“If music genres were paint on a pallet, California’s Thrice would have a way of mixing absurd colours to create some surprisingly beautiful but confusing contemporary art. “I think it’s helped keep us inspired and excited about writing new music. We’ve never really felt tied to one particular genre, and are really grateful that our listeners have been supportive of our decision to just kind of do what we want.” Reflect vocalist Dustin Kensrue.
From heavily-distorted skateboard punk to spaced-out atmospheric rock they’ve grown to produce an eclectic discography, an amalgamation of their experiences; pinning them down to a particular sound is no easy task. “I’m inspired by new music and new art on almost a daily basis (and always have been), and the quest to be a better drummer/songwriter/musician is never-ending. The band, as a whole, is inspired because we feel like we have so much still to say and do musically, and as I mentioned, we have no shortage of ideas at the moment.” The band are notorious for pushing at the boundaries of genres, and it shows.
“WE’RE really grateful that our listeners have been supportive of our decision to just kind of do what we want.” – dustin kensrue
It was music to their fans ears when Thrice announced they would emerge from the deep pits a 3-year hiatus in 2015. Its safe to say Thrice have grabbed their second life by the horns, releasing To Be Everywhere Is To Be Nowhere only a few months after reforming. Fast forward two years and the band are refusing to take their foot off the gas, announcing their release of Palms under Epitaph Records. This came as a pleasant surprise to some, leading myself, and many others, to wonder whether they were already writing a follow-up record when the last came about. “Taking two years between records has been pretty standard for us throughout our career — Illusion of Safety (2002), The Artist In The Ambulance (2003), Vheissu (2005), The Alchemy Index (2007 & 2008), Beggars (2009), Major/Minor (2011). We didn’t start writing collectively until last summer when we were on tour with Deftones & Rise Against, but we all write individually year-round.”
Something that has really stood out over Thrice’s career is their implementation of atmosphere to their records, Palms being no exception. Brilliantly produced tracks such as My Soul is for more than just listening, but an experience. “It’s been something we’ve paid close attention to since Vheissu, and is something we really value in the music we listen to. We’ve always aimed to make “records” rather than “songs” or “singles”, and while that can be a difficult thing to pitch to a label or prospective listener (especially in today’s streaming society), it’s something we put at the forefront when writing, recording and sequencing a record. Our records are supposed to be a front-to-back listen, not a “dip in and dip out for a song or two” thing. That’s our intent anyway … people are welcome to listen to stuff however they’d like.”
“people are welcome to listen to stuff however they’d like…”
And that experience doesn’t stop at the end of a turntable needle either. Thrice carry the atmosphere to the stage as well. “I think we’ve been better at making things sound and feel atmospheric in a live setting better than we ever have on record. Even if there’s not a ton of atmosphere on our previous records, we’ve tried to inject a little bit of that into our live sets to help things flow better.”
In the past the band have had the tendency to steer towards political undertones, but when questioned whether the Palms would follow a similar path Dustin replied, “I think it’s inspired by what’s happening politically and socially right now, but it’s a lot broader in scope/concept than the previous record.” Yet Palms hints aside to Thrice that hasn’t been touched for years, dreary nuanced electronic song writing. “It’s something we been interested in for a long time, and I suppose we were just waiting for the right idea to bring it back into the fold.”
After an impressive ten records in, with thousands of sales across the globe, international touring and a fan base that is still growing – it baffles me how the group remains so humble. “We’re just incredibly thankful to be able to do this at all, let alone to do it and see the world and provide for our families in the process. That opportunity is/was something that is never lost on us, but I think taking a hiatus helped emphasize how amazing being able to travel and play music for a living with your friends/family is.”
‘PALMS’ IS OUT NOW VIA EPITAPH RECORDS | WORDS: JACK RAMAGE