Talking Five Years Behind with Thick (the Album and in Life)

I met Thick in 2016 during a lawless weekend in an abandoned zoo for the first Meltasia in New York and instantly formed a tight friendship with the trio.

After that weekend, I’ve headbanged in front of all of their shows, whether there were five or 305 people in the audience. I’ve traveled with them, I’ve partied with them and I’ve joined them on stage. They nearly fought alongside me one particular 4 a.m. night when I got in a heated argument about the wage gap with some privileged white dude from Connecticut. The fight was avoided (plus, an unpublished song came out of it), but I knew Thick wouldn’t have backed down. These ladies stand up under fire—just look at how they laughed off alt-right trolling of their video “Mansplain.”

One recent windy Tuesday night, I met with the girls at Left Hand Path in Bushwick. The cocktail bar was different than our usual dive bar hang out setting. But the scene reflected the band’s evolution.

“I think our songs have definitely matured in content,” Kate Back (bass/vocals) says.

Guitarist and singer Nikki Sisti jokes that the proof their music has matured is that they don’t play as drunk as they used to. “Yeah, I think that we’ve hit our stride in terms of finding a way to maximize the fun during our shows and also make sure we’re not just a giant slopfest,” Black says.

Through it all, Nikki Sisti (guitar/vocals), Kate Back (bass/vocals) and Shari Page (drums/vocals) have stayed true to their D.I.Y., all-inclusive, riot grrrl, pop-punk roots and have only grown as musicians and friends.

“Life happens and it sucks, but you’ll get through it with your friends,” Sisti says while sipping her tequila soda. “I always think about that, like there’s always a way out.”

Their debut LP 5 Years Behind was released Friday, March 6 on Epitaph Records. “It’s so exciting, I’ve had this Epitaph Records sticker on my [bike] helmet for years,” Sisti told me when they first signed with the label.

Thick, “5 Years Behind”

The fast, raw and melodic title track that kicks off the album, “5 Years Behind,” instantly lays down Thick’s fun pop-punk vibe along with the message of the album that life is a constant battle with yourself.

The album name stems from how the trio constantly feels five years behind in life. “It’s like we’re creating this box for ourselves where we’re five years behind from marriage and children and money and all this wealth that we should be accumulating, but whose idea [of these social deadlines] is it anyway,” Sisti asks. “Plus, some of these songs should’ve come out five years ago, they’re old ass songs and I’m tired of them—I birthed you five years ago, get out of my body already.”

Page agrees and adds that we tend to schedule our own stressful expectations for our lives by trying to keep up with societal standards. “We always put a time frame and an age to when everything [in life] should happen.” Page says. “But it’s just, you write music for whatever reason you want, at any age.”

Thick goes on tour with two of the most ultimate party punk bands this spring, Australia’s The Chats and the West Coasters Mean Jeans starting April 11 in Berkeley, CA and ending back in NYC May 7 at Warsaw in Greenpoint. Hear the entire in-person interview with Thick and 5 Years Behind on this week’s episode of The Music Meetup.