POZ Interview: Thrice
PropertyOfZack hopped on the phone with Riley Breckenridge from Thrice several weeks ago for a great interview. Riley and I discussed the band’s Anthology release, a new band with him, Ed, and Mike from Hey Mercedes, other projects, and much more. Check it all out below!
We’re right around the corner from Thrice’s release of Anthology, which is the end-cap of a long farewell. There’s been some time since the final tour now. How has it been for you, just truly stepping away?
It’s been kind of weird. I guess that I’ve been trying to distance myself from the band stuff as much as possible as I figure out what I’m going to transition into. I haven’t spent a lot of time thinking about the band or the release. I’ll get an email here or there from management for promotion for the release, but for the most part, I haven’t been thinking about the band too much. Due to social media, people can reach out to me whenever they’d like. I went to the Circa Survive show the other night and there were people there who had really nice things to say. That’s really the only time I think about it. It’s not like I’m here balling over the end of Thrice. We kind of had to come to grips with it a long time ago when we found out that we’d be taking a break. I think I’m moving past that at this point.
In terms of the live release, we’ve seen a few songs so far from it. There’s no new material, but it’s special to fans. Have you seen a lot of excitement for it?
I think people are pretty excited, especially for people who couldn’t come out and see the show. It’s a legit audio recording of the songs on that tour, rather then watching crappy YouTube videos. We had our friend Jonathan Weiner, who has worked for Alternative Press in the past, come out to shoot a bunch of stuff. He has a really good eye for candid shots, so he came out at the end of the tour and snapped live photos and all that. He took a lot of candid shots, and they all came out really cool. That’s what the insert of the vinyl is. It’s a photo collection giving people a behind the scenes look on the tour.
Was the farewell tour satisfying in terms of closure for you?
I couldn’t have asked for anything better. The bands we had out were great and the fan response and attendance was great. To finish it up with four or five shows that were all about an hour away from home was really comfortable and nice as well.
POZ: And arguably the greatest tour prank of all time.
Riley: Yeah [Laughs]. For those who don’t know, O’Brother stole our encore and played a Creed song. Very well. It was scary how good it was. If O’Brother falls apart and are not successful doing their thing, they could make a living as a Creed cover band. Or not. It was a satisfying end to something that I didn’t want to end. It was as satisfying as it could’ve been. It was definitely bittersweet, but all good things must come to an end at some point.
We’ve seen you write over the years, but there’s been a lot more of that whether it be album reviews or baseball blogs. Have you begun figuring out your next steps yet?
Ed and I have been working on music at our little rehearsal space. Ed, myself, and Michael Shumaker, who was in Hey Mercedes and has done front of house sound for us, have been working together. The three of us have similar taste in music and can work together in a way that works really well creatively. He’s been out here a few times since we finished that tour to jam on some stuff. Ed and I have been working when we have time. Geography is making it tough because Mike’s in Cleveland, but we’re trying to do what we can with filesharing and email to piece something together so we can get into a studio and bang out an EP. We’d like to have it out sooner than later. There’s no date or schedule, but it’s something that will be decided upon fairly soon.
POZ: That’ll just be you three?
Riley: I think so. I think we want to get the ideas that we have a little closer to song form before we decide to add something else. Or if there will be vocals or not vocals. Right now it’s cool, heavy, and weird and kind of dissonant and riffy. It reminds be a lot of Fugazi-type stuff. It has an East Coast sound to it, which is cool. We’ll see how it goes. It’s too early to tell right now.
Obviously you’re still working with Ed, but how has it been working on something that’s not Thrice and was never in the band?
It’s definitely fun, being able to create music in a different environment is exciting. I’ve been making music with Ed for 15 years, but to have a totally different creative mind in the process with Mike is really cool because he plays things I’d never think of. I love the stuff he writes on guitar, so that’s been cool to hear. There’s a little bit of pressure because people are going to want to hear what the thing that comes after Thrice is, but there’s also no pressure because it’s new and it should be able to be what it needs and wants to be without having to worry about what people are going to think, or if it’s going to carry over to old fans. We want it to be what it wants it to be, and to not worry about expectations of post-Thrice stuff.
There’s no set schedule, and distance is difficult, but do you miss playing live as well? Is that something you hope to do?
Oh definitely. I miss it a lot. Going to that Circa Survive show and seeing some friends and seeing some great bands play live to an insane crowd definitely make me miss it. I was leery of going to the show because I knew it’d have that affect on me. It was tough to watch. So many good bands on that tour. I love Circa and O’Brother, and I love the Touché record but I hadn’t seen them live. Balance & Composure was a band that I had heard good things about but had never listened to, and I loved them. I bought the record on my phone standing on the side of the stage. I needed to have it right there.
So, you’ll be developing the band over the next few months? Are there other things you’ll be doing as well?
I’m always open to new projects. I’ve been kicking around ideas with other friends, but I don’t know if I can talk about it. Nothing serious, but little collaborations here or there. I do kind of want to get back to doing the instrumental ambient stuff that I was doing on my Bandcamp page on down time from Thrice touring. I’ve been doing a lot of writing lately for SB Nation, which is a network of sports blogs. I work for them three or four days a week for Lakers writing. I’m doing music reviews for Alternative Press. I’m picking up freelance stuff where I can. It’s been eating up my time in front of a computer, which is where I’d write most of my music on Reason or Logic. When I get done with the writing shifts, I typically want to get away from the computer. I’m in a transition mode where I’m feeling out what should come next and what I should devote myself too. I’ve never been a fantastic multi-tasker, so I work in segments. I do the writing thing for a month and put it on hold and then do music. But I’m trying to balance the two. It’s been more difficult than I hoped, but it’s achievable and something that I’m working towards.
It’ll be an interesting few months.
I was talking to Anthony Green the other night. Transitioning is so weird because you want things to happen immediately. I want to know what’s happening next, but things take time to develop. Thinking back to the beginning of Thrice, if I was like “this needed to happen right now,” it wouldn’t have developed in a way that it did or as organically. Trying to find patience in a society and a time that doesn’t lend itself to patience is difficult.
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