Bass Player of
Three Days Grace
Three Days Grace has just released their fifth album, Human, which is also their first album with new singer Matt Walst. I had a chance to talk with bass player Brad Walst about the new album, and the changes the band has gone through.
New England Music Blog: How was the transition period between the singers?
Brad Walst: It was fine, you know, we’ve had definitely a pretty crazy couple of years and I think it was right after the first song or the first show we ever played with Matt, we all kind of knew that Matt was the guy to fill in the shoes. He’s doing a great job, the fans really love him, he’s a great frontman and he’s just a great kid at heart. So surprisingly, it was pretty seamless. Our fans really embraced what we were doing and they understood that this was chapter of life and went along with it. We’re very fortunate to have Matt around and very fortunate to have two number one singles with Matt, you know, its something I thought would never happen but it’s pretty amazing and we definitely owe that to the fans. We’re forever grateful for that, for sure. Matt’s got a lot of energy live, you know, he’s a little bit younger than us and he definitely makes us step it up a bit.
NEMB: What made you decide to visit “the old roots”?
BW: Matt came to us, two years ago, right after we did the Shinedown tour, one of the first tours with Matt and he had this Painkiller idea and naturally just started writing so we’ve been writing with Matt for a good two years on this record and Matt’s a co-writer on the first record and he’s also a co-writer on the Transit of Venus. It was pretty natural to just start writing and immediately, we thought of Gavin Brown, who’s a good friend of ours and he’s from Toronto and he’s our producer on the first record and a huge part of One-X and we just thought let’s go hang out with Gavin and see what happens. We literally just kept writing and recording and writing and recording and touring and came up with this record. I think Gavin was a huge part of Three Days Grace in the beginning and really gave us that sound so I think definitely having him as a producer gave it that old school 3DG sound. I definitely think the fans recognize that.
NEMB: How did you come up with the human/machine concept?
BW: We came up with the title actually after the record run because we realized that after listening to the whole record that there was definitely a theme of struggle of being human, you know, there’s a lot of human emotion in there and we’ve had this idea for human race and machine and it just kind of all made sense to come up with the name Human. I think, sometimes, being human is not all what it’s cracked up to be and I think this record definitely has a lot of emotion in it. I think it’s probably one of the most emotional records we have, for sure.
NEMB: Where do you usually gather your songwriting inspiration? What is the usual songwriting process?
BW: It varies out but this record, we kind of went back to our roots, like what we were just talking about, we went back to just acoustics, you know, we put the computers away. The last, Transit of Venus, we did a lot of work on our computers writing so we’d have our computers out and kind of demoed as we went. We put the songs into a demoing phase on the computer. This time, we went back to our roots and that’s just acoustics, you know, that’s kind of how we wrote the first two or three records. We just sat in a little room with acoustics and that’s basically like, everyday we meet and whoever has an idea we just kind of jam it out. It’s kind of fun to do it that way because you really have to concentrate on the song, when you’re just playing acoustic, it’s just vocals and acoustic guitars. I think it’s a really fun way to do it because when you bring it to the studio, it’s a whole ‘nother level, you know, you can just make that song that much better with different sounds and experiment with different things. It was definitely a fun process for this record.
NEMB: What’s your favorite song from the new record?
BW: I think “I Am Machine” is my favorite song, it just kind of relate to me because sometimes I get into a zone where you just go through the motions in life and forget to be human almost. I think that one resonates with me a lot. But we’ve been playing a few of them live and I really like playing “The Real You” live, that’s been fun and it’s just a really cool vibe, that’s definitely got to be one of my favorites as well.
NEMB: What are the touring plans for the rest of 2015?
BW: After New York, we’re going to take a couple days off then we head to California for two or three weeks and do the West Coast and then after that we’re going to head to Europe which will be cool. We’re doing some great places that we’ve never been, we’re playing in Spain, Poland and Lithuania and Germany so that’s going to be really fun. We’ve had a lot of opportunities in the last couple of years to play places that we never have before. So it’s pretty awesome to just to get to different places in the world and meet fans. I think the way the Internet is now, it’s just so much easier to tour and connect with your fans. It’s just been a lot of fun.
NEMB: While you guys are touring around the world, do you prefer smaller club shows or playing at big festivals?
BW: I don’t know, I just like playing live; I don’t really care where it is. I play the same whether it’s on a hay wagon in a backyard or whether it’s a festival. I think they both have their qualities. I love the dirty, sweaty little clubs but it’s fun to get to these big festivals outside and see a sea of people, that’s always pretty awesome but I prefer the smaller intimate shows, I think they’re just a cool energy from those shows and I’d rather do those for sure.
Be sure to check out our review of Three Days Grace’s new album, Human here.