Thrice Talk About Their Evolution in Albums, From Identity Crisis to Major/Minor

Lest you forget about last week's cover on Irvine post-hardcore band Thrice, we've unearthed some pretty cool portions of the interview with the Breckenridge brothers that didn't make it onto print. Here, both Eddie and Riley talk about how the band evolved musically, and dissect each album as a chapter of the band's life.

From the Illusion of Safety to this week's release, Major/Minor, Thrice are always trying new things. Eddie explains, “We're always trying to do better on each record too. It makes the process–although self defeating–enjoyable.” As Riley adds, “Making music is not a math equation.” See how they've applied those theorems to their albums after the jump.


Identiy Crisis (2001)
Eddie: This album defined us. We loved punk rock bands, metal and hardcore, and we listened to a lot of SoCal bands. We never really wanted to be a specific kind of band, we just wanted to find a way to make music exciting and new. That was the real beginning of it for us.

Riley: We got rejection letters from labels. I remember hearing the stuff they said about us: “They need to find out what they want to be. Are they screaming? Are they singing? Are they a punk band? A metal band? What are they doing?” (Laughs.)

Eddie: It didn't matter to us–

Riley: It hurt! (Laughs again)

Illusion of Safety (2002)

Riley: This was the first time we'd ever left home to make a record. We recorded it in Maryland. It was a massive learning experience for the band. It was so important. Brian (

Riley: Our first major label album, which had to write in a very short period of time.

Eddie: That  was crazy.

Riley: We did two weeks in Bearsville Studios in New York. Bob Dylan recorded there, the Band recorded there, and there was tons of history in that studio. It was a way bigger deal than anything we'd ever been involved in. It was the first time with a label who wanted singles; there was an A&R guy in the studio with you sometimes, and knowing there was a bigger budget and people's time cost money.

Eddie: So we'd be looking at the clock and hoping we'd get stuff done.

Riley: It was super stressful but it ended up being a super important album for us.

Vheissu (2005)

Riley: This was our second one with a major label. We recorded it in Bearsville Studios again, but we did it in this little barn they had. We worked with a different producer for a change of
pace. We made sure we gave ourselves more time to write, like nine months, because we wanted to do what we want to do.

Eddie: With Artist we held back from experimental ideas because of being on a major; personally I didn't want to go too far [from the mainstream] then, and maybe the songs weren't 100 percent where our heads were at at the time. Vheissu was opening the floodgates–

Riley: Like a reaction to Artist.

Alchemy Index (2006)

Riley: Alchemy was like a giant experiment (laughs) that ultimately got us dropped from Island. We wrote and recorded with Island's money and we delivered it to Island and they were like, “What the hell is this?” They kind of knew what we were gonna do, but our A&R guy really
protected us. It was for the best…They ended up letting us go and thankfully they let us
keep the masters. Vagrant was more than willing to help us out and put it out because we'd been friends with Rich Egan for years and it was a perfect fit. Making that record was a good experience for us.

Eddie: It was almost like doing yoga [for our music], like stretching out in all different directions. Riley and Eddie (together): Like strengthening your core! (Laughs.)

Eddie: It was a good way to exercise our brains and really see how far we could push these different ideas that are normally smashed all together. It was a lot more fractured writing process. We were programming or jamming (on acoustic guitars) these songs that we built on computers; there wasn't a lot of live energy. That was just the nature of the project.

Beggars (2009)

Riley: That's why Beggars was so refreshing to make. It was like, “Let's go back to the studio, be live and jam these ideas out. Some of the coolest ideas came out of accidental ideas that came out of jamming. Which doens't happen when you're building on reason or protools in one room, and a guitar in another.

Major/Minor was building on the momentum we had from Beggars and we were like, “that was fun, let's do that again.”

We've been lucky to have a really loyal set of fans and they realize they don't know what the next Thrice record is going to sound like, but it's exciting to them.

Eddie: we're really lucky like that people didn't bail because we didn't make Artist four times in a row.

Riley: But we also don't sell as many records! (Laughs.)

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