An influential musician once said, “Reality is wrong. Dreams are for real,”. Coming out of New Jersey, THURSDAY weren’t sure how long their career would last, if it would span almost six albums and push them into a light everyone stares at. Before their gig in Toronto, guitarist Steve Pedulla touched on the group’s recent experimentation, approaching music as a listener and how the band’s world has changed due to natural progression and the dreams that manifest from it.
No Devolución means no returns; is it just a catchy title or an affirmation the band has changed?
I think it’s more of an affirmation. We have definitely progressed a lot. It’s interesting doing this tour we’re on now, where we’re playing music every night that’s almost ten years old while the new record is very different. Lyrically it ties in, but musically we have changed for sure.
Have you ever second-guessed choosing that album title?
No. Usually we have a long list to pick from, but Geoff and I chose this one and everyone was like, “Yup” (laughs).
Are you experiencing any anxiety with just three months left until the new album drops?
No, it’s back to making a record for ourselves and hoping people will be as excited about it as we are. Anxiety isn’t really the right word for me. It’s more like I’m anxious because we’re so proud and excited for this record we just want to get out there and play it for people and have them hear it. We almost wish it were out now.
How do you think fans will react to the new sound?
I don’t know. I gave up that game a while ago. It can be frustrating because you never know. There really is no gauge as to make those guesses. All we can do is hope they like this music that we love.
“We never make music and go, “Oh, the fans aren’t going to get this, so f*ck them”. It’s never been that way..”
Can they expect an emotional album?
Yes, because we always kind of dump everything onto it. It’s funny, usually when were done with a record there’s leftover material but this time there’s 12 songs, nothing extra. They’re all there on the album. When we we’re done recording, I put down the guitar for months. I was like, “I don’t want to touch music now”. I was spent. I think that was the case for everybody.
Do you think this vulnerability has helped the group bond more?
Probably. It wasn’t an intentional thing. I think it’s just the only way we know how to do it. If you’re going to do something half-assed, why do it? Why not go all the way? Obviously, we’re creating music to express ourselves, so we just go for it, you know?
Though fans are arguably a huge part of any band’s success, is it sometimes necessary to take a risk and make something they might not like?
I think it’s always good as a listener, and as a fan of music, to be challenged. I don’t want to hear my favourite record be done again. I want a new favourite record. I think that’s always the goal for us. I don’t know if we ever feel that responsibility when it comes to listeners, but it becomes a fine line between being so grateful people are listening to your band that you don’t want to let them down. At the same time, you don’t want to make music you’re not completely stoked about.
We never make music and go, “Oh, the fans aren’t going to get this, so f*ck them”. It’s never been that way. We just know we really like this music and we hope that other people do too. It’s not us turning our back on our fans, it’s us saying, “This is where we’re at now and hopefully you guys will come with us”.
This is your first album where Geoff didn’t compose music. What was it like writing your own parts while experimenting with different styles?
We’ve always been pretty collaborative. Geoff would write a bunch of songs and other people would write other songs. It was just new this time because it was a different twist not having some of those traditional “Geoff parts” which are awesome. It was really cool because I remember when he told me this was going to be his approach. I was nervous because I love the shit he writes but he really wanted to focus on being a singer this time. This was something he had done with United Nations on a couple of their songs and he was really, really happy with the way it went. We trust each other and this was the type of thing where he wanted to be able to sit back and work on his vocals.
So was it a good experience for you?
It was different for sure. This whole process was different. We don’t all live in the same area anymore, so we exchanged a lot of files while recording. We were only in a room together for seven days and we were apart the rest of the time. It was pretty crazy, but very gratifying as it was cool to be able to discover our part on the fly, gather excitement and capture that moment on tape, instead of it being this very rehearsed thing.
I don’t know if it and Geoff focusing on his vocals will be the same going forward but it was definitely cool and interesting to not have one person to fall on musically. Well we did actually, that’s not fair (laughs).
Another notable change was how Geoff apparently recorded vocals in a forest. What was the reason for the experimentation?
It’s up in Cassadaga, New York, a place called Tarbox Road Studios. This will be the third record we did there. It’s essentially a house converted into a studio so the band can live there. It’s set up in a way that even when the producer goes home, he encourages you to still work if you want to. Like you can get an idea at three in the morning and run downstairs and track it if you want.
The closest thing is a shitty grocery store a mile away, but other than that you’re pretty much in the middle of nowhere. The reason we go there is the environment as it’s really suited for us. We get to be away from everything. Some of us could be diagnosed with ADD, we need every bit of help we can get when it comes to being focused (laughs).
2011 seems to be a year of change as artists have altered their sound. If every band is trying something different, is Thursday just following suit?
I couldn’t tell you what other bands are doing, but no, we’re not just following suit. We’re just doing what comes natural to us. We don’t know how to do anything other than that. The progression was just natural because we’re different people. We’re going through different things in our lives and we’re listening to different music, That’s why what’s about to come out has come out at this point.
Did you ever think you would evolve from a small screamo band to a project everyone has their eyes on?
Not at all, we started this band for fun. I joined the group after it had already started and the goal at that point was to do a tour. That was it. No one thought it would last. Put it this way, I was going into a film career and I got the opportunity to do this. I thought it was something I wanted to do and figured it would take three years tops. Now it’s 11 years later, it’s crazy. We just did it for fun and our whole world changed.
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