On Monday night, I had the unreal pleasure of sitting down with Dustin Kensrue and Ed Breckenridge of the band Thrice.
They are currently opening for Deftones and Rise Against on tour. We talked about their band and its history and I might have gotten a tad emotional discussing one of my favorite albums ever, “The Alchemy Index” (2007).
It would be irresponsible not to mention the performance by the Deftones. THEY BLEW MY MIND.
Veterans at that level are prone to do so, but I didn’t see it coming. This show, all bands included, easily ranks on my top 5.
Rise Against also put on a great show, but discussed politics a little to much for my taste, but to each their own.
Interview with Dustin Kensrue and Ed Breckenridge of Thrice below . Enjoy.
The Woodlands Journal: You all have been in this band for almost 20 years. How would the high school versions of yourselves react to you now? Did you ever think you’d be doing this now at this level?
Dustin: In high school, definitely not. We just took one step at a time and that slowly led to here.
Ed: It’s pretty crazy – the steps that we took – we were trying, but we were just helping to push the ball forward, but then following where it went.
WJ: You can’t anticipate that kind of success.
WJ: So, you clearly know how to write music. How did it feel to come back together after the hiatus?
Dustin: We’ve been playing together so long that there’s a chemistry, musically, that doesn’t really go away. I don’t know if you can really describe what it’s like. But, playing music with other people is really interesting – as you play with specific people there becomes almost a language that develops…
Ed: …like necessary puzzle pieces to create the songs you create.
Dustin: So, we got together and jammed one time right after we decided to start things back up again. We were all in the same town. It was super fun. Some of the early ideas for the last record started, even in that first practice session.
Ed: Ya, I think our first idea was our fist single, “Black Honey”.
WJ: Expand on the name of the new record, “To Be Everywhere Is To Be Nowhere”.
Dustin: It’s a quote from an old Greek philosopher, Seneca the Younger, and it’s interesting, coming from someone in a time wher distractions were far, far less than what we have with technology these days. It seemed to be more applicable than ever – that idea of striving for being present, in a moment and a place. When you’re losing that presence, you end up not being in a bunch of places… you end up being nowhere. Just scattered and spread apart. So, it’s not a theme that’s woven all throughout the record, but, it’s almost more the air that we breathe, this day and age. The last song, “Salt and Shadow”, references it a bit more directly.
Ed: The hard part is that to be present everywhere is kinda’ necessary, in a way… but, at the same time, you have to put your phone down to not get in trouble…
WJ: When you get into uncommon time signatures, is it a challenge for yourselves, or is it something you create to set yourselves apart, musically?
Dustin: It’s more just a different energy from each time signature. So, we’ve come to really appreciate the way they push and pull from each other. So, especialy something “7”, you know, in general, it feels like and 8 cut off, usually, and so, it has a push to it. It’s kind of restarting, restarting. Sometimes we’ll let it play out into the 8… something that non-musical people are going to know, but they’re going to feel it… they won’t know between the two in the same song.
WJ: Did anyone in the band fear that the hiatus would become permanent? 5 years is a good bit of time to be apart.
Dustin: We definitely didn’t know when we would come back. I definitely always wanted to.
Ed: I didn’t know. The hardest thing about it was that it was good for all of us, but anything that you’re doing for a while, you think, “Who am I?” when I’m not doing my main thing anymore. So, in the end, the break was a good practice for all of us. We sort of took stock of who we were outisde of the band, but also appreciated who awesome the band is as well.
Dustin: As much as I think there’s hard and painful things about the break, there’s also a lot of good that came out of it and having those perspectives come back in and appreciation, and just a refreshing return to creating together. I mean, it seems there are more and more studies coming out about the best ways to creative, and it includes making sure that you are getting breaks in things and we had just never had that.
WJ: The Alchemy Index is now 10 years old. Upon your goal of accomplishing such an ambitious concept album, were you ever intimidated by your own idea?
Dustin: I don’t think it was intimidating. It was a BUNCH of work. It was a huge undertaking. I think it felt like ton, but it was really interesting having… it was a very differnt record because we had these specific we were pushing toward and we were recording it in different ways. We recorded all the ‘Earth’ stuff in the house and we cleared out all the furniture and the sound was kinda’ going off the wood. It was just always something interesting happening.
Ed: It was cool because we always write so many ideas that we’re leaving a lot behind a lot of the time and sometimes that’s because what you’re doing with all the ideas, and bringing them to a center, which is a combination of all the elements… then what we were doing with this project was pushing them in the direction that they maybe would naturally go, which was and acoustic thing, or an electronic thing, or an ethereal thing, or a heavy thing. It was a really cool exercise for us to see how far we could push things in that direction. It was like having rules, but NOT having rules for once, because it was doing the opposite of what we normally do.
Dustin: Constraints, if they’re done right, help foster your creativity. You have something to bounce off, in a sense. So, it was fun to have very specific restraints. There’s a ton of freedom within any kind of restraint you put on your own creativity. It’s often those things that really bring something to life, because you start to find the space within these walls that you’ve set up. That was the coolest thing about that project.
Ed: The stage setup with that record was also pretty bonkers!
WJ: Which song from your set list are you most excited to play every night?
Dustin: ‘The Window’ is cool.
Ed: Ya, ‘The Window’ is a lot of fun. I always love playing ‘The Earth Will Shake’. And that’s an OLD one!
WJ: Ok, you guys ready to sweat tonight?
Dustin: Supposedly, there’s some A/C on stage.
Ed: Ya, they’re cooling things down right now. Last night we played in direct sunlight…
We want to sincerely thank Dustin and Ed for taking the time to sit down and share with us.
Thrice continue their tour with Deftones and Rise Against into mid-July.