Orange County four-piece Thrice are the type of band many love to hate. A cocktail of raw aggression, shameless emotion and a hell of a lot of pop-hooks; the band have steadily risen to new heights in recent times on the back of their critically acclaimed LP ‘The Artists In The Ambulance‘.

With a new full-length plucked, prepared and on the way to a stereo near you; the band’s own Eddie Breckenridge gives Crossfire the low down on everything from Warped Tour to Peter Gabriel…

Hey, how are you today?

I’m ok, thanks!

So, you’ve just gotten into the UK yesterday. Have you been up to much besides sleeping?

I actually slept for the whole plane ride over here, but it was still pretty hard to wake up this morning. I guess everything is just one big blur right now.

You spent the summer out on the road doing the Warped Tour. How did that go?

It was awesome, but it was also very tiring. The days are long, and relentlessly hot. It’s always boiling hot on the Warped Tour. There’s a really cool community aspect to it as well. You go into it not knowing too many people and you come out of it with a really solid group of friends. Plus you get to watch these awesome bands every day and then hang out and talk about music afterwards, which is never a bad thing.

What was the general reaction to the newer material compared to old?

We were playing two new songs every day I think, and the reaction was actually really good. Kids are singing the songs back to us already, which is crazy because the new record’s not even out yet. I guess people are recording the shows and uploading them onto the internet some place.

How do you think people in the UK will respond to the new stuff?

I really don’t know! I think our fan base is so eclectic in as much as metal kids are into us as well as punk rock kids and stuff like that, so it’s difficult to predict how an entire group of people will react to specific material.

How do you think the new material has progressed compared to your past efforts?

By far it’s the most experimental collection of music we’ve recorded thus far. It’s got some of the heaviest stuff we’ve ever done, but also some of the mellowest. The songs contrast each other really well, too. The heavier parts come when needed, and the slower ones in turn do the same.

I noticed a couple of the newer songs were a little slower than some may be used to, particularly as Artist in the Ambulance was a pretty upbeat and high tempo record…

It was really weird at the beginning. I mean we knew we were writing slower songs, but we didn’t immediately realise just HOW slow some of them were coming out. When we first started laying things down we played a bunch of stuff to our label and our management, and they were kind of like; “maybe you should think about what you’re doing here”. Looking back now though, while some of the stuff on the new album may be slow, it’s still way faster than it was on those original recordings. We’re really getting into producing more atmospheric music because that’s where our influences lay. We love everything from Sigur Ros to Isis.

How did you approach the writing process for this album, did you do anything differently?

With our previous record we had about 3 months to write the whole thing, so we were just hammering songs out most of the time. This time we had a bit more room for experimentation. Various members of the band would bring in drum loops and stuff that they’d made on a computer, which is something we’d never done before. We’d spend hours listening to these weird sounds and effects and playing over them to try and piece them all together.

Steve Osborne handled the production duties this time around, and obviously he’s not exactly a hard rock producer having worked with the likes of Peter Gabriel in the past. Why him?

One of the main reasons is because there are so many bands in our genre that are coming out with albums that sound almost identical. They’re even using the same producers and engineers to get a certain sound and feel to their records. We just really wanted to get away from that as much as possible and make a record that people wouldn’t be able to categorise or compare to anything else.

A lot of people have previously branded you as an “emo” band. Would you say that’s a fair way to describe your sound?

I don’t even know what that tag means anymore! I definitely agree that music should have emotion involved, whether it be aggression or sadness or anything like that, but I don’t understand the whole generalisation that goes on nowadays. To be perfectly honest I don’t know how people would describe us and I really don’t care either! As soon as you start trying to pigeonhole music like that it almost loses a part of what made it so special and unique in the first place

What’s your opinion on the current state of that type of scene?

I think that if people carry on making records that sound the same as everybody else and stop pushing the boundaries, then in a couple of years most of these bands won’t even be around anymore. Every time a certain “trend” starts to become over saturated like that, the appeal soon disappears, and in turn so do the bands. You only have to look at when KoЯn and Rage Against The Machine came out with this cool new sound, and then a thousand others come out of the wood work and eventually blew out the fire.

Presumably you think you guys have done enough to save yourself from the wreckage should that ever happen…

I guess we’ll find out soon enough. We’re just going to carry on making music we’re happy with and that feels right to us, and if people are into it then great. At least we’re trying.

Thrice’s new album ‘Vheissu‘ was released through Island Records on October 17th.
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