Interview with Thursday: Love For The Garden State

Thursday (Ken Schles)One brisk, late winter evening, I was walking downtown to a listening party at New York City’s The Spotted Pig for Thursday’s new album, and sophomore effort for Island, A City By The Light Divided. As I turned the corner, I saw drummer Tucker Rule, guitarist Tom Keeley, out of the corner of my eye, along with keyboardist Andrew Everding. They were walking to their listening party, too. Despite being signed to a major label and having achieved serious notoriety in a few short years, the Thursday boys are still down to earth and don’t take limos to music industry events. They hoof it. Having been friends with and a fan of the band since their first release, Waiting, I greeted the band with hugs. While waiting for guitarist Steve Pedulla, we popped into the Marc Jacobs men’s boutique and browsed when Pedulla finally tracked us down. While killing time in a trendy boutique, I told the guys that I was going to be interviewing them for an Aquarian Weekly cover shortly.

Needless to say, they were psyched, since it is the entertainment paper serving their beloved home state of New Jersey. The listening session came and went and I could detect a New Wave influence to much of A City By The Light Divided as well as a distinct, rock sound not unlike U2. I could sense that this record would be the one that Thursday will be most remembered for.

Three weeks later, I chatted with articulate, intelligent frontman Geoff Rickly over the phone. Rickly opened his mouth and his heart about the new album, about Thursday’s rise to adored status in the emo and hardcore communities and, of course, the band’s bond with the great Garden State.

It’s been almost three years since the last record…and from what I’ve heard of the new record, it’s got a new wave tinge to it. It’s definitely a little different, right?

Funny, we’re on tour right now with The Number 12 Looks Like You, another New Jersey band, and after hearing it on our bus the other day, the guys said that we better be proud because they think that we made the album of our career. I am psyched that they feel that way, because I feel that way, too. The biggest difference for me is that it’s more intimate, like our live show. It feels more in your face. The vocals don’t stick in the same place the whole time in the song. I’m not trying to sing as high and as loud as possible, like I did on our older records. Each song has its own mood and its own feeling. Each part of my voice matches each lyric. I am proud of the way I sang and the guys wrote amazing songs.

Last December, at the Atlantic City House Of Blues shows, you told me that the new album was going to crush Full Collapse. Those are big words, Geoff, because many of your diehard fans, myself included, worship at that album’s altar. You also said that you didn’t want to have peaked out on an album that you wrote when you were 21 years old. You’re 26 now…can you theorize as to why people cling so tightly to Full Collapse?

We were young and it was an honest and sincere record. We still are honest and sincere, but we’re not as innocent. When you listen to that record, you can tell it was a bunch of kids who didn’t know what they were doing and were discovering a new thing and it was a bit of a blueprint for a genre. The first time you hear a new sound, it affects you so much. We kept making Thursday records and we found our sound. Only the first time they heard it, on Full Collapse, did it sound so fresh to our fans. It’s cool to me, because our new record has that whole freshness and a twist on our sound.

The new wave type vibe on the record is subtle, and I don’t mean neo-new wave, like The Killers or The Bravery. Is that vibe most attributable to Andrew?

It is partly Andrew, but even on Waiting, we were obsessed with Joy Division and New Order.

Of course…there’s the song ‘Ian Curtis’ on Waiting, named after the late Joy Division singer, so that makes sense, that love of new wave has always been in your blood.

Exactly. We have total love for dark wave, new wave and goth. We went in our direction and found our voice, and we didn’t get a handle on that influence in the music. Lyrically, yes, we did, but in the music, no. But by getting older and having weirder experiences, finally, the music is going in that direction. As for Andrew, he’s obsessed with that style and he’s a keyboardist. His ringtone on his cell phone is ‘Enjoy The Silence.’