Photo by Jonathan Weiner

Thrice Plays It by Ear

Guitarist Teppei Teranishi on the band reuniting, gear and his Teranishi Studio project.

Thrice is back.

And properly so: After 15 years of nonstop writing, recording and touring, the Irvine, California, post-hardcore greats took a brief hiatus, but they’ve returned with a new album and a North American tour. The quartet’s latest effort, To Be Everywhere Is To Be Nowhere, is a cathartic crusher that recalls the band’s heavier work from its early catalog, but expands on the progressive formula they’ve created (think post-hardcore Radiohead). We chatted with founding guitarist Teppei Teranishi about the band re-forming, the new album and gear, before Thrice rocks Brooklyn Bowl on October 7.

After consistently writing and touring as a band, Thrice took a brief hiatus from 2014-2016. How did you guys re-form?

We were doing it for 15 years straight, and life was moving on. We all have families—I had two kids at the time, and Dustin [Kensrue, singer/guitarist] had three. We were doing the band full-time, and it was a difficult thing to keep afloat, so we thought it was time for it to rest so we could live our lives. We made sure to tell everybody that it wasn’t a breakup. We knew we would come back and there was no bad blood between members, so we called it an indefinite hiatus. We had no idea when we’d get back together—whether it [would] be five or 10 years. It ended up being a bit shorter than that [laughs].

As for getting the ball rolling again, it started when Dustin and I talked after a Brand New show in Seattle. We were talking to the guys in the band about the short tour they were on, and we were intrigued. They were doing a one- or two-week tour up the West [Coast], and we just wanted to know how that worked financially and logistically. That conversation led to the discussion of Thrice doing something similar—touring, writing and managing time.

How did it feel hitting the road and getting back in the studio right away?

It was cool! We reconnected with a lot of people. We did some summer shows and hit a mini festival circuit. During the rehearsal for those shows, we were writing some new stuff for what would become the new record, and that was great as well.

Lots of people keep asking us if it felt weird getting back together after a hiatus, but it wasn’t at all. We’ve been a band for such a long time; we’re brothers! And it wasn’t hard to get back into the groove and find our chemistry.

Thrice is notorious for using unconventional techniques to record. The Alchemy Index was recorded DIY on GarageBand. Some of To Be Everywhere Is To Be Nowhere was written remotely. How was that experience?

Well, it wasn’t written 100 percent remotely. [At the time] I was living in Washington, and I’d fly down to rehearse for the [aforementioned] summer shows. We all booked flights for a week earlier to jam and write music together in the studio. We’d record those sessions, and from there, we’d do stuff on our own by sharing files and compiling ideas. It was interesting—concentrating on jamming, then going our separate ways to let it breathe. You might hear that play out on the record.

You’re also a big gearhead. Did your gear change for this record at all?

A little. Our producer, Eric Palmquist, was very intentional about not using tones we’ve used on previous records. When we were hauling our amps into the studio, the first question he asked was, “Which ones are your main things?” I pointed to my AC30 and some of the pedals I use. He said “Alright!” and put those aside. Then he proceeded to work on new tones with some of the other gear.
At one point during recording, he had the guitars going into no fewer than four amps at a time. He was really dialed-in as to how he thought it should sound, and he’d constantly go into the control room to blend and use different amps as needed.

Speaking of gear, you also craft artisan leatherworks for your Teranishi Studio project. How’s that going?

It’s going well. It’s an interesting time for that project. I was basically doing it full-time before the break. When I was still up in Washington, I hired full-time employees to help me out with it. Then, once the band started up again, I had to scale things back. Rather than trying to manage things remotely, I ended up managing most of the business side.

There were a lot of logistical [duties] that came with running the business, and I wasn’t a fan. [My part] became more [about] all of that stuff, which I wasn’t too fond of doing, and less of crafting and creating, which is what I enjoyed most about the project in the first place.

For now, I’m just playing it by ear. I mostly do everything on my own, and get some help here and there when needed. [Teranishi] went from full-time to part-time, and that’s how it stands for now.

What’s next for you?

I’m just gonna keep truckin’. I’m trying to strike a balance between my band and the brand. I want to keep Teranishi going and thriving. It’s a challenge.

What’s your favorite part of Vegas?

Oh, man, too many. Vegas has always been sweet to us. I’m not much of a gambler, but it’s one of the places—if not the first—we played outside of California. We’ve been playing there for years, and we’ll always have love for that city.

Thrice with La Dispute and Nothing, Nowhere

Brooklyn Bowl, Oct. 7, 7 p.m., $25-$35, 702-862-2695, BrooklynBowl.com/Las-Vegas

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