Usually I check back the wikipedia entries about the person i'm interviewing. In yours I read that you like "woodwork, leathercraft and that you like to crochet"! Seriously?
Oh geez! I think people just pick things that I talked about, that I thought were kind of quirky about myself. But I do a lot of woodworking, I’ve been actually looking for work, doing that since the band is no longer functioning right now as a job. And then I spend most of my time surfing and writing music.
I also read the following sentence: "Breckenridge joined the band having virtually no experience playing the bass" Is that true?
100 %! When we started I had a guitar. You know, your friend that has a guitar in the house that they never pick up. So I had my fingers on it but I didn’t really know how to play. I actually used to skateboard a lot with Tepei, our guitar player. He was big friends with us (Eddie and his brother Riley) and one day we talked about music and “you know, we should start a band or something”. And we did it. And I was like “I can play bass! I mean that’s just one string at the time. I think I can figure that out.” I’m so glad that this happened, because music changed my life and it became a big part of my life. Like a lot of things I do: once I’m involved in it, I want to learn as much as possible. I love bass playing and I love its role in the band. I don’t think I ever would have gotten involved in it, if I hadn’t met those guys back then in that exact situation.
I personaly like to compare some of your records to the life and the progress of a person. "The Illusion Of Safety" and "Identity Crisis" are kind of like puberty and with "The Alchemy Index" there is an actual midlife-crisis where you over think the whole concept of your own life. But with "Major/Minor" the person reached a point, where it knows exactly what it wants and where it wants to go. Sadly the person is near to retirement now. Would you agree with me or doesn't it feel like you are getting retired?
Well, I think maybe the band is retired. But I definitely don’t think we’re done with music or anything. I could never stop. There’s too much to be inspired by and I love playing so much that I couldn’t stop. But yeah, the progress of a band is very similar to a life. I mean we were growing up as we wrote a lot of the records. We never felt we needed to stay in one sound or genre. I think it was more about just figuring out music and experimenting and hoping people could enjoy it and grow with us as well. Fortunately enough people did support our records. But you know that there are some people that are like “Oh. I only like the first few records.” There are also people that are like “I only like the last few records.” It’s been a very cool experience and I miss it.
When you look back, is there a life outside a band when you literally grew up with and within it?
Yeah, I think we were pretty good about being normal human beings outside of the band. None of us was too attached to the identity of the band as being our own personal identity. You know, I could come home and just settle in with all my friends and go skateboarding or surfing, building stuff and making stuff. But I think being in a band is an interesting way to live, because your life is definitely fragmented. Be on tour for six to eight months out of the year and then you see your friends and they are having jobs and babies and all these things are happening. Than you see the segments of life at home, well, in segments. But I think we did a pretty good job of not disconnecting from that.
So you always tried to separate the private thing from the band life?
In the end I think it all had to do with us not having our own identity being overtaken by the band’s identity. I think that can happen when you are more like a rockstar type of person, but none of us were anything close to a rockstar.
Well, a few weeks have past now since your last tour within a band. How does it feel, when you suddenly stop doing something you used to love?
It’s rough! I mean the first few weeks at home I treated it like any time I come home from touring, you know, hanging out with my friends. But then it started settling in like “how are you going to live?” You need to be searching for jobs and all that stuff.
It’s a little scary figuring it out. Because I feel like we are in a similar spot that a lot of our friends were, when they were just out of high school or just out of college, but we are a lot older! You know when I got out of high school I started to go to college, just to drop out to do the band full-time. Tours were popping up more often than I could balance the schedules of work and school. So I just went straight into that and now it’s thirteen years later. And now I am back where I should have maybe been then.
Then let’s get away from the past and let’s talk a bit about the present. I listened to your live recording "Anthology". What do you like the most about it?
I might like the most about it, what some people might dislike about it. If you listen to some live albums they sound really pristine like “wow, they played really good at that show”. When in reality what happens sometimes, people go back and they rerecord part where they messed up or did anything like that. We made a point where we were like “if that guitar is out of tune, leave it. Let’s make it as real as it is”. If people want to listen to this record to experience what we did live, let it be live. Some people might think that this is kind of weird or something like that, but it’s REAL! I love live albums like that. Normally you don’t get a lot of rock live albums that sound like that, you end up getting more polished rock live records.
That’s funny because the first sentence of my next question…I will read it to you right from my paper: “What I like the most is the rawness and how exposed and to the core it sounds.”
Haha, that’s awesome!
But seriously, there are so many live records where people have to recognize, that no band can play that good every fucking night. It’s just not real.
You know, there’s a certain segment of music listeners that really enjoy that realness. But there is also the other listeners that are like “oh, that sounds like crap”. So hopefully we’re appealing to the people that like that raw sound. I mean, not that I thought we played bad, but I think it doesn’t sound fake at all, which I love.
Can you explain how you guys chose the songs for the record?
We actually created an online poll and people chose songs. And for each record we chose the top three or four songs that people chose. We compiled that into a setlist and had a few that we swap in and out when we play multiple nights in a certain city. So, it was pretty easy and it ended up being great because it was what people wanted to hear. There were a few songs that I wish we could have played, but it might not have been the most popular songs, they are just songs that are really fun playing for us.
What did you feel when you played these (perhaps) last songs with this band?
It was rough. I tried to hope that we can get together sometime again in the future eventually. I mean being that it is a hiatus and not a breakup or anything. That kind of helped me a little bit like “wow, that could be the last time, or maybe just the last time for a long time.” And that helped, but at the same time playing those last few notes of every night and in every city, it was like “man, when will I be here ever again, will it happen ever again?” In the last few years everyone in the band had to deal with a lot of losses. I mean my (and Riley’s) father died, Dustin’s father died and Tepei’s mom died, all within the past two or three years. So, every tour standing on that stage could have been the last time. But even though it was really hard, it was really good in making the most of each night; in playing with the band but also in making the most of…everything. Since I’ve been home I’ve been trying to live with that perspective. Not to get super spiritual, but it’s pretty crazy when you’re presented with that perspective and it’s that clear every night for six weeks playing shows. And I loved to have that opportunity even though I hate that we’re not doing it still.
You talked about the losses of the past few years. Despite all that, when was the first time you thought you guys should part ways for the moment?
Honestly, I never did and still don’t think we should have. I don’t wanna misquote Dustin in the wrong way, but for my understanding his wife was pregnant with their third child and he was presented to an opportunity, to be something where he could work from home or around home. I don’t think that he was enjoying it the way that he used to, being away from family and all that. So, he made that choice and we all have to respect that. You have to respect a decision for family even if you disagree. It’s hard to disagree. And maybe I’m in a complete different situation and I sound like somebody that doesn’t understand. And maybe I don’t. But I don’t think it’s something you wanna argue about, you try to take it for what it is and move on. So, that’s what we’re doing.
You have so many records out and I heard a few people complaining about how "Anthology" is just a last rip-off to get a little more money in your pockets. Why did you guys make a live record in the first place?
Why not? I don’t know…perhaps have something to give after announcing that it’s done. It was fun to do. And even if it would be a little money in our pockets, records don’t really sell anymore, so that doesn’t make sense.
And even if they would sell pretty good, I mean you have to earn money.
Yeah, that’s the weirdest thing about music today. I think bands used to make money selling records, but now it’s pretty much a hundred percent touring. And I don’t wanna say that to be an asshole or anything, but maybe if people bought records it would have been easier for us to stay together as a band. Not that money is a reason to stay together as a band, but it would be harder for Dustin to give up music, if it wasn’t so hard financially, I guess.
I mean, right now it’s rough for everybody in every job, but I think it’s particularly rough in music. Look at “Hydrahead Records”, it’s a great label and tons of people love it and I’m sure people are listening to it, but how many people have bought their records in the past? You just can’t make things without incurring a certain cost and that cost has to be paid by something. It’s just math.
It’s just a suggestion, but why don’t you just be a record-band? You could write music, you have your own studio and just don’t go on tour. I mean it’s not that good regarding the money issue, but that way you could keep it up.
Our manager and I have talked about how we wished that would be possible. But I think the way that Dustin wanted to do it is like a clean cut for the time being. And who knows, in five years we could be doing that. But everybody has to move on and everybody has to find a way to make a living. At the moment it’s weird and it’s about trying to find a way to move on. Hopefully reconnecting will be possible, with what everybody chooses to do.
What will you miss the most, now that THRICE is put on hold?
Meeting people. A hundred percent! I love playing music live and I think that’s still possible. But my favourite thing about touring is meeting the bands that we tour with. Picking their minds about what they’re listening to and what influenced them and just becoming friends with all these musicians from all these parts of the world. But then also meeting fans, or that random person in a coffeshop that has no clue that we’re in a band and just wants to talk about whatever. I really like learning people’s stories and developing my life and my brain based on the people that I meet. Learning from what they learned and listening to what they listen to and I’m really scared of living without that.
I think you can stop being in a band, but you can't stop being a musician. Do you have any plans in making music or any projects you are working on?
Riley and I have been working on a new music project, but it kind of slowed as far as a release goes, just because we are spending so much time trying to find a way to make a living, with a normal job, and not wanting to treat the band as a job before it even started. I think that affects the way that the music is written. If you go straight into a new music project and try to treat it as a job, I think it could disrupt the artistic past of it. But I think once things settle a bit, as far as like being comfortable with some sort of a parttime income, we’ll be getting started with a release and maybe touring.
Any last words for the moment?
Thank you! Thank you everybody that supported us. Thank you to you, for taking the time to do this interview. I can’t wait to be out in Europe again soon, in any fashion that I can make my way over there.
Ein Review zum Album "Anthology" gibt es hier.