Nashville’s Thirdface has no time for posers. With their debut full-length Do It With A Smile — released earlier this month on Exploding In Sound Records — the young hardcore band takes aim at virtue-signaling, faux-allies willing to soak up credit while others take active roles towards progress.
The band is made up by guitarist David Reichley, bassist Maddie Madeira, drummer Shibby Poole and one-of-a-kind vocalist Kathryn Edwards. Before forming the band, Edwards worked for years with the Nashville DIY institution Drkmttr, and played bass in Donors. Poole also plays guitar in the noisy metal project Yautja.
Do It With A Smile arrives after their 2018 self-released EP, A Demonstration of Righteous Aggression, and finds the band fully realizing the ideas they presented on their first release.
The dish that Thirdface serves creates a unique balance between teeth-gnashing grindcore, moments of black metal harshness and moments of galloping release, which recall the classics in the ‘80s hardcore canon.
Like the replicant Roy Batty pressing his thumbs through the eyes of his victim in Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, the band keeps the pressure up to an unrelenting level as the 12 song album rips through your skull in a brisk-as-fuck 22 minutes. It’s an absolutely thrilling experience and will likely go down as one of the best hardcore — or any genre — records of the year.
Ears to Feed caught up with Kathryn, David and Maddie of Thirdface to talk about the album, exposing wolves in sheeps’ clothing and what they would like to see change when live music comes roaring back.
Many of the lyrics on this album take aim at suspect allyship. It feels like as more people retreat to living their lives online, they are trying to build up these inauthentic personas as being dignified even though they’re kind of full of shit. Was that something you wanted to address?
Kathryn: Always! Nothing can spoil the fun more than people who can’t realize that we see them posturing. People want points for bare minimums.
The sequencing on the album makes for such an enjoyable and all-consuming experience. When writing and recording, were a lot of these song-to-song transitions worked on by playing live in a room?
David: Most of the transitions were developed while playing/touring. Going into recording, we had several chunks of songs that typically stick together. We really wanted the record to feel like one was listening to a set.
When hearing the album, I immediately thought to myself that I need to see y’all play live. There are talks about live venues opening back up as the vaccine gets distributed, what do you think it will feel like to play in front of people again? I can imagine after sitting on this album for so long it will feel cathartic.
Maddie: I imagine the release that comes from playing live will be intensified and there will be a collective catharsis for everyone in the room. But, I personally have worries about feeling claustrophobic in a room full of people after spending a year avoiding people en masse. As much as I want to tongue kiss my friends when we’re all vaccinated, the idea of being in a crowd seems daunting to me. I hope for a smooth transition though. I wanna fuckin’ rock.
Kathryn: I look forward to seeing the smiling sweaty faces.
Kathryn — With experience running your own space and booking company — Drkmttr and Other Booking — did that aspect inform the way you operate as a band?
Kathryn: I booked shows and ran DIY spaces for about five years before being in Thirdface, so it definitely helped in learning the importance of a band getting back to someone trying to fill out a date. Answer your messages, y’all. This goes for us too!
Are there aspects to live music and touring that you could see changing for the better when things open back up?
David: We will have to see. I feel like so many venues have closed that it’s hard to say what things will be like.
Maddie: Perhaps there will be more awareness of personal space. I hope to god there is less crowd killing. I’d gladly never shake anyone’s hand ever again but I’ll probably start keeping hand sanitizer in the van just in case.
Kathryn: Hoping the small spaces that we’ve wanted to bop through are still there when the dust settles. I hope, since people are very all-talk about missing the live music experience, we find people lining up to support bands.
You self-released a tape back in 2018. How was it working with Exploding In Sound for your debut?
David: It was really nice working with EIS. Dan [Goldin] and everyone was really supportive and accommodating of us. We sometimes struggle to work with deadlines and communicate transparently. They were really patient with us through everything. We are very happy with how things worked out. We hope they feel similarly.
You have lyrics on the album that were inspired by Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Fist of the Northstar. For some reason, fantasy and horror have spoken to me so much more during the pandemic than ever before. It’s almost comforting to think of something so far removed from our current reality. Is this kind of escapism something that appealed to you more during this time?
David: Escapism is always appealing.
Kathryn: This kind of escapism is generally my day-to-day (laughs). I am a huge genre movie and animation fan, so bringing it into our lyrics was obvious to me at least. Lots of content I fuck with heavily has clear themes of defeating some “bad guy.” Sometimes that bad guy is a ghoul, and sometimes it’s that asshole you know.
What is the proper set time for any self-respecting hardcore band?
David: 15 minutes. Anything over 20 we cannot endorse.
Kathryn: There should be no time for an on looker to say “holy shit” before the set is over.
This interview was edited for clarity.