Pierce the Veil
By Dave Schwartz
Photos by Adam Elmakias

Good evening Mister and Misses America and all the ships at sea.  This just in:  FLASH!!!  Pierce the Veilís new record, ďSelfish Machines,Ē has debuted on the BillBoard HeatSeeker Chart at #1. 

Alright, so much for the cornball entry into this interview.  While the messenger may have been a bit dated, the news is as fresh as the morning.  After a three year absence from the recording studio, Pierce the Veil has emerged from Hollywoodís dark back alleys with a certified kick-ass record and to celebrate Vic Fuentes, vocalist and one of the founding members, is doing media.  And Iím media.  SoÖ  we talked and some stuff. 

OK, truth be told, Fuentes called me.  We chatted for about 30 minutes and it went something like thisÖ

DB:  First of all congratulations on the new record, ďSelfish Machines.Ē  The record has just been released, June 21st in fact, and Iíve been informed that ďSelfish MachinesĒ has debuted #1 on BillBoardís HeatSeekers Chart.  What can you tell me about the record?

VF:  Yeah, weíre very excited.  The record deals with the concept that thereís a selfishness in all of us.  Itís a natural thing for people in general.  We often have thoughts of wanting and needing and this record deals with all of the things that a person doesnít want to admit.  Like maybe youíre secretly in love with someone.  We all have that need, we all want to be loved.  And when that happens you want that other person all to ourselves.  So this record is all about embracing those thoughts rather than hiding them. 

DB:  So itís about working through your emotions rather than burying them.  Thatís an interesting concept.  I donít think Iíve ever caught that on a record before.  Who did you work with on this album?  Who produced it? 

VF:  We worked with Mike Green.  We recorded in Hollywood, California.  We spent about four months on the album.  We rented an apartment and lived there.  Mike was great, he can basically do everything that I canít do, you know what I mean?  I never learned to read music and donít know theory.  But Mike is a wiz at all the smart things about music-- all the things that I need help with.  I think we connect really well.

DB:  Was he a hands-on producer in the sense of helping you write the songs or were they already done and you just went in to record them? 

VF:  I usually like to keep all the writing within the band.  He was always there for support and to make a suggestions.  A lot of times I just needed a little extra push and he would be right there.  He would tell me if something sounded good or if it was a miss and thatís real valuable.  I mean, otherwise, itís just me in a room and that can be difficult, you donít have any perspective, youíve heard it a billion times and you donít know if itís any good. 

DB:  Itís been a while since you released ďA Flair for the Dramatic,Ē  why did you wait so long? 

VF:  Well, when we recorded that album we had basically just started the band over from scratch.  We changed the name of the band from Before Today to Pierce the Veil and knew that we would be starting over, doing opening act stuff and playing in front of 10 kids a night.  So basically we had to start over and work it.  We knew this so thatís what we planned from the beginning.  We started on small tours and eventually got on bigger tours.  We knew that the band wasnít going to blow up over night and be all over the radio.  So it took a lot of hard work and hard touring.  I think that we finally now have the band ready to make the new record. 

DB:  I can see that it has been a long struggle, but it has obviously paid off.  I noticed that you debuted a lot of the songs on MySpace, was that sort of a sneak peek before you could buy the record? 

VF:  MySpace was cool enough to do an album preview for us.  They put us on the front page of their site and it gave us a lot of extra exposure.  We left the songs up for a few days before pulling them down. 

DB:  Publicity like that is an absolute gift. 

VF:  Youíre right.  We got a lot of really cool feedback from that.  Believe me, itís a nice feeling after waiting for years to do the next record. 

DB:  So again, three years between records.  It seems like you spent a lot of time on the road, did you become road dogs?  Do you feel more comfortable on the road these days than you do at home? 

VF:  Yeah, definitely.  While we were recording we started an online video chat with kids and called it, ďIíd Rather Be Touring!Ē  We hate being off the road because weíve got so many really cool fans.  We miss them when weíre not touring.  Youíre being productive making a record, but youíre also missing that interaction with the fans.

DB:  There could be worse places to record an album.  You werenít far from home, youíre a San Diego band, and Hollywood is a great place to step out and see some live music or maybe catch some of your friends touring through. 

VF:  Well, yeah, itís that, but honestly, I really donít ever want to record in L.A. again because itís too close to home.  There were a lot of distractions that we didnít need. 

DB:  Well, maybe next time itís Des Moines! 

VF:  Exactly!  Or maybe weíll go back up to Seattle.  We did our first record there.  What are you going to do?  All the producers are in L.A.  Itís just the way it is. 

DB:  Pierce the Veil has such a unique sound, I wanted to ask you about that.  Emo vocals with punk drums and kind of proggy guitars.  Thatís a real strange mix. 

VF:  A lot of that came from our backgrounds.  My brother Mike (drums) and I played with our dad.  He taught us jazz and stuff in the beginning.  Then, growing up I always had two bands.  There was a straight-up punk band with my brother and then I had another band that was kind of rock.  I had the luxury of two styles.  I the rock band I was always forced to learn new things.  If I was only in the punk band I wouldnít have grown like that. 

DB:  The last thing I have to talk about is the tour.  Youíre going out on Warped again this year, whatís it like to be on that tour? 

VF:  This will be our second year on the Warped Tour and weíre excited. 

DB:  Warped has always seemed to me to be 300 bands filled with your closest friends in a parking lot going nuts. 

VF:  Thatís pretty much it!

DB:  So what is your Warped experience and how do you survive it? 

VF:  First, itís very true that Warped Tour is the punk rock summer camp.  Itís long days and a lot of work, but itís always fast and very moving and after a while you just learn to push through it all.  One of the funniest times Iíve ever had in my life I had on our last Warped Tour.

DB:  Is it the same set times everyday for the bands? 

VF:  Nope, everything is always changing.  The stage manager will call out your name at the beginning of the day along with a set time.  Sometimes you change stages and, if youíre doing really good, they might give you a bump up to the main stage.  Itís crazy.  We barbecue every night and hang out.  Itís a great place to meet other bands.  You eventually get to know everyone. 

I want to thank Vic Fuentes of Pierce the Veil for calling me and for being such a cool guy.  Check this band out!  The Warped tour has just started and theyíll be coming to a parking lot near you!  Until then, pick up the new record, ďSelfish Machines.Ē

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