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Thrice: “You’ve got to adapt or go away”

Thrice’s ninth album, ‘To Be Everywhere Is To Be Nowhere’ is named after a quote from philosopher Lucius Annaeus Seneca. “I stumbled upon it when I was reading and thought it was very interesting in a way,” explains frontman Dustin Kensrue. “Apparently he was writing it to his protege trying to be encouraging like, ‘Hey, don’t read every book, you don’t have all the time in the world. Don’t spread yourself thin, read things you know are good and helpful’.

“If you look at society now, and the millions of ways we’re distracted and distractible, and spread thin between not only the things that we’re spending our time on, but even where we are kind spreading ourselves out through the world on the internet…”

Dustin has been involved in the music industry for some fifteen years, and has had a lot of time to think. Over the course of his band’s career, they’ve changed sounds a number of times and – thanks to the internet – dealt with outside opinions, both good and bad, coming from all angles. “It can be frustrating at times, or discouraging,” Dustin ponders, “but I think that you’ve got to keep perspective. Primarily we’re creating music for ourselves first and we want it to be something that we’re proud of, that we enjoy, find interesting and think is good.”

“If you’re being honest with your work, working hard and being proud of what you’ve done, then that stands above what any critic or fan has to say,” he elaborates. “As a fan though I think we live in a strange time where everybody can express their opinion to the whole world. I feel like I was on the edge of the last generation who didn’t grow up doing that, and so when I see people kind of spouting things off, that they would never say to someone’s face, then it seems a bit strange to me. It just seems rude.”

A double edged sword, evolving technology has hit the old guard hard, but toughened the skin of those who continue to survive. “It’s brought recording costs down a lot at the same time,” Dustin reasons, “because there’s not much money in selling music anymore. All the old, classic studios have gone by the wayside. Everything changes, you’ve got to adapt to it or go away.”

One unfortunate aspect of this change, is that where once Thrice were able to give a portion of the proceeds from album releases to charity, it’s become less and less viable. “We stopped a couple of records ago. I think it was cool while we did it, but it started to get very complicated. In the end we felt like it’d be better for us to be involved on a different level. Also, it started to become quite frustrating as a talking point. People would be like, ‘This is so great!’, but we didn’t want some false impression – ‘Hey, we’re in a band to support charity!’”

Currently rehearsing for a batch of live dates, this summer will mark Thrice’s first proper outing since last year’s comeback tour. “Everyone realised that it was super important we had that break, and we came back and had a fresh perspective,” Dustin says of their brief hiatus. “I think the gratefulness – for each other as people, as musicians and for what we’ve been able to do together and what we can continue to do together – was really important.”

Nearly two decades together in one of the most volatile and unforgiving industries is enough to put pressure on even the strongest of relationships. “I think we’re actually 18 years [old] now which is crazy,” he adds. “It’s really cool to look back, and it’s weird how time compresses and ends up looking like it’s going faster as you get older. I feel like it’s just weird looking at certain sections and thinking, ‘Oh that was all in this amount of time’, or ‘This was actually over five years’. But I think as much as there’s a lot in the back catalogue that we wrote half a lifetime ago, there’s not any regrets.”

Taken from the June issue of Upset, out now – order your copy here. Thrice’s album ‘To Be Everywhere Is To Be Nowhere’ is out now.