In 2006, Vic and Mike Fuentes, two brothers from San Diego, formed the iconic punk band, Pierce The Veil. Along with members Tony Perry and Jamie Preciado, the foursome has released four studio albums and toured worldwide over the last 10 years. In 2011, the group signed with Fearless Records and in 2012 released their third album, Collide With The Sky. This album released the hit single, “King For A Day,” a duet with Kellin Quinn of Sleeping With Sirens. This track peaked at No. 37 on the Billboard’s Hot Rock Songs and put the band on the map.
On May 13, 2016, the band released their most recent album, Misadventures. This fall, the guys will be going on tour with band Rise Against. I had the pleasure of speaking with Vic about what the guys have been up to and what is to come.
So your latest single is a cover of Green Day’s “Coming Clean.” What’s been the feedback you’ve been getting on that so far?
It was pretty cool. Honestly, it was just like a fun thing that we wanted to do. Spotify approached us and said that they were putting this thing together. We have actually been approached by like random people over the years, like magazines and random things, to do Green Day covers and it has just never really felt right. This one was like specifically about their early years which is, to be honest, kinda my favorite time for them, that’s what I grew up on. So yeah, it was kinda like a little pleasure project for us and the feedback was really cool.
We did something a little different that we’ve never done, we did it acoustic because I didn’t feel like a punk rock band could make a punk song more punk so we were like why don’t we just make it like completely different. We actually used real strings on it for the first time and I did my first composing of strings and it was a really fun experience, probably like one of my favorite things that we’ve ever done. I think that every songwriter has always dreamed of working with real string players and it was so cool, so, so surreal.
Were you nervous that critics were going to be even more critical of a song that you covered that is originally by such a popular band than they usually are?
I guess I didn’t really think about that. I knew that I was a big fan so the cover would be honest. I tried to do the best job we could on it and make it sound like something that the band would like if they ever heard it. I figured the band would be hearing these things so I thought that that was pretty cool. That was kinda my main goal, not to have the band be like what the hell.
Jumping back a bit to the last album you released, Misadventures. I read that you lived all over the place while you were writing those lyrics. Where did you go and which place did you find inspired the album the most?
Well, I usually like to do some initial writing in a place called Big Bear, California, which is like basically the mountains of San Diego. It’s like where people go snowboarding and stuff like that. So I went there to rent a cabin and set up a studio in the living room; I kinda do that all over the place. I’ll rent up a little house and set up a little studio. I like to do that in Big Bear basically to get away from distractions and really get a lot of work done and just work on songs all day and all night. So I did that for a while and I rented some places in Santa Barbara and Los Angeles, even San Diego, where I live, just to have a different space. So I did that.
We recorded in Long Island and actually toward the end of the recording process, toward the vocals, I was just getting super burnt out from being in the studio for like months and months. So we took a break and we actually went on tour and I wrote a little on tour. I was having trouble with the last few songs, like the vocals and the lyrics. I was really trying to make each song really important and have no filler on the album. So my best friend was like, “Ya know, you really love Seattle.” It’s like one of my favorite cities. So he was like, “You should just go there and finish the record.” So I just booked a trip to Seattle and went up there to finish the last songs. So yeah, it’s kinda a search for inspiration wherever we could find it for this record.
You guys took four years in between Collide with the Sky and Misadventures, which is the longest gap you’ve ever took in between album releases. Did you plan it like that on purpose?
Absolutely did not plan it like that. Basically what was going on with Collide with the Sky was that it was really our quote/unquote, breakthrough record. It was the record where people actually found out what our band was about. Our band was really growing during that period.
With that said, we kept getting more awesome opportunities and getting more tours and every time we would think that we were done touring, someone else would be like hey, you wanna do this tour with this band that you always loved, and of course we were like yeah, of course. We just kept getting so many cool opportunities and tours and we just kept going with it. The band just kept growing and growing and growing until finally it just came to the point where we were like okay, we’ve toured way too much and we need to finally make a record.
Then, we started making Misadventures, and I think by that time we were all pretty exhausted. I was pretty exhausted like mentally and physically and they threw us right into the studio to try to make a record and I think that’s where we were like, “Okay wait, we’re gonna make this record cool but we’re gonna take our time, that’s what we had to do there was really no other way.” So that’s kinda what happened with that four-year gap.
Do you ever write while you’re on tour or do you just find it easier to do when you have some off time?
I’ve not really learned the art of writing on the road yet. I think every artist is different, some people love it and some people hate it. I’m kinda in between; I wish I could do it more but it’s just really hard when you have so many people around you at all times. It’s just tough to find your own headspace on the road.
What’s it like working so closely with your brother?
It’s awesome! We’ve been working together since we were 15. We’re pretty close in age, we’re only a year and a half apart, so we are really close. We started our first high school band together and we’ve been playing in our bedroom since we were kids. I think that since we’ve been playing together for so long there is some sort of closer connection than a lot of musicians could possibly have. I know him so well that I know each move he’s gonna make next before he does it and vice versa. We can really read each other, which can be a good thing or a bad thing, but I think regardless, it’s a really powerful connection that we have.
You guys celebrated your 10-year anniversary as a band last fall; how does that make you feel?
It was pretty amazing! I feel like it’s a huge milestone for any band. It’s a huge accomplishment if you can stay together with the same line up. Ya know, these guys we started with 10 years ago, I think there’s something beautiful there. It’s crazy. I’ve definitely watched our band grow up, from basically kids who didn’t even like drink when we first started, I’ve seen many tattoos happen, and I’ve really seen everyone grow up. We look at old pictures and we were like babies when we first started touring in an RV just going around the country.
Our band has always kind of known that we were on a steady pace as a band, we never really blew up over night. It was always kind of really, really slow steps of touring. It’s been really, really cool. I think that’s always been kinda a goal as a band, every year you keep doing new things and keep things exciting and so far we’ve been doing that. I think that there’s a bright future, as long as we keep thinking like that.
You guys have a tour with Rise Against coming up soon; what are you looking forward to most about it?
It’s funny because Rise Against was always a band that I loved growing up. I remember we played a New Year’s Eve show once with them. We won, like a Battle of the Bands, like if you win your local band would get to open up for Rise Against’s New Year’s Eve show. So we won and we made up the flyer for it and it was a big deal for us. I’ve always been a huge fan and I always felt like that would be a really cool band to tour with someday and I’ve always wanted to and I always thought that we would for some reason. I was like, I know we’re gonna tour with Rise Against. So yeah, I think that this one for me is really special and I look forward to seeing them every night and hearing them, so it should be really cool.
What’s your favorite song to perform?
Ah, my favorite song to perform? Honestly, I don’t know. I think it depends on the crowd. If they’re feeling it then that’s my favorite song of the night.
Which song do you feel gets the best audience reaction?
Oh man, your Jersey just came out right there with audience, your accent right there, I love it. I guess the best reaction, honestly, I don’t know. I guess I really like when we get to do collaborative songs, like whenever we get to tour with my friend Jason Aalon, he’s with this new band now called The Fever, but he was with Letlive. We did a song together and when we toured together we would get to play it every night and that was always a cool reaction to see people kinda see something that they may feel like they may never see happen again.
I also really like when Kellin from Sleeping With Sirens does this song called “King For A Day” with us. It’s always rad to see people just kinda explode with excitement, I love that.
Are you guys working on any projects currently or in the near future that you’d like to share with us?
We’re home now for the first time since we put out Misadventures, so we’re gonna do this Rise Against tour but we’re also in the headspace of working on a new record and just writing and working on something. We are definitely looking ahead.
Don’t miss Pierce The Veil at The Stone Pony in Asbury Park on Oct. 6. For more information about the band, check out their website: piercetheveil.net.