SAINT ASONIA vocalist/guitarist Adam Gontier (ex-THREE DAYS GRACE) and guitarist Mike Mushok (also of STAIND) recently spoke with Paulie Walnuts of HardDrive Radio. The full conversation can be seen below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On the group's newest members, drummer Sal Giancarelli (also of STAIND) and bassist Cale Gontier (Adam's cousin):
Adam: "Corey [Lowery, former bassist] is awesome. He was out touring with SEETHER for quite a while, and I think it was sort of a natural evolution for him to pick up a guitar in that band and help those guys out. At the same time, Cale was available. His band ART OF DYING, they weren't busy, so it just seemed like the right thing. Cale and I have always played music together as long as I can remember, so it's one of those things that probably should have happened ages ago. Now [that] he's in the band, it's pretty awesome."
Mike: "We brought in Sal, who I've obviously known for a lot of years and played with. He just seemed to make sense to come in, and [he] did a great job on the record, as did Cale. Rehearsals and stuff have been a lot of fun."
On the group's forthcoming album, "Flawed Design":
Adam: "It's been a while — four years or whatever since the first record. We've all had lots going on — a lot of stuff happening [in our] personal lives and all that stuff, so we needed a little bit of time to deal with that and take care of home life."
Mike: "I'd say towards the end of last year is when things really kind of started [to pick up]. We'd been sending songs back and forth, and finally, it was like, 'First of the year, we're going to really buckle down and get this done.' That's when we got into a room and actually started playing together rather than just sending stuff back and forth. We booked some studio time, and there you go."
Adam: "The idea of this record really just looks into personal things — struggles, trying to be possibly somebody you're not, striving to be things [you're not]."
Mike: "It's been a bit of a journey, but there's light at the end there, so we're all stoked just to be able to get it out."
On the other artists the group collaborated with:
Adam: "We did go outside and work with a few different people — Sully [Erna, GODSMACK vocalist] and Dustin Bates from STARSET. It was really cool. We actually wrote some with Keith Wallen from BREAKING BENJAMIN as well. [It was] primarily Mike and myself, but it's always cool to sit down with guitars and get different ideas from different people too."
On new single "The Hunted":
Adam: "We experimented with it during the making of the first record... It was a song that Mike had for a long time."
Mike: "That song and some other things that ended up being on the first SAINT ASONIA record really kind of led to this band. After STAIND stopped playing, I had all this music, and I don't sing. I was just writing songs and trying to write with different singers. Sully was one — we're friends — so I asked him and we did the song. Adam was another one I was writing with. I was going to do one of those guitar player with all different singer kind of things, but Adam didn't have a band, and I've always loved what Adam did, so that's what led to SAINT ASONIA. Once we started writing together, it was, like, 'Oh, this is cool.'"
On what the band looks for in a producer:
Adam: "I think the biggest thing for me is somebody that's going to push me vocally and try to set the bar [high] when I go into cut vocals and sing and write lyrics — somebody that sets the bar a little bit higher and is always sort of pushing it. That's kind of tough to find. There's a lot of guys that will just tell you, 'Great. That was great. This is great. You're great, and the song's great.' It's nice to have somebody that doesn't blow sunshine up your ass and tells you when you've got re-sing something."
On the advice they'd give up-and-coming musicians:
Mike: "Go to college. [Laughs]"
Adam: "Just really sticking it out, because before we originally got signed with THREE DAYS [GRACE], we were on the edge of doing our day jobs and not doing music anymore, and it was within a week that we just played a show, met the right person and we were off. If you love to do it, just not give it up. As cliché at it sounds and however many times you hear it, it is the truth."
Mike: "It's just hard work and believing in yourself. If you want it, you just keep going."
"Flawed Design" is due this fall via Spinefarm Records, a Universal Music Group label. The disc was recorded earlier this year in an upstate New York studio with producer Brian Sperber, who has previously worked with ALTER BRIDGE and STAIND.