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Thrice


Thrice CD: Beggars
Record Label: Vagrant Records
by Joshua Miller
April 2010

When California alternative rockers Thrice stepped in the confines of the Daytrotter studios (located in Rock Island, IL) to record a live session in January, it seemed to echo a continued exclamation from the band to the world that they had moved far from being simply a metal/hard rock band.

While they might not need an introduction to many as they’ve toured around the country many times since starting in 1998, the session for Daytrotter.com proved to a golden opportunity for the band nonetheless. Daytrotter is a premiere location for sessions of some of today’s up-and-coming acts (many from the indie music scene).

“We thought that was cool that Daytrotter invited us because they don’t usually have many punk rock/metal bands,” says bass player Eddie Breckenridge. “They realized we’re doing something different now and I think a lot of people that ended up listening to it too were surprise that this was something Thrice would do.”

“A lot of people who listen or know about the band know more about the beginnings of our band when were first recognized and signed by a label. Our music has been changing so much over the years that maybe someone had like what we did in the past and moved on doesn’t know that we moved on as well.”

The band, which also includes singer Dustin Kensrue, guitarist Teppei Teranishi and Eddie’s brother and drummer Riley Breckenridge, feed on music exploration. With each of their six albums, the band’s sound has changed in more ways than one. The quiet and mellow demeanor of each of the members might hint otherwise but once the band gets on the practice floor or live setting it becomes evident the creative explosion.

Prior to their spring tour with fellow nationally touring acts Manchester Orchestra and O’Brother, which includes a stop at The Rave in Milwaukee April 24, Breckenridge talked to Maximum Ink about Thrice’s evolving sound and introspective lyrics.

MAXIMUM INK: It might be tough to describe but if you had to describe the overall sound of Thrice how would you describe it?
EDDIE BRECKENRIDGE: It’s kind of always in the state of evolving. It’s hard to describe. We’ve always had a rock base to our entire sound but we’re very much into experimenting with different sounds and new instruments. So I guess it could be kind of experimental rock. But I think that might mislead people because a lot of experimental rock ends up being sometimes being tough to listen to and I think we really focus on songwriting and trying to make good songs; creative but also enjoyable, like to sing along to.

MI: What are some of the different instruments the band’s used in experimenting?
ES: We’ve used a lot. We have the typical basic drums, guitar, bass, and then we’ve used electronic programming sometimes; also used string instruments, like I play an upright on some of the songs recorded. There’s also woodwind instruments, banjos, saxophone, trumpets, accordions, and organs, really anything we can get our hands on. We’ve even used glockenspiel.

MI: How do you decide to use these kinds of instruments?
ES: Sometimes it comes from a song or certain vibe that we’ve maybe heard on some soundtrack or something. But I really think it depends on developing the mood of the song. If we wanted it to be something a little more delicate we go and find an instrument that sounds delicate; or if we want something more harsh or heavy we could end up using something that was digital. 

I think it really relates to how you’re trying to relate the song to the listener as far as feeling and mood. That’s one the most fun parts of writing music for me, how you see yourself affecting the ear of the listener; that added on to the basic lyrics and chords and harmonies of the song. It’s what makes music limitless in a way.

MI: Let’s talk about the band’s latest album Beggars. It’s been mentioned that it was a bit of back to basic album especially after the previous album, The Alchemy Index, which was a 4-disc concept album.  Could you describe what it was like recording Beggars?
ES: Yeah, it was kind of back to basics. With the technology you can use, like recording music on your computer and sharing the mp3 with your band and having them build something on top of it, I think we had started writing music a lot like that which is cool in some ways. But on the other hand it loses the spontaneity of writing in the live band room and that’s how we wrote the entirety of Beggars. 

Everything was jammed out and played in this room together. It was cool and inspiring in that we’ve been a band for a while and we have these many sparks of imagination and spontaneity in the studio with all the music we were writing. That was really fun and came together really well and we’re already trying to get back together and write new music.

MI: A lot of Thrice’s songs are pretty introspective.  What’s the writing process like typically?
ES: Each person of the band writes and each has their own style that has developed over the years. Our writing is a meshing of all these different styles. We listen to all sorts of music and depending on what music we’re listening to at the time period it is in the course of our band it comes out in what we write…I think the songs turn out pretty cool because of those four strong opinions.   

I think a lot of the lyrics we’ve done in the past and on this record are trying to take a look at yourself and reality from an objective point of view and to question things. At the same time it’s also important to realize how fortunate we are. 

MI: The new album is a yet another chapter to the many the band’s been through.  Could you talk about how the band’s really strived to do something different with each album?
ES: Most of the time it’s not really a decision that’s made; it’s just the natural progression of where our heads are at or what we’re listening to. As you finish a record and start a new one you kind of have a reactionary aspect to the last one, like “I didn’t like how this came out” or “I’m sick of this sound.” That’s been a part of our band, the reactionary aspect to songwriting.

MI: What’s next for the band after this spring tour?
ES: We’re planning to tour this summer and try to go to the UK and Europe.  We all really want to go to Japan but I don’t know if that’s going to happen. A lot of touring and maybe at the end of the year start working on a new record. 

I’m not really sure what direction the album will take. We never really know until all the parts kind of end of colliding, all the music that we end up writing. The music is pushing into where it’s energetic but not necessarily in a heavy energetic way. I think all of us are getting better using expressions through the instrument in how you develop the mood and feel of the song. I’m excited to see where it all goes.

Purchase Beggars on Amazon.com
Download Beggars on Amazon.com

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