Foreword: This interview was conducted on March 3, 2020. Due to unforeseen circumstances regarding the audio file, the article was pushed back to a later date. To those affected, I sincerely apologize for the inconvenience.
For those of you with a keen eye on the genre charts, Saint Asonia is on a steady climb in becoming one of the leading names in Contemporary Rock. I had the opportunity to chat with the band’s frontman Adam Gontier, who provided an exclusive insight into the band’s formation, his time with Three Days Grace, and much more. So without further ado, dig into this:
SW: What can you tell us about your influences growing up, and who would you consider your contemporary influences now?
AG: I was definitely influenced by the Seattle music scene when I was around 14 years old. That was when I started writing my own songs and that sort of thing. Bands like Alice in Chains and Soundgarden all had a big influence on me. Even on top of that, some Canadian bands. Mainly the Tragically Hip were a really big influence on me growing up, and even now to this day. Finger Eleven was big too, though I listened to them later. There’s just so many great Canadian bands, but for me it was mainly a mix between stuff like Pearl Jam and The Hip.
SW: Tell us about your experience with Three Days Grace, and what it was like touring with them at the time.
AG: It was pretty amazing! We didn’t really expect it, we just met the right people at the right time; people from EMI music who gave us our publishing deal, but it all happened really quick. In the early 2000’s we made our first album, and we pretty much just took to the road and kept writing. Obviously if it wasn’t for that band I wouldn’t be where I am today. We had a lot of success, so yeah, it’s definitely a big part of my life. I’m just really happy for those guys who are still playing music and making records, but it’s still nice for me to be able to do that too.
SW: What were some of the new things you brought into the creation of Saint Asonia, and what can you tell us about that transition?
AG: Basically, when I left Three Days Grace, I had a couple of people reach out to check in and see how things were, including a long-time friend of mine whom we spent a long time on the road with. He wanted to know if we could get together and do some songwriting with him. For me that was a no-brainer; he’s super talented and of course he was a good friend. So yeah, we got together and did some writing, but we didn’t necessarily have an intention of starting up a band or making a record or anything like that. We just wanted to get together and see what happened, and we meshed; everything was super easy. We ended up writing over the course of a few months, and we ended up with around 15 songs, so at that point it kind of made sense to make a record. We hired a couple guys – Corey Lowery and Rich Goudeau – and we made the record. A couple years later we made another album, and the response to the band has been pretty great!
SW: Saint Asonia is regarded by some to be a “super-group” of musicians, with a variety of members coming from other bands and experiences to combine talents. What can you tell us about how their musical influences shape the band’s concept?
AG: Well, when people call the band a “super-group”, it is flattering and all, but even with Mike and I, the rest of us, were really all just friends that play and create music together. Initially we had Corey and Rich in the band – Rich came over from Finger Eleven, and Corey was a bass player from another different band. But since then we’ve made a couple lineup changes – Mike and Cale [Gontier] came from Peterborough, we grew up here, and Cody Watson [also from Peterborough] now plays drums in the band. There are some tour dates coming up this year, and the guys were pretty big on doing other stuff, so we wanted to make sure that all of us were ready to play as Saint Asonia this year. But yeah, the lineup change has been great – to play with Cale, Cody and Mike has worked out really well.
SW: Peterborough is the first stop for the brief but definitely hard-hitting tour in Ontario this year. What are some of your thoughts entering into the tour with a hometown show?
AG: Well, it’s been close to almost three years since we did one of these shows, so it’s going to be great to get back on stage and play the new record, this music is going to be very exciting as well. Playing in Peterborough – our hometown – really made sense to us, and even with the short Ontario run, which I think we were originally planning some more dates, but the Toronto, Ottawa and Peterborough dates are all going to be big. Yeah, were all super stoked to get back on the road and starting in Peterborough is going to be awesome.
SW: What else does the band have lined up for the future, aside from the tour in the works?
AG: Yeah, the plan is definitely to tour for most of this year, and to promote the new album. We want to get out and play as many shows as we can, and we just announced a tour in the states with Bush and Theory of a Deadman, so that’s going to be a fun tour. That’s this summer, and we hope that maybe we’ll be able to come up north, over the border to Canada, and bring a couple bands from that tour up here. But yeah, for the time being, we’re just mapping out the tour and continuing to write and play songs.
SW: That definitely sounds like an exciting tour! Lastly, we would like to ask what wisdom/life advice you would like to impart on up-and-coming musicians?
AG: Yeah, first thing I’d say is to not get discouraged when playing shows, promoting records to only just a few people – like five to 10 people. It doesn’t really matter how many there are; if you love doing it, then just believe that you can do it. Second thing is to network: meet and keep as many people as you can. You never know who you’re going to run into and when. With Three Days Grace before we got started, we were all close, but we still had day jobs. So we weren’t planning as many shows, weren’t rehearsing as much. We were close to playing our last show in Toronto, and it was there we met someone in the music industry, and they got the ball rolling for us. It was totally out of the blue and we didn’t expect for it to happen. So yeah, overall, keep playing if you love playing and be sure to network with as many people as you can.
Be sure to check out Saint Asonia’s new album Flawed Design and keep an eye out for future tour dates!