MUSIC INTERVIEW: Pierce The Veil
Photo Credit: Celina Kenyon
With the resurgence of King For A Day on Tiktok, there is no way to forget Pierce The Veil. These post-hardcore rockers are back. With chart-topping albums such as Collide With The Sky and Misadventures, nothing is stopping this band from dominating the charts with their highly anticipated fifth studio album, The Jaws of Life. Lead singer Vic Fuentes acknowledges the dark themes as the album is “about how life can sink its teeth into you and try to devour you. The negativity in the world and within your mind can be a vicious thing.” Known for their emotionally raw lyrics, their new album does not disappoint. There is a lot to look forward to. So far, their lead single, Pass The Nirvana has over thirteen million streams since September 2022.
It has been seven years since their last album Misadventures, but with a sold-out string of shows in December 2022, the British appetite for Pierce The Veil grows. With the impending release of The Jaws of Life, we spoke to bassist Jaime Preciado via Zoom.
Hey Jamie! Thanks for taking the time to chat to us today. With the absence of an album for roughly six to seven years, how did you spend your time preparing to make The Jaws of Life?
Normally, the process starts when we get done with a tour. We kind of sit down and talk about the album and yeah, we’ve just been working on it forever. It feels like forever, but when we are done with the tour, you know, we normally take a couple of months to speak to the press, get stuff back on track and balance home life. And then we start just hacking away at the song, starting with skeletons.
And yeah, we’ve been working on this album version for a long time, and I think we actually knew the title before starting. We went to lunch one day and talked about the title being The Jaws of Life. And so we already had a blueprint of what we kind of wanted to do.
And it was just kind of a slow rolling process. Obviously, there was a lot of stuff in between that. We all got married. There was a pandemic. A lot of things happened during that section of time, you know? And that all influenced the album, you know, and what kind of shape the album would take even more so.
It’s the same process we normally do, except for the fact that it took us six years. That’s the only thing that we don’t want to happen again. But yeah, we were thankful to be together in the same room again, making music.
I know during the pandemic, a lot of artists became really creative. A lot of people made albums in their bedrooms. A lot of people made albums in their homes and that wasn’t really the case for us. We took a step that kind of pushed us back.
It was a hard time for all of us because our family was apart, you know. We were so close here, especially in San Diego. All our families and friends and stuff, so that really set us back a little bit, unfortunately.
But once we started to get to the tail end of it, we got together again. It started feeling great. We were feeling better. Being with the guys in the same room, you know, that was really special. So we asked Paul Meany from Mutemath to join us as a producer and we went to New Orleans, where he’s from, and rented a house and built the studio in the house. And we went nuts. It was awesome.
Ah, that’s the perfect lead to our next question. What was it like to work with Paul Meany on this record?
I mean talking about this record just in general, like, there’s a lot of things we did differently. And that’s what we do with every record. We never want to kind of do the same thing over again. We kind of take what we learnt from the last record, what we like and what we didn’t like, and move forward.
So on this record, this is the first time we worked with an artist who is a producer because Paul was in the band Mutemath. He was the lead singer so he knows the ins and outs of being in a band and being on tour. He knows what it’s like working with management, a label. He knows all of that. So, it was cool to have another set of eyes and ears to help us and stuff. And that he also challenges us, you know? Creatively butting heads, which is what we kind of wanted.
We wanted somebody to kind of stand their ground on what they believed, was the right move here and there, and what felt cool to them, you know, so that’s kind of what we asked for. That’s exactly what we got Paul. He’s very creative and he pushed us to be creative and step outside the box on a lot of things.
So that was really fun. It was a very interesting record to make because we’re in New Orleans, you know, like what a cool place to be. Obviously, that kind of snuck its way into the influence of the whole album. Just being there, walking around in the city and stuff during Halloween. It was kind of creepy. But yeah, we had a lot of fun. And for us, we’re just so thankful that we were all together again living together. It made us realise how much we miss touring, miss playing shows and miss being a band that puts out music.
And for those who are itching to get their hands on the album, can you sum up what to expect on The Jaws of Life?
Man, that’s a tough question. Um, it’s definitely new and different. Like I said earlier, we try to do something a little bit different every time we make an album.
But this one, yeah, this one felt a little bit more different. We talked about it after the last album, but we were trying to make this album just a little bit more interesting. I’m trying to think of the word to describe it. It’s a bit more accessible. Peeled back even. I would say we usually have a lot of information going on at once, especially in our last couple of albums. We like to play pretty much every note we could possibly figure out on guitar and there’s a lot going on, we love that.
I think that on this album, we wanted to kind of take a step back and peel away some of the layers and make songs that are a little bit more simplified, but still powerful.
There’s meaning in a message and stuff. I think we did that when we experimented with a bunch of different styles that we probably would not have been able to put out on the last couple of records. So, with songs like Even When I’m Not With You or Shared Trauma, we could try new things. Those songs are so different for us, but we love those songs.
We’ve had those songs for a really long time and we didn’t know where to put them, you know. So I think with this record, it gave us the opportunity to showcase them and show people that we can also do different kinds of styles. We’re musicians and we like to make music that makes us happy and during that time [between Misadventures and The Jaws of Life], we were listening to a bunch of that kind of style of music. From the 90s grunge stuff to the more rock kind of stuff. We were just all over the place – from Deftones to Rage Against The Machine and across the board. Like, we were just kind of going with that in our minds. That was the stuff that we were listening to at the time.
You’re reading our mind! Our next question is exactly about the 90s. Musically, how important is this decade to you and the band? And in a wider context, rock and alternative music?
Wow. Well, I think for us, we grew up during that time, you know? So, we lived it and know all those bands. From Pearl Jam, to like I said, Deftones, Rage Against The Machine and Nirvana. All those grunge bands kind of paved the way. I’m for that style of rock and aggressiveness, you know, and looking back at them all, those hit songs from those bands go back to what I was saying about making them simple, but powerful. They knew what they were doing.
You can hear a Rage Against The Machine song or even a couple of notes and you’ll know it’s a Rage song. Like, you’ll know it’s a very iconic, Rage riff. It’s not crazy, and it’s not super all over the place, but it’s very powerful. And the same with Deftones. They’re very simple but powerful. I think we were trying to kind of capture that in Pierce The Veil songs. But at the end of the day, we’re still going to make our own music. That’s just what we do.
You know, even though it kind of has a grunge vibe, it’s still going to be us in the end. That actually ended up being a little bit harder than writing the trickier songs, because when you’re trying to simplify things, you have to make sure that it starts off like a skeleton. It has to work, you know?
So, I think that style of music shaped a lot of bands and I think with the world everything’s kind of cyclical, right? It’s always coming back. You know, so now that style is super huge. It’s like big grungy stuff is coming back and it’s cool to see. It’s cool to see the style of clothing and all that stuff – we’re seeing everything from the 90s returning. So yeah, I’m here for it.
Keeping with the personal questions, who or what inspired you to learn bass?
Oh man, that’s a deep-cut question, I think. Well, I never started as a bass player. I think it was more of a necessity during my time growing up because I started with guitar. I liked guitar and I was a guitar player for a lot of bands, growing up in San Diego, like the local scene and stuff. And when I met Tony and some friends, they were like “we’re in a hardcore band”, and they needed a bass player.
They didn’t have a bass player, and I just wanted to play shows. I remember my dad was just always giving me the kind of advice like, “the best way for you to learn is by doing it, and playing different stuff.” And so, he wanted me to just keep playing all kinds of different styles and music and I thought that was great, you know?
I was like, “I’ll play bass.” In my head, it’s easier. It’s fewer strings. I can handle it, you know, but I just had so much fun being in control of the vibe of the song. The bass and drums keep the rhythm and it’s what you feel. It’s what you feel in the sound system – that’s what’s really special to me.
I thought that the bassists were really cool. I talked about this the other day. Growing up, I was watching a guitar player like Wes Borland from Limp Bizkit. I was watching him not only play his guitar but perform to that kind of theatrical level. I thought that was really cool and inspiring and it made me kind of realise how much more there is to being a musician.
You have to also be a kind of performer as well, you know? And that goes hand in hand with the show. It’s just as important as the songs you play. And there’s so much that goes into making the show, so, that’s always been a big priority for me.
If you’ve ever seen us live, you know we’re not one of those bands that just kind of plays a song and gets out of here. It’s very physical. Yeah, you know, we try to put on the best show ever. Not only musically, but also physically and theatrically. We try to put on a rock show.
Again, this is a perfect segue into our next question. What were your, Vic and Tony’s reactions to the UK tour selling out in December, despite not releasing an album for over six years?
That was terrifying and amazing all at the same time. Especially when you’ve been away for a little bit of time.
You get a little worried, especially because, you know, during the pandemic, we didn’t know if live music was going to be a thing. Well, we knew it was going to be a thing, but we didn’t know to what extent it was going to be.
Would it be completely different or is it going to be anything? Like we remember shows being packed. It was a weird time. Personally, I was scared. I was like “man, we’re in the business of crowds and music, and this is the one thing that we can’t do right now.”
So that was really scary. But towards the end, when shows started coming back slowly, you know, we realised we could play to you again. Us announcing that was scary, but also very rewarding. You showed us that you never left. Fans stuck with us and they still remembered us, and that’s just a testament to you.
With us [fans and the band] growing up together for so long you know, it’s the kind of connection we have. We know how important our fans are to us as well. They’re the reason why we’re here, what we do, why we can do what we do, and even in the house in New Orleans, give us more inspiration.
We went to Kinkos which is like, I don’t know if you guys have Kinkos out there, but it’s just a place you can print stuff out. If you want to make a poster or whatever, you can print it out. We printed out these massive pieces with crowd shots of fans, so we just had them plastered all over the walls just to kind of remind ourselves why we do what we do and for who. We kept fans in mind when we made this album. Like, how are these songs gonna translate in a live setting? That’s always really important to us and that’s kind of how we did it. And we were terrified, but we were also thankful that they stuck around with us.
Thank you for taking the time out to speak with us, we appreciate it. We’d love to stay and ask more questions, but we guess the penultimate question is where do you see rock music going within the next five years?
Oh yeah, that’s a great question. I mean, where it’s come from in the last five years to now is really crazy and cool. I’m always into being creative and changing styles and flipping styles on their heads. I don’t know, I hope people will still become creative, and keep pushing boundaries left and right.
I love hearing two genres smashed together that shouldn’t necessarily be smashed together, but I love when people get creative and build on other people’s creativity. They’ll be the next hit songs.
And in the next five years, some will come from someone in a bedroom, you know, hearing a random song that inspires something. Then in other times, it doesn’t. But they build from it to make something else. I think that is super important within music. You know the saying, imitation is the highest form of flattery, that’s important to remember. It’s like when you take a song and then you try to come up with your own version of that song, it’ll inspire somebody else and will keep going.
The creativity just keeps flowing and who knows? We’ll see in the next five years. Hopefully, it’s all good music and high-quality stuff. Yeah, I’m looking forward to it for sure. It’ll be fun.
Pierce The Veil‘s new album The Jaws Of Life is due for release on 10th February 2023 via Fearless Records, available to pre-order HERE.
See Pierce The Veil live at one of the following dates:
Sat 30th – TILBURG, NL – O13
Sun 31st – BRUSSELS, BE – Ancienne Belgique
Tue 2nd – HAMBURG, DE – Markthalle
Wed 3rd – COLOGNE, DE – Live Music Hall
Fri 5th – NOTTINGHAM, UK – Motorpoint Arena
Sat 6th – MANCHESTER, UK – O2 Victoria Warehouse
Sun 7th – DUBLIN, IE – 3Olympia
Tue 9th – GLASGOW, UK – Barrowlands
Wed 10th – GLASGOW, UK – Barrowlands
Fri 12th – CARDIFF, UK – International Arena
Sat 13th – LONDON, UK – Alexandra Palace
Tickets are on sale HERE.