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