Photo courtesy of Jonathan Weiner

After twelve years of making ever-evolving rock music, Thrice is touring the US on a farewell tour. Lead singer Dustin Kensrue, known both for his versatile hard rock vocals and for leading worship at Mars Hill Church in California, was kind enough to sit down with Beliefnet to discuss the tour, his beliefs, Invisible Children, his career up to this point, and more! Check out the tour and their latest album here!

Is this the true farewell tour or the semi-farewell tour?

It is the “goodbye for now” tour, and beyond that I don’t have any other information as far as how long that is. The core of it is that I don’t want to tour anymore right now. I have three little girls, and with them being so young there’s just no way to have them come out and it’s just a long time to be away.

How has that gone within the band?

It’s good, especially right now it’s been a good ride, I think everyone gets that it’s a good time to celebrate what we’ve been doing for a long time and we’ll go out on this break on a high note.

Looking back, what are you most proud of?

I think generally, just that we’ve stuck to our guns in valuing the art over the industry. You’ve gotta make it work as a job too if you want to do it full-time, but that can’t be the driving factor or the thing that you create ends up tainted and suffers. I think we’ve done a good job of keeping that in the forefront throughout our time and that’s become easier as we’ve really instilled it as a practice.

Has there ever been outside friction with the band’s constantly changing sound?

There’s definitely an amount of people who listen to us, or have listened to us, who don’t appreciate the change. After awhile the people who were sticking around were the people who were excited about whatever was next. I think you end up building a relationship of trust, where people trust that whatever you are going to do is your best, and it’s going to be something that you stand behind. Even if they don’t get it right away they have the patience to wait until they do. I have the same thing with certain bands, like I remember back when Kid A by Radiohead came out, it was just not what I was expecting and I was tripping out. One day it just clicked and I loved it.

What is it that has driven the band to change so much over the years?

Boredom maybe? I dunno, I think everyone has very different understandings or feelings about it. Like Ed I think would be the one who wants it to change the most constantly. I think we have a balance, like my concern is more that it’s good than that it’s different. But I think the balance of all our personalities has been a key part of why the band has sounded the way it has and changed the way it has. So it’s always a tension between what everyone wants to do with a certain song or a certain record, so that tension I think is what brings out whatever’s there.

Did the band know before doing the last album that you might be coming to the end of touring?

I talked to the guys about it during writing that record.

Did that influence the album at all?

I couldn’t tell you how… I think everything influences everything when you’re creating. It’s hard to pick that apart I think.

Though you are a Christian, your music hasn’t ever been direct about that. How have you ridden that line and where does that desire come from?

Well, first of all I’m not trying to write about anything necessarily. I’m not sure I have a goal of writing this or that song, I just write about whatever is important to me and my personality is very black and white, big picture questions are what interest me. So, I tend to write about those kinds of things; life, death, God, whatever. I think I’ve probably been influenced by CS Lewis and his thoughts on writing in particular and creation of different art in general. He has an essay called “On Writing Children’s Stories” and it’s really good, really helpful for I think any artist to read, not just someone of faith. This idea that he has is to not try to artificially instill a moral into your work. That will just come across as a platitude or a cliché. It won’t be in there naturally, it won’t sit with it, it will be alien to it. He basically says that if you are transformed at a deep level by whatever truth you believe then that’s going to work itself out into your art.

Photo courtesy of Jonathan Weiner