THRICE look back at ‘The Artist in The Ambulance’ and forward with ‘Horizons / East’, UK shows

By Dom Smith
By October 5, 2022 Band, Features, Interviews, Spotlight

Riley Breckenridge discusses the evolution of THRICE through the years, from ‘The Artist in The Ambulance’ to ‘Horizons / East’.

Personal growth

“I’m the oldest guy in the band,” says Riley. “I was 23 years old at the time, and the others were 18 or 19. If you think of the amount of growing up you do between your late teens and your 40s, it’s mental.”

Here, the drummer reflects positively on the ups and downs the band has had, and the amount of technology in music that has changed over 25 years. “It’s been a trip. We started this in a garage with aspirations to play a small club show, and now we are touring the world,” he laughs.


“I see the creative stuff that we do as a never-ending journey. There’s no end to it. You can’t figure it out. A lot of it is the journey itself, and that is the reward.” Riley acknowledges that people change over time, as do their definitions of success: “If you would have asked us 25 years ago, success for us was just performing!

“We never wanted to be the biggest band in the world or rock stars. We never wanted to be on TV all the time. We’ve always just set very short-term baby steps, we have taken a lot of those, and gotten to where we are. We have taken opportunities when they’ve felt right.”

Breckenridge says that this approach has never made Thrice particularly exciting to write about, but as a collective, they have been totally okay with that: “People would say to us, ‘oh, you’re so boring’, and ask us if we had any dirty gossip or stories about touring with certain bands, and we were always like, ‘no’. We’re just dudes that make music. We like it that way.”

Navigating the music industry

“It is important to trust your gut, if something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t…” says Riley, when considering what he has learned through working in the industry for so long. “I would say to myself, ‘relax and enjoy it more!’. Though that is hard to do when one tour is running into another, and then we have to write an album. You start to lose touch with people at home. Then, it’s easier to get spun out. I’m a generally anxious person, so that didn’t always work so well for me.”

Thinking back to the creation of ‘The Artist in The Ambulance’ and touring that, it was the band’s first album with a big budget and promotion: “We wrote, and recorded that in about three months, and it was very rushed. We felt a lot of pressure as it was our first major label release. We didn’t get to do everything we wanted to, creatively. So, when it came to making the follow-up, we put our foot down and said that we needed more time. We are not going straight out on the road, and we need time to experiment. Doing that allowed us to become the band that we needed to be at that time, and that has helped steer us for the last 20 years.” 

New material and ‘Horizons / East’

Breckenridge looks at ‘Horizons / East’ as Thrice’s best work, from a tonal, and sonic perspective: “I think it catches the dynamics of our music, better than any of our prior recordings have. What you hear on ‘Horizons / East’ is what we sound like when we play live. We are four different people in this band, we all listen to different styles and we are all involved in the creation of the music, from songwriting to completion.”

Coming back to the UK

“It feels like we don’t get over there enough! We have had so many great shows in the UK and Europe. It’s felt pretty awful not to share our music with people over there. Now, we are pretty invested in coming back over to the UK, at least twice a year.”

Thrice returns this time with old friends, Coheed and Cambria, and it’s going to be a real “treat”, concludes Riley: “We haven’t toured with them in almost 20 years. I think the shows are going to be amazing. This has been on the horizon for a long time.”

Listen below, as Riley looks back on creating ‘The Illusion of Safety’, the legacy of Thrice, and more…