Riley Breckenridge Interview
Thrice Palms Album Interview
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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