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Dustin Kensrue - 09.13.13

Interviewed by: Jake Denning (09/13/13)
We're all hungry for Thrice to get back together and pick up where they left off, but for the time being, that's just not going to happen. However, in spite of this, we get a new solo album from lead vocalist Dustin Kensrue, but with a twist - it's a Worship album, and it's being released on Mars Hill Music. I spoke with Dustin on Wednesday morning about Thrice, his new album, and more; his new album The Water & The Blood comes out October 1st.

Let's start off by talking about the last Thrice tour, if that's alright. Now that you look back on it, what are you most proud about?

Dustin Kensrue: I don't know if that would be the primary feeling that comes to mind, I think a huge sense of gratefulness is what we felt throughout that tour. Just that we had the opportunity to play music together for so long and play at so many places with a lot of amazing, great people.

After the tour you took a position with Mars Hill Church in the Seattle, WA area. In the beginning of your time there, did you ever second guess yourself and debate whether or not going on hiatus was the right thing to do?

DK: Well, I was working at Mars Hill in Orange County a year previous, while Thrice was still going, but I didn't know that I was going to Seattle at that point. I knew for sure doing that tour that I was headed up to Seattle, but I didn't know much before that. But yeah, there were so many times where I was missing the guys, I love making music with them. I wasn't second guessing the decision; regardless, I was just missing some of that. I definitely look forward to playing with them again at some point, even though I don't know when or what that would look like.

How often do you talk to the guys?

DK: I talk to Teppei, he's similar in that he has a family and kids like I do and he actually lives up in Washington as well. But I'm actually heading to Riley's wedding soon, so I'm super excited to see everyone down there.

You released an album with The Modern Post not too long ago. Can you explain the difference between that and this upcoming record of yours?

DK: The Modern Post was a band that I had at the church in Orange County and it was with a couple of dudes from there, and the sound just came out of us jamming together and playing. It wasn't any specific attempt to sound that way, it just kind of happened. But it was more so just a thing with those guys, where this [new] record was built more in the studio. I had the tracks, and it's interesting because I've never made a record this way before, and then I had a couple musicians and we'd go in the studio in the morning and I'd present a song that I had, and by the end of the day we'd have a flushed out version of what that'd look like with drums, guitar, bass and keys.

How long did you spend writing and recording this album?

DK: We were tracking it in January through March, so part of that was pre-production, and some of that there were other things going on, but that was the main time we were tracking it. I finished writing it up near the end of last year.

What inspired you to write a full-on Worship album, as opposed to a follow up to your last full-length album, Please Come Home?

DK: I will definitely do more of a follow up to Please Come Home, I've been saying it for years, but I just haven't had a fair amount of material for it, so I threw it on the back-burner. So at this point, this was more of a priority and where I'm embedded, and what I'm trying to accomplish through Mars Hill Music. I do apologize to everyone who's waiting for a follow up to that record, it's not that I don't want to do it.

But as to why I'm making this record, It's hard-wired into me with the job I'm doing at Mars Hill as a Worship Pastor. Before, I made music as a Christian with Thrice, [but] I would never call that Christian music. But there is music that's written specifically to be sung with a group of people in church services and other times. The only difference is the function, the purpose of the song. A Thrice song's only purpose is meaning, expressing various things through words and music, and that's sort of the end. But with specifically Worship music, the end is that it's helpful and good for people to sing in that context. I care deeply about both the church and seeing better music out there, because I feel a lot of it is not good musically or really that great lyrically.

I've seen some comments online from people saying that they don't feel comfortable picking up the album because it's released through Mars Hill Music. What would you say to someone who is apprehensive about picking it up because it's specifically supporting Mars Hill?

DK: I would say that generally they're operating out of not the greatest understanding of what's going on at this church, which is a bit frustrating for me, because when people say stuff like that, it seems like in some sense a relationship over what I've done in the past and what people have seen of my character and what I care about, and the consensus seems to be that I've lost my mind and that I'm an idiot for being a part of this horrible thing. All I can say is that is this church is full of very imperfect people like every place is, and there's mistakes made here all the time, like there is everywhere else. [Being] on the ground serving in this church, being cared for by this church, I've never seen more growth in my life, in my wife's life, and I absolutely love this church. So it's a bummer that things get twisted out of context and just seeing through the lenses of the internet and angry bloggers. There's a whole lot that can be said to try and dismantle whatever they think, but being here on the ground, being deeply involved, I care about the people here and I care about the church.

Someone here on the site wanted to know if the song "Of Crows and Crowns" would be part of the follow-up to Please Come Home, or perhaps even as a single in the future?

DK: It will definitely be a part of the follow up to Please Come Home. Realistically, I'd really like to get this [follow-up] album out later next year, I don't think I can get it out before then. I know how much people want a recording of that song.

Do you see yourself releasing that album through Mars Hill Music, or through a different avenue?

DK: No, it'd be through a different label.

Possibly through Vagrant?

DK: Yes, Vagrant wants it and they'll put it out. I've been in talks with them and they'd most likely put it out.

As for as this upcoming album goes, will you be doing any short Northwest runs in support of it, will you be incorporating some of this songs into what you play on Sunday mornings? What can we expect?

DK: I don't think we'll be doing any touring for it initially, we're talking about touring with Mars Hill Music at some point. We'll definitely be playing these songs on Sundays and other times as well in the church, and we might be doing a Mars Hill Music live event where we'll be recording that, which will feature some of those songs as well. It'd be a live setting that wouldn't be specifically a church service, so if people wanted to come out to that...

So one of the main reasons for the Thrice hiatus is your desire to stay at home with your family and do other things. Have you thought about getting the band together once or twice near the end of the year and playing a couple of huge shows in Seattle and Portland? At least until you're ready to tour again and make some new music.

DK: I just think it's too soon, it'd be really fun at some point, I'd rather wait and let a little time pass. The first thing to happen would be a show like that.

There's some people that were buzzing about the idea of you guys doing a Vheissu tour/show in 2015. Riley mentioned that he'd like to do it, what are your thoughts?

DK: I have no idea, haha. That's a bit far out, but I'm not opposed to the idea, in a non-time committed format.

There's a lot of talented musicians especially in the Seattle area, such as Matt MacDonald from The Classic Crime. Have you thought about working together with someone like him or someone else perhaps?

DK: I haven't heard of The Classic Crime until a few days ago...he's their singer, right?

Yeah, Matt's the singer.

DK: He was catering this thing I was at the other day, he tweeted me and told me there was no bacon, I thought that was pretty funny. I saw people tweet him and say "You're the best, man!". [As for working with other people], I have another project that I'm making myself wait on until the follow up to Please Come Home is out, that would be something not to rue, it wouldn't be at all similar to the solo stuff, and it wouldn't be Thrice, and it wouldn't be stuff with the church, it'd be something totally different and it's constantly on my mind, but it'll be awhile till I put it out, but I don't know who I'd get involved with that, but I'm definitely open.

In what way is it different?

DK: Oh man...the general vibe is really driving, super melodic at times, and super grungy at times, it's really built more on melodies...I don't know to describe it, haha. It's really fun for me to play it and think about it and sing it, I just can't do it right now.

Wrapping up, what bands/artists have you been listening to lately?

DK: I really love The National...let's look at my Spotify...I think Sigur Rós is amazing, my brother has been touring and playing guitar with this band called Sir Sly and they have an interesting EP that's grown a ton on me, I don't even know how to describe it. I just heard this new band Haim, there's three sisters, it's pretty jammin...[sort of] channeling 80's Michael Jackson.

Is there anything else you'd like to add or say?

DK: I think there might be some tweet about this sometime soon, but I know it's probably weird for a lot of people who have been listening to my other music for so long to go "Oh, why is there this worship album all of a sudden?". And this obviously has nothing to do with me, but I would just challenge people at least to check it out in the sense in that I think there's been a good repoire between me and my songs and those who don't necessarily agree with me on a lot of things, but appreciate my approach in dealing with things. I'd say songs on this record content-wise is similar to anything I'd write with Thrice, it's just that it's a bit more polished and clear and less muddy how it comes across. So if people have been curious about what is under a lot of that stuff, this record exposes a lot of what is under there.
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 47.
01:25 AM on 09/13/13
#2
Likelinus
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Great interview!

It's interesting when he talks about his part of the church even though I'd like to hear a little more about some of the more sensitive parts.

Knowing that he is not completely opposed to a Thrice reunion is nice to hear! A Vheissu tour / gig would be the best ever!
09:31 AM on 09/13/13
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sweetfootaction
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Quote:
I would say that generally they're operating out of not the greatest understanding of what's going on at this church...
There are videos... we've seen the misogyny and bigotry...
10:02 AM on 09/13/13
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Paulb-182
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Very interesting. I'm not a believer, but I'll be checking this album out anyway. Vheissu tour sounds exciting and also the follow up to Please Come Home. Nothing but good stuff!
10:13 AM on 09/13/13
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Jake Denning
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Very interesting. I'm not a believer, but I'll be checking this album out anyway. Vheissu tour sounds exciting and also the follow up to Please Come Home. Nothing but good stuff!
From a instrumentation standpoint, there's some great stuff on here.
10:22 AM on 09/13/13
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The Mysterious
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There are videos... we've seen the misogyny and bigotry...
Flawed humans narrow-mindedly misinterpreting documents written thousands of years ago? Yep, there's bound to be a few of them. Dustin isn't one, and I'm comfortable knowing he holds a dean's position in the church to help better these congregation's understanding of what it should all really be about.
10:34 AM on 09/13/13
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I always thought Thrice and The Classic Crime would be great on tour together. Dustin and Matt are two of my absolute favorite musicians. Would love for them to make tunes together sometime.
10:38 AM on 09/13/13
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Jake Denning
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I always thought Thrice and The Classic Crime would be great on tour together. Dustin and Matt are two of my absolute favorite musicians. Would love for them to make tunes together sometime.
10:39 AM on 09/13/13
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I always sense some serious tension when any of these guys are asked about talking to one another. I'm glad he says he is open to more shows with Thrice and he and Teppei talk, but I feel like there may be some hard feelings still that things ended. Also I could be totally wrong about all of that but it is the feeling I get when I read this and hear other members recent interviews.
11:18 AM on 09/13/13
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Sir Sly :)
11:45 AM on 09/13/13
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I always sense some serious tension when any of these guys are asked about talking to one another. I'm glad he says he is open to more shows with Thrice and he and Teppei talk, but I feel like there may be some hard feelings still that things ended. Also I could be totally wrong about all of that but it is the feeling I get when I read this and hear other members recent interviews.
this
12:14 PM on 09/13/13
Ghostpsalm
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I always sense some serious tension when any of these guys are asked about talking to one another. I'm glad he says he is open to more shows with Thrice and he and Teppei talk, but I feel like there may be some hard feelings still that things ended. Also I could be totally wrong about all of that but it is the feeling I get when I read this and hear other members recent interviews.
It's funny you say that. I get that vibe too. I haven't read anything from Teppei or Eddie, but when Riley and Dustin talk about the past and the way things I ended it seems that there are some sort of hard feelings. Either that or disappointment. I'm not sure, but I always see there being something. It's hard to tell via text though.
12:23 PM on 09/13/13
Jake Denning
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It's funny you say that. I get that vibe too. I haven't read anything from Teppei or Eddie, but when Riley and Dustin talk about the past and the way things I ended it seems that there are some sort of hard feelings. Either that or disappointment. I'm not sure, but I always see there being something. It's hard to tell via text though.
I think it was more so just disappointment. They all care about each other.
12:29 PM on 09/13/13
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I think it was more so just disappointment. They all care about each other.
That's good to know! I was hoping that nobody would dislike each other over the whole thing. I just noticed that answers get short when asked about it. I'd probably give a short answer too though. I'd hate people prying into my friendships lol
12:31 PM on 09/13/13
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I always sense some serious tension when any of these guys are asked about talking to one another. I'm glad he says he is open to more shows with Thrice and he and Teppei talk, but I feel like there may be some hard feelings still that things ended. Also I could be totally wrong about all of that but it is the feeling I get when I read this and hear other members recent interviews.
i feel like a lot of it (and i could be wrong) is that since riley is older than the rest of the gang, he kind of put his life on hold for them to tour, and put out albums. but now that most of the guys are at that age, they decide on the hiatus when riley's really getting into touring and making music. again, i could be totally wrong, but riley, though im sure loves all the guys, seems a little bitter about how the hiatus came to be.

just my 2 cents.
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