Lead singer from Thrice gives us the down low
Founded in Orange County, Thrice has been a hard rock band with notoriety in music and amongst fans world wide. Their mixture of soft melodic progression, diluted with a hard powerful sensibility has allowed them to put out many hit albums. Artist in the Ambulance, Identity Crisis, Vheissu, Illusion of Safety, and now Beggars are just a few of the hard-rockers’ masterful works of art.
Beggars, their most recent album, has been a long awaited project by many Thrice fans and many in the music community. The digital version of Beggars has already been released due to an unfortunate leak of the album in the states. However, the hard copy version of Beggars is set to release on September 15, and is looking to be yet another addition to the eclectic rockers repertoire.
The Entertainer had a chance to catch up with Dustin Kensrue (lead singer from Thrice) to discuss the album in full detail and get the low down on the inspiration that helped make the album known as “Beggars”.
AC: Can you give us a little information on your new album Beggars, and how you came up with the title and music that is in the album?
DK: The last song on the album is called “Beggars.” I had the idea for a while, based on this idea of Martin Luther’s last words. It says, “we are beggars,” which is true. I thought that those were some pretty heavy last words, and a heavy statement. I chewed on that for a while – what it means if we are all “beggars” in a sense.
For me it came down to just how much we take for granted, how much we take credit for the things we have been blessed with, and how much we don’t appreciate the things we have. No one can know if they are going to wake up tomorrow. Every breath is a gift on some level. I feel like if you can really dig into that idea, it can have a pretty profound impact on the way that you live and the way that you think of yourself and others.
AC: When you guys first heard that your album had been leaked, how did you react to it?
DK: Umm…I was surprised that it happened that early, but you have to kind of expect these things to happen to us. We weren’t too surprised and there is nothing you can really do except try to do damage control as best as you can.
We recorded another song for the five bonus tracks that are coming out with the physical release right now, got the remixes done, B-sides mastered and ready, we released on I-Tunes earlier than the physical album, tried to be nimble as possible with it and stay on our feet.
AC: Your first albums are substantially harder then your most recent albums you put out. Is this the reason for a more upbeat tempo in “Beggars”?
DK: I wouldn’t say that those albums are harder or heavier, I think “Vheissu” is definitely not the heaviest stuff we’ve done. The early stuff is definitely faster, but I think we are trying to find a new form of energy with this record to fuse in with the music.
I look at it as something that has the ability to move something else, and I feel like this record physically wants to make you move more than anything we’ve done. It’s not a fast or a super heavy record, for me playing it is the most fun.
Music we have written translates into the record, and once people get established with the movement of the record I think it is something people are going to enjoy for a while.
For people who were expecting it to be another “Artist in the Ambulance,” it’s not going to hit you in the first listen. For one thing, the sound is not blasting in your face. There are no layered guitars or gigantic drum sounds. It sounds like a real band playing music in a room together and that’s what we really like about it.
People are so saturated with fake and almost steroid-ish music. When something is real, I think at first people feel underwhelmed. But there is a lot more payoff if you are willing to get where it is coming from.
AC: Can you give you us a little information on one of your singles, “All the World is Mad” and why it has that title?
DK: It’s about the human condition. Whether it is from a psychological standpoint, or a religious standpoint and sin, people can define the problem in different ways. However you phrase it, it’s basically that there is something wrong with everything, there’s something wrong in everyone’s heart and there is some darkness there.
Even acknowledging that brings up some huge questions. Something is wrong and we need to find something that is right. There is a contrast to that, an ideal that stands separately from us. Otherwise we would just have things that we like or don’t like; we wouldn’t have this sense of right or wrong. The sense of right and wrong, I think, is something we intuitively find within ourselves and understand to be true. The song is coming from this kind of dark place that is saying, “there is something wrong with you, with everybody, and a lot of the ways that you are trying to look at things aren’t going to get to the root of the problem.”
AC: Why did you guys decide not to record the band all at once like you originally wanted to do?
DK: We tried to make it feel as live and real as possible. The problem is that the studio was really small. We were unable to track live in there in order for it to sound good. We couldn’t get any separation for the drums due to the size. There were a bunch of issues.
The whole vibe in which we approached it was very loose. We tried to catch a feeling rather than perfecting everything. There is kind of a death that happens in the music when you try to get everything done perfectly. Trying to get every single thing in perfect tune just feels really robotic and staged.
People would be like, “I really like your band live but it feels really different on records,” and we felt the same way. We’re learning how to capture that in this record, and when you hear it live it won’t sound any different in the sense of the vibe and energy.
AC: Is that why you guys decided to self-produce the album, so you could put out that feeling of continuity from your live shows to the CD?
DK: That’s one aspect, there is a lot of reasons. Money being one, and just a lot of control from another level. You know what your art is and if you have a vision for something, sometimes that vision can be frustrated by someone who is not on the same page. There are benefits to doing it both ways, but right now this is working for us.
AC: How many days did you guys tour on Warped Tour?
DK: We did the beginning and the end. Our guitarist had a second kid during the tour.
AC: When you guys were on tour, and in San Diego, how receptive were the fans to your new music?
DK: It seemed pretty good, it’s hard to judge before people really have the record and the lyrics. It’s hard to tell because people are listening, taking it in, and experiencing it in a different way than when you’re first seeing it. People are a little more passive in that stage. It’s hard to weigh it when you haven’t had it out there for a while, but it seems that a lot of people are really digging the record. Probably the most positive, off-the-bat response we’ve had since Artist of the Ambulance hit the air.
AC: What’s your favorite song to play so far from your new album, “Beggars”?
DK: We’ve only played three live at this point, “All the World is Mad,” “The Weight,” and “At the Last.” I like “At the Last” most, its got a good energy. Kind of like a grunge type energy, this mean kind of thing going on. I like that one.
AC: What are you looking forward to the most that is going to come out of this album?
DK: I don’t know man. We’re not very self-analytical with our stuff, we kind of just do our thing, put it out there, and hope for the best.
AC: Any last things you want to add?
DK: We will be in San Diego in November…and just do music because you love it. The only way someone is going to corrupt your art is if your priorities are out of whack. The only way you are going to be really happy with your music is if you are satisfied with what you are doing, not if your doing well or whatever. With the way the industry is, don’t give in to music to make money, unless your some pop act. Keep your music as the art and that should always be the priority.