Friday, June 9, 2023

Introvert / Extrovert with Adam Gontier of SAINT ASONIA

In this episode of The Rock Metal Podcast, we're chatting with Adam Gontier of the band Saint Asonia about their new album ‘Introvert / Extrovert’.

During our chat we touch on a lot of great tips for musicians, such as what working with other professional songwriters and musicians in your hometown, as well as in other cities.

'Introvert / Extrovert' was Produced, Mixed, Mastered by Anton DeLost.

The band Saint Asonia is for fans of: Art of Dying, Adelitas Way, 10 Years, Through Fire, The Veer Union


Guest Resource - Connect with Saint Asonia!

Guest Music Video

3 Heavy Hitters

1. Take time to collabourate with other musicians, albeit in Nashville or Toronto

2. Keep it simple with equipment, what do you need and leave everything else out.

3. Don’t do drugs, and make sure to keep relationships healthy


Asher Media Relations: Doing PR for everything loud! For your band needs to be seen and heard in print, online and radio!  Let Asher know Jon from The Rock Metal Podcast sent you.

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Show Notes // Transcript

Jon Harris: Adam, thank you so much for coming on to The Rock Metal Podcast today. Go ahead and say hi to all of our beautiful listeners. 

Adam Gontier: Thanks for having me, man. How you doing, everybody? 

Jon Harris: Great to have you on and talk about this amazing records. We've got Introvert EP, we have Extrovert EP, and then Spinefarm released the two of them together as Introvert / Extrovert. We also have some tour information to chat about, both in the US. And in Canada. So this is going to be an action packed interview. I like to talk about the records first so we can get into the tour, if that's cool. 

Adam Gontier: Yeah. 

Jon Harris: And you can treat this as either one or the other EP or together as a unit, but what was the greatest moment for you producing this record? And it could just either be one of the EPs or maybe the album as a whole.

Adam Gontier: Yeah. I think just being able to get back in the studio and working on music was a big thing because the couple of years that we weren't able to leave our houses or whatever to do anything, that was. That sucked. So I think the whole thing was really making both EPs was pretty special just because it felt great to get out and great to get back to doing what we love to do. Yeah, there were a lot of good, really cool moments in making the album. We had a guest on a song called Chew Me Up on Introvert. Johnny Stevens from Highly Suspect was a guest, and that was a highlight for sure of making the two EPs. But yeah, I think just in general, being able to create music and we actually recorded it in person in a studio in Toronto and stuff, and that was important to do that. So, yeah, just being able to get out and actually do music again was pretty awesome. 

Jon Harris: Yeah, being benched for a couple of years obviously sucks. But getting back together now as a result of that, this material you mentioned, going into a studio and crafting it, did you guys have a lot of material ready to go or did you guys just kind of save it until you were all together? 

Adam Gontier: Yeah, for the first EP Introvert, we did have a lot of material just because being at home for those two years, there was a lot to write about, there was a lot going on. There was no shortage of stuff to write about. So, yeah, there was a lot of material written for the first EP Introvert. And then shortly after we recorded that, I actually moved from Toronto down to Nashville. So for the second EP Extrovert, I did a lot of co-writing with people down here and got together and collabed with just a bunch of different people in Nashville. So that was really cool. And that was kind of the reason we called it Extrovert.

Jon Harris: Very cool. And I mean, we could spend probably the rest of the interview just asking this basic question, which is working with people in Nashville, take us through that. How different is that from working with people, say, in Toronto?

Adam Gontier: Ah. Well, I mean, it's quite a bit different. Getting together to write with somebody in a room with a goal of writing a good song is always a little bit weird. And I've always felt that it's strange to be like, I don't know, to sit in a room with a stranger, maybe somebody that you haven't met or whatever, and sit down and try to be vulnerable and come up with to come up with songs. It's really a different process. But at the same time, most of the people that I got together with down here, I have known from the past and stuff, so it was pretty easy to do that. But, yeah, it's always a little bit weird just meeting somebody for the first time and saying, okay, let's write something super heavy and deep together when we haven't even known each other for, like, 15 minutes, you know?

Jon Harris: Right? We're not super deep and heavy, but let's do something super deep and heavy. Okay? 

Adam Gontier: Yeah, exactly. 

Jon Harris: Beautiful. What was the biggest challenge for you guys on this record? And it sounds like the two records have quite a bit going on, but there might be multiple challenges. But what was the biggest challenge for you?

Adam Gontier: Um well, I mean, it all happened pretty pretty seamlessly. It was all it was a great process and there weren't many challenges. I think that maybe the biggest challenge was having Mike Mushok record his parts remotely. And we've done that a few times now, but it was especially necessary just because the pandemic wrapping up and all the stuff and him traveling was a little bit difficult. So I think that was probably the biggest challenge for us recording, was actually getting his parts and stuff to match what we were doing in the studio. And he was doing it from home, from his home computer, so that was a bit of a challenge. But our producer, Anton, that we worked with is super amazing at stuff like that and he made it sound incredible.

Jon Harris: Yeah, so that was the one missing body in those T-Dot days?

Adam Gontier: Yeah, exactly. And we recorded both EPs in Toronto. I'm originally from just outside of Toronto and Kyle and Cody live outside of Toronto right now, so it just makes sense to everyone. Anton was up there as well. Yeah, it's a nice city, so it's fun to hang in Toronto for a little bit. 

Jon Harris: Now, something that you were mentioning was getting deep and getting heavy and being vulnerable. So let's talk about some of the themes on this record. And we've got some themes from Introvert and we have some themes from Extrovert. Do they line up? What are some of the themes that are happening here? 

Adam Gontier: Yeah, for Introvert, a lot of the writing was done during the pandemic, so there's a lot of sort of just trying to figure out what we were going through, what was happening. So I think Introvert, it was all written from the perspective of sitting in my little studio room there in Peterborough, not being able to leave.  Yeah, there's a lot of that on Introvert and Extrovert. I'd say it's a little bit more hopeful. It has a bit of a hopeful vibe to it, sort of when we were able to get out and start working with people again and I did this co-writing and met with people, and it was a different experience than the first one. But I think the themes on Introvert, there's a lot of loneliness, and on Extrovert there's a lot of coming out come and out of the shell a little bit.

Jon Harris: As it would be the case. 

Adam Gontier: Yeah.

Jon Harris: You mentioned doing a little bit of remote stuff, but doing working in the studio. Any kind of unique equipment that you guys ended up using this time around? Anything to maybe surprise you or like some go to pieces of equipment?

Adam Gontier: When we were recording, I've always tried to just keep it simple. Even my live show is very I mean, I just have an amp and a foot switch and I don't have a pedal board. And also I just try to keep it very simple, try to do the same thing. I mean, on the record, Flawed Design, we did a lot of experimenting with different sounds and different things, but this time around, for these two, we just wanted to be a little bit more straightforward. So, yeah, we didn't really mess around too much. It's always nice to have your producer open up different plugins and try different sounds on different things in different parts of song. So there was a lot of that when we had sort of recorded the bones of the songs, but no, other than that, it was pretty straightforward. We wanted to keep it fairly simple, just get some good tones and keep it straightforward and simple. 

Jon Harris: Yeah, well, something you mentioned was experimenting a bit more on Flawed Design and I guess kind of like a follow up question would be this time around, what was the desire to be more straightforward? 

Adam Gontier: Just well, I think because for me, every record, I always want it to be better than the last. Of course, that's the goal anyway. And I think on Flawed Design, I definitely wanted to experiment a bit with different sounds and textures and some key parts and piano and stuff, and we did a lot of that. And this time around just felt natural to go back to just simple riffs and simple tones and try to keep it very simple. But it's always different. I mean, every album is different. Who knows where when we do the next one, where that'll go? It could be just no guitars, it just keys.

Jon Harris: Yeah, well, something you mentioned there was simple riffs and simple tones. Does that come easy or was there a large amount of work in I don't want to call it dumbing it down, but how did you go about making things more simple? Or was that the more natural? You did say natural, but how did that happen? 

Adam Gontier: Yeah, it was more so and this is when your producer really comes in handy. And Anton did a lot of like, if it were up to me and I was I would just I would just go for a distorted sound, and then I'd probably be like, okay, that sounds great. Let's just go. But there's a lot of time. He takes a lot of time. And like most producers do, with trying to make that sort of raw, you know, that raw, simple tone and sit with it for hours and make sure it's right. And I think it comes down to sonically the rest of the band and the rest of the parts and the tracks and stuff. So there's all that kind of stuff that goes into it, which I don't really focus too much on. I just try to keep it sort of low key for what I'm doing. 

Jon Harris: Yeah, we'll chat about Anton, I think, a little bit more later because I think there's a lot of cool things that we can say about him. Let's go ahead and jump into the tour. As far as I understand, you've just gotten off of a US tour supporting Theory of a Dead Man and Skillet, yeah?

Adam Gontier: Yeah, that's right. Yeah. It was a six week tour across the US. Yeah. Supporting two killer bands Theory of a Dead Man. We've known those guys since the early 2000s when Three Days Grace first started. Theory was one of the first bands that ever took us out on tour. So great friends of ours and great people and yeah, Skillet, they're amazing. Put on a great live show, and they're just very cool people. So, yeah, it was an amazing tour. We were very fortunate to be on it. And hopefully it goes out again soon. 

Jon Harris: Yeah, very cool. And then speaking of Theory of a Dead Man, there are some tour information happening here in Canada headlining, and I believe playing as well with Theory of a Dead Man?

Adam Gontier: Yeah. Right now, I think we are just doing the April 28 show in Peterborough at the Memorial Centre. Yeah. The other shows that they are doing, some headlining shows in Canada, I think, but I'm not 100% sure if we're going to be on the rest of them or not. I think we're still trying to work that out. 

Jon Harris: Okay. I just tried to abbreviate Theory of a Dead Man, and it says TOAD.

Adam Gontier: That's right. Yeah. 

Jon Harris: Totem toad. 

Adam Gontier: Totem. Yeah. 

Jon Harris: Totem totem pole. 

Adam Gontier: Yeah. 

Beautiful. Okay, this is actually a cool question. I've gotten all kinds of answers from it. Spiritual answers. Not so spiritual answers either way because you've been through a lot. You mentioned Three Days Grace from the early 2000s. Obviously, you've been on the scene for a long time, getting to know other bands like Theory of a Dead Man and establishing relationships like in Nashville, like you're doing now. How would you define success, though, at this stage of your career? 

Adam Gontier: Yeah, that's a good question, for sure. I think after being in the industry for 20 years, I think the success probably comes with being comfortable with yourself and comes with making music that you are making, not for other people and for yourself. I think it's pretty important to to not try to create music that you think that others think might be good. And that's sort of what everybody falls into, especially after you sign a record deal and you have to sell a certain amount of records and get a certain amount of singles. I think now, and it takes a long time it took me a long time to realize it, but yeah, I think success is being able to create what you want to create for yourself and for nobody else. And it's a lot easier said than done, for sure, especially in this business. It's pretty tough. I mean, I still absolutely all the time when I'm writing a song or recording a song, I'm always wondering if it's, you know, if it's radio friendly enough or what are, what are people going to think about this lyric? Or will this lyric resonate as much with people? And that sort of thing. And it's easy to get carried away in that. So if you can get to a point where you're making music just for yourself and not others, at least you do create music for your fans and people that love the band and the music and stuff. But there's a line to be drawn there, I think. 

Jon Harris: Yeah, when something you mentioned, it was challenging to create something, basically without worrying about other people, and I think. Is it is it just at a certain point where you just know, like, millions of people are going to hear this song and there might be some sense of responsibility maybe with that? 

Adam Gontier: Yeah, for sure. There's definitely a lot of pressure. For sure. You put out at this point, putting out songs that, you know, a certain amount of people are going to hear it. You always want people to like it. So yeah, I guess it's just finding that balance. 

Jon Harris: Very cool. Speaking of finding balances, turn around. Back to working with Anton. Just wide 
open question. Talk to me about working with Anton. 

Adam Gontier: Well, yeah, I mean, he's a great producer, he's a great guy. He just added a lot to what we've been doing, and he's got some really cool bands, cool work under his belt, and he's starting to work a bit more and do different projects. So, yeah, we're just fortunate to be able to connect with him and we all get along great. And the camaraderie is there to be all the same. Common goal of making a great record. And yeah, he's just really good at his job. There's a lot of producers out there and a lot of guys that or people that do tons of great work. And it's just nice to find somebody that knows what page you're on and shares the common goal. 

Jon Harris: Yeah, that's a big one on the same page and sharing a common goal. I'm just searching the web really quick. Anton DeLost?

Adam Gontier: Anton DeLost Yeah. Okay. 

Jon Harris: He looks super serious, especially in this picture. 

Adam Gontier: Oh, yeah, he's serious. Serious guy. No, we all look serious in our press shots. Right? 

Jon Harris: Of course. You mentioned being on the same page. How was that? I don't know. Decided upon. Is that something that was picked up maybe in the pre production, like the demo stage? Was that something that was a constant conversation? 

Adam Gontier: No, it wasn't a constant conversation. I think more so maybe in the demo stage. Yeah. When we get together and we play all the music we have, and I think it's just from that point, it's pretty clear where the direction is going to go. You talk about it throughout the recording process, the individual directions for each song, but I think in general, it's just sort of laid out there. And when you're playing demos for everybody.

Jon Harris: What's the number one thing that you would like people listening to the podcast to do right now? And that could be like hit up your socials, listen to the record, buy a ticket. I don't know. Go meditate and think about happier days, anything that you've taken. Taken with you. 

Adam Gontier: If there's anything I'd want to tell people to do in terms of the band and that sort of thing, I just say check out the music. That's the most important thing for me. That's why we do this and why we make music. It's something most important thing. So I just want people to listen to the listen to the music and enjoy the songs and hopefully it sticks with them. That's it. And we are going to be spending the rest of this year of 2023 and then into 2024 on the road doing a lot of shows and a lot of touring. So definitely keep your eye on our socials and our website and stuff and our tour dates and everything are up there. Yeah, be a lot of touring. 

Jon Harris: Which reminds me, the Canadian tour, I'm in Edmonton. I feel forgotten. 

Adam Gontier: Yeah, it's not much of a Canadian tour, it's more of an Ontario tour. Being Canadian, obviously. I know that. But yeah, your team is American. It's more to your team and management and label and everybody agents, whatever they consider it a Canadian thing. But yeah, the reality is it's an Ontario-Quebec tour. Yeah, for now. Just for now. We'll be out west 100% for sure. 

Jon Harris: Time for one more, if that's okay. 

Adam Gontier: Yeah, of course, man. Of course. 

Jon Harris: What would the Adam today tell the Adam from 20 years ago, sitting there in front of the microphone about ready to record that song that was going to hit the radio for the first time? What advice would you have for that Adam? It? 

Adam Gontier: Well, for one, get off drugs. That would be my first, honestly. But no, probably just to take everything, slow down a little bit because it was such a whirlwind, right? We had been a band for years and we were friends for years and before we got a record deal, anything, and then in early 2001, we got the record deal and then almost overnight it just blew up. So we got thrown into this situation that we'd always wanted and we'd always ask for, but we weren't really ready for it. For me, I guess I was in a pretty crazy place. I was using and drinking and partying, so it was a bad timing. Sign a record deal in the middle of that was a little bit rough. But yeah, I think that the biggest thing is I would probably say just slow down and just take it all in and take a breath because it was pretty intense. But things are great now. That time back then with them and when I left that band, I was in a completely different state of mind and life was different, things were younger and had a lot had a giant chip in my shoulder. There was a lot going on. So, yeah, for me at the time, I needed to leave just to be able to try to get my shit together. So, yeah, things are different now. I stay in touch with the guys a lot, we talk a lot. I think we've all grown up, we've all had kids and the family life and that sort of thing. So we're in contact pretty often and there's no hard feelings there yet. We're all pretty close, that sort of thing. 

Jon Harris: Yeah, absolutely. All right, well, that number one thing that you had mentioned a little bit back there, Adam, was to listen to the record, check out the socials, check out the band on a tour. So go ahead and head over to There you can go ahead and get all of the extras from today's interview, the transcript, music videos and as well those links so that you can stay in touch with everything Saint Asonia. So, Adam, thank you so much for coming on to the Rock Metal podcast today. 

Adam Gontier: Of course, man. Thanks for having me. I appreciate it.


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