PALMS OF FURY

TWO DECADES INTO THEIR TEN­URE, THRICE ARE STILL THE UN­DE­FEATED KINGS OF POST-HARD­CORE. AHEAD OF THEIR 2019 AUS­TRALIAN TOUR, MATT DO­RIA SITS DOWN WITH GUI­TARIST TEPPEI TERANISHI TO FIG­URE OUT JUST WHAT THEIR SE­CRET IS. PHOTO BY GEN­TLE GI­ANT DIG­I­TAL.

Australian Guitar - - Feature -

When Thrice make their way Down Un­der in Fe­bru­ary, it’ll be their first Aus­tralian tour in over a decade. The post-hard­core pow­er­house last made the trek in Septem­ber of ‘08, rid­ing high on the re­lease of their two-part (or four-part, if you wanna get fickle) epic TheAlche­myIn­dex. That was some­what of a peak era for the band, their en­ergy lu­cid and their beats blast­ing hot­ter than the Cal­i­for­nian sun un­der which they were formed.

YouTube clips from the cy­cle af­firm this – look at the way Teppei Teranishi would rip through a hook with no re­gard for his fin­ger­tips; the way sweat would pour down Dustin Ken­srue’s face when he cleaved out the per­fect scream. Ten years on, one might as­sume the com­bi­na­tion of age and ex­haus­tion have caught up with Thrice.

Ex­cept that it hasn’t. Four al­bums (and a short hia­tus) later, the quar­tet are still rag­ing on like angsty punks in musty base­ments, their new­found plush theatre dwellings be damned. Teranishi cor­re­lates his for­mula to the age-old ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ men­tal­ity – when asked how Thrice’s live show has grown in the past decade, he pauses, chuck­les, and quips his own rhetor­i­cal mus­ing. “Is it bad to say that I’m not sure if it’s evolved too much at all?”

For a band whose shows are any­thing but, their mo­dus operandi is de­cid­edly sim­ple. “We’ve al­ways just kind of done our own thing,” Teranishi ex­plains, non­cha­lant as can be. “First and fore­most, we just get up on­stage and try to have fun. We make sure that we’re try­ing our best to play with en­ergy and have a good in­ter­ac­tion with the peo­ple that paid to come and see the show, but there are no spe­cial bells and whis­tles to what we do.” Such has kept Thrice at the top of their class through an im­pres­sive ten stu­dio al­bums. And though all of them are di­verse and dy­namic in their own right, there’s one defin­ing link that unites the Thrice discog­ra­phy: they’re all doused in ar­dour, off-the-cuff and unf***with­ably hon­est.

The trend con­tin­ued with their 2018 LP Palms, which across ten fierce and fas­tid­i­ous slith­ers of raw pas­sion, spans a full gamut of Thrice’s stylis­tic DNA. For Teranishi, the key to mak­ing Palms stand out was not forc­ing any gim­mick or spe­cific phi­los­o­phy, in­stead rid­ing with an at­ti­tude that cap­i­talises on do­ing the op­po­site.

“I think we were a lit­tle more cau­tious this time to just let any­thing fly,” he says. “We gave our­selves a lot more lib­erty with things like elec­tron­ics and synths, which we’ve in­cluded on records in the past, but we’ve also some­times shied away from be­cause we’d be think­ing about how we were go­ing to pull it off live or what­ever. This time we were just like, ‘ Well, we’ll fig­ure that out later. For now, let’s just make the record that we want to make.’”

Take a song like “Only Us” for ex­am­ple – the al­bum opener kicks off with a bassy, puls­ing synth line, an­other track of spacey keys ac­cen­tu­at­ing it, Ken­srue’s vo­cals slathered in re­verb and lack­ing the tra­di­tional drum-and-gui­tars scaf­fold un­til a scratch over a minute in. It’s un­tra­di­tional – def­i­nitely not what you’d ex­pect from the first track on such a record – but it works, be­cause god­damn it, Thrice makeit work.

“In the past,” Teranishi tells us, “We would’ve de­moed that a mil­lion times over, and it would’ve slowly evolved into a more gui­tar-driven song be­cause that’s what we knew would work best on­stage. But this time, we took a step back and went, ‘No, this synth thing is cool. Let’s keep this go­ing and see where we can take it.’ And so I think in that sense, we were able to push our­selves a lit­tle fur­ther in cer­tain direc­tions.

“When we start the writ­ing process for any al­bum, we all have these lit­tle, ran­dom ideas that we’d com­piled through­out how­ever many months or years it would be be­tween al­bums, and we get to­gether and start shar­ing dif­fer­ent ideas, and kind of just start from there. I guess it just speaks for the eclec­tic­ness of our per­sonal tastes.”

For the cur­rent live show, Thrice are util­is­ing MIDI tracks for the elec­tronic el­e­ments of their

Palms ma­te­rial. On the gui­tar front, how­ever, the back­bone of Teranishi’s sig­na­ture style of shred is shared be­tween a stan­dard Tele­caster and a cus­tom-made Les Paul Black Beauty, with the oc­ca­sional pop-in from a Fen­der Jaguar Bari­tone. Amps can vary de­pend­ing on the flavour of the month, but a clas­sic Vox AC30 is al­ways – al­ways – a sta­ple in his live rig.

“I’m al­ways pair­ing the AC30 with a dif­fer­ent amp,” Teranishi points out, cit­ing the Supro Dual-Tone and Mar­shall JMP as par­tic­u­lar favourites. “For what­ever rea­son, when you blend that amp with an­other amp, it just sounds re­ally cool.”

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