Pierce The Veil is currently in the bitter sweet limbo between finishing their latest record Misadventures and waiting with bated breath for it to come out. They deserve this calm before the storm though, working tirelessly over the last few years to create, what they believe to be, some of their best work.
The record is the San Diego quartet’s fourth album and the follow up to their 2012 breakthrough Collide With The Sky. 11 tracks of classic PTV punk pop and post-hardcore, the album channels both what fans love about the band and what made the band fall in love with music in the first place.
They say good things take time, though, and this couldn’t be truer when looking back on how the latest record evolved. Despite pressure to get it out fast, PTV didn’t rest on the success from the previous album and took all of the time they needed to perfect every last detail. From vocalist Vic Fuentes travelling the US to find lyrical inspiration to the boys jamming out every song relentlessly to get it just right, PTV refused to approach any part of the process half-assed.
Before they visit us on the just-announced August Australian tour, we chat to bassist Jaime Preciado about why PTV stood by their guns to create their ideal album, what it’s like to grow up with their fans and how, after ten years, they’ve managed to stay the same four guys.
Music Feeds: Congrats on the forthcoming release of the fourth album Misadventures!
Jaime Preciado: Thanks, man. We’re super excited!
MF: You’ve been working on the new record since Collide With The Sky came out in 2012. What was the writing and recording process like this time around?
JP: Well, we were never really not working on the record, you know? There were times when the band went home after like two or three months of working in a studio in Long Island with Dan (Korneff). And then there were times when our singer was working on lyrics and stuff all over the place. So, we were always working, it was just a matter of getting everything right. There were a couple of things that just didn’t feel right, musically and vocally, like all that stuff. So we just took the time we needed to make the record we wanted to make.
That’s always been kind of our goal, to not settle for anything. We always just try to do everything we can with the time we can and, fortunately for us, we can actually put out the records we want to put out. Whereas, in the beginning it was kind of like, we didn’t get that kind of freedom, you just have to put stuff out. For us that’s just always how we’ve worked.
A lot of bands can just go in the studio and put a great record out in two weeks and that’s just how they do it. For us it’s a little bit different. So it was definitely a trip, as they say, to get this record finished. And that’s literally why we called it Misadventures, because of the amount of stuff we had to go through to get this done. So we’re really excited. A weight has lifted since we finished the whole record.
MF: You mentioned that you guys decided to spend some more time working on the album than you anticipated. What was involved to get it right?
JP: For us, we were just trying to find the songs and the lyrics. We just had to find everything we needed, because the songs were there. The recording process started with us sitting in a big warehouse in a studio in Long Island with Dan Korneff and playing all of these songs. At that time we had to scrap two songs we, so that was a bit of a challenge for us. So we had to create two brand new songs out of thin air. That was a challenge for us. So having that challenge and having an idea of the songs and where it was going, it never really felt right for us.
And for us, I’ve said this a million times, everything we do has to mean something. We all have to feel it. If it doesn’t feel right to play or if we don’t feel good about jamming it, we think about all of these things. It’s all for a reason, so that’s why we did what we did for this record. There’s seriously not any music or any vocals or anything that we could’ve added because everything we did should be there. There’s nothing left (laughs). We can’t add any more to that record. It’s 100% what we wanted it to be.
MF: That’s cool that you were able to take that time you needed. I can imagine it’d absolutely suck if you made a record that you weren’t quite happy with and had to play those songs everyday for the next few years.
JP: Exactly! Like I said, we’re very lucky to be in a position to be able to do that. At the end of the day, though, for me it was never really like…you know, some of my favourite records I can’t tell you when they came out. You know, what day they came out or what month they came out.
I just remember that they came out and that they’re great records. So I’m hoping our fans will appreciate the time we took and enjoy the music as much as we do.
MF: Vic travelled around the states when he was trying to get inspiration for the songwriting on the album. How did you get inspiration when writing your parts on the new album?
JP: At that point in time, all of the music had been done. All that was left were the lyrics and the vocals. So he just took the trip to get inspired. For us, as far as musicians go, we really feed of each other when we’re together at the studio. All of the music was created at the same time and we have this kind of formula that we’ve always just done, where we just sit in a room and jam it in a million different ways. We feed off each other and play around with different parts and whatever.
But, for us, that’s how we’ve always done things. Sometimes we watch other bands play and, you know, inspiration comes from everywhere for us. But I think the main thing is being able to jam right on the spot. I think that’s our biggest advantage when we’re making a record. So it has to feel right when you’re playing it. That’s another thing that helps, too. We look at every song from a show aspect and like “how are we going to play this live?” and “how’s this going to sound live?”.
You know, “what’s the tempo?”, “what’s the tempo of someone jumping up and down? Let’s figure that out”. So all of that stuff we take into account, it’s not just random stuff. We’re kind of looking towards the future when writing all of these songs.
MF: When you mention writing songs with an idea of how it’ll sound live, the new single Texas is Forever springs to mind as that now boasts the title of the fastest song PTV has ever written.
JP: Yeah (laughs). We’ve always been into that kind of fast punk stuff. When we were growing up, that’s all that was around town, you know. Every time we’d go to our favourite venues, we’d just see these fast punk bands and old school style punk. We just loved it. It was all about circle pits, it was all about running around as fast as you could. So, for us, it’s kind of a nostalgic vibe that we wanted to create a song in that picture, I guess.
I kind of remember when we were young and used to get rowdy at shows (laughs). So that was a fun song which just came out and we kind of made a conscious decision of “let’s make a really fast song”. So I think that as we were figuring out what the tempo was going to be, we kind of just told Mike (Fuentes, the lead guitarist) to play as fast as he could and I guess that’s the tempo we went with (laughs). It’s a fun song to play and it’s a tricky one, so it’ll be fun to play live.
Like I said, it just brings us back to the old stuff we used to listen to. With that being said, not every song on the record is that fast, that was just one of those songs that we wanted to throw in to have like a cool little punk song.
MF: Yeah, there are a few different vibes floating around on the album, but I think Texas Is Forever will probably be the funnest to hear live.
JP: Thanks! Yeah, we definitely took some chances on this record. We tried to do some stuff that’s not really our style normally. I think for this record we were able to think outside the box and do some things that we might not have been able to do like on Collide. So we’re really excited to have the kids hear it.
MF: You mentioned Collide With The Sky, which has been described as a breakthrough album for you guys. Was there much pressure to follow that up on the new album?
JP: I think there’s always pressure looming, it never goes away for us but I don’t think we consciously thought “Holy crap! Every song has to be better than Collide.” I think we already have a little bit of pressure in the back of our heads, like that’s just how we are as people. Every time we write a new song or record, we want to outdo what we did last time.
So whether it’s a new record or a show or whatever, we want to just completely outdo ourselves. We want to try to be the best we can possibly be whether it’s as musicians, songwriters, every aspect of being in a band. We try to just continue to push ourselves and be the best that we can be. So I think with this record it goes along with what I was saying about pushing ourselves. So I definitely think that’s just how we’ve always been.
So, was there pressure? I’m sure there was but we never really thought about it because that’s just how we are. We knew we wanted to put out something that we liked and I think that as you grow up you make a tonne of mistakes when you’re learning. I think we learned a lot from Collide, we kind of looked forward on this record and I think that it was the most up to date version of ourselves as musicians on this record. I guess you could say it’s more mature.
MF: Speaking of growing up, PTV has been around for almost ten years now and a lot of your fans starting listening to you guys when they were in high school and now they’re graduating from college. What’s it been like growing up with your fans?
JP: Oh man, it’s awesome. It’s just great to watch people grow up with you and I get people at shows all the time like “I used to listen to you when I was in middle school and now I’m about to graduate college”, like you said. And that, for me, that’s awesome. I was the same kid, you know? I’ve had bands I’ve grown up listening to and I still listen to to this day. So, I think having that community where your fans stuck with you and they’ve always been there, it’s awesome.
It’s like the most rewarding thing ever. We’ve always been about seeing yourself as a teen and seeing little versions of yourself running around and thinking “that used to be me, man!”. Now we’re here playing, it’s such a cool reverse role. And our fans are freaking crazy, man. They have a great time, so I’ll have thoughts for them and hope they stick around as long as we do.
MF: On the new album, there’s a lot of intimate themes about identity and relationships, but then it also touches on international events such as the terrorist attacks in Paris last year in the song Circles. How did you guys arrive at this duality?
JP: With that song, the main story or theme is that it’s not just necessarily about the attacks. It’s about two fans who were at the show just trying to save each other. I think that, for us, has always been a cool theme, especially at shows. You know, it was a horrible thing that happened in Paris and the fact that it happened at a venue that we’ve played at, it definitely hit home a little bit. For us it’s always been about that camaraderie between friends that has stuck with us.
And how these two friends save each other and I don’t know, for us, we’ve always been friends from the very beginning and I think playing as long as we’ve been playing and seeing what we’ve seen, I think that just resonates with us. Seeing that at shows everyday, just people helping people. It’s just one of those really cool things that just makes you feel good about the world. Whether it’s someone helping someone that’s been brushed in a mosh pit or the stuff that happened in Paris, it’s just human helping human. That’s always been our vibe.
MF: Speaking of camaraderie and community, you guys have a massive fanbase around the world and in Australia. When can we expect you guys down here next?
JP: Oh, man. I’ll get on a plane right now. I love Australia. It’s so much fun and I always have a great time there and I know the other guys do too. We’re definitely, definitely, definitely going to try to get our butts down there. It’s too nice not to go, you know? You can quote me on that.
MF: So we don’t know when, but it’ll happen?
JP: Yeah, yeah. I’ll make some phone calls. We’ll get down there ASAP (laughs). [ED: Dude wasn’t kidding.]
MF: Ok, cool. I’ll put in a good word for you guys to help move things along.
JP: Ok, sweet! We’ll see you down there! (laughs).
MF: Before you guys get a chance to come down under, you’re doing a pretty massive tour in the states where you’ll be playing the new album in full from start to finish. What songs are you most excited to play?
JP: I really, really enjoy track four, it’s called Floral & Fading. It’s one of my favourite songs. Just because that’s one of the songs we took a left turn on creatively. It’s so different for us in that sense. It’s very bass-driven and it’s very simple as oppose to a lot of our songs which are very guitar driven. Like Texas, starts out with a crazy guitar riff and there’s a lot of shredding going on, whereas that song is very chilled and relax. It’s a driving song which I think is really catchy and I always just find myself humming the chords all the time.
So I think, for me personally, that’ll be a really fun song to play live. I think once kids hear the song, they’ll really connect with it. I think it’s just one of those songs that just sticks with you. It’s just a happy, fun song.
I mean, I’m just looking forward to playing all of the songs just because it’s something that we’ve never done, like ever. So I know a lot of people reserve that type of tour for when they’ve been in a band a long time and they play their favourite record or best record or whatever. But for us, we’re just trying to do something a little different and switch it up. For us, the fact that we worked so hard on this record and put so much into this record, we thought it’d be fun to showcase the record with us playing it.
So it’s almost like, back when I was younger, I would go with my friends to get the new whatever record and we’d all sit and listen to the whole record front to back in the living room and you’re mom would be yelling at you to turn it down or whatever. That was always such a cool thing for me and my friends. So I think that being able to do that in a show, I think that will be really fun. It’ll kind of be like a thank you for sticking with us.
So it’ll be fun. And once we get have that tour under our belts, we’ll be able to start playing new songs and old songs and make fun sets. And, you know, have a killer time!
MF: As I mentioned, you guys have been around for almost a decade now, what do you think has changed and remained the same over your time as a band?
JP: I mean, you grow up, you mature. You do all that stuff, that’s natural or whatever. I think for us, though, learning from our mistakes really helped us go along with who we are. Always being yourself, I guess. I know it sounds cheesy and dumb, but it’s really tough to be in the music industry and to be able to be yourself at all times and still be ok with it. I know a lot of bands who try to be this or be that. For us, we’ve just gotten so lucky that we’ve just been able to be ourselves.
We’ve had the same four dudes in the band the entire time, so we’ve grown together and made all of these decisions and mistakes and learned from doing this or that. I think when you take that into account, and you’re trying not to let an ego get to you, you’re just doing it for all the right reasons. You’re just playing music at the end of the day. You know, that was always the big thing. Everyone was in it for the music and making this our life.
So that was, I think, the one thing that we had that I was really thankful for. The fact that all four of us were in it to win it. We’re so in love with what we do that it’s really hard to change anything or to not do what we’ve always done. So having that keeps us going. It’s great, you know. At the end of the day, being able to play music with your buds is pretty awesome.
MF: Yeah, that’s really awesome. I think it’s pretty rare these days, too. You see a lot of bands trying to be something they’re not as trends come and go.
JP: Yeah, for sure. We’ve always done what we wanted to do because then at least when we do fail at something, which we have done a tonne of times, but at least when we do fail, you fail at being yourself rather than someone you’re trying to be. All the music has always been real, it’s all us. I think that’s why we’re so lucky to have our fans grow up with us because as we change, our fans change and that’s just a natural thing.
So I think that’s really cool to be able to look back and see all of these crazy photos of us and we’re like “what were we thinking?!” But then again, I’m glad we made those mistakes because we’ve learned from everything we did and you keep going.
MF: Looking back on the photos of some of you guys rocking emo fringes and thinking, you live and you learn.
JP: (Laughs) Yeah. I think in high school I had, like, a fro. So we rocked all kinds of looks, that at least we can can laugh at that now.
Pierce The Veil visit Australia this August, check out the dates and deets below!
Pierce The Veil Australian Tour Dates
My Live Nation Pre-sale: 12pm Wednesday May 18th until 5pm Thursday May 19th
General tickets on sale 10am Friday May 20th
Tuesday, 16th August – All Ages
Eatons Hill, Brisbane
Tickets: Live Nation
Wednesday, 17th August – All Ages
Big Top At Luna Park, Sydney
Tickets: Live Nation
Thursday, 18th August – All Ages
Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide
Tickets: Live Nation
Saturday, 20th August – U18
170 Russell, Melbourne
Tickets: Live Nation
Sunday, 21st August – 18+
170 Russell, Melbourne
Tickets: Live Nation
Tuesday, 23rd August – All Ages
Astor Theatre, Perth
Tickets: Live Nation