Saint Asonia is an all-star team of musicians including Adam Gontier (former lead singer of Three Days Grace), Mike Mushok (Staind), Corey Lowery (Eye Empire and Dark New Day) and Rich Beddoe (former drummer for Finger Eleven). Their eagerly anticipated debut album was released on July 31, 2015 with widespread success.
In the interview below, we spoke with three members of Saint Asonia about their new band, new record, and life as musicians. Adam Gontier's answers are initialed AG, Mike Mushok's MM, and Corey Lowery's CL.
PRS: First off, can you tell us how Saint Asonia came to fruition?
AG: Mike reached out to do some songwriting together and we just it off musically and personally. We ended up with like 10 really great songs so here we are.
MM: When I heard Adam had left 3 Days Grace, I reached out to him shortly after to see if he just wanted to get together and work on some music. I was in Toronto and we hung out for a day and things went really well and easy. That eventually led to us making a demo for RCA. Upon hearing that demo, everyone was very excited which led to a record deal and us recording the album his past January. Adam had been playing with Rich Beddoe (drummer formerly from Finger 11) so he made the album with us. Once the album was complete, we needed a bass player and Corey was the first guy that came to mind. I had known him for years and knew he was more than capable for the gig. The first time we jammed everything clicked and here we are.
CL: Adam and Mike wrote some songs together - not even to start a band it just evolved from there!
PRS: Congrats on the new record, I bet you guys are stoked to be out there supporting it. How has the response been so far?
AG: The response has been really great. It’s pretty surreal to already have audience singing our songs at the shows. We couldn’t ask for better fans.
MM: The response has been great! It’s pretty amazing that the record has only been out a couple of weeks and people are already singing along. It’s a really great feeling.
CL: Very thankful, surprised and excited. It’s been incredible.
PRS: Several publications and radio personalities are dubbing SAINT ASONIA as a “Supergroup” – How does that resonate with you guys?
AG: We don’t consider it that. We’re a group of friends that play music together. It’s nice to hear, for sure, but we don’t really think about it too much.
MM: It kind of makes me laugh. I guess on one hand, it’s a compliment but more of us view it that way. We’ve all been fortunate to be able to make a living playing our own music in our previous bands … Now this band has come together as friends who are having a really great time making music together. Everyone feels very fortunate for where the have been and for what they have now, which is a band we are very proud of.
CL: We were all fans of each other’s bands and are just glad to be jamming together.
PRS: Mike and Adam, you guys have been playing PRS guitars for many years – do you have a favorite model and why?
MM: Of course I love my signature model. I use that guitar all the time, especially in the studio. After years of recording baritone guitars, that PRS stock MM Baritone holds up to anything… even the custom shop baritones you’ve made for me. I also love my custom shop 7 string baritones along with my McCarty’s.
AG: For me, it’s the McCarty. Great Feel and I love the tones I can get.
PRS: Corey, you’ve recently joined the PRS family and have been rocking the SE Kingfisher and SE Kestrel basses. How have they been working for you?
CL: I’ve had them a few weeks now on tour and love them. Tons of punch, low end and clarity. Look forward to rocking them.
PRS: When you aren’t writing music or touring, what do you like to do during your free time?
AG: Really, being at home and being with my family. And just relaxing with my wife is all I want to do when I’m home.
MM: Pretty much, all my free time is spent with my kids when I’m home, whether it’s taking them to baseball, soccer, or whichever game they may have or piano or violin lessons to just being with them when I’m home.
CL: Hanging with family. It keeps me grounded.
PRS: The music industry has changed quite a bit over the years. What advice would you give a young and aspiring musician who’s cutting their teeth in a garage band?
AG: I think it’s all about networking. Gotta get out there and meet people. Get your music in everyone’s hands and always do it for the right reasons.
MM: I think the best advice I could give would be to just keep writing music and try to find your own identity. You can never have too many songs and hopefully, through that process you can find your own voice. I’d also say to play out as often as you can. You can practice in the garage forever but until your in front of an audience … that’s when you really learn how to perform and get your music across to people.
CL: Write all the time and never stop. The more you write, the better you will understand what not to write.