After four years of almost non-stop touring, during which they cemented their reputation as one of modern pop-punk’s leading voices, Pierce The Veil have finally released their fourth album, Misadventures.
After an extended period in the studio sapped frontman Vic Fuentes’ inspiration, he set out on an AirBnB tour of America, searching for ideas. The result is an album that covers topics as diverse as terrorism and online bullying, and has the band going for a spikier sound.
2016 marks a decade since the San Diego pop-punks formed, and Misadventures is a fitting album to mark the occasion. They’ve finally found a producer who understands them, and rather than being ready for a break from the road, they’re itching to get back out there.
We caught up with Vic to find out how the new songs came together and whether AirBnB is all it’s cracked up to be…
It’s been four years since you last released an album. What took Misadventures so long to come together?
Vic Fuentes: “It’s a bunch of things. We booked three months of recording time, and we wanted to make one of the best sounding rock albums. We wanted to do a lot of work on the drums and guitars, better than anything we’ve ever done. We ended up being in the studio for a few months [longer], and by the time we got to vocals, I was ready to get out of there, I’d been in the studio for too long. So rather than keep pushing and trying to finish it all at once, we broke it up by doing some touring in the middle, which was sort of unorthodox. Then I went on a journey to try and find other lyrics, because I felt I wasn’t going to make them in that studio. I decided to travel around, live in different cities, in different houses and AirBnBs, it all inspired me in different ways. I ended up writing the last two songs in Seattle. I took a cheap plane ticket up there on my own to finish the last two songs and it was a really exciting experience.”
What did you see on the road that helped you find your inspiration?
“One of the big things was that I had a really rad opportunity to work at a studio called The Village in Santa Monica. It’s where Fleetwood Mac built a studio to write one of their albums, and they rent it out to other artists. It’s basically a big building with five or six studios within it, and constantly, amazing rad artists were coming in and out. On any given day I’d see Snoop Dogg, Ziggy Marley, ZZ Top, Weezer… Snoop Dogg had loads of bodyguards around him and lots of weed going on, he was pretty untouchable. It was such an exciting place, full of energy and creativity. I got a good chunk of the album done there.”
You mentioned staying in AirBnBs. Did anyone recognise you?
“No, but you know, sometimes you don’t even meet the person. I did become friends with one of the guys, he had a really cool place that I was at for a few weeks, and I ended up finishing a couple songs in his living room. Then there was one I’d rented for about a month, but I only stayed in it for one night because I finished the record. The owner came to her place two weeks later to clean it and was like, ‘Oh Vic, you’re so clean it’s like you’re not even here!’ Lots of things happened, I was just searching for stories. I wanted it to mean something really deep to me. I didn’t wanna just put out a record that was just a bunch of made-up stuff.”
There’s a song about the Paris terrorist attacks (Circles) and one about your girlfriend being trolled on the internet (Floral and Fading). Did you want to bring these issues to the attention of your fan base?
“I wasn’t really thinking in that direction. I was just thinking about how much it was weighing heavy on my mind, and that’s the kind of stuff I like to put down on paper. When the Paris attacks happened, I think it hit the world like a ton of bricks, and it hit musicians in a different way. That’s our career, that’s what we do, it hit us so close to home. I was up in Seattle when I was writing that song and I literally wrote it in four hours at a coffee shop, and that’s the kind of stuff I like to write about.”
It must have been difficult for your girlfriend to be targeted online just for being with you.
“Yeah, it really brought a lot of anger in me. I’m used to the internet and all the shit-talking, but she’s not. She didn’t deserve to have any of that thrown at her. In a way, it’s sort of a love song to her, saying none of it matters and it’s just you and me. I wrote it for her.”
You’ve got Dan Korneff on production, who also worked on Collide With The Sky. Did you always know you wanted to bring him back?
“Yeah, we’ve been referring to Korneff as ‘the dream maker’ because he really does bring our visions and dreams to life. I remember other bands saying ‘this is our producer, he’s our guy’ and I always wanted that, but I could never find that. We kept going through different producers and having bad experiences, or just not really finding one that clicks. When we did Collide With The Sky, we found a guy on our level, who understood what needs to be done to make these records happen. I told him that if there was anything he ever wanted to try, if there’s any experiment he’s always wanted to risk and give it a go, I wanted him to do it with our band.”
Do you plan in advance the new things you want to try?
“Since the beginning of our band we’ve been trying to find what works best for us. I’ve got so many different inspirations from growing up and loving loads of different types of music. We like to throw in different things here and there and use the stuff that we love. We’re the kind of band that thrives on these risky moves. The sound of our band is really just trying things we’ve never tried and moulding it into something. “
What song was the most risky for you on this record?
“I’d probably say Floral and Fading was a new sound for us. It’s a little more slow and dance-y, and kind of groovy, and I don’t think we have a song that sounds anything like it. I think we just went for that one and didn’t really know what we were doing. Then I tried to put some meaningful words to it and make it as groovy as possible, and we came out with that.”
Your fan base is fairly young. Do you hope by trying new things you’ll appeal to a broader range of people who might not have listened to you before?
“It’s weird, we’ve watched our fan base mould itself into what it is. It’s something uncontrollable for us, because we just try to make music for everyone, whether that’s old or young or girls or boys. As we went on, we just noticed that we’re starting to appeal to a young audience, but we don’t really try to change it or make it any sort of thing. It’s just a natural thing that formed for us.”
Is it true you still rehearse at your parents’ house?
“Oh yeah, I’m actually here right now! Yeah, my parents have been epicentre of our band. They bought us our first RV that we toured in, that’s still sat in the drive right here. We practiced in their garage up until a few years ago, when we tore it all down and built a legit studio just for writing and recording and rehearing. That’s where we do all of our preparations for tour and stuff. But when it comes to right before we go on tour, we usually do a few days in a really big rehearsal space so we can fly in an entire crew, light guys and guitar techs and sound guys.”
Speaking of touring, you’ve been on the road fairly constantly for the last few years. Are you taking any time out before heading out again with this album?
“No, I absolutely think we’re going to hit the road pretty hard on this record. We like to do this with every record and reach as many countries as we can. It’s all about having a relationship with your fans so you can feel when the time is right to do new music. The last year was such a growth period for the band; we kept gaining new fans and people were finding out about us for the first time. This record, we’re just going to figure it out but I know we’re going to start off swinging with a lot of heavy touring. We’ve been a touring band for ten years now and that’s where we feel comfortable; we’ve built our lives around it. I can’t wait to get back on the bus.”
Pierce The Veil’s album Misadventures is out now. For more information, visit their site.