INTERVIEW: Thrice's Ed Breckenridge on the Band's Reunion, Upcoming Shows & More New Music: "We’re Not Finished."
Five years ago this June, Thrice played what many thought would be their last show ever in Denver. They walked off of the stage at Summit Music Hall following one of the most emotional performances of their career, and as fans filtered out the doors and into a stormy night, it was with a sense of uncertainty. Although the band had only announced a hiatus, which implied that they would return when the time was right, it was hard not to feel like we were losing one of the scene's most influential and longest running bands. Would the next time fans hear from them be years later for the inevitable nostalgia driven cash-in or anniversary tour? Would they only come back to play old songs before saying goodbye once more?
The short answer is no.
A little less than three years later, Thrice returned, and it wasn't just for one last tour for old time's sake or an anniversary celebration in order to sell tickets. Throughout spring and summer, the band played a series of festivals before later announcing that they'd be releasing their new album in 2016. The result was To Be Everywhere Is To Be Nowhere, a politically charged, carefully constructed comeback release that found the band feeling more invigorated than ever. As bassist Ed Breckenridge puts it, it almost felt as if they had started over with a new found energy. The break, while admittedly difficult for Breckenridge at first, turned out to be beneficial and nearly vital to Thrice's future, and now they're showing no signs of slowing down again any time soon.
Last week, Thrice embarked on a massive month long tour alongside Rise Against and Deftones, and they're already looking toward the future. With plans to hopefully release the follow-up to To Be Everywhere Is To Be Nowhere next year and the drive to continue releasing music long after their upcoming 20th anniversary, this certainly won't be the last we hear from Thrice, and we're not complaining.
Interview by Shannon Shumaker
The Prelude Press: I want to start off by talking about your upcoming tour with Deftones and Rise Against. It’s kind of an insane lineup, so what are you most excited about on these upcoming shows?
Ed Breckenridge: Oh my gosh, so many things. Where do I start? First and foremost, we’ve toured with both of the bands and I’m just excited about hanging with them. Which includes just basic hanging out but also finding out what they’re listening to… Some of the best things about touring for me are just sharing influences and watching them every night and kind of “using” them for inspiration. [laughs]
I think it’s going to be really cool. We’re not playing like a full set, so we’re also going to be working on new music ourselves while we’re on the road. There’s gonna be some down time where we’re going to be able to just hang and work on some music. It just seems like it’s gonna be really awesome and the lineup is rad.
It’s kind of cool too, because you have a very different demographic than Rise Against who has a very different demographic than Deftones so it gives you the opportunity, even though you guys have been doing this for years, to kind play to a new crowd or new ears every night.
Oh yeah, absolutely. That’s always an awesome thing. Especially when we really haven’t done a support tour in a while. That’s the best opportunity you can have, is to play in front of people who have never seen you before, or maybe have seen you or know who you are but don’t really know what your band is in its current state, or maybe have an opinion of the band that isn’t true. Yeah, I’m excited. We’re gonna go out there and try to crush some people.
This tour is interesting, because you’ve got Rise Against, who are very political, whereas Deftones aren’t and then you guys with your new album, it’s kind of right in the middle. You guys have done political releases before and then you haven’t, and obviously this one is. What was the mindset going into To Be Everywhere Is To Be Nowhere, it being your first album back and also the narrative on it?
I mean, we’ve always been fairly political, but I just think in the past it was maybe a little bit more seeped in metaphor. And I think where Dustin was at with a lot of the lyrics was just like… It was just coming out of him in a little bit more of a raw way, just because things that are going on are so real. It’s one thing to be poetic, but it’s another thing when you’re like, “Enough is enough.” I think that’s how it was coming out of him.
I think those are kind of the songs that hit you the hardest, too. There’s no questioning what it’s about.
Yeah, it’s like on the first listen, “Okay, yep, I know what he’s talking about.”
When you guys first started working on the album, you weren’t really together, you were sending music back and forth, right?
How do you feel that it affected the end product, if at all, for this album?
I think it definitely made it different than it would have been if we were all together. It’s interesting because I think there’s a healthy balance between the two that is probably optimal for us. The thing that you don’t get with the way that we did it is like the happy accidents or the way that parts come together when it’s like two people kind of balancing back and forth. Like, some person will have an idea and you’ll be like, “Oh, what if you did this?” and then they’ll be like, “I see what you’re saying, but what about this?” and then you get somewhere where you’ve never been before. You couldn’t do it yourself.
Like feeding off of each other.
Yeah. But also in that situation, sometimes you can’t really get as detailed, or you can’t mull over an idea as much because it’s moving faster than you can kind of process. It moves faster than your internal dialogue can kind correct things or question things. So I think with this next record, it’ll probably be a healthy balance of the two. I don’t think it was a bad thing, though. I think doing different things each time is also really healthy and I like how the record turned out, but I’m always like, “Let’s do the next one.” That’s a good spot to be in. I don’t think we’ve ever been in a spot where we’re like, “Man, how are we gonna top that?”
That’s kind of cool too, because like you mentioned, Dustin’s lyrics on this album are really purposeful, and then with the writing, you really get the chance to sit back and focus on exactly what you want to make. So they kind of tie together in that sense.
I know when you guys went on hiatus back in 2012, a lot of people were worried that you weren’t coming back, that they wouldn’t get another Thrice album or they wouldn’t get another tour. So what made it the right time to come back and write To Be Everywhere?
I mean, I was right there with people. I didn’t know if we would, but part of that had to do with the fact that for the most part, it was Dustin’s decision. He had some opportunities, and the record that we did before that was during a pretty dark time. Right before we started writing it, Teppei’s mom passed away, then in the middle of writing it, me and Riley’s dad passed away, and then also on that, Dustin’s dad ended up passing away. There was just so much going on and people have kids, and you’re kind of questioning what’s the right thing to do...
And then, you know, he tossed it out there that he was going to take a break for a bit, and immediately, I was kind of mad because I felt like this is such an amazing opportunity to do this. It’s a one a billion chance to tour and play music and have people enjoy it. But in hindsight now, it was a good thing because everybody had a chance to move on and do other things. And fortunately, we were all in a position where we could be like, “Okay, I’m doing this other thing, but yeah, I can go back to doing it again.” I also think that it gave everybody some perspective. Like, “Oh man, it’s really fun hanging out with everybody,” and some things that you try not to take for granted but you kind of take for granted after doing it for fourteen years, when we stopped.
So coming back into it now, I think that energy when we were starting is back, a little bit. It’s under different circumstances, but the desire to get out there and play and see a four week tour coming up and not be like, “Oh shoot,” and think about the negatives. I think in the end, it was a good thing, but you know, I was bummed.
"...maybe we wouldn’t be doing it now if we hadn’t stopped then. There’s a million ways to think about it, but I think we’re in a great spot." - Ed Breckenridge
I think it’s one of those things that it’s good to take a step back every once in a while and not get burnt out on it or feel like it’s work rather than something you love to do.
Totally. And you also have to have the perspective. For example, the way that I processed where we were at and how we were doing and what felt good is not the same as everybody else in the band. So I can’t be like, “No, you gotta think about it the way I think about it!” Everybody needs to get there in their own way, and I think that in the end, even though it hurt, it was good. Or well, it hurt me. [laughs] But maybe we wouldn’t be doing it now if we hadn’t stopped then. There’s a million ways to think about it, but I think we’re in a great spot.
And you know, a lot of kids know that when a band breaks up or goes on hiatus, the first thing they think is, “Okay, so when’s the comeback tour?”
Well now that seems like the case, because there’s been so many reunions. [laughs] Which is great, but it’s also like, “Holy smokes, there’s a lot of people getting back together.”
I think it’s kind of cool when it comes to you guys, because your fans especially are not like, “Oh, Thrice is just coming back for the money” or “Their hearts aren’t in it.” I feel like, when I first heard the new album, it didn’t feel forced. It felt like you were doing it because you wanted to, not because you had to.
And still, there’s so much more that we have to do. We’re not finished. That was one of the hardest things about when we stopped. I was like, “No, we’re not done. There’s more in us.”
When you went in to work on that first album back, was there anything that - having taken a step back for a couple of years - you wanted to try?
I mean, absolutely. Did we get it all in there? No. I think we were kind of in a spot where it was like, “Well, where are we at now?” And it ended up great, but everybody was kind of feeling each other out. But I’m really excited about this next one, and we’ll probably be feeling the same way for the one after that, but it’s like… We came back, we did this thing and now we almost have that point to kind of hinge off of. When we got back to doing it, though, we didn’t really have a point that we were hinging off of. It was kind of like starting over.
Like you were saying earlier, you’re going to be working on some new music while you’re on the road and you’re already looking forward to what comes next, so what can people expect?
I think we’re going to try to have something out in 2018. I can’t guarantee anything, because who knows what can happen with the world or personally. You know, it might be a record where we might be like, “We need a couple more months to work on this” and then somehow, the way it gets put out, it comes out in the beginning of 2019, which seems so far away. It’s crazy that we’re getting there. But I would imagine 2018, we’ll have a new record out somewhere in the middle of that.
I think that’s about it! Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I just like to say thank you to everybody that stuck with us and thank to everybody that’s new to us. Especially thank you to the people that have been with us for a long time. It has been a long time and it has definitely been a journey for us, and it’s really cool that people have kind of gone along for the ride with us. We’re just figuring stuff out and hopefully people are doing that with us.
Fans can catch Thrice on tour with Rise Against and Deftones now through July 9th. Tickets for the band's upcoming Denver show at Pepsi Center on June 30th are available HERE.