T h r i v E
EYE WEEKLY, CANADA
(Feb 11, 1993)
By Chris O'Connor
Oh sure, you could always haul the old Great-Minds-Think-Alike saw out of the cliche-rusted tool shed and bang together some scrap theories about musical zeitgeist, but the kind of construct we're eye-balling here is probably gonna be remembered as "The Doppleganger Effect."
Because even though Thrive are a fearsome musical entity unto themselves, inevitably they're goin to be shadowed - haunted, even - by the dreaded Curve comparisons: one word (ending with the letters "ve"), two members, guy and girl, she snarling epitaphs with a sucubus' call, he binding the musical ghosts into the metal machine. Same spirit, different haunt, right?
"Curve came out their their album two months after we finished "Revenge" (Thrive's debut single) and we freaked! We went to see them when they played Toronto, holding our breath, biting our nails, and..." Madame Quatorze pauses, remembering. Her partner Smudge isn't here - he's back in the studio, programming the infernal engines - but both could tell you how frustrating it was to hear about Curve AFTER they'd formed Thrive. And?
"And they weren't anything like us!" she says, relieved. "There's this underlying aggressiveness to our sound. They're pop, all the way."
But like Toni and Dean, Mme. XIV and Deane had some skeletons scratching away in the closet, a part of put to rest called A Fish In C. Pop was doing it for them anymore, and their old band had to be led out to the back shed.
"We kept saying 'Gee, with these songs we could be in six different bands right now. We're doing all these styles, so let's pare it down.' We seriously thought about it and realized the feelings we had about those Dark and Moody songs" - you can hear the capitals in her voice, honest - "were better than with those poppy songs. We took our best qualities, which were DARK and MOODY and BIG and proceeded to work strictly from that focus."
Which got them a scarifyingly great single, "Revenge", a forthcoming album ("a concept one, about an obsessive relationship and murder") and a big Nein Danke from born-again classic-rock station CFNY.
'We brought it in," remembers Madame. "and (unnamed suit) said 'No way, the vocals are too muddy, blah, blah.' I said 'Well what about Ministry, then?' and he was like (adopts cell-phone-up-the-ass-voice) "Hpmf! That's not the same thing!'"
So Thrive took the alternative to the alternative: club DJ Mike X slipped a copy to 'NY's Martin Streak, who slipped it into his show twice, without prior suit-approval (Attaboy Marty! Epatez les programming mofos!) Precendent set, "Revenge" then debuted at number 27 on The Thursday Thirty.
But that's how Thrive, um, thrive: by detouring 'round the conventional roads. When they got attitude from established labels, they set up their own Spider Records and kept total artistic control. When the distributors waffled, they went straight to the retailers all by themselves and cut a deal. Now, you can get Thrive at most Sam's stores and "every HMV store cross-Canada, from Newfoundland to B.C."
"Everybody tells you it just isn't done like that: 'Hey, you can't do distribution yourselves!' Well, we are. Everyone kept saying how tough it'd be, but we didn't believe that. We just knew we had a good song, we produced it as well as we could, didn't skimp on anything and...well, just went out an did it!"
THE RECORD (KITCHENER/WATERLOO), CANADA
(March 7, 1995)
By Bernie Sadilek
Connecting emotions and music may be the byproduct of some artists' work, but when it comes to Toronto's Thrive, it is the cornerstone of their craft.
"For me, it's all about feeling," says Madamme Quatorze, vocalist and lyricist for the Gothic/Industrial duo. "If it doesn't feel right, I can't do it."
Quatorze, along with keyboardist/tech whiz Deane, are currently riding the wave of their new independently released six-track CD, Sophistry.
They take part in a mini-industrial fest, along with London's H, Thursday night at the Volcano in Kitchener.
The duo's sound encompasses the gadgetry of the '80's underground dance scene and layers it with haunting vocals and stark imagery for something very uncommon in a time when stripped-down punk guitars rule as king.
It's this combination of elements that creates a certain mood that draws listeners beyond the surface of their music, into something deeper.
Quatorze utilizes her operatic vocal training in creating a variety of vocal stylings that help convey whatever mood the band is trying to achieve.
"I consider my voice an instrument," she explains. "Sometimes it's important that I speak, and convey a message, while other times it's important that I just BE an instrument."
Thrive's songs stem from some pretty deep origins. On "Melancholia" (a depressive illness), Quatorze uses some radical mood swings within the borders of the songs for dramatic effect.
"I wanted to really get into all of the aspects of what melancholia is," she relates. "Suddenly I just wanted to be this insane person and really get into the mood."
Through all the deep imagery and emotion, Thrive's music still remains infectiously danceable. It's not your typical, 140 beats-per-minute Euro-trash that is being pumped out into the mainstream in factory-like quantities these days. But the music's trance-like quality should be a favourite at alternative clubs everywhere.
In fact, their 1993 debut EP spawned the successful single "Revenge", which found them on influencial alternative radio station CFNY's charts for 11 weeks, while being a popular track on campus radio stations coast-to-coast. Its video also garnered play on MuchMusic.
Plans for the release of a full-length album later this year are already in the works.