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INTERVIEW / THRICE / ‘Palms is our most diverse record since The Alchemy Index’ - Riley Breckenridge

Post-hardcore legends ‘Thrice’ celebrate the release of their 10th Studio album.
posted 25 September 2018 16:59pm updated 25 September 2018 17:13pm

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Thrice

Thrice Interview

Riley Breckenridge Interview

Thrice Palms Album Interview





AS post-hardcore legends ‘Thrice’ celebrate the release of their 10th Studio album, ‘Palms’, signing to Epitaph, and embarking on yet another huge string of tour dates, we catch up with their powerhouse drummer, Riley Breckenridge to talk about the new record and the bands impressive 20 year career!

Palm’s is probably their most cohesive record in terms of the progression & development of the Thrice’s overall sound, and after the band went on hiatus in 2012, it’s surprising that they’ve managed to come back so strong with two incredible albums.

The new record, 'Palms', and ‘To Be Everywhere Is to Be Nowhere’ seem like a new version of Thrice, a version of Thrice that you’re all comfortable with, like you’ve found your place in the world. It seems like something happened to the band leading up to the 2016 album, can you tell us more about what has shaped these last two records?

Riley - We took a break from the band from 2012 to roughly 2016, and in doing so, I think we were able to approach most everything the band does — writing, recording, touring, communication/organization — in a more manageable and efficient way. And taking a break helped revitalize and re-energize each one of us. There’s an energy and enthusiasm in our camp that seemed to have faded a little bit around 2010/11, and the last two records have been shaped by that energy and an eagerness to push our creativity in new directions.

Lyrically, ‘Only Us’ appears to tell a story of martyrdom, what does this track mean to you?

Riley - I don’t think it’s about martyrdom at all. It’s a song about inclusion and compassion and togetherness — realizing that we’re all connected and should be able to rally around that to make the world a better place.

Palms also has a feel of self discovery and development throughout, can you tell us more about the overall concept of the album and if any personal experiences helped to influence the recording?

Riley - That would be a better question for Dustin to answer, since he writes all of our lyrics, but I think he’s had a bit of an awakening with his worldview over the past few years. Much of his journey is included in the lyrics on Palms.

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Comparing your drums on this record to previous Thrice albums, you seem to have found a new rhythm to your style. It just feels cohesive and powerful, did you consciously try to progress your style for this album? If so, what inspired you to do so.

Riley - I try to progress for every record, and in doing so, I always look to serve the songs first. It’s not about fitting some new chop or beat into a song, it’s about listening to what the song calls for, how it’s arranged, the instrumentation, and what the song is trying to say, and then doing my best to support it.

This was a unique record for me because I was dealing with some health issues for my baby daughter during the writing and recording. I wasn’t able to obsess over parts as much as I normally would, so much of my playing on Palms is more instinctual than planned out. I think it worked out well, and hope to find a balance between the two for future records.

What’s your favourite track on the new album and why?

Riley - It’s hard to pick a favorite, but I’ll go with “A Branch In The River” because I dig the energy and feel of that song, and “Beyond The Pines” as a close second because I think it’s one of the most emotionally moving songs we’ve ever written.
You decided to work with producer Eric Palmquist again who worked on your previous record, can you share your experience of working with him on the new record? How hard did he push you?

Riley - He’s great to work with. We communicate really well. He pushes me hard, but he’s also a really patient and encouraging person, which is invaluable in a studio setting. I think we got some killer sounds out of the Q Drums I play (with the expert tuning from tech Jeremy Berman) at United Studio B. And like I said, with my parts being a little more instinctual than they were on previous records, we approached the recording sessions knowing that the songs were still malleable. It wasn’t like everything was planned out note for note and we just banged out takes. There was a lot of experimenting and back-and-forth, and making adjustments on the fly, which was kind of exciting (and stressful in some ways).

Thrice with Eric Palmquist for the recording of TBEITBN

Your career with Thrice has spanned 2 decades and this is your 10th studio album, what does this album personally represent and mean to you when you look back at your career with the band?

Riley - It’s insane. One of our first tours was with Face To Face, and I think it was their 10-year anniversary tour. They were already punk icons and a decade long career in music seemed like an eternity to us. Twenty years later, we’ve doubled that. I don’t think any of us could have imagined this being a reality, but we’re really grateful that it is.

Recording can be a tedious process at times, can you tell us about any frustrations or obstacles you faced in the studio as a musician for this record and how you overcame them?

Riley - I mentioned my daughter’s health issues before, and that was undoubtedly the biggest obstacle for me. It was just insanely stressful and terrifying and distracting and frustrating. (She’s doing much better now, by the way.) As a collective, I think the most tedious aspect of writing new music is just getting songs to a place that we’re all happy with them. Some songs take longer than others to write, and some require a bigger struggle to finish. That process and the struggle can be frustrating at times, but it always seems to pay off in the end.

What would you say is your biggest achievement on the new record?

Riley - I think it’s our most diverse record since The Alchemy Index, and there are some legitimate classic Thrice songs on the record that I can see us playing for the rest of our career. It being our 10th LP is also a huge accomplishment, and it seems totally surreal.

It’s been a confusing time for Thrice fans over the last few years, your sound has changed a lot and at one point you guys kind of said you were done but then came back. Your last two records sound so well put together and it seems like Thrice is one big happy family again, are you guys here to stay?

Absolutely.

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