Three Days Grace bassist, Brad Walst, took a moment out of his busy press schedule to speak with us about the band and their new release, Human, which was released on March 31st. The group is gearing up for a lengthy tour that will take them around the globe and, as such, we wanted to delve into the album before they took off!
Walst:Hey this is Brad Walst, how are you man?
Good, how are you doing?
Walst: Not too bad, what’s going on?
Not much, where are you guys at today?
Walst: We are in New York City today. We are here for the next couple days, so it is cool.
You just up there doing press?
Walst: Yeah we are doing press and we have a couple of gigs. We have a gig tonight and a gig on Thursday night as well. Then we get to go home for a few days so that will be nice.
Sweet, I won’t keep you too long. I have about eight or ten questions and if you are ready we can jump in and see where they end up. Now that you’re your new record Human is complete and actually in stores today, how do you feel about it and are you satisfied with the outcome?
Walst: I am definitely excited man. It has been a long time coming and this process was a little longer than the last few times, but we definitely took our time and toured while we recorded, which we have never done, so yeah I love the outcome, I think it is a great record. It definitely has that old ‘Three G’ sound which was fun to get back to and I think that fans will really appreciate it.
Check out the song “Human Race” here.
When you were writing the record did you find any pressure; a lot of your records were quite successful so was there any pressure to compete with the older records, or was that not even an issue?
Walst: No we try not to let that kind of stuff get to us. Obviously you can have a lot of outside influences and a lot of the times it is a label or past experiences, but I think for us we just always seem to look forward and just kind of lock ourselves in a room. We love writing so I think that was helpful. This time around we kind of went back to our roots and just had acoustics and a small little rehearsal spot in Toronto and we did it that way. We didn’t even jam the songs until they finished on the acoustics and that was kind of a fun way to do it and it is how we wrote the first couple of records.
Right, and I think that is an interesting way to write because a lot of people take advantage of technology nowadays and email stuff back and forth, sometimes they are not even on the same continent. But I think you get a much more organic, more real-sounding record when you are in a room together, bouncing stuff off of each other; is that correct?
Walst: Yeah I totally agree man. On our last record we kind of did that, we all had our laptops out and if we had an idea we would demo the idea immediately and it was a very different process for us. We tried it that way, but this time it was like you said, we just wanted to get back to that organic feeling. There is no hiding in a room when it is just a voice and an acoustic guitar. That is definitely how we grew up, you know we grew up east of Toronto and we would have campfires every weekend and have beers and just jam, so I think it was a very natural thing for us to do that.
What is the writing process like for you guys? I know you are all in the same room, but do you all bring ides to the table or is it more the efforts of one particular member of the band?
Walst: No it is totally collaborative, we have always been that way, and I think that there has been some misconception by some people, but everyone contributes equally and it is basically whoever has an idea for the day. Basically we just kind of walk in and express how we are feeling, or an idea, and we just go with it. That is the cool part about it being collaborative, it opens up a lot of opportunity, I think.
When you are writing, are you writing the song for the song’s sake, or are you writing the song thinking about how it is going to sound and come across live and onstage?
Walst: Sometime for sure, I think after touring for more than ten years you kind of know what works and what doesn’t work live, you know? Definitely songs like “Riot” are fan favorites and we have a few similar songs like that and you do want to play those songs live. Some of the drags about writing are that some of these songs don’t see the light of day live. You definitely want to make sure it is a crowd hopper.
Are there any tracks on Human that are personal favorite or that have good stories behind them?
Walst: Yeah I mean one of my favorites is “I Am Machine,” I can really relate to it because sometimes I go through life just going through the motions and almost forget about just being human, I think we all do that, but I can really relate to that one. Another cool one that we have been playing live is “The Real You,” that has simple piano in it, but has a really cool vibe to it and people have been really digging it.
I know you said you have a gig tonight and I believe Thursday you are doing that big I Heart Radio thing, but what do you guys have planned after that?
Walst: We are going to take a few days off and then we head out to California for a couple of weeks and do the whole West Coast and then, after that, we are going to head over to Europe and do some places we have never been. We are going to play Spain, Poland, and Lithuania, crazy places we have never been, so I am pretty stoked about that. That has kind of been the theme of these last couple of years. We have been to a lot of great places we had never been before, like Russia and Argentina, and it has really opened the doors for us to tour the world.
Check out the song “I Am Machine” here.
It is crazy where music will take you. I imagine twenty years ago you never imagined you would be playing in Argentina or Russia.
Walst: Yeah, that is the thing. I think the internet gets the big thanks for that because even ten years ago or five years ago you could not connect to your fans in the way you can now. I think with the internet now it is just so easy to connect with them. I mean Russia was so off the hook, we were playing like a 10,000 seat venue in Moscow and we were just shaking our heads wondering how this all happened. It is all just the internet and the power of social media.
Yeah and I imagine when you started in 2003 you could never possibly have imagined you would be playing to that many people in Kremlin Square, so that is really cool.
Walst: You’re right, I don’t think even MySpace was going back then.
That is pretty much all I have, do you have any closing words at all?
Walst: Just come see us live, we will be touring all over North America this year so definitely come check out a show, it is a good time!