Thrice - RedBullUSA.com

Entering the lounge at the Red Bull Studios, the scene is similar to an intense study hall. The air is hushed. Backpacks and piles of books and papers along with a half dozen guitars fill the couches and table tops. Sitting alone, with a guitar is in his lap and alternately scribbling over a pad of paper and laptop is Thrice singer Dustin Kensrue. He’s pressed for time to finish lyrics to the band’s as-yet-untitled new album set for a Fall 2011 release that the band is currently in the middle of recording at the state-of-the-art Red Bull Studios. At the helm is producer/engineer Dave Schiffman (Bayside, The Bronx, Avenged Sevenfold). The band are excited about the new album and getting back on the road.

This well respected quartet formed 13 years ago in 1998. On the dawn of a new era, this self-proclaimed “band of introverted artists” sat down with ChinaShopMag to spill the beans on the record, and what they plan to do on their summer vacation.

What is Thrice doing here at the Red Bull Studios?

Riley Breckenridge: We are recording our seventh full-length record. Looking like it will be 5 days total [in the studio]. This is the first record we’ve done in a legitimate recording studio since Vheissu in Bearsville, New York, which coincidentally we worked with Dave Schiffman on. He engineered that, and this time around he’s engineering and producing. It’s been fun so far. There’s something exciting about being in a real recording studio. Because normally we record in a studio that we built in [guitarist] Teppei’s garage. It’s super tiny, like, 10 by 12. It’s where we rehearse for tour and write. So when it comes time to recording, there’s not the excitement of packing up and going to a studio and being in a big room with all this nice, fancy equipment. It makes [recording] more a production and an exciting thing. And so far so good. We’re gonna get as much of the basic tracking done as we can, drums bass guitars, maybe some vocals. But this is it.

What can fans expect to hear from Thrice on this new album?

Dustin Kensrue: It’s different in a melodic sense. The dynamics of it won’t be shocking. It’s definitely picking up more from where Vheissu left off. We’ve done a couple of records between. [Following] Vheissu, [The] Alchemy [Index] was totally different thing all together. Beggars was a minimalist reaction from that. And this being the next record from Beggars, it’s definitely gonna have a different sound cause we stripped down Beggars so much, even in the sound. Basically nothing that you wouldn’t be able to play live would be played on the [Beggars] record.

Teppei Teranishi: Pretty much no overdubs [on Beggars]. It’s completely normal to add an extra guitar in the chorus or have a piano playing and to keep a guitar going through that. But on Beggars, we were keeping it REAL sounding. So if I stopped playing my guitar [in the song] and switched to piano, my guitars gone and I switched to piano [on the track].

Dustin Kensrue: And even tonally, I think this record will be bigger [sounding]. Also in the melodic sense, there’s a weird ’90s grunge-y vibe to it that just kind of happened. When [producer] Dave [Schiffman] heard it he’s like, “So you guys wrote a grunge record?” half kidding.

Teppei Teranishi: Keeping it ’90s.

Dustin Kensrue: There’s certain ways when you hit a certain chord that should be minor you make it a major, it just gives it this kind of certain mood. That starts happening a lot on this record.

Teppei Teranishi: I feel like if you do anything in a concentrated amount of time then its starts developing its own scene.

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Do you have a name for the album yet?

Riley Breckenridge: No. We’re thinking about that.

What have you guys been up to in the last year?

Dustin Kensrue: I’ve had another kid, and I have another kid on the way. I have a 4 year old and a 14 month old. And in about 3 months, I’ll have another one.

Riley Breckenridge: We did a couple of tours. We did a tour with Kevin Devine, Bad Veins and The Dig in spring of last year, which was really fun. They’re bands that you wouldn’t have seen on a typical Thrice bill before. Kevin’s more acoustic driven, singer/songwriter. Bad Veins are two guys that play along to a tape machine, really cool Killers/Strokes-y kind of vibe. The Dig are an awesome band from Brooklyn, they’re all Berkeley schooled musicians, kind of like Beatles influence/early Radiohead. Really cool stuff. That was a fun tour.

Since September, we’ve just been working on this record. We hit a couple snags along the way, we’ve all been dealing with family health issue on various levels and loss, stuff like that.

We took last summer off. Then had a few random shows and did festivals in UK and Europe like Reading, Leeds and Pukkelpop.

Since September, we’ve just been working on this record. We hit a couple snags along the way, we’ve all been dealing with family health issue on various levels and loss, stuff like that.

So, to be totally honest, it’s been a really shitty end of last year and beginning of this year. But it’s good to be back at work and doing what we do. There’s something really satisfying, and really gratifying, about getting back to work. There’s something therapeutic about going back to working on something to take your mind off of what you’ve been through or what you’re going through at the moment.

Teppei Teranishi: [I've been] having children. I have 2 boys. My older son will be 4 in July and the younger one will be 2 in July. I also moved to the Northwest, on Vashon Island, it’s right across from Seattle.

I wanted a change of pace. Especially after having kids. Questioning whether I wanted to raise them here [in Southern California]. I just wanted a different atmosphere and lifestyle for them. 

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Eddie Breckenridge: We’ve had a lot going on the last two years family-wise, so it’s been pretty hectic. It’s been probably the roughest part of my life, but I have a lot of good people around me.

I’ve been doing a lot of things to take my mind off being scared or sad or whatever. Teppei and I were doing leather-work stuff, like making shoes.

I’ve been doing a lot of wood working, I made these Alaia surfboards that are made out of wood, like old traditional surfboards. I’ve always done a lot of woodwork. My first job ever was working for a surfboard shaper, so I had made normal boards in the past. I’ve made 2 of these [Alaia boards]. It’s really fun. There’s no fins and you kind of slip and slide a little bit. I like the experimentation.

There’s a wood you’re supposed to use called Paulownia wood, but I ended up using a mixture of cypress. This movement spawned out of a longboarding surfing style and a lot of do-it-yourself surf people started making them again.

Not to mention, [I'll be] making tons of music. I have ungodly amounts of mp3 files on my computer that just clutter space. It’s been a scary time but also really productive as far as creatively. Good in some ways but also really hard in others.

Thirteen years is a long time. Is your success everything you’ve hope for and more?

Dustin Kensrue: What’s been really healthy for us is in the long term [is] we’ve never had [pressure] to be “at this point at this time.” We’ve just been really grateful for each step. Especially that we’ve been able to make music for so long. Especially that we’re ALL still in a band. Just the four of us. We’re in the here and now. And we’re so grateful, and thankful, for that.

Teppei Teranishi: Taking things one step at a time. We’ve never had this giant “take over the world” kind of vision.

Riley Breckenridge: Much to our label’s dismay.

Teppei Teranishi: It goes without saying: Just being grateful for every step that we took, just kind of moving in that way the best we could with what we had.

I think a lot of that is a testament to our fan base. I guess because they’ve grown with us.

You’ve really stayed true to yourselves and achieved so much. Thrice has been able to rise out of the 2000s, whatever that was.

Dustin Kensrue: I think a lot of that is a testament to our fan base. I guess because they’ve grown with us. For the most part, people are growing with us. And as our tastes evolve, we try to infuse that into the music that we’re making. People are like ‘oh man you opened my eyes to this new genre’ or ‘I’m glad you’re not doing the same thing over and over.’ There are a lot of bands that can do that and pull it off really well, they find the sound and that’s what they do. I think our tastes are so varied, and each one of us is part of the writing process, you’re getting four different distinct tastes in music and then throwing it in a blender and seeing what comes out.

It’s just natural for it to evolve over time and we’re just lucky that our fans are willing to take that journey with us. 

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It’s almost time for summer vacation. Do you have any recommended reading for fans?

Dustin Kensrue: I just finished a book called Gilead by Marilynne Robinson. I thought it was interesting. It won the Pulitzer. That book is really good.

Eddie Breckenridge: I tend to like books that are real stories. I read With The Old Breed [by Eugene Sledge]. It was one of two books the story behind the mini series The Pacific [is based on]. I couldn’t put it down.

Teppei Teranishi: The last book I read was The Old Man And The Sea [by Ernest Hemingway]. I’d actually never read it before. I loved it, it was great.

Riley Breckenridge: I’m in the middle of Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom. It was Oprah’s book of the month, but he’s an amazing writer. It’s a look at a bunch of different stories and dissecting modern culture from different avenues. And for baseball nerds, I read a book by Jonah Keri called The Extra 2%, about how the Tampa Bay Devil Rays have applied Wall Street philosophy to creating a baseball team in a non-major market and competing against the beasts like the Red Sox and Yankees.

Then sitting on my desk, as soon as I’m out of recording headspace and can devote some time to it, I have David Foster Wallace’s The Pale King, the book that he really didn’t get to finish before he killed himself. There were just manuscripts and his editor pieced it together, which is kind of weird and kind of cool. Because one page of his is amazing, so to get 500 pages is something interesting. But I’m bummed because I know it will be the last book that I get to read of his. But I want to approach it with the proper mindset.

I’m gonna get back to writing. During time off, I was writing [a column] for OC Weekly, I had to take a break. I want to do some more music writing.

What are you going to do this summer before the Thrice album comes out and you start your tour in the Fall?

Dustin Kensrue: Have a baby. That’ll eat that time very quickly.

Riley Breckenridge: I’m gonna get back to writing. During time off, I was writing [a column] for OC Weekly, I had to take a break. I want to do some more music writing. And other freelance writing. And write some tunes, and just enjoy the summer.

Eddie Breckenridge: I actually hooked up with a few friends who are artists. They do this weekly art collective where they get together and do art. I was thinking of joining that, although I’m pretty intimidated to just jump into it.

Teppei Teranishi: I’m just gonna be enjoying my island. We moved in the middle of this writing, so I’ve been a week here, a week there. I haven’t really settled in too much. It’s gonna be nice to be there for a solid amount of time.

Source: ChinaShop Mag

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