Interview: The Download Tapes – Three days Grace

Three days Grace packed out the second stage with thousands of die hard fans. Going for 25 years they know how to put on a show and work the crowd. What some might not know is how thoughtful they are in every song and release they make. Coming from a small town to become a household name is just a testament to the hard work they have put in and what an inspiration to many they have become. Aggy Gillon spoke with Bass ace Brad Walst about playing Download and latest release ‘Explosions’.

How many Downloads have you guys done?

“I think this is our third. We were trying to decide that on the way here. I think it’s our third. We started off playing 2015 in a smaller tent. We were here in 2019 and then now we’re back in 2023 so pretty cool. “

What does it mean to you guys to play download and especially being such a special one being the 20th anniversary?

“It’s pretty amazing and we’re super fortunate to be able to play in Europe for one and play in the UK. We have some great fans here. We just done our own headlining tour last year which was amazing. Everytime we get to come back to the UK we’re super excited. Obviously to be on a big one with bands like Metallica it’s pretty rad and pretty exciting!”

Your latest release was Explosions. Can you tell me a bit about that?

“The response has been great and the fans have been loving it. It’s nice to get on the road and be playing some new songs live. Obviously we weren’t able to do anything for a few years so we are pretty stoked about that. But it was a different record to make being from Canada we got locked down quite a bit so that was difficult. With technology now we made it work. We had to do it a little bit separately which wasn’t great but it came out pretty good.”

After reading about that, it must have been quite difficult to do during the pandemic but you guys still ended up enjoying the process of making the album?

“It was cool. Obviously writing on zoom can be a little difficult. The cool part about this is we do a lot of co-writing with friends of ours all over the world so with zoom it is so easy to connect and do that. When it came down to the recordings of things, I think we did nine of the twelve songs separately. So Neil would go to a studio and do his drums, I would go to another studio and do bass etc. So that was difficult but in the end it all worked out we just had to glue it all together and make it work.” 

Thank goodness for technology eh

“That’s the thing. Matt, our singer, made a vocal booth out of his closet and he was online with a producer in LA. It’s pretty crazy what you can do now.” 

Is there any particular song that is your favourite or most special to you?

“I think the song ‘Explosions’ , which is the last song, the title track. I can relate, it hits home for me. It reminds me that the world is pretty small you know and if you ever get anxiety  just look up and realise that you’re just floating on a rock through space.” 

When reading over the new album, each song holds a story. Its beautiful how passionate and thoughtful you guys are. Everything you do means something. Reading about the song ‘Life Time’ and the story behind it was very very touching. 

“Yeah, thank you.”


Did you guys get here today or?

“We got here last night. We had a bit of a hiccup. Our drummer, we think he broke his right ankle last night. So this morning he came and his ankle is this big…so thankfully he can play with his left foot but it’ll be interesting.”

Bloody hell! 

“Yeah but we came in last night and had a couple of pints in Nottingham. We went to the Trip To Jerusalem. The oldest pub. It’s amazing.”

Oh yeah! If you ever go back the Old Salutation Inn is across the road and they kind of fight for the oldest pub title, no one really seems to know. 

“Oh yeah we saw that. We’ll do that tonight.” 

You are on later today, how do you guys psych yourself up for a show?

“We all have our own routine. Matt, our singer, is probably the most superstitious. He always has to listen to a certain song and do the same routine. We just have a couple of drinks and try to have fun and get ready for the rock show. It’s always weird going on earlier in the day time.”

You guys have been going for quite a long time now, how do you feel you have evolved over the years as a band?

“I think for us we keep our heads down and keep moving forward. I think we have become better songwriters and musicians. Its family, we have been doing this for 25 years. Time flies but we still love it and we still love playing live. In any relationship communication is key. Got to keep everything pretty open. You have to respect and be kind to everybody. It’s been a good ride and we are still having fun.”

Out of all the albums you have released do you have a favourite?

“That is a tough question. I loved making the first record I think just because back then you had nothing to lose and nothing to gain. Full of piss and vinegar and it was fun to make. I think my favourite was when Matt joined the band and making Human was pretty fun.”

You guys are from a small town in Canada. How did you guys come from that to become such an established rock band you are today?

“I have no idea! That is a great question but yeah we started young we were in highschool. It was a small town so either you played sports, did drugs or found something else to do. So we found music and started that early and moved to Toronto Ontario when we were about eighteen years old and met the right people. We haven’t really looked back since. It’s been a crazy ride and we are pretty fortunate.” 

What would you say is the future?

“I don’t know. Obviously we’re gonna finish up this tour and then see what happens. Start writing again. I think the future of Three Days Grace is gonna be pretty cool.” 

What are the influences behind Three Days Grace?

“Definitely the whole grunge scene, the 90s alternative grunge. That was our influence and how I think we learned to write music in the beginning. We would learn to play all those songs and cover and record them. It evolved from there. I just love music that makes me feel good and when you get those goosebumps that is what influences me.”

Coming as a punter to Download for many years and singing to your songs in the campsite, it’s a total pleasure to speak to you

“That’s awesome! I appreciate that thank you so much.”

Since you came from a small town background. What advice would you give for budding artists?

“I think starting out for many young bands for one just play as many live shows as you can.  Try to find people you like to play with and get along with as that is a big part of it. Play live and just keep playing and playing. Be good at your instrument.”

Three Days Grace – Facebook

Interview and photos by Aggy Gillon