Thrice is a California-based rock group with eight albums under their belt. The quartet’s founding guitarist Teppei Teranishi stumbled upon Little Blondies years ago and has been using them ever since. He talks to us about recording and more.
An Interview with Thrice
Thrice has been known to help contribute to the resurgence of vinyl. An increasing number of the iPod generation are purchasing record players to spin music. How do you prefer to listen to your own music?
Have we? That’s cool! I obviously do most of my listening digitally nowadays — iPod (iPhone), computer, etc. But I love listening to vinyl. It’s more of a special occasion, you know? Like when I am REALLY in the mood to listen to music or a specific record, I’ll throw the vinyl on.
Many guitar players can feel that they’re just going over the same muscle memory playing over and over, and not growing as a musician. You have evolved and stayed fresh with your playing and writing. How do you consciously do something to make sure you never get into the muscle memory rut of playing and writing?
Thanks man, I honestly don’t do much conscious thinking with my guitar playing. I play/write from the gut first and rarely do I think about it. Most riffs I write that end up sticking are more often than not, impromptu ideas. I guess for us, every record is different from the last because to an extent, I think we are always reacting against what we did the last time (or at least an element of). That, combined with the fact that I’m always discovering new music that inspires me or even rediscovering old music (how about Nirvana’s In Utero? That’s been a recent rediscovery for me…so good).
Having recorded a couple of Thrice’s records yourself, including the previous record “Beggars,” you obviously appreciate the art of recording. Now with Dave Schiffman handling the recording for Major/Minor, how observant were you of his recording method?
I’ve always tried to learn from our engineers/producers but I also try to be respectful of their space and let them do their jobs. I did some poking around this time but I was mostly focused on my guitar playing, which was a huge relief to be able to do, especially since we were tracking live.
Little Blondie has supported St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital through their Partner in Hope programs since day one with each sale. We’ve also heard that each Thrice record supports a new charity. How do you go about choosing which charities to support? Can you tell us about the charity you’ll be sponsoring on your upcoming album?
Well, to be clear, the last record, Beggars, and this upcoming (well sort of already out) record, Major/Minor, we haven’t dedicated them to a specific charity. The part of our records donating to charity came from our first label, Subcity Records, which is a label setup specifically to give a portion of each record they put out to a charity of the artist’s choice. Very very cool idea, which is what drew us to them in the first place. We tried to keep that going with our subsequent labels (Island and Vagrant) but sort of came to the conclusion that rather than trying to keep that template rolling through labels that aren’t necessarily setup for it, we would continue to dedicate our time and efforts to charities throughout our careers. Invisible Children is a charity we’ve been working really close with for years now, and we’ve got some things coming up with them that we are pretty excited about.
How were you first introduced to Little Blondies, and what made you decide to try them out?
I think I was doing some gear research which lead me to a recording forum which somehow lead me to reading about the Blondies. One of those long internet trails.
What was your impression the first time you used your Little Blondie Microphone?
I think the first thing I threw it on was my guitar amp and I remember being blown away, honestly. The sound was so big and the sonic spectrum felt so broad and open, yet focused. The hardest thing for me with recording is that it never sounds in the control room the way it does when you’re in the actual room with the instrument — it always sounds way better in the actual room — and with the Blondie it felt pretty darn accurate.
How did you end up using the Little Blondies?
The first time I tracked with it was when we tracked our cover of Helter Skelter for a Beggars b-side. I was throwing it on everything we tracked just to see how it reacted. I ended up using it on all the instruments — mono room mic for drums, guitar mic for both guitars and even bass mic. That was actually the most impressive thing to me. I love the way the bass sounds on that track. I remember our bass player Ed and I were so excited about how the Blondie sounded on his amp. He plays a really gritty, dirty sound and no other mic seemed to capture it as well as the Blondie. So yeah, check out that track, the Blondie is all over it.
Do you have any memorable “blond moments” in recording or touring to share with us?
Haha. I think me in the studio is just one huge “blonde moment” since I really have no idea what I’m doing. Dustin our singer/guitar player used to fall on/off the stage all the time. He’s gotten a little more stable on his feet now.