Thrice Interview

Orange County band Thrice were in the UK for a hectic short run of 3 shows and we managed to catch up with bassist Eddie Breckenridge, who brought us up to speed with the band’s new stylistic direction.

How does it feel to be back in the UK?

EDDIE: It’s good, actually it’s kinda stressful… It’s just always scary coming over here and renting equipment. We’re actually over here for a fairly short time – 3 shows. So, I don’t know, it’s just a lot of stuff going on but we’re really excited to be playing and back here and we’re gonna be playing some new songs and it should be cool.

How do the audiences compare with those in the U.S? Do the kids beat each other up more or less?

EDDIE: um… I don’t know, I think it’s actually fairly similar, especially here in London. I mean, I think they’re actually a little bit louder (here) which is kinda cool, especially if they’re singing along! But yeah, it’s awesome. The in-between song shouts are amazing…

What’s the new album ‘Vheissu’ (pronounced Vee – soo, Eddie informs us) loosely about or inspired by?

EDDIE: I think it’s kind of inspired by a lot of different music and it’s also us having time to experiment with a lot of different sounds. I think it’s obvious there’s a fair amount of change in our sound. I mean, we still sound like the same band but I think it’s a lot more diverse than anything we’ve ever done. As far as dynamics go, there’s a lot mellower stuff but then there’s also really heavy stuff. We tried messing with different instruments..

Is there glockenspiel on one track?

EDDIE: Yeah, there actually is glockenspiel on one song.

Who played that then?

EDDIE: Dustin actually played it… Yeah, we used Rhodes and all these different instruments just trying to create more atmosphere in the music, whereas in the past I think we were more of like… the music we were playing was kinda straight-ahead rock, but with a twist, but… I dunno, it’s gotten a lot more experimental I’d say.

That kinda leads me onto the next question. Your fans have seen a huge progression from each of your albums to the next. Is this a more mature, fully realised album from Thrice?

EDDIE: I think so… I’m really happy with what we’ve done because I think it feels to me like it has more ability to be lasting music that people’ll enjoy for a longtime, whereas some of the more aggressive stuff that we’ve done… not that there’s not aggressive stuff on this album, but I think that it’s just more tasteful than anything we’ve ever done and I don’t know if everyone else would agree with that but I definitely feel that we didn’t have a heavy part unless the mood of the song really called for it. We’d have each song kinda feel like it had a progression, whether it crescendos in certain points and there’s this climax and there’s all this different emphasis. It’s more on like creating a mood and establishing grooves and feels, I don’t know, I think the music is way more moody than anything we’ve ever done.

How do you think your fans will react to the new atmospheric feel?

EDDIE: Um, I hope… I mean I don’t know, honestly. I think about it sometimes but the thing that is really good to me is that I’m really excited about it. I mean, I know there are people that listen to us that don’t like some of the bands that we like, some of the bands that might’ve influenced us. There’s definitely influences from bands like ‘Sigur Ros’ or like ‘Radiohead’ or ‘Talk Talk’ in some of the more mellow stuff that we did on the record and there probably will be kids that don’t like that but…

Do you think that maybe it will challenge them?

EDDIE: Yeah, that’s what I’m hoping. I’m hoping it’ll challenge them to listen and actually experience the music as something that they can feel, more than something they can just scream and run around to, you know?

There seems to be an increasing amount of literary influence in your music. What are you reading at the moment?

EDDIE: Well, I don’t write the lyrics so what I’m reading won’t really influence the record. But I’m reading a book right now called ‘Snow Crash’ which is kind of like a science fiction kinda thing about the future and a guy… There’s this thing called the metaverse, it’s really hard to explain [here follows an attempt at outlining the book’s weird but interesting premise of a digital drug etc..] I was actually given the book by a guy named Shelby who’s in a band called ‘Frodus’ and is now in a band called ‘Frantic Mantis’, who are from Sweden, and also a band called ‘The Cassettes’, which is a band from the U.S. He’s like all over the place! He loves that book, so he gave it to me and I’m reading it.

Do you and the other guys have ambitions to expand in your writing?

EDDIE: Totally, I mean all of us write the music and we’re always in somewhat similar areas of writing but also there’s a lot of push and pull between what everybody creates and then putting it together is what our band is about. And that’s kinda how it’s always been. Teppei’s actually been listening to a lot of old jazzy keyboard kinda stuff. I’ve been listening to a lot of ambient music and Dustin was listening to… everything! And Riley was listening to a lot of heavy music like ‘Isis’ or something like that and I think you can hear it in the record definitely. There’s definitely like a push and pull. It’s hard for us to write songs at times because our ideas of where the song should go are so… different in the beginning, but in the end I think it ends up becoming something better than any of us could make on our own.

How did it come about that Dave Eggers (acclaimed American author) did the artwork for ‘Vheissu’?

EDDIE: Umm… It actually… We were thinking of people to do the artwork and we wanted something to be different because there’s a lot (especially in our genre or whatever) there’s a lot of people doing the same thing. Same kinda artwork, same kinda sound. This is kinda a reaction to that I think and we were talking about the artwork and our manager was talking to us about possible ideas and we were saying “Well, we wanna do something really different.” Dustin said “Yeah, something like the ‘McSweeney’s’ cover.” And our manager was like “Why don’t you just call up Dave Eggers and ask him if he wants to do it?” and we were like “OK! We might as well!” and we ended up calling him and I think it took a while to get hold of him and then he ended up meeting us and just having coffee with us and just hanging out and talking about stuff and he was totally down to do it. It’s basically him and the guy that does the ‘McSweeney’s’ artwork, collectively. It’s really cool.

Is he a cool guy?

EDDIE: Yeah, he’s amazing. He’s super funny, awesome. It’s weird though talking to him because (if you’ve read his semi-autobiographical novel ‘A Heartbreaking Work Of Staggering Genius’) you like know his life already, whether it’s kinda true, whether some things are embellished or not. We’re like “So…. How’s Toph?” (Eggers’ little brother in the novel). It was really weird but really cool at the same time.

Finally, how would you like ‘Thrice’ to be remembered? For your albums or the live show?

EDDIE: Oh definitely for our live show. I mean, I think recordings are really cool but I never think that they get across exactly what we’re gonna do. What we want to do. Recordings are really cool cos you get your ideas out there but I think what we end up creating live… I mean, what we’re going to play tonight of the new songs is pretty similar to what the recording is but over time each of the songs grows, the song never becomes solidified like it is in an album. It always ends up growing and people add new parts and change parts and… I would love people to know us as a live band and… also as a band that wanted to grow and always be in a constant progress of changing and growing.

Interview by Sarah Maynard and Andrew Raymond.

Thrice release ‘Vheissu’ in the UK through Island Records on the 17th October.

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