HARDCORE POWERHOUSE THIRDFACE GET REAL ABOUT ‘DO IT WITH A SMILE’
By Nathan Leigh
April 8, 2021
Day in, day out
We fight to live,
We fight to breathe,
We fight to eat
In a year that’s called out for music infused with raw fire, Nashville hardcore quartet thirdface has dropped one of the most vital punk rock missives in recent memory. The blistery Do It With A Smile is almost impossibly unrelenting, with vocalist Kathryn Edwards deconstructing systemic oppressions from a new angle in every song. It’s a record that even with speakers on 1 just. feels. fucking. LOUD. We recently caught up with the band to chat about aspirating to bottomless hopelessness and the unleashed power of mutual aid.
How did Do It With a Smile come about?
Maddy Madeira: We toured on most of those songs before making the record. We got so used to hearing each song flow into the next that it seemed obvious to model the album after our live sets.
What were the challenges and joys of making a record with so many of you cohabitating?
M: Actually only Shibby and I live together (with a few other non-band people.) We’re fortunate to have space to make music at our house because it allows us to take our time when recording and makes practices comfortable yet productive. We’re all really good friends, plus Shibby and I have been playing in bands together for a pretty long time so there’s a comfort level that makes writing and recording fun and fairly painless. The only challenge that comes to mind is trying not to get derailed for an hour talking shit.
So much of this record feels like an interrogation of the DIY scene. What is it that keeps you coming back? What do you hope to see change when it’s safe to do DIY shows again?
Kathryn Edwards: I think people need to praise or question the good and the bad within their communities! I think DIY and underground scenes within music and art in general are so important because they can foster authentic expression within those looking to build that experience. Everyone needs to figure out what’s important for them and their communities in the long run and stop being so concerned about not making waves. I also hope to see asses in the seats.
How have you stayed connected to the community this year?
M: we did a few livestream type videos in collaboration with various folks. Having a reason to practice and something on the calendar kept my spirits relatively high.
What sorts of community projects have come out of your scene over the past year that give you hope?
M: There have been a handful of community fridges pop up around town. There are also at least two free stores that opened up last year- one of which was started by Gideon’s Army, an organization that combats the school-to-prison pipeline.
K: What Maddy said! Glad that we’ve seen a lot of mutual aid projects coming out and be supported by so many. Hoping this momentum keeps up when people get the sense that things are “back to normal”.
What do you hope will continue post-pandemic?
M: not shaking hands with people
K: not getting breathed on as much in the check out line
What I love about Do It With a Smile is that you’re engaging with hopelessness in the face of institutional fuckery but somehow draw power from that. There’s just an amazing catharsis from this record. What’s the music you listen to for catharsis?
M: This past year it’s been SZA, Frank Ocean, The Sound, and Harvey Milk for my sad ass and Couch Slut, Kaleidoscope, and Straw Man Army for my rage.
K: “You make me feel” by Sylvester was in my most played songs of last year. Gonna shoot for that same thing this year.
For a record this heavy and intense, there’s a surprising amount of depth and nuance to the fury. What are some artists you draw inspiration from that folks might be surprised about hearing this?
David Reichley: I don’t think anyone would really be surprised by anything that influences us, none of it is particularly unique. ∫ [(Slap-a-ham + Touch and Go)x(Dishcord + SST) ÷ melodramatic youthcrew/MetallicHC/Metalcore] = thirdface. I think the big surprise is that none of us really listen to converge or are that into screamo. Nothing against either of those things, it has just been a little unexpected how much those two things have been used to describe us considering neither of them are particularly large influences.
K: I agree with David while adding that I aspire for the bottomless hopelessness of Dystopia.
What’s the first thing you’re going to do when it’s safe to do stuff again?
D: band practice without a mask on
K: step on all the cracks in the sidewalk
Now that the record’s out, what’s next for you all?
D: We have been working on another record.
K: We’ll try to keep the ~content fresh~