Thrice's Teppei Teranishi on Major/Minor

Thrice has been a staple in the alternative rock world for more than a decade. But even to those paying close attention, the band's extensive catalog is hard to keep up with.

Their eighth album, Major/Minor, was released on September 20 and is --as usual-- another stage in the band's impressive evolution. The record is grungier than 2009's Beggars, less conceptual than my personal favorite, the four-part album The Alchemy Index.

The yin and yang between chaotic and peaceful elements is a clear theme throughout the album. The dark tone makes sense, as the band members experienced some tragic events during the recording of the album. The title, Major/Minor represents the way the band approached major chords when the key of a song would normally dictate a minor. A technique by '90s bands like Nirvana, the a grungey, raw influence is apparent.

Thrice's guitarist and keyboardist Teppei Teranishi talked with Up On The Sun about his favorite charities, why the most recent albums are his favorites, and how he feels about taking a break from producing.

Up On The Sun: Does Major/Minor have an album concept or a message the band's trying to get across?

Teppei Teranish: Typically no, not really lyrically. There wasn't a set concept like with Alchemy Effects a couple years ago. That was pretty heavy, but our only concept album.

All of Thrice's albums throw their fans for a loop, evolving and differing from one another. Of Thrice's eight albums, which is you personal favorite?

I think the answer to that question for me will always be the latest album we've done. It reflects where I'm at now, [the] closest, you know what I mean? I mean, especially the fact that it was just released and now we're going on tour. It's totally fresh to me and I'm really excited about it.

Do you have a personal favorite song on the album?

Um, it's hard to say. This record in general is a little different than the last two other records we've put out. It's not necessarily happy, but there's some more, "feel-goody" songs on there, which is new for us, and that's always fun to play.

Is it true that for each album Thrice has released, some proceeds of the album's sales were donated to a charitable organization?

Sort of. It started with the first label we signed to, Sub City Records, back in 2001 or 2002...That label was set up to do that, where a portion of every record put out would go to a charity of the band's choice. We put out a couple records with them and we were really into it. But then that system was kinda moved around and we switched to Island Records after that, and Vagrant Records after that. We've tried doing it with other labels but it has become more of a struggle. Not that labels are against it, but it's basically like trying to force a label that's not set up to do that to do that. But you know, working with charities and stuff is still a pretty big part of our band. There's some charities we choose to support, like Invisible Children. They are going to be out on this tour setting up an initiative to raise money to build radio tours in Uganda, to warn people when the LRA [Lord's Resistance Army] is coming. So we're gonna do some special projects with them.

The raw emotion in the album, heard in songs like "Words in the Water," are strongly influenced by some tragic happenings within the member's lives while recording. You dedicated this album to your mother who passed, and Ed and Riley's father. Are there any nonprofit organizations that are close to your heart or that you've done work for regarding cancer, that maybe your fans could support as well?

Right, a couple are. Artist in the Ambulance is a record that donates to breast cancer research funding, so that is the closest thing most likely.

I know you've done some producing in the past; are you still involved with any of the albums' production now?

Well this record was the first record in two or three...well, I never know if I should count the Alchemy Index as one or two records! (laughter). If you count it as two, then it's the first record in three records that we haven't self-produced. But, um, I did a little bit, like overdubs. We finished recording pretty much the whole records and then went back to our home studio and recorded little touches and overdubs. But that's pretty much all I did, and it was really nice, actually.

The band is kicking on a fall tour next week, with Arizona being your second stop. What's your favorite thing about touring? Is there any place in particular you look forward to?

New York is always fun. Lots of stuff to do there and lots to see. I love the shops. And I have some close friends there so that will be nice.

You've been influenced by such bands as Pantera, Megadeth and The Beatles. What are some influences by other band members that may surprise your fans?

Surprise? Gosh, I don't know. We listen to such a broad spectrum of bands between the four of us you know? We've been pretty good about stuff that gets us excited and stuff that we have been listening to. I don't think there is anything that could surprise our fans. Me, personally, I listen to stuff my parents listened to growing up.

So more rock music from the '70s and '80s? Any jazz?

Lots of Bob Dylan and the Beatles.

What are your top couple favorite guitarists?

I don't have any guitar player I idolize. Obviously I'm a guitar player so I should have a favorite, but I've never been super into that. In general though, I'm into guitarists that aren't flashy at all; they need to be capable and play what they feel.

Thrice is scheduled to perform Saturday, October 1, at the Marquee Theatre in Tempe.

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Lauren Wise has worked as a rock/heavy metal journalist for 15 years. She contributes to Noisey and LA Weekly, edits books, and drinks whiskey.
Contact: Lauren Wise