Interview with Thursday: Ringing In The New Year

Thursday (Ryan Bakerink)The last time Thursday played a New Year’s Eve show was almost 10 years ago, in a New Brunswick basement, and Poison The Well were on the bill. Fast forward to 2007 and the habitual New Jersey post hardcore sextet are playing Starland Ballroom this New Year’s Eve with Circa Survive and Gaslight Anthem on what will most likely be their last show before recording a new album.

The band’s latest release, the two-disc CD/DVD retrospective, Kill The House Lights, marks a somewhat surprising homecoming for the band after an unceremonious and highly publicized exit from Victory Records prior to the release of 2003’s War All The Time. Essentially a DVD of the band’s live performance, taken from a Dec. 27, 2006 show at Starland Ballroom, the record also includes three new audio tracks, “Voices On A String,” a song for vocalist Geoff Rickly’s wife, “Dead Songs,” a critique on consumerism, and “Ladies And Gentlemen: My Brother, The Failure,” a look at interpersonal relationships.

On the eve of screening the DVD portion of Kill The House Lights at Looney Tunes record store on Long Island, I spoke with Geoff about plans for Thursday’s future home, the new record and rumors of a grindcore collaboration with Glassjaw’s Daryl Palumbo.

For the past few years now you’ve been playing shows around the holidays, but this year you’re playing a New Year’s Eve show at Starland Ballroom. That should be a lot of fun.

Yeah, we’re super stoked. We’re trying to go all out with it. We’re really excited about Circa Survive and Gaslight Anthem playing with us, and we have a ton of special surprise guests that we have coming out to do songs with us and stuff. So it should be a really good night.

Can you give me any hint who your special guests are going to be?

Umm, they’re all people that we’ve done stuff with in the past. But that’s not a very good hint. They’re mostly old friends from Jersey.

And what’s next for Thursday after the New Year’s Eve show?

After Starland we plan on recording our new full- length record. So we won’t be on tour for a while, at least until we finish that up.

What’s the new record going to sound like?

One of the songs is really fast, and it has this big epic sort of like movie score ending, but the beginning is super fast and reminds me of our old stuff. And then there’s one that reminds me of Fugazi and Q And Not U. It’s like very Dischord sounding. And then there’s one that’s really bright, it’s almost like a cross between Jimmy Eat World and At The Drive In. And the other one is kind of like a really heavy Smashing Pumpkins. It’s kind of all over the place right now, but that’s the thing, when we get in to the studio, a lot of times the whole feel of the song will change. It will be all the same notes but all of sudden we’ll be like, ‘that sounds like Converge, that doesn’t sound like Smashing Pumpkins at all.’ So it’s funny how those things can change at the last minute.

On the last record there is a song called ‘Sugar And The Sacrament.’ It’s a really slow goth song kind of thing, and originally it had started out sounding almost like salsa. I was like, ‘man that song is totally not going to make it on to the record.’ And then all of a sudden we changed like one drum beat and the whole thing was completely different, so that’s how it kind of happens with us sometimes.

I’ve noticed that the news tracks on Kill The House Lights are very keyboard-heavy compared to your older stuff. Is that the direction your new music is going to take?

Umm, it’s still kind of back and forth. Two of the songs have pretty heavy keyboard lines in them and two of the songs, our keyboard player is actually playing guitar and they’re more like guitar-heavy punk rock sounding. So that’s one thing, I was talking to my keyboard player and I was like, you know, I love having you in the band, you’re a brilliant musician, but it’s sort of weird to me that like, all our songs have keyboards all the time now. And he was like, ‘yeah, I didn’t really mean to do that, I just wanted to make things better and cooler and work better, the way that you wanted them to.’ And so he’s like picking and choosing his parts when he’s playing guitar or when he’s playing keyboard. He’s a great drummer too so he’ll probably end up doing some stuff back and forth with Tucker as well.

Have you thought about maybe returning to some of the earlier violin sounds that appear on Waiting?

Oh yeah, that’s funny that you remember that. Maybe, yeah. There’s one song that I’ve been talking about trying to arrange like a brass section, like trumpets and saxophone, because at the end it, it kind of swings around and I can kind of hear it, not like ska or jazz or anything, but big huge notes in certain spots.