Interview: Thrice chats summer tour & post-hiatus Thrice!
Normally, summer is dead for touring but with a changing music industry, it seems like every band is on tour some point this summer across the US. One band that is tripping people up is the return of the iconic Thrice who will be opening it up for Rise Against and Deftones across the country for the next month! This incredible tour package will be making their Boston stop a week from Friday and prior to it, I talked to drummer Riley Breckenridge.
We talked everything from this tour to the set list planning to when we can expect new Thrice tunes but I think the best part of this interview was a little view into what it’s like being a touring musician who’s also a father. A father of two young children including a brand new daughter, Breckenridge talked about leaving his two children for the first time for a long period of time. As bands get older, obviously families start becoming a factor in how you approach touring and making music and Breckenridge was nice enough to speak a little bit about that.
Find our interview below and definitely check out this incredible tour with the first date happening June 9th in my former hometown, Chicago!
The band is about to go out with Deftones and Rise Against for about a month, you’re just coming off tons of festival dates. How is the band feeling currently with the record being out for a year now?
I think we’re excited to actually tour. These fly dates have been nice just because it’s good for us to be able to have some time at home with our families but it will be good to kind of get into a rhythm. Just being out on the road for a month, it’s a lot easier to get into a rhythm and feel good about your set. Just feel comfortable in the atmosphere that you’re in as opposed to fly dates where you’re playing a set like every two weeks or something. And you fly in and fly out, like you’re only gone for 48 hours essentially. So it will be nice to get back on the road. We’re only playing for I think 30 or 40 minutes a night. So we can kind of go all out. You don’t really have to pace yourself like you would if you were on a headline set. We’re excited.
It’s going to be a really cool tour. I think it’s a good mix of bands that don’t necessarily sound the same but I think the energy is similar. I think there’s a lot of crossover there as far as bands are concerned.
And speaking of it, I’m sure you’re going to have crossover fans out there but maybe for fans that haven’t seen you play before, what makes like a Thrice set special, why do you think people are attracted to the band that have followed the band? Maybe what to look forward to, the people who haven’t seen you before?
Yeah it’s kind of hard for me to say. We have toured with Deftones before and we have toured with Rise Against before. We have songs in our catalogue I’m sure that would appeal to fans of either band but we also do our own thing and I think something that a lot of our fans appreciate is I guess an earnestness. We don’t have a massive stage show and we’re not super talkative on stage and we’re not trying to rile up the crowd by yelling at them in between songs or telling them to like pit or whatever. We got described in a recent article as workman-like and I think it was supposed to be a slight but it was kind of nice (laughs). I’m sure you can’t print the word bullshit but there’s zero bs. We get out there, we play the songs that we want to play that we think people want to hear and we get on and we got off stage. It’s about the music, it’s not about anything else. So hopefully fans of the Deftones and Rise Against will appreciate that about us. I don’t think either of those bands is super rah rah between songs. It’s not about the light show or the confetti cannons or the lasers or whatever. It’s about getting the message across and playing your music and playing it well.
Perfect, and like you said, you’ve been doing these fly out dates but you’re doing this tour and then you’re going out on tour in the fall. It’s going to get going again. For these opening sets, what is the plan for the band considering it is a thirty minute set? Is it a lot of the new music since you’re coming back off the hiatus, is it the classics? How are you approaching the set list for this tour?
It was very, very difficult to start putting together our set list for this tour because thirty minutes is about seven songs I think for us. Maybe eight if we’re lucky and we don’t talk at all between songs. We’re obviously going to showcase the new record. We’re all really proud of it and those songs have been going over very well for us whether we’re headlining or doing these festival dates. So we’re going to showcase the new record a lot then sprinkle in a few tried and true fan favorites then I think we’ll have like a rotating slot in there where we can just kind of put in something new every night or just have the option of doing something different to change things up a bit. With only thirty minutes, there’s not a lot of time because we’ve got like a 120 some odd songs in our catalogue. So picking seven is difficult but we’re going to do our best. Hopefully get some feedback from people as the tour is going on to kind of see how the set is going over then if we need to change things up a bit, we will!
Speaking of this record, I believe it’s just over the first year mark but it’s obviously the first record post-hiatus for Thrice. Is it something where you guys are currently working on new music, I know you just put out the new video and everything, or is that something still a while away for Thrice?
We’re going to be touring on this record until the end of the year but we’ve already started sharing ideas for the next record. And because we’re not headlining on this tour and because we’re only playing for thirty minutes, it’s just going to be a lot of down time for us. So we’ve discussed making the most of that down time and using it either to write individually or start working on stuff together. Because it’s tough when you’re at home, all of us except for Ed have kids and a lot of stuff going on so there’s not a lot of time to write. So being on the road and just focusing on music, whether it be on stage or off stage is going to be nice. So yeah, we’re going to write together a lot and then work individually and hopefully get into the studio very early next year, I think that’s the plan.
So the band is going full force, again?
Yes! I mean we’ve cut back on the amount of touring that we do. Just because of situations at home.
You’re growing up, you have kids, families.
Yeah, yeah! I mean it’s tough to leave, it’s really tough. I just had a daughter and then I’ve got a son who’s almost two years old and this is the first time that I’ve had to leave two kids for an extended period of time and it’s the first time I’ve had to leave my son at an age where I think he’ll understand that I’m not there. So it’s super tough. I’ve watched Teppei and Dustin go through that and I think I understood that it was difficult for them but I didn’t understand how difficult it was for them. My eyes are definitely open to that but I’m very lucky to be able to do this for a living. So I got to get out and work and Mom will have to do her best with the kids.
Then it was a few years hiatus for the band before you came back together and recorded this record. Obviously in a very different place in all of your lives. Maybe something new that you brought into the writing process for Thrice and maybe something that you didn’t do that you did before? Like something you left behind when you guys came back together.
I think we’re a lot more organized now. Part of that is technological advancements since we wrote the record before the hiatus. Just using stuff like Dropbox, we used a program that’s called Asana that’s like a productivity app I guess. Just to keep things organized. We used that in the writing process. I think being away from this for three years and then gaining some perspective, I think it left everybody feeling like really refreshed and eager to get back to work again. Just we appreciate what we have a little bit more. When we were touring as much as we did, and as busy as we were in trying to juggle touring and family life, it makes everything a little blurry. Just because you’re constantly busy, you’re constantly shifting from being a dad to being a musician and being on tour, adjusting to living on a bus with eight other dudes and then adjusting to walking in the front door from the airport and having a baby thrown at you. And shifting into dad mode. We just have a greater appreciation, not that we didn’t appreciate it before, but it’s just a greater appreciation for how lucky we are to be able to do this. I think everybody is just reenergized. Everybody is way more positive. The communication is way better, it’s just better overall. Hard to describe.
Then maybe to end it off, after you do this run, you’ll be out on tour in the fall which I’m sure is something that has been very anticipated. Is it just the plan to keep active on the road, working on the record? Maybe the focus for this year for Thrice?
We definitely want to make a really good impression on this Deftones and Rise Against run. Hopefully we’ll be introduced to some people who either weren’t aware of us before or were aware of us but weren’t into us. Trying to get a lot of writing done on the road. We’ll come home and recharge for a couple months and then go out in November and December and try to top off the year with a really epic headlining tour that I think a lot of people are going to be psyched about. That will be more a greatest hits kind of set I would assume but again, it’s so hard to make set lists these days. We have too many songs and then of course, a lot of people still want to hear the old stuff but we’re like well we have this new record that we have to promote but we do want to play some old stuff. It’s challenging but the goal is to have fun, stay sane, stay productive and just enjoy it.