Interview with Thrice (Dustin and Teppei)
Warped Tour 2005, July 9th
Conducted by Scott Weber for absolutepunk.net.
Scott: I thought I'd just start off kind of general. I was wondering how you guys are doing with Island, since the move over. Has everything been good so far?
Dustin: It's hard because we were really close with everyone there, and almost everyone we've worked with is gone. Especially a lot of the higher ups that we signed with, and they're gone now, you know? It leaves you feeling kind of undefended, and you have to make new relationships. But the people that we've met seem really cool, so I guess it's yet to see how it's going to play out. We still have our A&R guy though, who's definitely always there for us, probably the most thing.
Scott: I'm a C.S. Lewis fan myself, and I know that you are as well, the song "The Abolition of Man" is named after one of his books. Are you guys in the band Christians personally?
Dustin: Not all of us.
Scott: You are?
Dustin: Yes, and Teppei is. (Teppei nods head)
Scott: Do you guys feel like your lyrics reflect your spirituality at all?
Dustin: I think my lyrics reflect my life in general. It's kind of hard of me to separate from what I write to who I am. So I think no matter what, my worldview is going to shine through. What I value, and the things that I care about are going to be talked about. But I definitely never approached it in a way that it's going to be something that alienates people.
Scott: Let's skip right ahead to the new album...I saw a flyer that was out, and it had a small album cover on it, is that the final version, like all black and white?
Dustin: Kind of like a radial design? Yeah.
Scott: Who did the album art, and what was the process behind it.
Dustin: Originally it was Dave Eggers, he wrote a couple books, (The All American Rejects begin "Dirty Little Secret" outside and completely drown out Dustin as he rattles off a few books). Anyways, he's an author, but he does some amazing designs kind of in that style, as the author of his books. So we were working with him, and then he just got swamped with a lot of things he was doing so he had a guy who does design for him as well kind of do all of the legwork, and he supervised the initial design, and then we went ahead and made changes with the other guy, Brian McMullin and kind of took pieces out and put other ones in. But I mean in general its kind of Dave's style, very text-based, iconic and radial.
Scott: How was working with Steve Osborne different than Brian McTernan?
Dustin: Well, he's British, so that's one thing (laughs). But I think in general, he just comes from such a different place than we do, and also the records he's made, none of them sound anything like us. None of them are at all heavy, really. Some of them are kind of rock, but he does a lot of indie stuff and electronic stuff. So we wanted to have kind of more of a clash that way where it wasn't someone who got where we were coming from but someone who was going to help us get somewhere else. And also, just kind of push each other, just get the best results from that, I think a lot of that comes from that conflict. So I guess his background is a major difference, where as Brian grew up in the east coast hardcore scene.
Teppei: Just rhythmically, I think it's because he's from England, but he moves to music at lot differently than we do, if you watch him move to it, it's like "that's strange," but he's very rhythmically oriented, and the way we record certain parts and how they affect the rhythm of the songs he's very into.
Scott: So the record is done, right? Finished?
Dustin and Teppei: No.
Dustin: It's being mixed right now. We finished tracking, and then right after that, we came up to Warped. We actually took a week off Warped to finish the record. He's actually in London mixing it right now.
Scott: Are you guys 100% satisfied with it? Or do you feel like you could work on it for another 6 months and just make it better and better and better.
Dustin: I think we're pretty much totally satisfied with the tracking. It's just so stressful not being there for the mixes. But I feel like we'll get it right and we'll be really happy with it.
Teppei: Between him being in London and us being on tour, especially the Warped Tour, it's just hard to communicate, he's trying to upload mixes on the internet, and then we have to go find a place to download it, it's just kind of a nuisance.
Dustin: But in general, I think we spent a long time on this record and I think if we worked on it any longer, it was just start to deconstruct itself.
Teppei: Oh yeah, of course. We worked a lot on vibes and just making sure that we captured the energy or the vibe that we have when we play. I feel like if you start perfecting things, you start tearing them down.
Dustin: It could always be different, I guess, but I don't know if that means that it would ever be better.
Scott: Have you guys decided on one song to be the single, if not, are there any that are sticking out for you?
Dustin: There's a couple. The first single is probably going to be a song called "Image of the Invisible." That's the direction in which everything is moving right now.
Scott: How does it sound comparatively to the other singles you've released?
Dustin: Well, you will hear it later, but it sounds...it's very anthemic. I think that choosing "All That's Left" was kind of strange just because that was kind of the oddball of that record. I don't know, it was the first single we ever had to do; I think we should have chosen "Artist in the Ambulance" personally, in hindsight. It's very anthemic, it's got a line that repeats throughout the whole song, and it's pretty catchy. It's definitely got a lot of energy.
Scott: Do you guys have any guest vocalists on the album?
Teppei: Almost. We had...should we even say this? (turning to Dustin)
Dustin: No, I don't think we should. (laughter)
Teppei: We had Kristen, from Veda come out and sing on a track. But we didn't end up using it, just because she has such a strong voice, and it was kinda supposed to be this background thing, and she has an incredible voice, it's really commanding, but...
Dustin: It was grabbing too much, and it made everything else feel out of balance.
Teppei: And we worked on it for so long, trying to balance everything, trying to do different stuff, and it just didn't work out.
Dustin: (to Teppei) You know what I figured out what we should do on the future, if we want to have a girl on it? Use my sister, because it would blend in super well, and she can sing too.
Scott: Inside information...do you feel like this album is your strongest work musically and lyrically?
Dustin and Teppei: Yes.
Dustin: Lyrically, I don't know because i feel like I'm always changing. There's definitely lyrics in the past where I'm like yeah, I nailed that song, I really like that song. And there's some where I'm like, it's ok. I think it's always going to be like that on every record, there are some songs that just the way they end up fitting and everything I really like. But yeah, I'm really happy with it.
Teppei: Yeah, definitely musically. I'm very happy. I feel like every single song that we recorded is really strong. I mean, we're having this problem now where we have 15 songs that are all really strong and we have to kind of weed them out.
Dustin: We're thinking about putting out an EP in the spring that's going to have maybe 6 songs on it.
Teppei: But kind of make them the same piece.
Dustin: They're all really part of the same thing, it would just be too much to digest in one listen.
Scott: I just got time for one more then. (as I receive the "tapping the wrist" motion from one of the interview people)
Dustin: Dude, you can keep going if you want, we don't care.
Scott: Ha, thanks. Are there any bands that you are really enjoying here, or have you made any new friends?
Dustin: Apparently, there's a...well...how do you say their name? Gorgo..?
Teppei: Gogol Bordello. It's like this crazy...I dunno, I guess some of the dudes are Russian gypsies, who are actually gypsies, who moved to America and started this band. But it's kind of this crazy mixture of like Russian folk and funk. It comes off kind of circusy. It's really cool though, they have a violin player who rules on the recordings. It's really interesting to watch. It's really good.
Dustin: I was amazed, we saw them yesterday, they played right before us on the main stage, and it was awesome.
Scott: They're on the main stage?
Dustin: No, just for a couple days.
Teppei: Oh, and another band called Valient Thorr.
Scott: Oh, I heard about them. Are they cool?
Teppei: It's just like straight 70's rock metal. It sounds cheesy saying it like that, but it's the real deal. They're good.
Scott: Have you heard that new Avenged Sevenfold record? I really like it. It's such a throwback to 80's metal.
Teppei: It's totally over the top.
Scott: Oh yeah, it's totally over the top, I love it. It seems to be what they were gunning for.
Teppei: Yeah, they definitely went for it, that's for sure.
Scott: What'd you guys think of War of the Worlds, did you see it?
Dustin: Yeah, I though it was ...meh.
Scott: Yeah, me too.
Dustin: I thought there were some scenes that kind of made you really feel like what it would feel like to be in that spot, but other than that, the plot was really weak and the way it resolves...
(Dustin offers to go outside to continue the interview after time reminder number two, because the room is needed for another interview, but he’s informed it's too noisy outside.)
Dustin: How many more questions do you have?
Scott: It's fine, I appreciate it, that's pretty much the end, a few scattered, but nothing big.
Dustin: Cool, ok.
Scott: Is there anything else you guys want to say to the readers of absolutepunk?
Dustin: Hello? Goodbye? (laughter) I think this record is going to surprise people in a good way hopefully. If there are people that didn't like our stuff before, I'd encourage them to check it out, it's pretty different. If you did like it before, then open your mind a little and try something new. There will definitely be a lot of people who won't like this record, I can say that. But we're psyched.
Nice iview. Any idea when this is coming out? Roughly.
If you're asking about the record, its set to be released September 27th and by far this is my most antipicated record. I completely trust these guys to change what we've known about them musically and still come out and amaze us with perhaps their greatest record to date. I'm not even worried about it disappointing me.