I had my doubts when Thrice repeatedly changed the schedulued time just hours before the interview at Pipeline Cafe in Honolulu, HI, but was shocked when I found out why: lead vocalist Dustin Kensrue had something come up but was cooperating as much as possible so he would not have to cancel on Driven Far Off. It’s not often that a band will work around their schedule for a little interview like Thrice did, and I was pleased to see that after ten years the band still has a tremendous amount of dedication to their fans and music.
Special thanks to Katy Hardy at Vagrant Records and to Damon, the very accommodating tour manager
– What is the story behind the name Thrice?
Dustin: It was an old inside joke when a bunch of us were still in high school, not really any major significance. Someone said it once and then we all used to say it. Then we needed a band name and defecto, that was it.
– How did the band form?
D: I knew Teppei from school, and then he knew Eddie from skating, and Riley is Eddie’s brother so it just kind of all linked through. We started playing back in ’98 and we’ve just been slowly moving along, making records, playing shows.
– What is the process for writing the music and lyrics?
D: Music–we all collaborate and every song seems to be different; how it forms, whether it’s someone’s idea and then we go and jam on it, or someone has a full demo and we deconstruct that. As far as lyrics, I write all of the lyrics and I’ll have just a little idea of something, and I’ll write it down and kind of play with it and eventually build that song off of that, then go back and re-edit and re-edit until I’m happy with it.
– If you could choose one song off of your albums to broadcast to everyone in the world, what would song would you pick?
D: We all really like the song The Earth Will Shake, on Vheissu–though that might not be a good choice for the world because there is some screaming involved–but it’s a pretty unique song; it’s got a good groove to it.
– Do you string an intentional theme throughout all of your lyrics?
D: No, but after I’m done with records I can go back and see themes running through it, but it’s not something that I was trying to do; it usually just happens over stuff I’m dealing with at the time. I just try to write stuff that feels honest to me at the time. Even if you’d rather write something else, I think when you are honest about where you are at, it just comes out. Even when the songs are dark, I want there to be a point to that darkness, either it’s a point that needs to be looked at, or it’s there to contrast something good.
– What artists or individuals have been influential to you and the band from the start?
D: I grew up listening to the Beatles a ton, so I think that has always been the bedrock of my musical understanding, and as a group I think Radiohead has been a large influence for us. We all love their music and I’d say that they are probably collectively our favorite band, but also they’ve made some interesting choices in their career. They have made sure what they wanted to do and have been successful doing it; it’s something to admire.
– Are you trying to accomplish anything through the fame that you have?
D: Oh I don’t think I have much fame…but hopefully not get more fame [laughs]. I don’t know, anytime you’re in any kind of spotlight it’s good to try and use it for something positive. We did various stuff with it for charities for each record, and we try to use the pedestal to get people involved in more things or at least knowledgeable about certain things that are happening.
– Have there ever been any times when you have just wanted to quit?
D: Yes. It’s hard being away from family and it’s frustrating not being able to pursue some other things, like you’re just not home long enough to go to school at all or work in a job. There are a lot of frustrations with that stuff, but I love doing it despite all of the hard stuff.
– Do you still get nervous before shows?
D: No, but random occasions I get nervous. Like I played a song for my wife’s graduation from nursing school, and I was super nervous. It’s just a weird formal setting, so weird stuff like that I’ll get nervous about.
– What do you guys do in your free time?
D: I have a little daughter, so I don’t have much free time anymore, but I just write music and hang out with her and my wife. Teppei has a little boy now, so he does that and he tries to do a little recording on the side; Eddie surfs and rides his bike; and Riley plays his sports and does a blog.
– The majority of new bands seem to be in their late “˜teens and early twenties, while you guys are nearing your thirties. Do you feel that your age gives you advantage or does it even affect the music?
D: The way it seems like popular music is going, I don’t think it is an advantage, but having been around for a while we have some people who have been with us for a long time. I don’t think we are going to appeal to new up and coming audiences unless they have an older sibling or something that had introduced them. It seems like the younger generations are focused on the new thing that’s happening that coincides with whatever fad is happening at the time.
– What can we expect to see from you guys in the upcoming years?
D: Some more music–but I don’t know what it’s going to sound like! We’re getting ready to start sharing ideas and getting ready for whatever our next recording project is going to be. I’m excited about it; there’s definitely stuff in the air.
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