Just five years ago, the alternative rock world thought they’d lost Thrice for good – announcing an indefinite hiatus and “a break from being a full-time band.” After three long years, the post-hardcore quartet decided enough was enough and declared their return with the acclaimed To Be Everywhere Is To Be Nowhere. The music scene missed Thrice in their time away, but the band acquired a newfound enthusiasm for creating music together and is now reaping the benefits.
We recently caught up with drummer Riley Breckenridge of Thrice to discuss the band’s break, their new sound and the current tour with Deftones and Rise Against.
First off, congratulations on the new record To Be Everywhere Is To Be Nowehere and the booming success you guys are enjoying! How’s it feel to be back playing music together again?
It’s been awesome. The record was received better than what we could’ve hoped for. The songs are going over better in a live setting than any of us could’ve expected. Overall, I think there’s a renewed enthusiasm and appreciation for how awesome it is to be able to do this for a living – just how fun it is. Before the break it felt like some people were getting burnt out and the touring schedules were getting exhausting. Taking the break gave us some perspective from top to bottom – from communication to handling the day-to-do to the writing. I couldn’t be happier about it.
Did the break better your friendship with the guys, considering you’ve been the road with the same friends since high school?
Yeah, I think if you do anything in life for 15 years, there’s a chance you might get burnt out. If something get’s taken away from you for four or five years, you begin to think how it could’ve been better – I think we’ve applied those ideas. Since we started playing shows again, everything has been better from top to bottom.
You came back with a bit of a new sound. Was that intentionally or was it an organic change during your time away from music together?
A lot of it has to do with the producer we worked with Eric Palmquist. With prior records we were a bit reactionary. If we explored one thing on a record like Beggars, the next record would naturally be different. We want to push forward, but in the past I feel we’d lose sight of the things we do well. We weren’t super familiar with Palmquist before working with him, but he said, ‘I want you to push to do new stuff, but I don’t want you to forget why people like your band. There’s certain things that you guys do well.’ Whether that’s riffing or dynamics, he really wanted to lock that in and push it in a new direction.
Much like your current tour mates, your music offers a level of social commentary. How easy or difficult is it to use the current political situation as inspiration when it comes to writing new music?
Dustin writes all the lyrics, but I think he was very inspired by what’s going on politically. Whether that’s domestic or foreign policy, that’s something that’s in the conversation everyday and it’s something that you think about a lot, if you choose to. I think we’re all socially aware people, especially Dustin. He had a bunch of stuff he wanted to get off his chest and he put that into the lyrics. He should be singing about something that matters to him. I’m really proud of the way the lyrics turned out on this record.
I recently read a few comments on Reddit, wondering why the newly released “Sea Change” wasn’t on the record – that it could’ve fit well between “Whistleblower” and “Salt and Shadow.” Was there a specific reason behind that?
“Sea Change” was the only b-side. We generally don’t write a ton of songs for a record. We didn’t have any other b-sides. Part of the reason why we left it off is due to pacing. It’s low energy and “Salt and Shadow” is also slow and low energy – we didn’t want too much of that feel on the record. Also, running time for vinyl – if we added that song, we couldn’t create a single record. I think it would’ve put us over the [time limit]; a few guys felt it was too slow and at the end of the day we felt it was best to save it for a Record Store Day release.
This current tour boasts a stellar lineup with Thrice, Deftones and Rise Against. Is there any history between the other bands and yourself that dates back to the mid 2000s?
Yeah, we’ve toured with both bands before. We did Taste Of Chaos with Deftones in the mid 2000s and played some other markets with them. We saw them a week ago at a festival in Belgium. They’re great guys and have been an influence for some of our stuff. Then we toured with Rise Against, Alkaline Trio and Gaslight Anthem in 2008, I think. We have history with both bands and we’re excited to see friends again. Also, to see them kill it on stage each night will be a treat.
Thrice, Deftones and Rise Against make their way to Charlotte and will perform Tuesday, June 20 at the CMCU Amphitheatre. Tickets are available here.