Theory is certainly in a healthy place going into Say Nothing, which comes out Jan. 31. The Canadian group is coming off the success of 2017's "RX (Medicate)," a platinum release that topped the Mainstream Rock Songs chart and steered the quartet in a more polished direction and away from the guitar-dominated hard rock where it previously planted its flag. But Connolly confesses that "Rx (Medicate)" created some anxiety for him as well.
"This is probably the scariest record we've ever made," he acknowledges. "We had this monster song and it came from a place of creative freedom, I guess. So going right back into the studio it almost felt like the song was a bit of a fluke. It scared the heck out of me, to be honest, to see what we would come up with."
Help for that came from producer Martin Terefe (Mike Posner, KT Tunstall, Jason Mraz), who worked with Theory on a track from its last album and brought the group to London to record Say Nothing, its seventh studio set. Connolly says it took both parties out of their respective comfort zones, but to good effect.
"He doesn't even really work with bands or do full (albums)," Connolly explains. "He usually writes with artists and will do a single with him. So when we came in he was like, 'Oh, this is a band. This is gonna be a lot of fun!' So sonically everything was challenging, him not being a heavy rock guy -- even his rock ideas didn't come close to something he would have done in the past. I think Martin really enjoyed going kind of old school and having us in the same room to play the song rather than everybody doing their part by themselves and then putting it all together."
Their single "History of Violence," a powerful song about domestic violence, is currently in the top 10 of Billboard’s Mainstream Rock Songs chart. Theory will be hitting the road early in the new year, with a Canadian tour starting Jan. 31-Feb. 1 in its native Vancouver and migrating into the U.S. during April and May. "Tons" of additional dates are coming, according to Connolly, and the band is looking forward to giving Say Nothing's songs a bit more muscle on stage. "Everything we play live tends to be quite a bit heavier and more aggressive," Connolly notes. "We got a new agent in the U.K. and he came over to our show a couple weeks ago in London and said 'I'm glad to see you guys live, 'cause you're a lot heavier than I expected.' I think he heard some of the new stuff and was like, 'Oh...what's this gonna sound like live?' So, yeah, we're always trying to dig in like that, and I'm sure it'll be the same with these (songs)."