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Interview with Thrice

Dustin Kensrue of Thrice took some time out of his busy schedule to answer some questions for UnEarthed through email correspondence. Read on for details…

UE: I’m pretty sure that the lyrics in “The Melting Point of Wax” refer to The Story of Icarus. What made you use this Greek myth as inspiration? Do you have any particular attachment to this story?
It is one of my favorite myths. The reason I think I like it so much, is that there are so many different ways that you can look at it. In the song, we are glorifying his flight, while the traditional interpretations include shunning vanity, respecting elders, playing it safe, etc. Those can be good things, and I don’t think there is a way of looking at the story without getting something out of it. I once thought of doing a concept EP that dealt with the story from multiple POV’s.

UE: What made you sign with Island Records?
Enthusiastic people who communicate well between each other, a trustworthy and real A&R rep, better distribution and marketing, more money to record with.

UE: You’re currently touring Europe, how has the trip across the pond been (have you been there before)? Any interesting stories of culture clash?
Europe this time (we went earlier this year) was a lot less stressful it seemed. I think you begin to get used to how different normal things are. But it would be a lot harder if everybody didn’t know English. It’s pretty incredible, but it makes you feel like a jerk that you rely on everyone knowing your language for you to function. We learned some German, but nothing useful. Mostly crude slang.

UE: What do you miss most when you are away touring?
My wife, family, friends, and cats.

UE: What is the strangest place you have ever played?
We played in some weird alley in the oldest part of Stockholm. That was pretty weird. The sound was bouncing off all the walls and the street was big cobblestones.

UE: How was Warped Tour this year? Any exciting highlights?
It was a lot of fun. We hung out a lot with Glassjaw, Poison the Well, Brand New, Coheed and Cambria and the Used. Salt Lake City was the highlight of the shows I would say. I got to go out with the Used one night in Philly and saw Justin Timberlake play an after show for 1000 people. It was one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. Ever.

UE: What’s the story behind KROQ’s Bean throwing your demo/cd away when it was given to him at a KROQ event? Is it more gratifying to have your songs in regular rotation on that station after this particular incident than it would be if it had never happened?
Some kid gave him a CD at a party and he threw it in a pool, then talked about it on the radio, angering many a Thrice fan, who let the station know how they felt about that. It was a pretty funny situation. Kevin and Bean actually introduced us when we played the KROQ Weenie roast.

UE: Do you think that this album will reach the same fan base as The Illusion of Safety?
I think it will reach them, and beyond them, especially in Europe. If you mean, “will old fans connect with it?” I would say that I think that those who listen without a prejudice about the new label or anything will really enjoy the record.

UE: In what ways do you think you have evolved as a band thus far?
We have gone from playing some psuedo-experimental new school punk, to whatever it is we are doing now, and I think we will continue to change consistently, if not exponentially. As a group of people, we have gone through a lot together, and lived in super tight quarters for a few years now, and I think we have evolved as a tightly knit group of friends who understands each other like you would a spouse. You see all their faults and love them anyway.

UE: What, if anything, has excited you about music this year?
The Postal Service record, seeing Engine Down live, having talks with the band about cool ideas for the next record.

UE: In your high school yearbook you would have been voted most likely to ________?
I was never even in the yearbook.

UE: What is something that inspires you other than music?
Paintings, books, movies, art and expression in general.

UE: If you could have lunch with any one person, alive or dead, who would it be and why?
C.S. Lewis. He is my favorite author and one of the smartest people (in my opinion) in the last century. I would love to just sit and ask him questions about so many things.

UE: How do you define success?
I guess it would be different for every activity. But at the core, I would say that you have to first be happy with the work that you have done, otherwise it doesn’t really matter what anyone else thinks.

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