Why did you start making music and, subsequently, playing the guitar?
I grew up around a lot of music. My parents were both music fans. My dad played guitar, so there was always a guitar in the house. I think it’s just kind of part of my environment and it was natural for me to just pick up the guitar and start messing with it. Music was kind of an extension of that. It was out of my own volition, getting into rock music, and just wanting to learn more.
What were your musical influences growing up?
Initially, it was a lot from my parents, like classic rock, the Beatles. My dad is really into Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin, that kind of stuff. And then, as I got older, like later elementary school or so, I started really getting into heavy metal. Metallica was the first band that I kind of found on my own and latched onto and then it evolved from there. Skateboarding got me into punk music and then to hardcore music.
September last year, you released your newest album Palms. This is your 10th album release, but your first from Epitaph Records. How does it feel reaching double digits?
It’s pretty crazy. We’ve been a band for a long time, far longer than any of us really expected, and each record that we get to make is another blessing. We’re just super thankful. Epitaph have been cool so far. That’s a label that we all really liked, and we looked up to all the bands that were on Epitaph growing up, so being a part of the Epitaph family is like a dream come true. And they’ve been really good to us so far and we’re really happy with where we’re at.
Any favorite songs from the album?
That’s kind of a hard question because each song has its own little place in your heart. I guess one that comes to mind is Just Breathe, which is the fourth track on there. I think that song really came together in a cool way. I like the guitar parts and the way it interplays with the bass and the drums and we had Emma Ruth Rundle sing some of the backups on the chorus and I think that took it to a whole other place, so we’re super stoked about that track.
I love the track Blood on Blood. The instruments blend beautifully with the vocals and I think it’s a nice, softer shift in the album that complements the heavier tracks.
That’s cool that you like that track. I feel like it’s a bit of an outlier. I like that song, I’m really proud of how that song came out. I think that there’s a bridge interlude part that kind of strays into this weird, ethereal part with a harp and stuff on it.
Yeah, there’s that moment where it’s quite tranquil and melodic.
Yeah. Yeah, that song came out pretty cool. I’m glad that you like that one.
Given that you’ve been a band for 20 years, how do you keep creating such inventive and innovative tracks?
Oh man, I don’t know. I think inspiration is endless. There’s a lot of inspiring things out there which you just have to find, whether it’s musical or even non-musical. I think you can draw inspiration and influence from anything beautiful or creative. Whether it be art or architecture, or things that surround you in your life, or music itself. I guess, just get inspired by cool things.
Has the music-making or song writing process become any easier over the years?
I don’t know if it has become easier, it’s always a challenging thing for sure, especially when you’ve got a band that functions like ours. We have four guys in the band, and we all have equal say—it’s a very democratic process when we songwrite—and so you get four opinions that are battling for their place in the mix. But I think after being 20 years a band and being together for that long with the same guys that we definitely figured out how to work with each other. I think that dynamic has always been pretty solid, but it can be challenging.
It’s incredible that you’ve remained a band over two decades, that’s more than most bands can say. What do you believe is the secret to your longevity?
I think we’re all pretty mellow guys, I don’t think there’s any really large personalities in the band that would be causing any kind of strife or anything like that. I think that helps, and I think we’ve always done things for the right. We started this band because we loved music and were psyched on playing music and writing it, and I think that has been the foundation, the core of what we do. We love music, we love playing and we love making it and that’s why we do it. We’ve always tried to keep our motivation and our motives more or less here. Try not to let outside things guide us and just do our own things.
There was a three-year hiatus period between 2012 and 2015. During that time, you started Teranishi studio, where you made cool leather designs and crafts. Is that still a side business of yours?
It is, yes. Very much on the side now. It’s interesting because I was doing that full time and that was the way I was making my income. And it was kind of a thriving thing, we had full-time employees, but when the band started back up, I decided to put that back aside. I wanted to keep it going in some kind of capacity because I still do love that project, I really like designing and making things and, creatively, I think it’s a nice outlet for me as well. But it has been challenging trying to find the time to do it because I keep myself so busy with the music stuff.
At that point, when we had taken the hiatus, it was probably close to 15 years or so of playing music, and I basically had played music my entire adult life—since the time I was in high school to then. So, I never really had a chance to explore my interests outside of music, and I figured it would be a chance for me to try different things and see if it led anywhere. Luckily, it actually ended up working out.
I have also been through your Instagram (@teppeiteranishi) and there are some amazing photographs.
Oh, thank you. That’s kind of a newfound, well more like a re-found, hobby. I started getting into shooting photos quite a while ago, when I was younger, and then it faded away a little bit. Then recently, maybe about a year or so ago, I found a box of my old cameras and a bunch of old films and stuff that I never got developed. I found a place nearby that would develop it and ever since then that kind of re-sparked my interest in photography.
It will be interesting to see what snaps you take in Australia.
Yeah, I know. I’m actually really excited. It’s been a while, so we’re looking forward to it. I love Australia, it’s a beautiful country. The only downside, especially when you’re traveling overseas, is you don’t want to lug around a bunch of cameras and stuff, so I’ll probably just be bringing a small point and shoot. But yeah, excited to take some photos over there for sure.
Speaking of Australia, it has been over 10 years since the last time Thrice had toured here. Are you looking forward to coming Down Under?
I know, that’s insane. Yes, of course. Yeah, there’s no particular reason why it has taken us so long. Every time we’ve gone over there it has been awesome, we have great shows. Who knows how it’s going to be ten years later, but we’re definitely looking forward to it and it has been long overdue.
Anything that you would like to add?
Thank you to Australians fans out there that have been patiently waiting. We’re sorry it has taken us so long to get back. But we’re stoked and we’re looking forward to the next time already, so hopefully that won’t be another ten years after this one. We have an EP coming out soon in a couple weeks that is kind of a companion piece to Palms. It’s actually four extra songs that we wrote and recorded along with all the Palms stuff, and it’s not really meant to be a B-side kind of thing. It’s very much an accompaniment to the rest of Palms. And so that’s actually coming out soon.