Three Days Grace’s Neil Sanderson Talks ‘Human’ Album, Lollapalooza + ‘Human Race’ Single
Guest blogger Neil Sanderson of Three Days Grace checks in as a regular contributor with an exclusive column for Loudwire. In this piece, the drummer discusses the band’s recent trip to a pair of South American Lollapalooza festivals, the response to their newly released Human album, the inspiration for their current single “Human Race” and more. Check out Neil Sanderson’s latest blog below:
One great thing about social media is that it breaks down the borders in terms of exposure to new music. We’ve experienced that recently by going to countries that we’ve never been, never released a song or an album, and we end up playing in front of huge crowds. It’s amazing just how far reaching rock ‘n’ roll can be. There are passionate rock fans all over the world! We recently played Lollapalooza in Argentina and Brazil and were just blown away at how intense the crowds were and how they knew every word to every song we played, even though they spoke very little English. What was really trippy down there was that the fans knew the words to a couple brand new songs off of our new record which we hadn’t even released yet. I guess it turns out the album must’ve leaked a couple days early but it was bizarre to have people singing songs that we had never played before or made publicly available, with a Portuguese accent!
It was also awesome how eclectic the lineup was. People were very open to different genres of music at the festival — Robert Plant to Skrillex to Jack White, Interpol, Pharrell Williams. It was a really wide spectrum of great music. I actually went and watched Skrillex play a small club at 3AM in Buenos Aires which was pretty cool. I’ve been a big fan of his producing skills, in particular the work that he did with Korn.
We released our fifth LP, Human, on March 31, and are thrilled at how well it’s been received. We put a lot of work into this record and really focused on some of the elements we had captured on the first Three Days Grace record. Certain ways we recorded the guitars kept the overall vibe raw and we really dig deep emotionally into our own psyche to draw out one of the most emotionally charged records we’ve made in a decade. We wanted to make an album that had a common thread through it, that really tapped into what it feels like to be alive in 2015; all the beauty and power, helplessness, alienation, vulnerability and horrors of being a human being in modern society. The notion that so many of us choose to numb ourselves to the world around us and hide anonymously behind technology all the while losing touch with the natural world sometimes freaks me out, just as much as the notion of having to deal with all the harsh realities of real life. I know I’m guilty of trying to escape from reality … perhaps we all are. Our single “I Am Machine” talks about exactly that.
Here is a video we filmed in Riverside, California, about a week ago which documents us performing the first song on the first night of the tour that will be taking us all over the world in 2015-16. The show starts with a movie quote from Charlie Chaplin in the 1940s, one of the only speaking roles he ever did. When we heard it we really felt as though it helped capture the essence of not only the song “I Am Machine,” but also the entire Human album as a whole. Check out the video below!
We wrote a great deal of this album while we were on tour last year. “Human Race,” which is our current single, was written while rolling down the highway on our bus, having not yet gone to sleep. We were drinking red wine in the front lounge having some laughs, talking about life. We had played the night before and were headed to the next city as the sun was coming up in the Midwest. We were looking out the window at just peaceful countryside and just kinda soaking it all in and then, just like that, the bus took an exit and we ended up in downtown morning rush hour gridlock traffic … just watching out the bus window as people yelled at each other, ran red lights, gave each other the finger, and were just being generally sh—y to one another, while they were in some massive rush to get nowhere at 7:30AM. It was like we were on the outside looking in, and I remember somebody said, “Where the hell is everybody going and why are they such in a rush? Don’t you just get sick of running this race? The human race?” The song was born in that moment. We started writing it right away.
The last few weeks have been pretty intense to say the least! We played a bunch of West Coast shows to kick off the new tour and we also filmed a video for “Human Race.” We worked with director Mark Pellington, someone whose work I have admired for many years ever since he directed one of my favorite videos of all time, Pearl Jam’s “Jeremy”. The video is dropping really soon and it’s definitely the most interesting art piece we’ve done to date.
It’s going to be a pretty crazy summer for us and we can’t wait! We have several U.S. shows before we take off to Europe and play a bunch of festivals in a bunch of countries including Download Festival in U.K., Rock AM Ring in Germany, Poland, Spain, and we get to share the stage with Metallica again, which is nothing short of f’n awesome!!!
In closing, I found a new way to write my Loudwire columns. I discovered the microphone button on my iPhone so I just hit it and I blab into the speaker whatever’s on my mind. A lot better than sitting in front of a computer. I can just tell it like it is instead of making typos every 15 seconds lol.
Our thanks to Neil Sanderson for contributing his latest column to Loudwire. Look for the band on the road at these locations. Follow Three Days Grace on Facebook and Twitter. The band’s Human album is available at Amazon and iTunes.