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Thursday Q+A: Geoff Rickly

Andrew Kelham
Andrew Kelham 10 March 2011 at 12.59

The singer looks back with Rock Sound as ‘Full Collapse’ celebrates its tenth birthday.

Yesterday we gave you a world exclusive tour of the new Thursday album 'No Devolución'. Our verdict? Incredible.

The record is a landmark release for the band during a year where the the show-stopping, life-changing and genre-defining album 'Full Collapse' celebrates its tenth anniversary.

As Thursday prepare to launch 'No Devolución' while performing breakthrough 'Full Collapse' at home and abroad, now seemed like a good time to talk to singer Geoff Rickly about the differences between life now and then. Cue some riveting, enjoyable questions and answers with one of the most honest and enjoyable interviewees in the business. Settle down and get scrolling...

How are you, how are you feeling and what are spirits like within the band at the current time?
“Everything is great right now for the band. We are playing shows to mark the ten year anniversary of ‘Full Collapse’, our turning point record and spirits are high, shows have been great so far. I think we are old enough to not have our spirits lifted or crushed so much on a day to day basis, we are on a more even keel now. We do what we do and if people like it great, if not then we still get to do what we do so that’s fine.”

Is there a relief in that? Ten years ago your lives changed when your band opened the door for many others by becoming guinea pigs for the major labels. You are pretty much celebrating the ten year marker of your life going crazy?
“Definitely. We did open the door and we also showed the labels which bands would and would not work (laughs), for better or for worse we had a hand in some of that stuff. It changed my life for sur, I’m sure I’ll always be Geoff from Thursday wherever I go from here onwards. At the same time the positives are that this band has together for thirteen years with the same faces for the most part, I was an only child so this band has been the family I never had.”

Do you enjoy where you are now, is there a security you have that the Geoff of a decade ago lacked?
“Definitely, the great thing is that no one would, in a million years, mistake us for the next big thing and so there is no expectation and no pressure on us these days. There is a levity to that, we are just a fucking rock band now, we now know we are going to make music whatever happens. Truthfully the deal is not as big as it used to be, but it’s still self sustaining; we get to put out records, use the producer we want to and collaborate with people that mean something to us. It’s the best of both worlds at this point, although I could stand to use a little more money, but apart from that…” (laughs)

Is there a part of you that wonders what it would have looked like if every light turned green back when you were signed to a major label? Would you have survived or would you have become an unstomachable cliché?
“I definitely think three things would have happened if we had become successful, firstly I would be rich and so I wouldn’t worry about money, that would be the good part. Secondly I’d be an asshole so it wouldn’t matter if I was rich, and I’m quite sure of that as I was young enough to not know enough about life to deal with money or success well. Thirdly I don’t think Thursday would be a band, I think we would have self-destructed."

What is the new record about, do any songs reflect your recollection of that time?
“Yeah, 'Stay True' was about wishing I could talk to my younger self, and in particular what made me think about that was a band called Touché Amoré. They are a great young hardcore band, I put out their record [Rickly runs Collect Records, a vinyl only label] and those kids remind me of us when we started out playing basements. In thinking about what I wish for them, their band and all the mistakes I hope they don’t make I recalled all the mistakes I had made."

What has been the biggest change for you on the new album?
"The vocal approach is what many have noticed, it’s not as desperate, at the top of my range and top of my lungs anymore, I've switched to a more sung delivery. In the older stuff we had beautiful passages that I would scream and run through as quick as I could, that gave us a contrast but now it’s more about matching the two.”

Suppose you can’t scream your way through the things you want to talk about on this album?
“This is the first record of our 30s. When we made 'Common Existence' we said this was the last record of our 20s, punk isn’t honest past 30 was the joke we kept making while we made 'No Devolución'. This record just had to be the band playing music.”

Tour plans?
“Our plan is to bring this record to the UK before anywhere else in the world.”

Men of taste and class. What if you have a popular resurgence in the next few years, what will it mean to you?
“The great irony for bands like The Flaming Lips is that they were around for twenty five years and they got popular again around the twenty year mark, at that point it’s not gratifying it’s just funny. That is the thing that makes me laugh, if we ever get some of the acclaim we were so hungry for when we were younger it really won't matter anymore. It's hilarious.”

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