Featuring: Mike Fuentes (Drums)
Interview By: Alexia Kapralos
Pierce the Veil is releasing their latest album, Misadventures, on May 13, which is just TWO days away. In spirit of the upcoming release, Heavy Press staff member, Alexia Kapralos, had the opportunity to chat with the band’s drummer, Mike Fuentes, via phone on May 9 to get the scoop on the new album and what’s coming up for Pierce the Veil.
Here’s what he had to say:
Alexia Kapralos: Your new album, Misadventures, is coming out in a few days, which is super exciting. Can you tell us about the creative process or approach that the band took when making this album in contrast to past records?
Mike Fuentes: I don’t think we really took a different approach with this record. We’ve always been touring pretty hard and then eventually we have to just stop, take time off, and just write. We never come up with a record within a couple of months. So, we always take our time and explore every single option we can until we feel that we have enough to move into the studio to start recording our album.
With this one, we didn’t go into the studio with any lyrics, so I think that was the biggest challenge. Me, Tony, and Jaime were in the studio for about two to three months and we finished all the music on the record, and then it was time for Vic to record vocals. He needed to find the lyrics, and that took a little bit of moving around and just trying to explore everything.
We also had a couple of tours booked that ran into the recording time, so we had to take time off to go and tour for a little bit, which was actually cool because we got to get out of the studio and see our fans, play some shows, and you know, just take a little breather from the studio. It’s always good because we take so long; we’re kind of just in there getting cabin fever after a little bit, so it was cool to get out. Eventually, Vic found his lyrics and every song has a personal meaning, and that’s what Pierce the Veil is all about.
Alexia: That sounds fantastic. So, would you say that getting out there on tour between recordings influenced the type of music that you guys made on this album?
Mike: Yeah! I mean, we’re always influenced by our fans and by playing shows. A lot of the parts we write are picturing us playing them live and picturing how we could get the crowd involved for this part, or how can we write this part just so this can be a good crowd part. We’re always influenced by the live show and by our fans as well.
Alexia: This album has been a couple of years in the making. Why did Misadventures have a longer production-to-release period than your other albums?
Mike: I think we could’ve finished it sooner but, like I said, the songs needed to have true meaning – not just words on a piece of paper. There were plenty of misadventures that got us there. We took a trip to a cabin in up-north California to just get out and try and find what we were looking for.
My brother was in Seattle when he gave me a phone call like, “Hey man! I just finished a song in a day,” and I was like, “What?!” And that turned out to be the last song on the album. We get inspired by so many things. I think my brother especially got super inspired up in Seattle by all the music up there, all the Nirvana-s, all the grunge; the rock scene up there is very cool. Sometimes you just gotta get out of the studio to actually finish the record.
Alexia: Makes sense! So, would you say that the album name is influenced by these adventures that you guys have taken throughout this production period?
Mike: Sure, absolutely, yeah. I mean, everything that we did during this process influenced the record whether it’s whatever we’re listening to at the time or actually just travelling around, getting up there and just thinking about the record as a whole and thinking about how every song has a true meaning. Fans really rely on our lyrics; they’re really personal with us and they rely on us to be there for them. We definitely will be. It just took us a little longer to get there this time.
Alexia: I’m sure it’s worth the wait. What is your personal favourite song off this album? Why?
Mike: Oh man, that’s a tough one. There’s so many different parts to this album that you could go with a heavier song, like Texas is Forever, that’s one of my favourite songs off the record. That’s definitely the fastest song we’ve ever written. That’s what we grew up off. We grew up off so-Cal fast punk rock and we wanted to just get back to our roots with that one. Then we’ve got a song called Floral & Fading, which is a bit of the opposite. It’s a little bit more stripped down; it kinda has a Weezer vibe. It’s cool that we could just bounce back and forth between different styles but it still sounds like a Pierce the Veil song.
Alexia: Very neat! What would you say was the biggest challenge in creating this album?
Mike: Well, we went into the studio with 11 songs and we eventually ended up cutting two songs in the studio, so we had to write two songs in the studio, which was a challenge for us. Like I said, when we prepare to go to the studio, we spend months on just one song. So, to go to the studio, be there, and have to come up with two songs on the fly was definitely a challenge for us. We basically got into a circle and just wrote for 12 hours a day, and try to come up with different parts. That took us weeks and we were just getting frustrated.
We basically got into a circle and just wrote for 12 hours a day, and try to come up with different parts. That took us weeks and we were just getting frustrated. There was a point where we switched instruments and I think I was on bass, Vic was on drums, and we were just trying everything we could. Eventually, we came up with some pretty cool stuff and those songs were actually the last two songs on the record.
Alexia: What made you guys do something new like this by switching instruments around?
Mike: I think we were just desperate at one point. We were coming up with cool parts, but nothing was blowing us away. So we were just like, “Alright, we need to try something different,” and it was a horrible idea. Nothing came out of it. But at all times we were at the studio, especially when we were d that process, we did have a mic recording in the room the whole time. I pray to God that the stuff where we switched instruments never comes out! It probably sounds pretty strange.
Alexia: Maybe one day it’ll come out of the Pierce the Veil vault!
Mike: Yeah, right?! The secret vault…
Alexia: So, your song The Divine Zero is nominated for Song of the Year at this year’s Alternative Press Music Awards, which is fantastic. Could you tell us about what went down that exact moment that you guys got this news?
Mike: It’s definitely an honour to have a song nominated for Song of the Year – that’s pretty cool. The Divine Zero was a song that we released rather quickly because we were going on Warped Tour, and that was in the middle of the recording process as well. We finished that song a little earlier, so we rushed super quickly to get it mixed. Then the mix wasn’t right so we kept going back and forth. We got all these people telling us that “if it doesn’t get finished today, it won’t make it in time for the tour” and we’re stressing out. Meanwhile, we’ve got a whole record to finish, and here we are just stressing about finishing this one song. So the fact that it came out cool and that people like it makes us feel good about working so hard on it, especially with the time that we had to finish it.
Alexia: Sounds good. What else is coming up for Pierce the Veil in the near future?
Mike: Our record comes out in five days and we are actually playing a CD release show on that day in Mexico City, which is really cool. We just wanted to do something different and we know that one of our biggest shows we’ve ever played has been in Mexico City in the past, so we wanted to do it there. We just have a lot of love there.
After that, we are embarking on a Misadventures tour in June, which we play the whole record from start to finish. We were pretty much in the studio finishing the record when our producer was like, “Hey man, you guys should just play this whole record all the way through,” and we’re like, “What? You’re crazy!” Nobody does that right when they release a record. We ended up really liking that idea and we’re going for it. We’re pretty confident with the record as a whole, so why not show it off to the world for a tour?
Alexia: I really like that idea. Bands seem to usually do that for album anniversary tours. This is definitely going to be something very different.
Mike: We’re not afraid to do it. We’re 100 per cent on every song on the record and I don’t think that’s every happened. Me personally, there’s always been a song or two that I could’ve done something different on. But with this record, I’m 110 per cent every song. I’m so happy that we’re doing this!
It’s definitely going to be a challenge because we’re so used to playing all the old songs. You could play the old songs in your sleep. But with the new ones, you’ve got to polish them up; we’ve been practicing super hard every single day. It’s going to be a good time.
Alexia: Is there anything else that you’d like to add or tell the fans?
Mike: We are going to be touring around the whole world for the next two years. Listen to Misadventures, learn all the words, we’re coming!