Although Circa Survive finished creating The Amulet at the beginning of the year, vocalist Anthony Green hadn’t heard the finished product until he picked up a digital copy when it released in September. Sure, he’d listened to the individual songs both during and after the production process via private links, hearing one track at a time didn’t leave the same impact on the iconic post-hardcore singer that he got from full cut of the band’s sixth record.
“I hadn’t actually heard the sequence in a way that I could listen to it walking around in my headphones until I got it the day it came out on iTunes,” says vocalist Anthony Green. “I heard the songs in the studio — and thankfully I have a lot of trust in the band — but just hearing the songs seamlessly was a totally different experience. I was listening to it to run, and I love it. It’s my favorite songs we’ve ever written as a band. I think it would suck to put out a record you didn’t love this late in your career. I don’t think we could be a lukewarm band.”
For those who haven’t gotten the chance to check out the new record just yet, it’s a substantially different feeling than the group’s 2014 release, Descensus. Although the new album’s more complex vibes may be reminiscent of the tracks that made fans fall in love with Circa Survive a decade ago, the biggest influence on The Amulet was simply the natural ebb and flow of emotions running through a band that wasn’t sure it would even exist a handful of years ago.
“The band was breaking up after Violent Waves, and the last record was kind of a response to that,” Green says. I had been pretty far gone in the depths of drug addiction — I was ready to kill myself at any moment — and the real good friendships among the guys in the band were tested. We came back together to see if we could write a record, and Descensus was that record. We had a lot of anger on that record, and I think this record is almost a response to that.”
Along with the new record, Circa Survive is also kicking off a nationwide co-headlining tour with the local rock legends in Thrice this weekend. Although fans will undoubtedly have a hard time choosing their favorite act each night, it’s an opportunity for Green to travel the country with some of the guys who helped shape a good chunk of his career — and of course learn a little something from them night after night.
“I still look up to Thrice as artists and as individual human beings, and I always have,” Green says. “It means a lot to tour with them, because I actually saw them play years and years ago when I was a little kid. Being able to curate an evening for people who go to shows for the creative aesthetic that a band like Thrice and a band like Circa Survive try to provide makes it really special for us. We know they’re people who create music from the same place we do, and watching a band like Thrice every night can only make us better.”
Aside from informally marking the 10-year anniversary of both On Letting Go and Thrice’s The Alchemy Index, the winter tour will also mark nearly a decade since the two bands last toured together. But while those records may hold up just as well as ever a decade later, the bands who created them are in very different places in their lives than they were at the time. It’s actually one of the biggest differences in their lives that Thrice drummer Riley Breckenridge believes will draw the bands together more than ever.
“Many of us are fathers now, so that changes the touring dynamic and the way you behave on tour in a lot of ways, but it’s also another level to connect with these guys on,” Breckenridge says. “Beyond the music and all of our common interests, fatherhood is something that bonds a lot of us. Other than that, they’ve gotten a lot bigger since the last time we toured with them, and it’s been awesome to watch that band get to where they’re at right now.”
For Thrice, the tour offers an additional challenge — albeit one that many bands would consider a good problem to have. Rather than riding on the back of a new record (To Be Everywhere is to Be Nowhere is now well over a year old), the OC natives are breaking out virtually their entire catalog for the six-week tour. From honoring some of their older tunes and rocking out with some greatest hits to performing even the darkest corners of their discography, having nearly two decades of material to pick from means being able to give even the most diehard fans a show they haven’t seen before.
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But more than arguably anything else, the co-headlining tour marks a return to normalcy for Thrice. With the conversations about their return from a three-year hiatus squarely in the rear-view mirror, the post-hardcore quartet has settled into their rhythm as a band once again — and it’s made them better than ever.
“I think each of us needed a break in our own way, and I think the hiatus was really good for us because of that,” Breckenridge says. “When we came back together, it was about figuring out how to make it work where everyone feels invested but nobody gets burnt out — and making sure we could still spend time with our families while also dedicating ourselves to the music and touring. We found a really good balance of touring and the amount of time we put into stuff, and it’s just made everything a lot more healthy. We’re communicating better and having more fun both on tour and at practice. I don’t think we could’ve gotten there without 13 or 14 years as a band together and then a few years of reflection.”
Thrice and Circa Survive are playing the Shrine Expo Hall on November 3 and 4. Tickets start at $30 and are still available for the November 4 show.