for this record and really focused a lot of our energy on picking the right songs to make the record feel the way it does. We always spend a lot of time on sequence, so there’s a long of songs that we recorded that didn’t even surface on this record. Some good ones. Some of my favorite ones didn’t make it.  That’s something, I guess, a super fan listening wouldn’t know. Yeah, it definitely took a lot longer than some of the other records. We spent a good year of writing on this record, then really secluded ourselves into the country, in the wilderness and spent a lot of time just writing and writing and writing. Lot of fun to make this one.

Toddstar: You mentioned that it took a little longer to make this record. Was that intentional? Did you guys decide to step back and pour more time into it? Or was it something you guys, just needed that break from the industry or each other even?

Brad: Well, yeah. We’ve toured a lot the last three years. And actually when we did Human, a lot of the record was made when we just came off the road. So we’d go on tour, we’d come off the road go into the studio, then we’d go on a tour. It was a lot of work; sometimes I felt like it was a little distracting, just going back and forth. This time around we really wanted to focus on our craft, and writing, and spending as much time as we could. For the last 15 years, we’ve had a rehearsal space in downtown Toronto. We wrote every record at this rehearsal space. So for this record, we actually moved out of the city and moved to my house, which is a good two hours northeast of Toronto and pretty secluded in the wilderness. Lots of bears, lots of deer, lots of wolves. Nobody around and we found that that way we could really focus on what we wanted to do. And I think you can hear that sometimes, it’s got some really cool elements in this record that almost feel dark and secluded and that I think that added to it for sure.

Toddstar: Sure. I’m still waiting to wrap my head and ears around the whole album. But I’ve been able to absorb “The Mountain” and “I Am An Outsider.” These two tracks, like you said, take on the edgier dark feel. Not necessarily the sound itself. Three Days Grace is Three Days Grace… you’re one those bands that I love because you don’t change who you are every album. You grow and you experiment, but you don’t change your sound.  With the darker vibe on some of these songs, is that something you guys did intentionally or was it just a matter of that’s how it turned out when you guys went out into the wild, so to speak, to write this album?

Brad: Yeah, I definitely think it had a part to do with that. For us, we’ve already collaborated on every record. We treat each record almost like therapy. It’s a lot of talking, it’s a lot of laughing, and crying. It’s kind of whatever we want it to be that day. Whatever we want to talk about or write about.  For us, it definitely just came out. We don’t think too far ahead when we’re songwriting. We just do it and try to get a good vibe. The great thing about Three Days Grace, unless we’re all high-fiving, it’s not finished until everyone’s like, “That’s it.” Which is a great way to really focus on songwriting and a great way to really make sure it’s the best it can be, I think.

Toddstar: Brad, you mentioned there’s songs that didn’t make the album. Again, I’ve heard two, and there’s twelve on the actual release. Of the twelve, which song(s), including the two singles, do you think fit best among the Three Days Grace catalog?

Brad: Well one of my favorites on the new record is called “The Abyss.” For me, that’s pretty eerie, kind of dark, darker song with a really cool vibe to it. I’m always a big fan of the vibier songs. I’m a big fan of those types of songs. I’d say that’s my favorite, for sure.

Toddstar: Is there going to be a huge tour cycle for this release? You mentioned for Human you had to tour quite a bit.

Brad: Absolutely. Yeah, we’re in the works right now. So yeah we’re hoping by July we’ll be full swing, and on the road. I’m expecting to have quite a long cycle, by the sounds of it. Yeah, it’s great.  We’ll do Canada again, we’ll do the States again and we’ll definitely get over to Europe again. Pretty exciting.

Toddstar: Awesome. You mentioned the States. Here, I’m in Detroit, so it’s always fun for me when we can get you. I saw you down at Cobo with Buckcherry a few years ago. But I go way back. I remember one of your shows at Machine Shop in Flint.  What is it about a band like Three Days Grace where you guys appeal to a place like The Machine Shop, or you guys can roll in and play a nice and small venue like that. Yet you guys can kill it at arenas too. What’s it about you guys as a band that allows you to do that?

Brad: I think, for us, we grew up in the country. A lot of our musical beginnings were on acoustic guitar. We’re big fans of playing acoustic, and when we write a song we always give it the acoustic test. Even if it’s the heaviest song we have, we’ll always go back and play it on acoustic. If it doesn’t translate on acoustic, it definitely is something we think about. I think being able to go from a small, intimate venue to a big venue really comes down to the songs. I think if it’s a well-written song it, you can play it any where.

Toddstar: I would agree. Your music come across in all types of venues as well, even the amphitheaters like Pine Knob.

Brad: Yeah, is that place still going? Pine Knob?

Toddstar: Oh yeah. Yeah. Yeah, I think the last time you guys were there was for one of the festivals.

Brad: Yeah, I think you’re right.

Toddstar: Yeah a couple years ago. You admit that this isn’t your first rodeo. The sixth album for Three Days Grace and you’re one of the co-founding members. What, in your opinion, Brad, has changed for the worst in the music industry since you guys broke out with that debut album?

Brad: That’s a good question. I don’t know. Because we got into the business, right at the end of the so-called heyday. Social media wasn’t a big thing, people were still buying records. I still think social media and the way music is delivered now is still a good thing, but sometimes I find it’s just a platform for people to … Yeah, they have their opinions but sometimes there’s a lot of hatred, and that part I don’t like. I don’t like that part of the industry.  But you know, I still think radio’s strong. And I still think rock fans are still there, obviously. You go to these festivals and there’s 25,000 people rocking out. I still think that it’s strong there, but I think if we can just figure out a way, especially with Spotify and streaming stuff, if we figure out a way to make everybody happy on that level too it’ll make a big difference, for sure.

Toddstar: You mentioned festivals – you’ve got three of them in a row in April on the 20th, 21st, and 22nd. You guys are playing Rock on the Range in May.

Brad: Yeah, yeah.

Toddstar: Getting out there, are you going to start playing some of the new songs for the fans. Other than the two singles, “The Mountain” and “I Am An Outsider,” what other songs do you anticipate being part of the set when you first launch this tour from the new album?

Brad: Good question. I’m actually walking through our rehearsal space right now. I’m getting ready for next week, we’re starting rehearsal. We have a short list of songs we’ll probably pull of the new record. I’m just trying to think. I think, there’s a song called, “Infrared” which is definitely a great song to play live. It’s a good riff on it and pretty upbeat, so I think that’ll be in there. Also, I think the intro song for the record, “Right, Left, Wrong,” is definitely up there as well.

Toddstar: You mentioned “The Abyss” is one of your favorite songs on the album. If there was a song on the album, that maybe you wished didn’t make it, so that one of the other songs you like did make it, what song would you have taken out of the list of twelve?

Brad: I can’t. I don’t even know, man. That’s a hard question. I think, because it’s one of those things. We all, with Three Days Grace, nothing is finished until we’re all high-fiving. Definitely all of the songs that are on there have gone through the wringer over and over again. There’s still some cool songs leftover. There’s a couple really cool acoustic tracks that we didn’t put on there, that I think could resurface, maybe for the next record or maybe for a special, whether it’s a movie or something like that. But really kind of eerie, acoustic vibe. We have “Love Me or Leave Me,” which is in that realm too. That one won for now, but I think that’s a great track. All in all I think it’s a really strong record, and there’s a lot of depth. We spent a lot of time thinking about the sequence and the vibe. I’m pretty happy with it.

Toddstar: You mentioned the sequence and the vibe and the right songs and everything a couple times. When it came to picking the first single, or the song to create the video with “The Mountain.” It’s an amazing video. Was that a band decision? Or did you ask other people, “Okay, here’s the songs, what do you think?”

Brad: No I think with “The Mountain,” there’s definitely a couple of other songs through the writing process we thought “okay, maybe this could be first.” But I think “The Mountain” was always … It was actually the first song we wrote. Going back to September ’16. It’s kind of ironic that it’s the first single. But it’s our initial song that started that vibe with this whole record. It’s got such a great beat to it. I think something like that definitely stands out, for sure.

Toddstar: I read somewhere that you guys went back to the One-X album and pulled together the production team that helped you guys formulate that? Was that calculated on your part? Did you guys want to step back to that vibe? Or was it just that you’ve always wanted to work with these guys and the stars just happened to line up?

Brad: Well, we put the songs together first. Gavin Brown, who’s a local guy, he’s always a big part of our writing and our production stuff. So that was a no-brainer. But after we got this body of work done, we were like, “Man, this is one of our best records. Let’s try to get the dream team back together.” And we did. Luckily it all worked out and everyone was able to come down and work on the record just outside of Toronto. Which is a great studio called Jukasa. Mike Plotnikoff, great, great engineer. He engineered a bunch of our records, and a lot of great records. To get everyone together was definitely a good vibe and I think it really resulted in a good record.

Photo credit: Todd Jolicoeur – Toddstar Photography

Toddstar: Three Days Grace is one of those bands where you guys seem to gel really well on stage. You’re collaborating with who you want to collaborate with on a daily basis, but if there was someone you could to go outside the band and write with or record with, who would you personally get personal satisfaction from writing a track with or recording something with?

Brad: I’m a huge Deftones fan. I’ve always thought Chino would be an awesome guy to sit down with and just write a song or whatever. So yeah, I’m going to say Deftones. I’m a huge fan and whenever I need a pick me up or whatever, I throw the Deftones on and it seems to change my mood for the better.

Toddstar: That’s awesome. Well Brad I know you’re busy, getting ready to do some rehearsal and do some thinking. So I want to thank you so much for the time that you’ve given me, and we wish you well with what you’ve got going on. But most important we wish you guys well. We know it’s going to take off when Outsider is released March 9th on RCA records.

Brad: Cool man, well I appreciate your time. Thanks Todd.

Toddstar: Thanks so much Brad, and I’ll see you when you come through Detroit this summer.

Brad: Alright – sounds good, man.







Filed Under: Interviews

About the Author: ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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