On May 6th, the Canadian band Three Days Grace will release their seventh album. In addition to containing some of their most intense and delicate material, Explosions promises a journey into your inner self.
The journey is already well underway with the powerful first single So Called Life released last November. Here is an interview with the band’s drummer Neil Sanderson to learn more about their seventh album to date.
Let’s first go back to your last studio album Outsider from 2018. What’s the piece that made you most proud of this album? What’s the song that, in your opinion, would serve as a springboard for your forthcoming album?
Infra-Red was definitely a highlight for me on Outsider. I think it was a departure for us definitely. The song originally was written as more of a down-tempo bare bones alternative song, then we were experimenting and put that blasting guitar riff in it, and boom; it felt like Three Days Grace
I think Right Left Wrong conceptually is a good jumping off point to lead into Explosions. It explores the concept of just letting go and taking the leap of faith even though you don’t know where it is going to lead you or where you are going to end up. It’s about taking action.
Introduce me to your new album Explosions which will be released on May 6th.
It’s our 7th full length album and we put a huge amount of time and effort into this one. As usual, we spent by far the most amount of time during the writing process. Like years. We definitely like to thread a common needle through each of the songs when it comes to concept, and that is very time consuming. It has some of the heaviest songs we’ve ever recorded as well as some of the most delicate.
What’s the reason behind the title, Explosions?
We all have things we bottle inside. We all have a boiling point. Wanting to release what you harbour inside is a natural human trait, for better or for worse. That can be rage, or creativity…opinions or emotions..love or hate, or all of the above. It’s an interesting time to be alive when we all have access to basically see the best and the worst of each other, and the ability to react to other people’s “explosions” . There’s this feeling of the need to self-censor ourselves for risk of being judged, centred out, cancelled, alienated, bullied etc. I think there’s a poetic irony that “we’re born in a universe full of explosions”. On the grandest scale, we exist because of a series of both gigantic and tiny explosions happening around us all the time.
How was the studio work? Was the approach different/beneficial due to COVID-19?
It was very different. Most of the writing took place over a combination of Zoom conferencing, and some other programs which allow you stream live the music you’re working on to everyone else in the call, so it feels like everyone is in the same room collaborating. It’s actually quite efficient. Less smoke breaks and going for lunch breaks. lol. We also changed up the order of what instruments were recorded when. In fact for the first time, drums were recorded last, which allowed me to really plan and tailor exactly what I wanted to play.
Introduce me to your first single So Called Life.
The song definitely sets up the concept for Explosions. It really talks about being frustrated at the state of your life and wanting to just blast out and express yourself, but feeling like you can’t. It contemplates the notion of either becoming unbridled and literally blowing up from all the tensions going on inside your heart and mind, or finding something to take the edge off.
What makes Explosions different from your recent albums?
Well one major thing is that we used someone new to mix the album. Dan Lancaster (Bring Me the Horizon, Muse) brought a very fresh and modern perspective to the sound that is very in your face and aggressive. I think the first single So Called Life definitely displays that.
Explosions is your seventh album (lucky 7), what would be your biggest wish for this record and the upcoming tour?
Well we love the big rock shows and being able to travel the world performing our art. My biggest wish is that touring gets back to some normalcy and we can get out there and rock for as many ppl as possible without having a whole new set of hurdles to jump in a post-pandemic world.
You are, in my humble opinion, the most successful Canadian band. You’ve been on the American rock charts for over a decade and still are today. Few who can brag about this achievement. How does it feel to represent Canada on these charts?
It is very surreal. We’re just small town Canadian guys that put a lot of time and effort into being the best band we can. We really owe it the fans who’ve been there on this crazy journey with us. We’ve definitely gone through a lot of twists and turns along the way, but we’ve stayed true to ourselves in the music and the message, and that has become a very powerful bond between the band and our fans. I think that’s what has allowed us to stand the test of time.
You release albums every three to four years. Have you ever thought about stepping up the pace to meet your fans’ constant demand for new music and compete with bands like Five Finger Death Punch who release a new album every two years? What are your impressions on the topic?
We just work at our own pace, and when it’s ready, it’s ready. I think trying rush something out may diminish the quality, or not sound like Three Days Grace. The pandemic basically added a year to the process this time. Also we toured so intensely off the last record that after 2019, we had already decided to take a year off and chill, so I guess the timing was good in that respect.
In 2020, you released a cover of Somebody That I Used to Know (by Gotye). What does this song represent to you?
The Gotye song when the original came out was, in my opinion, the most unique song to come out in a very long time when it did. I couldn’t stop listening to it. Matt recorded a broke down version of it on acoustic guitar and we were like “let’s make a killer rock version” The Phantogram song we thought was super dope and dark so we just went for it on that one too.
So Called Life could tie Shinedown for the most singles on the U.S. Billboard’s Mainstream Rock Songs Chart, and Explosions’ singles could make you the first band to top the chart for 90 weeks. How do you feel about this accomplishment?
It’s cool to see the statistics and I can’t believe we’ve come this far. It still feels like there is so much more the future holds for Three Days Grace. Again, it ALL comes down to the fans letting us do what we love so much. Changing lead singers is not an easy thing to do, and the fact that we’ve had so many #1’s with Matt in the 9 years he’s been in the band is just an homage to all the people that supported us along the way. Rock radio, our management and label team, recording team, agents, our families, friends, and fans held the door open for us with open arms as we navigated uncharted waters over and over again.
Is there an essential song you have to play when touring in Quebec? Is there a piece that works more with your Quebec fans than anywhere else?
First of all we CANT WAIT to play in Quebec coming up. It’s always a highlight. Talk about the energy that the fans give back to us. I gotta say, when we kick into Riot, Quebec goes crazy. And I’m sure this time will be no exception! See you soon! <3
Merci tout spécial à Justine Boucher et Pascal DesLauriers pour la traduction !