With the release of their latest record Vheissu, Thrice have become an even bigger name. Making the charts in the first week of the release, Vheissu is a somewhat of a departure from what people are used to hearing from the band. The record has been received with mixed feelings by their fans but critics are loving it. Thrice was in Montreal last week and I had a chance to sit down with the band’s singer Dustin Kensrue and guitarist Teppei Teranishi, and here’s what we talked about:
The Concordian: There are many different elements to your new record, like samplers and piano. How has Thrice changed since the last record?
Teranishi: I think it was a natural progression for the band. With Artist In The Ambulance we kind of rushed the process. I feel like we didn’t get to grow as much as we wanted to or felt would be natural on that record. We just really gave ourselves time and space on this record and I feel like it’s just a natural growth. It’s just our influences and taste in music showing through our music.
The Concordian: What were your non-musical influences for this record?
Kensrue: I think there’s definitely musical influences just not like the current happenings. None of the hype. It’s older records. Basically hanging out with our families, friends and each other, getting together and writing music very much the way that you do when you first start a band; get together a couple of times a week, jam and figure it out.
The Concordian: How do you guys feel about having Vheissu being reviewed as “perfect” in a couple of different publications?
Teranishi: It feels really good to have people appreciate what you’ve worked so hard on. I think what’s most important for us is that we’re really satisfied with it and we were really happy with the record before anyone else had even heard it. I feel like anything above that is a bonus but it definitely makes you feel good.
Kensrue: It’s cool because I think we can be satisfied., but it doesn’t mean that anyone else is going to like it at all. Reviews are always a strange thing because it’s one person’s opinion going out over this large spectrum of people. But at some level it’s still a person, and for music to connect that well with a person is more the issue. I take a person that walks up to me and them telling me about the record; I get the same feeling from that I do from a review.
The Concordian: This is the first time you guys have worked with Steve Osborne. What was it like working with him?
Teranishi: I thought it was cool because he had never really worked with a band that is anything like us…
Kensrue: Or heavy at all.
Teranishi: Exactly! It was cool because we were stretching ourselves working with him and he was stretching himself working with us. I think it was cool that we found a cool middle ground. It was interesting seeing his perspective.
The Concordian: This has been talked about a lot but you guys really mellowed out on this record. This has been a continuous process but it’s definitely apparent on Vheissu. As a result, a lot of fans are disappointed. How would you explain this change?
Kensrue: We are writing the music we want to write, it’s not a conscious effort to be like “let’s not do this thing” or “let’s piss all these people off”. It’s nothing like that at all. There is fast and heavy stuff on the record and I think if we were trying to make a conscious decision to leave that behind we would have done it. More so than ever, we are trying to use the heavier things dynamically so they feel they are very necessary in the songs. We are just trying to do what feels natural to us. There’s definitely no explanation to it.
Teranishi: If we wrote anything else than what we wrote, it would have been a lie. This is where we’re at, and this is the music that we wrote and that’s coming from our hearts. Anything else would have been fake. I understand what kids want. I know that the kids want the fast riffing and the metal stuff. I suppose we can do that again but that’s totally not what we want to do.
Kensrue: And I guarantee that if we did do it again, people whose favorite record is The Illusion Of Safety they are not going to find a replacement to that.
Teranishi: We were joking that we should just re-record The Illusion Of Safety and just give it to the kids that want that [laughs]. But then we were saying that they wouldn’t even be happy with that.
Kensrue: I don’t think a lot of people think about it. It’s not just the music, but it’s the time of your life that you hear it and how that interacts. If you have a record that’s your favorite record, it’s probably half the music and half of what the music did for you at that time. Even if you heard that same record at a different time in your life, it wouldn’t affect you in the same way. So it’s something that you can never try to make happen for anybody. For the band the best thing is just to always be honest.
The Concordian: A part of the proceeds from this record goes to 826 Valencia, an organization that helps kids with writing skills. Why is it important for Thrice to give back and help out organizations?
Kensrue: We’ve been doing different charities on each record but in general the feeling behind that is just that we are very fortunate to do what we do for a living and also we were all very fortunate growing up in a safe place with a lot of opportunities. I think it’s our responsibility to try and help others who are less fortunate.