Unbelievably just 12 months ago the name Thrice was virtually unknown by the general record buying public, tonight they have sold out the 2000 capacity Manchester Academy. Now with their major label debut "The Artist In The Ambulance" behind them they have just completed their last UK tour before the band head into the studio to record the follow up. Designer Magazine caught up with Riley and Eddie from the band to find how they have ditched guitars for synths in order to keep the sound fresh and innovative.
Q: Tonight is Manchester is the last date of this short UK tour. How's it been going?
Eddie: It's been awesome. We've been out for 6 weeks all around the world. Hawaii, Japan, Australia and mainline Europe. We started the European leg with the Hundred Reasons show at the Astoria and that was cool, we were a little jet lagged because we'd flown from Sydney, Australia, to London which is like a super long flight. Coming back to the UK at the end of this tour has been the coolest thing, cos the support we have over here is really good so it's nice to finish the tour on a high point.
Q: Coming over to places like the UK and Australia, countries you don't get to visit all the time, it must feel like a special event.
Eddie: You can definitely tell the enthusiasm of the people that come out. Because were only over here about 2 or 3 times a year it seems they value it that little but more than people in the States do.
Riley: It's weird as well with Vaux cos I think they're the first band we've been out on the road with that actually understand our sense of humour. Out with them has been the most fun we've ever had touring and were actually gonna do some more dates with them over in the US.
Q: It's not often Hawaii would appear in a bands tour schedule. Did you worry about how they'd react to you guys?
Eddie: It was like what I was saying about the UK show. Bands barely ever go to Hawaii, so the people that are there and go to the shows are so happy that a bands coming out. And I think maybe at our show there were a lot of people that weren't really into us, but they were just happy that a band was playing.
It was a real good show, there was a lot of kids there and I didn't wanna leave. It was definitely the worst place you could ever start a tour cos you get there, were only there for a day and a half, and you get to Hawaii and you just wanna hang around the beach yer know. We were just there for the show and we were gone. In the future if we do that again we'll put it at the end of the tour so we can just hang about in Hawaii for a few weeks.
Q: Were here in Manchester and it only seems appropriate since the band are constantly mentioned in your reviews - were you a fan of the Smiths?
Riley: I actually didn't get into the Smiths to later. I think they'd actually influenced a lot of bands that i listen to that. I just didn't really see it was coming from them, just the atmospheric quality of the songs.
Q: You were recording over Xmas, just laying the initial ideas down. I guess that's where you head is lying right now - the next album.
Riley: I was just writing stuff on my computer. Everybody is trying to figure out things to do whether it be synthesized stuff on computers which we can transfer onto guitars. Just trying to get ideas so when we actually get together as a band we can start structuring them into songs...
Eddie: ...we've learnt a lot every time we've recorded and I think one of the biggest thing we've learnt from doing the last record is that we need to be really really prepared to start writing the next record. So as soon as we got out the studio each of us as individuals started working on parts so that when we get together as a band we're going to have a much bigger pile of ideas than we did on the last record.
Q: It's quite interesting how you go off into your own separate worlds. Is this the way you've always worked?
Riley: Initially the songs all start on individual levels. Everybody in the band writes, but nobody ever really writes complete songs. Somebody will hear something that somebody's doing and they'll build it all up. It's kind of a difficult process for us for the fact that we all have strong opinions about how the song should be and the different parts that we want to use.
I think this time, more than ever, we have an understanding of where we're coming from and we'll try and record ideas and give them to the other people so they have an idea of the feel of the song rather than just playing a little riff on the guitar.
Q: With so many ideas being thrown into the pot from each member, is it hard trying to put your own stamp on a song?
Eddie: I don't think we could complete a song that didn't have each persons specific print on it. It's definitely not the easiest way to write, but it's what works best for us and it's the only way we know how.
Riley: Most bands you'll hear so and so is writing for the new record and they expect to head into the studio with 30 songs. For us 30 songs would take like 3 or 4 years to write because we take so long writing and a song will be one thing when it starts out and it will be completely different by the time we've finished. Songs get completely destroyed and built back up and destroyed again and built back up. We come in with a hundred ideas and it's get filtered down to about 3 songs.
Q: The very idea that you start off writing riffs on synths before transferring it over to guitars is a different approach. Have you done this before?
Riley: We just started doing that for this record. Just messing about with drum beats and chordall structures, there's a lot of things you can do with it and I think we're gonna try and convert all those ideas over to guitars.
Eddie: Were really influences by people such as Radiohead so I think using computers in that way will drive us to getting our ideas out.
Q: When do you hope to actually get in the studio to lay down these ideas properly?
Riley: I think later this year, but another thing we actually learnt by doing the last record is that we need to be ready to go into the studio. I think we kind of rushed towards the end of the writing process for the last record and we had a really strict time schedule we had to adhere to. This time we want it to be a little more relaxed. Were hoping for late this year, but if it ends up happening early next year and that makes it a better record then so be it.
Q: And i guess there's also the fact that there's expectations for this record that weren't necessarily there for "The Artist And The Ambulance".
Eddie: It's weird because were on the road so much that we don't really know what's going on. When you're on tour your world is wherever you are at the time and you're worried about playing a show or getting a decent meal and getting a shower. That's what your concern is. You're not reading magazines or watching MTV, so you don't get to see the publicity or the response. We can definitely tell because last time we played 500 capacity room and this time were playing to 2000, that's what registers for us. It still doesn't seem real.
Riley: It's easier to see from an outsiders point of view. When it's happening to you it's a lot harder to register. A band like Brand New in the States huge and they're doing really well over here - so it's easier for me to look at them and say "I remember when we did that tour in the US and we were doing tiny little clubs and now they've probably sold 500,000 records in the States". I see them and i'm like man they blew up and they're like well you guys have blew up too.
Q: How difficult is it to resist falling into a formula after the success of the last album?
Eddie: There are some bands that definitely do that. Bands that figure out a formula or what works and then they stick to it. To me that's not an artistic endeavour, that's a business endeavour. That's what you would do if you were running your own company - you figure out your business plan and you stick to it cos that's how you make your profit. With art it's all about pushing boundaries, it's not just about finding what works and sticking to it.
"The Artist And The Ambulance" is out now
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