On the first of June, Pierce the Veil came to the Netherlands to play Powerfest, together with Sleeping with Sirens, ISSUES, State Champs, Crown the Empire and ROAM. We got a chance to catch up with their bass player, Jaime Preciado. You can find a transcript of the interview below.
You’ve been in Amsterdam a few times, do you have a favourite thing in this town?
Jaime: My favourite thing about the city? I love this little town square right here, right outside the Melkweg. For us, it’s always cool to come and do a city that you’re really familiar with and we love to just walk, it’s so beautiful here. I’m sure a lot of the guys enjoy the coffeeshops, they love that kind of stuff. But yeah, it almost feels a little bit like home here, since we’ve been here before and the weather’s great so it’s very California-like today, so we’re really happy about that. We even brought the sunshine with us!
You’ve done quite a few festivals in your time as a band. There’s been really big ones and touring ones, there’s been really small ones like this one. Do you guys have a favourite type of festival to perform at?
J: Well, I think for us the festivals that are the most fun to play are the ones where a lot of people may not know us, be there like the small band that maybe is a little different than all the other bands. But yeah, we get to play Download for the first time, that’ll be really fun, really new to us so there may be a bunch of people there that never heard about us before. So that’s important for us, to play for new fans. When we were just beginning playing festivals, there was just this pressure because we are very different from most other bands. We can play with hard bands, but we can also play with like more pop bands, you know. So it’s very important to us that we try and come across as the band that we are so we try to play a lot of different songs for that set. I think the main thing is to just have fun because I think people can sense when you’re having a good time and I think people will enjoy that.
You just mentioned that you’d been touring a lot. You’ve toured with Sum 41, who were one of the big names in the scene. How was that for you guys?
J: It was awesome. We had such a good time playing with that band, We’ve looked up to Sum 41, they’ve been a huge inspiration to a lot of bands in that kind of genre and they were nothing short of awesome every night. I listened to them when I was in high school so it’s cool to be able to see them and play with them. They’re really nice guys and they know how to play, they know how to give you a rock show, from the beginning to end. I think that we took a lot from that and it made us try to work harder because they’re just really, really good at doing it, so I would love to be a band like that were people can say “Man, Pierce the Veil, they really know what they’re doing!” and I feel like we still have a lot to learn. Which is good, as a band being ten years old now, so we’re still kind of hungry for that kind of show and Sum 41, they’re the best to do it, they’re great.
Today’s music industry is really focused on having hit after hit after hit after hit, pumping out a lot of material. But on the other hand, there’s you guys, who have a couple of years in between albums. Do you feel any pressure to put out new material?
J: Yeah, there’s always, I guess, pressure. It’s more mainly for us, I mean, we feel the pressure on ourselves. It’s not pressure from the outside, it’s more with the four of us together, just because we really care about what we put out and that pressure kind of builds when you’re making something and you’re trying to do it right. We have a very DIY, do it yourself, kind of punk rock mentality that we need to do everything ourselves before we go and ask any outside help, and that’s what made us who we are. So yeah, that’s why Misadventures took a little bit longer than the other records, just because we weren’t happy with it when it was supposed to be done. And for us, we will never put out something that we’re not happy with, regardless of what managers and labels and everyone says, it’s up to us. When it’s done, we’ll know that it’s done. I think that’s what happened with Misadventures and I’m glad it turned out the way it did. That’s why we love it so much, because it was exactly what we were feeling at that time and exactly what we were going through, and it’s like a little time capsule for us. We can look back and be like “I remember that, I remember making that record” and that’s cool.
So how did the fans react to that entire process?
J: Yeah, the fans… they were sooo… they were getting a little crazy, they were getting restless to say the least, but I think, with them being kind of ready for new music was a good sign for us, it meant that they actually cared, a lot. At first I thought that it was a negative thing like “Oh no, everyone’s telling us we’re like taking too long or we’re doing whatever.” but at the end of the day it was good. You could have a fan not even care and move on. But they were so patient with us and I think that says a lot about our fans and I think it says a lot about why the record did what it did just because they were ready for new music, they were hungry and supported us al the way through until we released it, you know, and they were happy with it, I’ve gotten nothing but positive reviews and that makes me happy, you know, something that we worked so hard for getting a thumbs up so… happy happy boys, happy campers.
So seeing as you guys announced Misadventures a bit earlier on in the run, is there any new music on the way?
J: Ooh, new music. Yes, obviously there’s always talks of new music, we’re always thinking about it, it’s always in the back of our heads. We haven’t sat down and started writing because we have so much touring and it’s hard to write in certain places, so we try to save all the writing for when we get home. I think that after this tour we have a couple of other things in the works, but we’ll be home for a little while during the summertime and we’ll get to really work on stuff.
We already talked about releasing music, but in 2013, I know, it’s a while back, you guys re-issued Selfish Machines. Was there any reason for this and what was the response to that?
J: The re-release for Selfish Machines, I think it was for uhm… I think we remixed it. Our new producer, Dan Korneff kinda remixed it, we just thought it would be fun to kind of idea to try something new and get a little bit more out of Selfish Machines. I think that that record kind of went a little bit under the radar, so we tried like “Hey, if you guys haven’t checked out this record, we remixed it and put on a couple extra songs”, you know, a few new tracks. So yeah, we’re always trying to do something nice for the fans as well, that’s always been kind of our vibe.
You seem to have a really close relationship with your fans, has that changed over the years?
J: Yeah, I feel like we’ve always been connected with our fans. We’re really active on social media and we try to promote the fans who try and make that extra step to make us cards or draw us photos, all that sorta stuff, because there’s a lot of talented people out there that we see on a daily basis and they may not be noticed and they might not be seen so it’s the perfect time to say thank you and, at the same time, show off and promote their amazing art or their story and stuff. We take that a hundred percent seriously with all our fans and we really appreciate them. It’s been fun growing up with them, as I recall seeing people that came out when we played here for the very first time playing here in Melkweg in the smaller room, and they were at that show, so it was good seeing them again like “Oh my god, you’re all grown up now, look at you!”. It’s awesome, they’ve shared this journey with us, so I’m happy about it.
And then for the final question. A lot of bands have had a lot of line-up changes, but you still have the same members that you started out with pretty much. Do you have a special secret?
J: Special secret? Yeah, a couple of boxing matches every night. We all wear helmets and stuff, protective gear. No, I don’t know what it is… First of all, we’re super lucky to be in this situation, a lot of bands have unfortunate situations happen where they can’t stay together, so I get that, but I think we’ve gotten really lucky with everyone in the band, everyone loves what they do and it’s a good combo, you know. We all really respect each other and there’s not really egos in this band. There’s a lot of times where there’s the frontman and then there’s everybody else, whereas for our band, everyone is treated as an equal, because we’re all a part of this together, we all build this together and that’s really special. We notice that certain fans have a certain favourite person in the band and that’s a really rare thing, like normally it’s the singer and no one else, so we got really lucky with that kind of situation. So yeah, I think that’s how we’re always gonna be, we’re gonna try and never step on anyone’s toes and just be happy. I mean, we play music for a living, that’s the best thing about it. And then also the boxing.
This interview has been edited for clarity and length.