By Nikki Lane Steele
Pierce The Veil has some monumental shoes to fill — and the shoes are their own.
In 2012, the San Diego post-hardcore group released their third studio album Collide with the Sky. The album sold 27,000 copies its first week and as it climbed to number one on the Billboard alternative charts, it went on to sell more than 120,000 copies. It earned the band a headlining spot on the 2012 Vans Warped Tour, and the band took home awards in an unprecedented nine categories on Alternative Press’ readers poll, including Best Live Band, Band of the Year, Album of the Year and Artist of the Year.
But with that success has come the nerve-racking prospect of releasing a follow-up that can stand alongside Collide.
The band was supposed to release this as-of-yet untitled fourth album this month, but have held back on that promise, taking extra time to make sure it’s the best album that the band can make.
“Stuff like that will always have a little bit more weight on what the band releases after that, you know?” said bassist Jamie Preciado during a recent interview with The Marquee. “More eyes are on it. You have bigger shoes to fill, I guess, but we never really go into anything thinking that we have to be at a certain spot. We’ve never felt like that. We’ve always just kind of taken our past goals and accomplishments and tried to beat them. We weren’t trying to make another Collide. We are just trying to make the record that at the time is what we felt like as songwriters, as far as the music; that it was the best thing that we could put out.”
Preciado explained that what has set the band back in their timing for this new release is their desire to make every song the best song it can be. Instead of writing and then recording a song, Pierce The Veil took the time in the studio to deconstruct their tunes, playing each song every way imaginable until they felt like they really had the song the way they wanted it.
“We were in the studio for a long time,” said Preciado. “We literally played around with every single song, every single part in the song exhausted. I think that’s what we do well.”
For this forthcoming record the band recorded with producer Dan Korneff, who worked with them on Collide with the Sky, in a laid back Long Island studio that he had recently built. Preciado said the studio was like a dive bar compared to the night club of other studios, set in an industrial wasteland with nearby graveyards.
“It was kind of eerie at times — just the vibe there. But it was cool, you know? We basically lived inside, so we didn’t get to see the outside world much. We went to like our Applebee’s spot that we would go, and that would be it, but it was a really cool experience,” Preciado said. “We actually lived in the studio, like physically slept there. So upstairs we built like a little — we joked around and called it a child’s orphanage — it was just a bunch of beds upstairs that we all slept in. Waking up and just being at the studio already, and not having to worry about travel or anything like that was a lot of fun.”
And obviously living at the studio gave a full-immersion approach to making the album. “We only left to eat. We definitely took advantage of it. We worked long, long days, you know 15,16,17,18 hour days, just working on parts, or working on things, and that was good,” Preciado said. “You have that freedom be in there, and you know if you need a break you just kind of walk around and just take a break, go outside check out a graveyard or two, come back and get back at it, you know? And for us we really like that no-distraction thing. We were in our own little bubble.”
The album is now completed, but the band is still not set on a release date and Preciado said that releasing a single is next on the agenda. Until the new album does come out, the band has vowed to stick to their previous material for their live shows, and decided not to spring any new songs on unsuspecting audiences. With a busy touring schedule that will take them through April — including some already sold out shows this spring in England — it could take until spring for the album to finally see the light of day.
While Pierce The Veil was concerned enough to spend so much time focusing on the studio work, their real drive comes from playing live, and with so much touring on their plate over the next few months, Preciado said that Pierce The Veil will be able to shed the stress of following up Collide by doing what they do best — performing.
“Growing up and seeing bands on stage — I think that’s it for all of us. We used to go to shows all the time. We used to be the kids in the crowd. The four of us literally were those kids in the crowd even before we actually met. All four of us were in the crowd at different moments in our lives, wherever we were musically, we were in the same crowd at the same shows watching the same bands,” Preciado said.
Being young enough to still remember those days, he continued, gives the band a grounded perspective that few groups who have reached their level have. “I think that is one big reason why our crowds connect so well, because we aren’t out of reach. In a sense, we’re just regular guys. That is what I like to think. I could be completely wrong. I don’t know. Most times when I have a conversation with a kid they are like, ‘Wow you’re so normal.’ And I’m like, ‘Yeah, I’m a little weird, but so are you, and that’s what makes us cool.’”
Pierce The Veil Fillmore Auditorium January 31
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