First there was two, then there was four, and promptly followed a
tour. Ok, I didn't mean to rhyme, really. More I was pointing out
that, finally, after nearly a year between releases we have the complete
Alchemy Index available for enjoyment. Thrice knew what
they were doing with the Elements and did it well. The Index
managed to pull from four completely different sectors of their musicianship
and perfect each one.
Recently, the band came to town and I couldn't pass up the opportunity
to sit down with Dustin (lead vocals). As part of the brains
behind this project, I knew we'd have lots to talk about:
Hybrid Magazine: Was The Alchemy Index a major revolution
or change for the band? Perhaps the birth of a new band?
Dustin: It just popped into my head one day. It went through
a bunch of different phases of being an idea and being an idea that
we were all set on doing but in different ways. I think it is definitely
good for us on a level, being something different for us, being a
challenge, and allowing us to explore some different areas. It's definitely
been a very unique situation. This all started with the idea and then
we wrote towards that.
HM: With so much music being conceived, was it just easier
to do 4 EPs as opposed to 2 LPs?
Dustin: I don't know if it's easier, but I do think it's kind
of interesting and cool because naturally and historically the full
length didn't exist. Then the CD came out and you had 80 min, so people
are suddenly "ok I have to fill this space." There's no
reason to fill that space, just because it exists. I think smaller
format [releases] are actually more natural. I don't think we'll ever
do a full length record that's over 10 songs again. As a listening
piece, once you start getting over a certain length, you start to
lose where you started at.
HM: What do you see as the main differences between Vheissu
Dustin: I think Alchemy and Vheissu are more
connected than Vheissu is with the previous record. I think
that's where the largest shift is. Even though these records are very
different, it's kinda for a purpose. But I think that the general
vibe is similar to Vheissu. We're for once all not worrying
what anyone thinks about it or what we've played in the past. We're
becoming more interested in melody and mood now. Not just looking
at a riff and writing a song around it.
HM: If someone heard Thrice for the first time through "Earth"
- which is melodic and acoustic - would they be safe to call it a
Dustin: I don't think that "Earth" is a projection
of where we're going. I think it's probably furthest from it actually.
I do think that doing that and me doing my solo stuff has been encouraging
me to be more expressive vocally in a way that's more natural for
me to sing. I feel that we've been gradually incorporating more of
a live feeling to everything, both musically and vocally.
HM: Someone has coined the phrase "Thrice elements"
- but what would you identify as those elements?
Dustin: I have no idea. I think it happens with bands that
are evolving and trying to push themselves. I think its ends up defying
categorization, the longer that they're a band. For us, you'd have
to look at different points as a band in our history to say that these
are the elements that make Thrice. If you're going to look at the
whole history I think what stands out are the fact that it's always
been melodic, even when it was heavier. I think the fact that I put
a lot of focus on my lyrics, that's been something that people have
grabbed onto over the years. And then I guess the sense of us trying
to do something different and push ourselves to make it interesting.
HM: Digital revolution - how do you manage to keep fans buying
Dustin: We're releasing the vinyl soon. Hopefully people will
be into that. It's going to be four 10 inches in a book type of thing.
A little more of an expensive piece, but it'll have extra liner notes
and a digital download. I'm really into pushing it both directions,
going back and doing some vinyl stuff, but also having the digital.
CDs just aren't really the ideal form anymore, but records are really
awesome and tactile.
HM: How's the overall response been now that Index
Dustin: I felt like people, even if they liked the first half,
they got it more when they saw it in context. Which is cool, because
it's definitely a whole thing to us. I think each part works on its
own, but seeing it all together is the way I think it was meant to
be enjoyed. We broke it up so that people could experience each part
more fully, and then really be able to comprehend the whole better,
rather than being overwhelmed by 24 songs at once and only being able
to kind of get it. I think that a lot of people really appreciate
the time we put into it and how varied and detailed it is.
HM: You've generally donated a portion of album sales in the
past - any donated from Alchemy?
Dustin: We're donating a percentage to Blood Water Mission.
It is an organization that tries to get clean drinking water and AIDS
relief to people in Africa. They help in a way that's sustainable
in the community, instead of just throwing a bunch of money at the
problem, they empower the community to take care of these problems
themselves and feel a sense of ownership.
This album (or set of albums) is one of the most creative, innovative
and brilliant pieces of music I've seen. There should not be any
doubt as to the knowledge and musicianship that Thrice has as a
band and as individuals. This definitely birthed tons of new diehard
For Dustin's solo stuff check out: www.dustinkensrue.com.
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