It was at some point during the 17-plus hours Thursday spent last weekend filming the video for “Counting 5-4-3-2-1,” the first single from their forthcoming A City by the Light Divided, that the post-hardcore band learned something interesting about the shoot’s location.
“Some of the guys in the crew told us we were in the same place where there was that Busta Rhymes shooting,” Thursday frontman Geoff Rickly explained. Three weeks earlier, a member of Rhymes’ security staff was gunned down outside the same warehouse in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn, New York (see “Police Want To Question Busta Rhymes About Fatal Shooting At Video Set” ). “But,” Rickly added, “we were told that we didn’t have to worry.”
Fortunately everyone in Thursday walked away from the experience thoroughly exhausted but safe. And those long hours spent standing in front of a green screen were worth it, Rickly said. Thursday’s clip for “Counting 5-4-3-2-1″ is going to provide viewers with some startling visuals when it starts airing in early April.
According to Rickly, the video — directed by the Artificial Army team (Mars Volta, Coheed and Cambria) — utilizes the same visual effects used in the 2004 film “Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow.” That film was shot almost entirely in a kind of semi-monochrome, which bathed everything in a dreamy, soft light.
“The idea is there’s this sort of 1920s art-deco-type city,” the singer said. “Basically this guy is trying to escape his past and the only exit he can use is along these train tracks. So he’s trying to get out of the city before this huge, barreling steam train cuts off his only exit. And Thursday’s playing on the steam train.”
Everyone in the video was clothed in authentic, uncomfortable ’20s garb. “We’re dressed in these super-old wool suits — they smelled like your grandparents’ house,” Rickly said. “Once you started sweating in them, you realized just how f—ing old they were.”
With the video completed, Thursday can focus on what will no doubt be a busy year. On March 14 the band will kick off a spring tour in Dallas with Minus the Bear, the Number Twelve Looks Like You and We’re All Broken. After that it’s off to the Warped Tour with Underoath, NOFX, From First to Last, Motion City Soundtrack, among others (see “Warped Tour Kicking Off A Day Early — Dates And Venues Revealed” ). And on May 2, A City by the Light Divided — the follow-up to 2003’s War All the Time, which, to date, has sold close to 350,000 copies — will be released.
Like the rest of the band, Rickly is eager to get back on the road. But he is ambivalent regarding A City by the Light Divided, which was produced by Dave Fridmann (Mercury Rev, the Flaming Lips). Chalk this up to the fact that Thursday’s message board is bustling with not entirely positive fan reaction to “Counting 5-4-3-2-1,” which was posted on the band’s Web site earlier this week.
“There are a lot of longtime, diehard Thursday fans that are not psyched about the single,” Rickly said. “I wish all these kids could hear the record so they can see where the song fits. I like to go check [the online forums] and see what kids are thinking. Right now it’s pretty 50/50 [on the single]. Yesterday it was slightly more on the hating side. I think the more kids let it sink in, the more they’ll dig it.”
He said he tries not to let the negativity get to him (“One of the big criticisms is that I sound like [The Cure’s] Robert Smith now, but it’s like, ’Dude, I have been getting compared to Robert Smith since [the band’s 2000 debut] Waiting’ “), but he’s still nervous.
“It’s been such a long time,” he said, “and [a lot of] the kids that were in the crowd at our shows are now in bands that are almost as big, or bigger, than Thursday. You wonder if all the kids still see us as the band that started this movement or if think we’re old dudes.
“[City is] the most intimate record we’ve ever made,” Rickly continued, “and I can’t wait for people to hear it. But any time I hear anybody say anything that’s less than positive in any way, it’s really heartbreaking, because I really care what the kids think.”
A City by the Light Divided is all but finished. Rickly said the disc will contain 11 or 12 tracks, but not the eight-minute-long title track — a collaborative tune that features the Blood Brothers, Converge, Cursive, the Blackout Pact, Dillinger Escape Plan, and others (see “We Are The Emo World? Thursday Ask Seven Bands To Participate On ’Super’ Cut” ).
“We want to save it and have it just right,” he said. “I think it’s for the best that the song itself isn’t going to be on the record at all, which is weird because it turned out so amazing. We might put together an EP around it and release it that way.”