Pierce the Veil’s Vic Fuentes Talks ‘Misadventures’ Album; Band Debuts New Song ‘Circles’
Pierce the Veil are set to unleash their new album Misadventures on May 13. We recently spoke with frontman Vic Fuentes, who opened up about the creative process and some of the things he did to spark the inspiration for this album. Plus, Fuentes discusses the band's plan to play the new album front-to-back on tour this spring. Check out the chat in full below, and take a listen to the band's new song "Circles" at the bottom of this post.
Did you have an idea of what you wanted to do going into the album and how close did you come to that vision?
We did come into the record with a pretty strong vision of what we wanted to do and I think we worked really hard towards that for a while in the studio. We got to a good point where we were and then we had been in the studio for so long and I was in there for months working trying -- once we got to lyrics and vocals, I was ready to get out of there for a little bit. It was too ... we were in the studio for too long. We had to take a little study break and get out on the road for a bit. Get out of staying in the same place for once In this room, it was time to, we had to get a little breather from the studio. At the same time, we knew where the songs were going. I had all of them pretty much ready to go, it just came down to trying to get the lyrics right for it. Getting the songs to really have a story. I like all the songs to have a good story and have a good meaning behind them. I think to get the inspiration we had to get out of there for a little bit.
You mentioned taking a break, going back out on the road, did anything spark from that?
Traveling, that's what really made the record. I think it's what needed to happen. Like I said, I describe it as "searching for the songs," and trying to find them. In the studio, it wasn't going to happen. The inspiration wasn't in there, we needed to get out a little bit. I think just getting out of the studio gave us a little bit of, I don't know. We just needed it as people, we needed to get out. I needed to be around my band and be around shows again and just I guess refuel a little bit. I think it was really helpful. Once we started touring, it put our minds in a different place and after we were done a couple of tours, I went full on traveling. I stayed in ten different Air BnB's around California and worked in a couple of different studios. Then I ended up finishing the album up in Seattle, I flew up there for a week and finished the last of the songs, lyrically. Once they were all written, it was go time. I hit up the producer, flew right out to Long Island, finished the album, singing it and fixed it. Then that was it. But it took a lot of traveling around and working on these songs to find the good things that we wanted to talk about.
Sounds like an awesome time, going around to all the AirBnBs. Anything you can share in terms of a favorite stop along the way, or some of the things you did along the way to get your mind into that headspace?
Honestly, I think one of the things that helped me the most with this record - it kind of happened, I don't know. It worked out. Our record label Fearless, which recently joined a label [group] called Concord Music. Once that happened, Concord has a permanent residence in a studio in Santa Monica called The Village. Concord has a room there, a studio so this really perfect, cool little spot where I can work. Since I was technically a Concord artist, they were like, hey this is for our artist. This is what we do. We provide you with a place to make music, if you want it. I was like, hell yeah I want it. So they let me work at this room every day for a month and a half, finishing up a lot of the album. It was really cool because The Village is a legendary spot, it was where Fleetwood Mac built their studio to make the album Tusk, it still stands. They still rent it out to people and they actually still record there so every day there were really cool artists coming in and out working on music in the other room. You could hear it. Amazing people like Weezer and Ziggy Marley, Regina Spektor, Fleetwood Mac. All these people coming in and out of the doors every single day. The whole place had a really strong vibe to it, a really creative place. I did a lot of work there, it was a lot of fun. It was one of my favorite times doing the record.
It's got to be really inspiring being around that environment. Not all of those artists are the same style as you guys but you get a little bit of everything ...
It's just cool to be walking into the doors hearing some of these -- Snoop Dogg was in there working on something in one room. You hear them working and you're like, wow. Then I'm doing my thing upstairs, really energetic in there. Very cool.
One of the press quotes I see is the fact that you're wanting to raise the bar and once you raise the bar you want to raise the bar a little more, and then more. It's one thing to say that but how do you execute it? Was there a test as to what would pass the muster to get on this album?
I think for us, and for me I guess, it's something that I can't really describe when I feel like we've reached the point where the song is ready. It's sort of like more of a feeling that you get when you just feel like personally you've done it. You feel like you nailed that part or that lyric. It makes me so happy. You feel the whole like, you feel it running through your body and you just feel so happy when you feel like you've got that part done and that song is finished. I think for this record, I guess I was in whatever point in my life where -- I guess, I don't know maybe each record it gets harder to please yourself. But for this record we just kept at it until we felt really satisfied with everything.
Getting into the album, "Texas Is Forever." I read that it's kind of a way to put a closer on a relationship that has fueled you for a while. Can you tell me a little bit about what it means to get that out and feel as though this is the step you needed to move forward from that relationship?
It was just about growing up, I'm sure everyone can relate. Sometimes you have things that really affect you and they flood your mind and they can really bring you down or -- sometimes relationships that just linger and keep on going. This one, finally as we've gotten older and have grown up, going our separate ways, everything has gotten a little easier to deal with. It was nice to finally -- for the both of us to be happy with each other and where we're at in our lives. It was the last of that and it feels good. It's nice to -- I think this whole album feels like, almost like starting a new life. We've spent so much time and so many different travels and experiences working on it and finishing up the last -- between the end of the last record and the beginning of this one, it's starting a new life. It's crazy.
Also, I think my favorite on this album "Floral and Fading" has some potential to be a radio song, it has a great feel to it. Incredibly catchy. Talk about that track and where that came in the process.
I think every record we have one or two songs that are a little out of our element and one of the things that -- it's an idea that we had and then, just like a -- taking a risk to pursue things that we wouldn't normally do. I love that doing that, we try to do that at least once on every album. I think "Floral and Fading" was the standout track that we just wanted to -- it's like walking into a pitch black room. We didn't know what we were doing and just work our way through it and make something interesting out of it. So that song, is on ya, it was super fun to create and I think it doesn’t sound like anything we have ever done. I think lyrically it was actually about my girlfriend because we kind of to deal with something we never have before. At this level of people and public being really disrespectful and kind of, really tormenting my girlfriend and harassing her online and stuff like that and saying like really horrible things to her and she can’t understand why people would do that and 'cause they don’t know her and she’s like the sweetest person she would call me up crying because people are threatening or saying stuff to her on the internet and it really made me so angry and I really have to talk to her and let her know none of that matters. We could live on another planet if we wanted to and be happy and we could go live in the woods and leave everything because none of that matters and that song was kind of explaining that to her.
Another track, "Dive In." Great song to kick off with. Brutal relationship song, but a high energy rocker. I love the piano stuff at the end. I thought that was cool.
Yeah, the piano was my friend Dave Yaden, amazing keyboard player, organ player, piano player, he plays on all of our albums. I think he really lifts them up to a level, it kind of takes it to that next level whenever we bring in Dave. Because he puts piano, and he really adds another element to everything. Truly adds to our sound. That song, it couldn’t have be anywhere else on the album it just had to be first. It wouldn’t fit anywhere else it was just the vibe that the song gave off. I guess it’s just a good example of what our band is capable of and if you ever wanted to know what Pierce The Veil sounds like just show them.
"Song for Isabelle" has that great line to end the album with -- "I'm not a kid anymore but some days I sit and wish I was a kid again." Is that your mindset now? You guys are a few albums in, how do you feel you're sitting within the music scene and everything in life at this point?
This album feels like, it's weird since we've been home. The guys have been him and we've been working in the studio like crazy. When you're in a band like ours, we sort of live two different lives. We live on the road and then we live at home. We try and balance that, this record has been, it's almost like we're starting over. As soon as we hit the road, we're starting a new life again. That line, it just felt nice to, it's actually nice to, this is the first time I've ever taken another song. That's actually another song from the '90s by a rap artist named Ahmad. Me and my best friends, one of our favorite songs when we were kids, we used to rap and sing to it with our VHS cameras and make music videos. That was one of the songs we used to love. I was like, humming that when we were practicing that song. It felt really cool, so we kept it in there. That was the first time we've ever done anything like that, that was really strong to end the record on that line.
Listening to this, there's a lot of songs I can see fitting into your sets but I realized. Any song you're really looking forward to see what kind of response it gets live?
Yeah, I am looking forward to playing "Floral and Fading." There's also a song called "Circles," I'm looking forward to trying out live. Also, I think "Song for Isabelle" is one of my favorite tracks on the record and I think it'll be fun to see - I think emotionally it's probably the most intense on the record, emotionally. Our fans seem to be drawn to that kind of vibe. I think that'll be a fun one to see the reaction, but you never know what people are going to like until you get on the road and you try them.
I'm not sure where you're at in terms of putting things together for touring, but coming off an album it gives you time to think about what you want to do live - if you want to add some production in it, you've been around, you can probably do that. Any thoughts?
Our first tour back, we're calling it the "Misadventures Tour" and we're going to play the entire record back to front on that tour. It was just something we've never tried to do before and we wanted to give our fans a once in a lifetime performance that will never happen again. Something unique that we can come out with. My dad was saying, back in the '70s, a lot of bands would do that. They'd have a new album and they would just play it. We really wanted to do that, and we've been touring on our last record for -- we went on it for like four years. I think the time has come to really come strong with new music.
I'm not sure you've had this idea, but when putting the album together, does the flow of how it may go over live factor in at all?
Absolutely. Whenever we do the track listing on our albums, we treat it like a set list as if we were playing live. You want to take them on a little emotional ride, you want to get aggressive and then chill out and then bring them back nice. We always try to do the best we can to make the album feel like they flow into each other. Changing feelings as you go and let it go nuts.
Looking at some of the packages for the album, I thought some of the things you're including in here are pretty cool. I gotta ask, viewfinder? Was that something that you grew up on?
Yeah, me and my friend Curtis he's one of the writers on the record. He's my best friend, we've been making music since we were kids and we actually had an entirely different idea originally, for the superfan deluxe edition but we were out at a bar having a few cocktails and we started coming up with these ideas for this adventure pack. Because, we wanted the thing to go along with the whole adventure theme, misadventure theme. Ok, let's think about -- what would you want? You'd want a suitcase maybe, or something. maybe a compass. The viewfinder was just a fun, it was either that or binoculars. The finder felt way cooler. We decided to load it up with photos from the studio that we took on our phones or just behind the scenes stuff that was fun. It's like a totally customized thing, I think it's really fun.
I saw studio journals with lyrics and sketches, Is that part of your creative process as well when you're coming up with the songs? Not only are you writing lyrics but you're maybe creating some visuals or sketches of things that are going on as you're putting together.
Absolutely. That journal, that book the hardbound book that's in there is really -- it should be cool. I do do a lot of sketching, I do most of my lyrics handwritten because it's just faster and you can get, I don't know -- if I want to draw something, I can do it. Actually, you'll see in there - the original album cover was something that I drew and it's kind of like a very poorly version of what is now our album cover. But, I had the whole thing mapped out already and then we kind of worked with our artist to really bring it all to life and make it something really special. That book, I worked on that thing probably two weeks of going through, I went through all my notebooks and found where I was - I found every lyric, the original place that I wrote it and where I was actually coming up with it and I pieced together the whole album that way. So the whole thing is original lyrics, cut out and taped into this book of where the ideas came from at the time. Hopefully the fans appreciate it.
Our thanks to Pierce the Veil's Vic Fuentes for the interview. The band's 'Misadventures' album comes out May 13 and is available to pre-order via Amazon and iTunes. And you can look for the band on tour at these stops. Meanwhile, the new song "Circles" has just been released. Take a listen below.
Pierce the Veil, "Circles"