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Riley Breckenridge of Thrice: “With a Half Hour, You Can Just Go Balls Out.”

June 16, 2017


After a few years off, Thrice returned in 2016 with To Be Everywhere Is to Be Nowhere, the band’s first studio album since 2011’s Major/Minor. The band is hitting the road with Deftones and Rise Against, stopping at Festival Pier tomorrow.

We caught up with Thrice drummer Riley Breckenridge about how it feels a year out from their return, touring with old friends and what’s in the future for Thrice.

 I wanted to talk a little bit about the newest album. It’s been just about exactly a year. It’s a year tomorrow, right? [at the time of the interview]

Oh shit, I forgot! Yeah, I guess so!

So, now that a year’s passed from that first album after coming back from hiatus, how is everyone feeling?

I think we’re all really happy with how the record turned out, and how amazing the response has been. Not only with fans that have been with the band for a long time, but I feel like we’re getting a lot of new ears giving this record a chance.

I don’t know if that’s because of the hiatus or because we’re spreading the word about it better, or because it’s more accessible, or what the deal is, but there’s been a surprising number of people on social media and talking to people that are like, “Oh man, how did I not know that Thrice had a record?” or “How have I never listened to Thrice?” And it’s like, we’ve been doing this for almost 20 years, where have you been?

But it’s been really cool. We’re a little nervous about making a “comeback record,” and nervous that people maybe would have stopped caring during the hiatus, but it was a really good response and we’re stoked.


It did really well based on a few traditional metrics, like chart positions and reviews. Does that almost feel like a validation of sorts after that “comeback record?”

I’m not going to lie and say like, “Oh, well we don’t care about any of that stuff. Don’t care about album sales, don’t care about chart positions, don’t care about reviews or anything like that.” Because ultimately we make the music that we want to make and hope that people like it. But yeah, I guess it’s validating to a certain extent.

But I’m just happier, I guess, with the response in a live setting. People have been singing along to a lot of the new songs more enthusiastically and more often than they have in, I want to say, almost a decade if not more. And it was right out of the gate, too, which was crazy.

The songs have been going over well in a live setting. And I feel like, for us, that’s like the best kind of litmus test to see how a record is doing or how the band is doing in general.

So, you’re touring with Deftones, who also took a bit of time before their latest album. Is there any kind of kinship there, even though they didn’t officially announce any sort of hiatus?

Maybe more so for us, because we took an official hiatus. And for me, as a fan of the Deftones, I never felt like they really went away. I was just like, “Man, I could really use a new Deftones record.”

But we’re so excited to go out with them. We did Taste of Chaos with them in, like, 2004, and then did some Canadian dates with them. We just saw them in Belgium. We played a festival and they were there, and got to catch up with some of the guys. We’re just really excited to spend a month of the summer with those dudes and watch them every night.

Throw Rise Against in the mix, and we did a two-month headlining tour with them before. They’re really great guys and an awesome live band. I think it’s going to be a really solid bill, and a good show.

How did this tour set up come to be?

[Deftones and Rise Against] hit us up to see if we’d be into it. They had been talking about touring together for ages, and their record cycles weren’t really lining up. So now that they are lined up, they kind of jumped at the opportunity to tour together, and they reached out to us.

I don’t know if it’s because we have past history or they’re interested in the new record, but it worked out really good for us.

We’d done a lot of headlining shows for this record already, and we’re kind of looking to do something more in the support slot, so this really couldn’t have worked out better.

So, to backtrack a little, around when the new album came out, [vocalist] Dustin Kensrue had said there weren’t really concrete plans, but you guys were thinking about what’s next. About a year out now, are there any concrete plans for what’s next for Thrice?

Yeah. We are going to be touring in the fall. I can’t announce who with or where or what we’re doing. But after the Deftones thing, we’ll come home and decompress a little then head out in the fall.

We’ve already started sharing ideas for the next record, and started tinkering with those a little bit. I think we’re going to use some of the downtime on this Deftones/Rise Against tour to develop those ideas a little more and keep writing individually, and, yeah, hopefully have a new record out by maybe summer of next year. That’s the plan, anyway!

You guys have been around for, like you said, almost 20 years. You kind of have your own eras of development musically. Is there anything you guys are looking to try in the future that you haven’t toyed with at all before?

It’s hard to say. Even the rough ideas that we have now, there might be something that’s like a full idea that’s more mellow or moved to a different instrument. I think something we talk about with every record is really making the most of dynamics in the mix, so the lows are really low and the highs are really high. Just kind of building that juxtaposition between dynamic ranges, I guess. And that’s an ongoing quest and a never-ending quest, and so we’re going to keep working on that.

But, yeah, every time we make a record we talk about, “Oh let’s try this, let’s try this.” And then records become their own thing while you’re writing them, at least in our experience. The record and the parts that you’ve written will kind of tell you where you should take them.

We’ll see what happens. I’m excited that we’ve got some good ideas in the tank, so I’m excited to see how they develop.

For this specific tour, what do you think fans can look forward to the most?

It’s gonna be tough because I think we only have a half an hour to play a night, and we have, I think, like 115 songs or something to choose from. So we’re going to do the best job possible of playing some of the fan favorites, but then also kind of showcasing the new record—or new-ish record—a bit.

We’re not known for talking a lot on stage or being, like, overly flamboyant or anything, so you’re gonna get a pretty jam-packed 30 minute set of music. We’re just going to have a lot of fun. With a half hour, you can just go balls out. You don’t have to really worry about pacing or anything. It’s going to be a fun summer.

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