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Interview with Thrice - MAJOR / MINOR

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Saturday, October 8, 2011. "Quick success is rarely meaningful, it always goes away." says Teppei Teranishi of the band Thrice imparting his advice for new bands trying to break into the volatile music world. "At the core of it you gotta do it because you love it, not for any other reason. That’s true with everything in life."

With the release of their highly anticipated seventh studio album, MAJOR / MINOR, Thrice has taken the "most high energy record" they've ever done on the road to over thirty cities. Traversing the continental US, the band made a stop in Orlando where guitarist Teppei Teranishi and bassist Eddie Breckenridge sat down with OFC to chat about the incarnation of MAJOR / MINOR, tours from past and their perspective on the digital age of music and its impact on artists today.


Interview took place on October 8, 2011 at the Beacham Theater in Orlando, Fl - OFC interviewer Eddy Duryea

OFC: What’s the secret to staying together this long, 13 years, without a lineup change?
Teppei: I think it mostly stems from the fact that we’re all pretty mellow guys.  There’s not a big personality or anybody that’s trying to be something they’re not, and I think it’s been like that since the beginning, I think that’s fairly important.  And he brothers get along; we don’t have the Gallagher brothers or whatever (laughs).

Eddie: I think it’s also the fact that the focus has been so intently on the music, kind of going along with what he was saying, it’s just fun to create music and when you don’t have egos involved, especially the way we write, I don’t know, it just makes it fun.  Sometimes the writing process is a little difficult, just trying to get things working.

Many people compare the style of Major/Minor to earlier Thrice.  Was this intentional or accidental?
T: Definitely not intentional.  I don’t think it sounds much like anything we’ve done but I think what most people are connecting to, at least the dots they’re connecting, is the energy.  I think it’s probably the most high energy record overall that we’ve done in a while.  So I think that’s where they’re drawing that connection.  I’ve heard a lot of people compare it to “Vhiessu”, which I can kind of see I guess, but definitely not intentional.  But for me I think this record is unique to us in that, not that they’re happy, but just more like…not fun but—

E: Less dark.

T: Yeah there are some songs on there that are almost like feel good rock songs.  There’s some stuff on there that’s not super dark, which is pretty uncommon for us.  I think that’s been fun for me, to play that kind of stuff.


What are your favorite tracks off of MAJOR / MINOR?
E: I like “Yellow Belly” just because I think it has a pretty solid groove throughout it and it’s pretty energetic.  It’s a great way to start a record, I think.  I also really like “Words in the Water”.  I don’t know (laughs) I like a lot of the songs! It’s always hard to say because there’s certain things about each song you enjoy.

T: Yeah, I don’t know, it’s hard.  I think “Yellow Bellow” is a pretty good umbrella kind of thing.  It kind of encompasses the record as a whole the best in one song.


What was the most difficult track, which track gave you the most trouble?
T and E: “Words in the Water”

T: I think I said this in the liner notes for the vinyl but we tore that song down and built it back up I don’t even know how many times.  It went through so many different incarnations and different phases.  What it’s ended up as now is completely different from where it started.  It started as a loop that Eddie had (E laughs) the working title for the song was “Ed Loop” but that loop doesn’t show up anywhere in the song at all.  The whole root that we wrote the song off is gone.  

E: We ended up adding parts to the loop and then the song sped up but when the song sped up the loop sounded not so good and then it shifted many times beyond that.

T: It’s nothing like where it started.

E: But that’s kind of cool though, because that’s how a lot of songs end up working out.  You have multiple ideas and then maybe what it ends up first being isn’t necessarily what it ever should have been, but it needed that part to get there.

T:  Like we could take that loop and use it in something else.  

E: (Laughs) And you wouldn’t even know it.


Are there any B-sides from MAJOR / MINOR and if so, when would we be able to get a listen?
T: No actual B-sides, but we recorded three acoustic songs.  So those are technically our B-sides.  We put everything we recorded on.

E: There was “Matthew”.  Once we figured out how we were going to record and what we were going to record, we ended up scrapping a song just because it wasn’t really getting together and that would have been the closest thing to a B-side.  We didn’t even really get it beyond the point where we could get our first chorus.  We just left it, it was cool, it was a really cool guitar part that Teppei had, but it just didn’t end up working.

T: It didn’t really fit the vibe of the record.  But the B-sides we did acoustics of “Yellow Belly”, “Promises” and “Anthology”.  They’re more like bonuses (laugh).


In all 13 years of touring, what was your favorite tour? In other words, what tour would you like to re-live?
E: It’s hard because we’ve a lot of really fun tours.

T: We’ve been lucky with a lot of our tours, we’ve had a lot of really cool bands that are not only good musically but as people.  But there are a couple that stick out to me, one being the tour we did with Brand New and mewithoutyou a couple years ago, that was crazy fun. Just really good people, really fun.

E: (Laughs) …followed directly by a tour with Circa Survive and Pelican which was amazingly fun.

T: I also have really fond memories of one of the first U.S. tours that we did.  Actually I think it was our first full U.S. tour; it was a Take Action Tour like in 2000, 2001, something like that, anyways, the lineup was unreal, especially for us at the time.  It was Alkaline Trio and Hot Water Music headlining.  Cave In when they released “Jupiter” which was like my favorite record at the time.   Selby Tigers, The Eyeliners, there were a lot of bands.  But Hot Water Music, Cave In, Alkaline Trio; those were some of my favorite bands and this was our first U.S. tour.

E: Life changing.

T: Definitely life changing.

E: We’d play for like a half-hour or less and then we just would be able to watch all of these amazing bands and learn and soak it in.  Thankfully they were all super awesome people so it was just an amazing experience for a really young band.


When you’re not touring or recording, what fills your day?  What are you guys into right now?
T: I’ve been doing a lot of leather crafting on the bus.  And when I’m not on tour I have two kids, two boys, and a wife so I try to hang out with my family as much as I can because I know I’m leaving.

E: I do a lot of woodworking at home, a lot of surfing.  Every morning I wake up, grab coffee and go surfing with a bunch of friends I grew up with.  Yeah, I just try to fill my life with creating things; I think that’s the one thing that makes me the happiest.  Anything you can make sonically or physically, it makes you feel alive, especially when you have a chance to make something for somebody else and they get to enjoy it; it’s cool.


What can you guys say about the state of the music industry nowadays?  You guys are musical veterans, so where do you think the industry is headed?
T: I think it’s been in a weird state of flux for a long time now.  I’ve just been waiting for it to balance itself out and find a new path but I don’t think it’s happened yet.  I think it’s pretty obvious record sales aren’t the way to go now; I think selling records is a thing of the past.  Nobody really buys records anymore.  But there’s been a lot of different creative marketing tools that come with the internet; the same thing that’s kind of taken away the lifeblood of the music industry is also feeding new, different avenues for creative marketing.

E: The crazy thing too is we had a friend who used to sing in the band Poison the Well that was out at the show last night, he lives in Fort Lauderdale.  He works in a business that kind of helps record labels actually not get their music stolen and he was saying how crazy it is because he thinks that he would totally be in his band, working and touring if it weren’t for how little people buy records now.  So it’s kind of a sad thing to think about. Yeah they’re an amazing band and I know a lot of people wish they were still touring but I would guarantee at least half of those people didn’t buy their records, which is crazy to think about!  I don’t know, I just think people need to be aware of how their actions affect people.  Even if you do something good for somebody else, like the littlest thing can totally matter in the end.  Like, if you give a small amount of money to charity it’s going to make a huge difference in somebody’s life.  If you take a small amount away from somebody that’s making something—I don’t think people understand how it works exactly, and that’s where it ends up falling short.

T: I think there’s a disconnect there now, like Geoff [of Thursday] was saying, people don’t really realize that by you choosing to download a record instead of buying it you are actually directly affecting an artist.  It’s not some smokescreen of “it’s just the record label” or “it’s just some corporate whatever” you’re actually affecting the band.  

E: A lot of people will be like “The band doesn’t even get a big cut anyway” but then you’re like “well, yeah they don’t get any cut if you take it.”


On that note, do you have any tips for any small bands trying to start up? Is it easier for bands to break in or is it more difficult?
T: I feel like we started in a completely different generation; pre-computers, I mean, there were computers and internet but when we first started out we were literally handing out cassette tapes.  It shows that’s how long ago it was.  I really don’t know how it’s like right now for a band starting out.

E: As DIY as you can do it.  As much as you can do it all yourself and not really get too many other people involved.  If you build your band and you start playing and do things yourself you’ll understand stuff a lot more and I think, especially labels, if people really like your music, people will be begging you to let them help you (laughs) I think that’s the best way to do it.

T: At the core of it is that you gotta do it because you love it, not for any other reason, that’s true with everything in life.  Quick success is rarely meaningful, it always goes away.


Message to your fans?
E: Thank you for everything!  It's so amazing to be able to make music. Because people enjoy it, they help us see the world and share this music.  So many life experiences we've had wouldn't be possible without people's help. People are super awesome and supportive and we are really fortunate. Thank you for allowing us to be that fortunate!



Last Updated on Monday, 03 February 2014 21:10  

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