SEPTEMBER 17th 2015

MetalTitans had an exclusive opportunity to speak with guitarist Adam Gontier of Saint Asonia.

1: Can you tell us how the band got started?

The whole thing basically got started after Mike reached out to me, asking if I’d be interested in doing some songwriting together. We’d known each other for years, touring together, etc., but we never really hung out that often on tour. For me, it was a no brainer. I’ve always been a fan of Staind. Mike is such a great songwriter, so I had a feeling we’d work well together. We didn’t plan on writing an entire record at first, but we just hit it off musically, and the songwriting came really natural to us. I think the first day we got together, we ended up almost finishing two songs. “Waste My Time” was actually the first song we wrote. Mike had the music already written, and I instantly had a melody come to me when I heard it. From there, I wrote the lyrics, and it was done. And that’s sort of how seamless the whole process was. Once we had written about four songs, we knew we had something cool and different, and decided to get into the studio to demo them. From there, we didn’t stop. Not long after that we had an entire record written and recorded, and we were both like, “This is a good record. Let’s do something with this”. So we put the band together, and here we are.  

2: How would you describe the sound of Saint Asonia?

I would probably describe Saint Asonia as real and raw, rock/metal. It’s always difficult to put yourself in any genre, but we’re obviously a rock band, and there are some really heavy, cool metal elements on the record as well. At the same time, we’ve got a few lighter acoustic driven songs, so it’s a well-rounded record from start to finish. Some of the heaviest music I’ve ever sang on, and probably the lightest as well. It’s definitely a good mix of both, which is why I loved making this record. There were no outside factors contributing to how we wrote or recorded. We didn’t try to sound like anything, we didn’t overthink whether or not certain songs would be “hits” or not. We just went in, and did what we do. It was the most fun that I’ve ever had making a record. And it’s something that we’re really proud of.

3: Where did the name Saint Asonia come from?

You know, I’ve heard so many long-winded answers to this question. It’s like every band spends so much time on the name, and coming up with something that’s so “profound”. It’s exhausting. There’s no “super deep, melodramatic meaning behind the name. It came initially just from the word “asonia”, which basically means to be tone deaf, or not being able to hear certain sounds or pitches. We always thought that was kinda funny and ironic, so we kept throwing the word around. We were in the studio and someone just said “Saint Asonia”. It sounded good, and rolled off the tongue nicely, so it stuck.

4: You worked with Johnny K on your self titled debut album. Bringing him in who had produced bands like Megadeth and Sevendust what was it like to work with him?

Working with Johnny K on this record was great. He’s a really good guy, he’s got so many killer records under his belt, and he’s got a very cool set up in Chicago. He brought some really good ideas to the table, and he definitely challenged me in the studio. Mike had worked with him before with Staind, and Rich as well with Finger Eleven. He and I got along great, and I’m definitely thankful and honored to be able to say that I’ve worked with him.

5: When it came to writing the album what if any obstacles did you come across and how were they overcome?

As I mentioned before, the songwriting process was really easy for both Mike and myself. We always seemed to be on the same page musically, so we really didn’t run into any obstacles. We both wanted to make the best record we could. Whether that meant Mike having a few lyric ideas, or me having a solo idea, it didn’t matter. We’ve got such a high level of respect for each other, on many levels, so working on music together came pretty natural.

6: How do you feel Saint Asonia is different from whats being produced today in 2015?

I would say the main thing that separates this band from others is the fact that we’re doing everything straight from the heart. Everything about this band is organic and raw. We didn’t overthink the recording process. We didn’t do pre-production. We didn't try to polish every lyric, every chord, every drum hit or bass pattern. We did what came natural, and I think it shows when you listen to the record.

7: You debut live for the first time at ROCK ON THE RANGE 2015. What was the crowds reaction to seeing you perform as a new band?

Rock On The Range is one of the premier rock festivals in North America. It was an absolute amazing experience launching Saint Asonia there. We were the “special guests” opening the main stage on Saturday. About 12,000 people were there by the time we walked on stage— which was awesome, and I think it took about three songs for the audience to realize who we were, and once they did, it was insane. The reaction was incredible, and it keeps getting better and better every night. It’s a new band, so we’re working our asses off to make sure that everyone knows Saint Asonia. We’re in this for the long haul.

8: In the past couple of years we are seeing more festivals now in north america plus the music boat cruises. It seems to work in Europe so how has this changed how you guys look to book shows?

Yeah, there are so many great festivals and the boat cruises are cool. Ya know, like I said, we’re working hard to get people to know this band. We’re not really looking for certain types of tours or shows. Any show that makes sense for us to do, we’ll do it.

9: With so many roads traveled in your careers does it get easier to go on tour?

The toughest thing about touring is leaving home. Leaving your wife, kids, and family. We’ve definitely all done our share of touring, so it’s at a point now where we know how long we want to be on the road for at a time. We know what it’s like to live on a bus, and we respect each other a lot, so it’s definitely easier than it used to be. When you’re a young new band, and you hit the road, for the most part you’re not really sure what to expect. We all know what to expect. This band is a family. We’ve got each other’s backs in any situation and I couldn’t ask for a better group of guys to share this experience / tour with.

10: All members of the band come from a impressive metal/rock resume. Would you guys consider the band a supergroup?

We don’t think of Saint Asonia as a “supergroup”. Yes, we’ve all been in different successful bands, but we’re not relying on that to fall back on. We don’t expect people to know who we are right out of the gates. The word “supergroup” has a weird type of stigma attached to it. For the most part, “supergroups” tend to be side projects, or they put out one record, and somewhat disappear. Not Saint Asonia. We have no intention of going away any time soon. Saint Asonia is a massive part of a brand new chapter in my life. It is my life and my livelihood. As long as people want to listen to our music, and watch us play, we’re not going anywhere. Saint Asonia is here to stay.

11: What do you think are the keys to success in making Saint Asonia a powerhouse in the rock/metal scene?

I really don’t know if there’s a “key” to success, and everyone has a different perception of success. I do know that as long as you’re making music for you, and not focusing on what others might want to hear, people relate to it. People relate to music that is genuine, and real. This Saint Asonia record is real, and straight from the heart. More so than any other record I’ve made. To me that is success.

12: I wanted to ask with all the talented artists you have met and played along with throughout your musical career who do you think is an influence both in and outside of music?

Well, I grew up in a musical family. Both my parents played music, and I grew up listening to all types of music as a kid. Folk stuff like Harry Chapin, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, classic rock, Aerosmith, Sabbath, Zeppelin, Beatles, then the Seattle music scene really influenced me when I started writing music. Now, Jeff Buckley, Deftones, and Tool are big influences for me as well. So musically, I’m influenced by lots of different artists, but outside of music, my biggest influence has always been my parents.

13: You guys hit the road in August opening for Seether so can you tell us what fans will get seeing you play live?

Yes, we’re going out with Seether in October. I’m really looking forward to it. They're a great band, and a really good group of guys. I’ve toured a lot with them, so it’ll be nice to do it again. Really, our live show is something pretty cool. We don’t have pyro, any fireworks, or confetti canons. We’ve got great songs. We’re four super intense characters on stage. We all have our own unique things going on when we play, and when you throw it all together for an hour set, the energy in the room changes, and it’s heavy, loud, and fun. It’s why we do what we do— to play live. That’s what we live for. We give it all we’ve got, every night.

14: Is there a message you want to send to the fans as you hit the road next month?

I want to thank all of the fans that have supported me over the last few years. Everyone who stuck with me, no matter what I was doing. And on behalf of Saint Asonia, thank you for checking out the record, and coming to the shows. The amount of love this band is getting is amazing. We’re so thankful for that, and we never take it for granted. Like I said, we’re here to stay, so we’ll see everyone out on the road sooner or later.