In the grand scheme of things — or in the recording industry, for that matter — six years isn't exactly a long time. But for the guys in Thrice, who just marked their sixth year as a band, the occasion meant only one thing: time for the career retrospective!
So they're releasing "If We Could Only See Us Now," a DVD spanning their just-a-little-longer-than-half-a-decade-long career. It might seem like a bit of overkill for a band that just two years ago was still releasing albums on tiny indie labels, but lead singer Dustin Kensrue sees it a little differently.
"We feel like we want to take a new turn in what we're doing, and now just felt like a nice place to stop and take a look back at how far we've come," he said. "I want that to be an encouragement to people, because we started out just playing little shows for fun and now play music for a living, which is a great blessing for us. We're proud of that and hopefully can inspire people to believe that they can do it too."
The DVD features live performances, music videos, behind-the-scenes tour footage, and Thrice themselves providing narration throughout — from their first concert to their recent world tour in support of their Island Records debut, The Artist in the Ambulance. Kensrue said watching all the old footage was slightly embarrassing, kind of like leafing through a digital version of your yearbook.
"It was funny. And it was embarrassing. A good exercise in humility. It's good to look back and say, like, 'Yeah, that was our first show right there, and we were awful,' " he said. "I was 17 when we started Thrice. I'm 24 now. There's a world of difference there."
"If We Could Only See Us Now" due March 29, will come with a CD of acoustic versions of Thrice tunes, a couple of covers and some live tracks. And while we're on the subject of tracks, it's been a while since we've heard any new ones from the band. But don't blame Thrice; they've already written "around 20" songs for their upcoming album. The hard part has been finding the right producer to helm the project.
"We want to get someone who will be able to curb our efforts and pull us back from the edge, because we've been writing some weirder stuff," Kensrue said. "We don't want to lose perspective. Sometimes you need someone to point out to you that a song sucks."
Eight of the new songs are working their way into Thrice's live set, including one called "Hot Tod," which Kensrue swears is a working title ("We just thought it'd be fun to hear our A&R guy say 'I like Hot Tod!' "), and "Jazzercise," which rocks an upright bass and breakbeat drums. And while Kensrue admits that the new songs are "pretty all over the place," he said there's one unifying thread that runs through all of them: They're like nothing the band has recorded before.
"There's organs and a lot of Rhodes piano. There's different types of keyboards on every song," he said. "The record is definitely going to be heavy, but it's darker and moodier. More cinematic. The key is to be able to do all of these things, but still have the record sound like us."
Fans can catch the new songs when Thrice take the stage on this summer's Warped Tour (see "On This Summer's Warped Tour: Offspring, MCR, MXPX — And Onstage Weddings"). And when the new album drops — "sometime in August or September," according to Kensrue — there'll be another round of dates to close out the year.
"We're really excited to get in the studio, record, and then play these songs for people," Kensrue said. "Because we're ready to roll."