Interview: Pierce The Veil

Published in Drum Media (WA) | 23.08.12 | Issue # 302

Published in Inpress (VIC) | 24.08.12 | Issue # 1238

WORLDS COLLIDE

 

If you purchase a ticket for the signing tent at Soundwave next year to meet your favourite band, you might find yourself standing in line with Pierce The Veil’s Vic FuentesDaniel Cribb discovers just how crucial being “little fan girls” was in finding success to call their own.

Returning home after a summer-long US jaunt playing the Vans Warped Tour, Pierce The Veil frontman Vic Fuentes barely has time to unpack his bags before Soundwave promotion kicks in. “Yeah, just got home to my house and I’m going to do some laundry and take a shower,” Fuentes begins from his Californian residence. Why are these minor, seemingly boring details so important? They prove to fans that he’s real. It might sound weird, but Fuentes elaborates, citing recent Warped Tour experiences. “A lot of the times we do signing and kids scream out, ‘You’re real! You’re actually real!’ and we’re like, ‘Yeah, we’re real people.’ It’s crazy, right?” he laughs.

This is the third time they’ve toured with Warped and each stint sees them one-up their last appearance. From playing the smaller stages early on in the day to being one of the festival’s headliners, a lot’s changed. “This year was a really cool lineup. We got to tour with some of the bands that we looked up to as kids – The Used and New Found Glory and Taking Back Sunday – and not just play with them, but become friends with them and hang out with them. We were little fan girls hanging out, so it was pretty awesome,” he admits.

It’s being “little fan girls” that has helped them develop into the band they are today. But they’re not staking out tour buses with permanent markers; rather the signatures of their favourite bands appear in their lyrics and seep in through their music. “I think it shapes our band a lot. Since we started playing one of the big things I’ve been a big believer in is I think you should be inspired by the people around you and I definitely get a lot of inspiration from a lot of the bands that we tour with – whether it be their live show, their record, their personalities, the way they think – I think that’s something you should always soak in as a musician. I know my Dad taught me that you need to play with as many musicians as possible because that’s how you’re going to get good, and, you know, I’ve always kind of taken that to heart.”

Musical talent runs in the family. From an early age, Vic Fuentes and his brother Mike, who plays drums in Pierce The Veil, were taught their instrument of choice by their father, who specialises in guitar. Although post-hardcore isn’t considered a popular genre in the parental community, Fuentes says his parents constantly keep tabs on the band’s music and success – whether or not it’s to check up on them and make sure the rockstar lifestyle hasn’t consumed them is another thing. “He and my Mum are huge fans, you know, like they’re the sweetest things. Every day they watch the YouTube videos from the shows, because kids always post them, so they kind of get to watch us play as we go.”

Come February Mr and Mrs Fuentes will be watching a slew of shaky, distorted iPhone videos of their sons gracing Soundwave stages across Australia, bringing with them new material from their third full-length, Collide With The Sky, and a memorable afternoon for one lucky fan –theMusic.com.au ran a competition for readers, the prize a money-can’t-buy experience that involves hanging out with the band for the afternoon they’re in the winner’s town. The fan will be treated to lunch, a game of pool and a pretty nice merch package.

“We just did one in the States where the winner got to go bowling with their favourite bands and stuff and it was really cool. We got to go bowling with this little girl who was a big fan. I couldn’t imagine what that would be like as a kid – I would definitely freak out. It’s cool to be there for our fans and become a little more than just a band, become something tangible to them.

“I think from day one that was a big goal of our band. I wanted this band to be as connected to our fans as possible, because I looked up to bands that did that really well – like I thought Thrice did a good job as far as doing little things to make you feel like you know the band a little more. And I think these days with social networking and stuff it’s been pretty amazing how close you can become to your fans, just over the Internet. So yeah, we’re all over that and we do heaps of different things, like video chats and putting ourselves out there online.”

Excited to head down to Australia, Pierce The Veil were one of the first bands to make an appearance on the Soundwave POP WOW online chat sessions, giving fans the opportunity to ask them anything and everything. “Honestly, we don’t really have anything like Soundwave. Like there’s no point in time in the States where I could ever play with Metallica,” he laughs.

Having toured and made friends some of their childhood heroes during Warped Tour, are there any bands on Soundwave they hope to develop relationships with? “We’ve looked up to Blink-182, you know, I’ve definitely found myself covering their songs in our bedroom back in the day with my brother. Now being able to play with them is pretty cool, I hope we get to run into them and talk to them a little bit.”

If their live show has evolved as much as their music did between albums, their appearance at Soundwave will no doubt be a memorable one. Becoming a regular name on the US festival circuit, Pierce The Veil no longer rely on fancy lights or the darkness of a club stage to create a vibe – they’ve stripped their live set down to its bare bones and are all the more accessible and better for it.

“With us it’s all about personal goals and trying to blow out of the water the last record, or we’ve gotta make this tour better than any tour we’ve ever done, so we put a lot of weight on ourselves… We’d never release something if it wasn’t the best we could possibly do at that time, so, yeah, we did about a year of writing and three months in the studio, which is way longer than a lot of bands take. We take our time on things. We had a lot of freedom and I think it came out better than the other stuff – I don’t even want to listen to the old stuff.”

Pierce The Veil Play Soundwave Festival Nationally.

Daniel Cribb

http://themusic.com.au/interviews/all/2012/08/24/pierce-the-veil-vic-fuentes/7761/

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Interview: Joe McKee

Published in Drum Media (WA) | 23.08.12 | Issue # 302

MAN ON FIRE

 

Returning to Australia – the “cultural cul-de-sac” he once called home – late last year, Joe McKee found his childhood hometown in the WA hills burnt to the ground. Daniel Cribbdiscovers how this incited plans for a debut solo record that provides much needed closure.

In February 2011, Joe McKee boards a London Underground train, picks up a newspaper and starts glancing at headlines and skipping through stories. It isn’t long before he finds himself staring at disbelief about news on the WA hills, the place he grew up. “That really struck a chord with me – seeing my childhood home burnt to dust and ash,” McKee recalls stories of The Darling Ranges fires, 35kms south of Perth. “It was the first time I started to get thinking about it again. I started having dreams about it and it just started seeping into my conscious, and it was at the time when Snowman had ended.”

Without a band to vent his confusing mix of feelings, McKee began going through old notepads and piecing together part of the songs that he had been writing over the years, adding lyrics as he went. Going back over three years of writing he found plenty of material; it just didn’t have direction or purposeful meaning yet. “That was the moment that triggered off the idea to make this album, that triggered off lyrical ideas and I had this overwhelming sense of, almost, confusion of how I felt about all of that. It was this unnameable emotion and the aim for me was to try and communicate it through music rather than trying to communicate it through words. I think that’s music’s role; to transcend language and things like that, you know?

“There’s always this euphoric moment where it’s like, ‘Okay, this is where I need to take this record’ and that kind of helps me define the parameters of the record and helps me articulate what I’m trying to say with the record,” he explains.

So, after four years living in London, McKee returned to Australia in October 2011 to see the damage that still remained from four days of fire. “The thing that ties [the record] together is the longing for something that doesn’t really exist anymore and longing for a glorified vision of my childhood in the hills in Australia, and it’s a longing to kind of communicate with that. I suppose the simple fact that I was dislocated from the place I grew up was enough to give me that feeling, and I think that’s where the songs were born from. It was essentially escaping everything that was going on in my life. When I was up there I tried to transport, or transcend, back to this place which I could never really get back to. But that’s the purpose of these songs, to take me back there.”

Although he admits to having ants in his pants, he hung around long enough to finalise the writing side of his album and record it. His choice of producer and the few months spent in WA proves that, while most of his things are in London, his heart is still in Perth. Renowned producer Dave Parkin (Jebediah, Red Jezebel, End Of Fashion) was behind the wheel when it came time to track McKee’s debut solo album. With Parkin working close with Snowman in the past – producing 2006’s Snowman and 2009’s The Horse, The Rat & The Swan – he was an obvious choice. “Dave and I speak the same language – he helps me kind of translate what’s going on in my head,” McKee says.

“I’ve been [in Australia] for longer than I intended,” he admits. “I’m a bit of a floating nomad. But I kind of like that – that makes me happy. I’m really restless and if I stay in one spot too long I just get miserable. As long as I keep moving I’m happy, so I’m happy to keep bouncing around the world and let music drag me around.”

The financial constraints of making a living from music can sometimes make it hard to stay in one place for long periods of time. Without constant gigging the money dries up, and playing five nights a week in Perth wouldn’t do much good. “Making the type of music, in Australia, that I make means that I waver between having money and not having money. That’s just the way it is unfortunately… The best way to combat it is to just not expect anything. I certainly don’t expect any financial rewards for what I do, which is kind of a sad truth.”

This leads onto the reason Snowman departed Perth and headed for Europe. “Australia, as wonderful a place it is, is a cultural cul-de-sac, and unfortunately what that means is that no one outside of Australia gives a shit about what’s going on down here. And that’s not to say that what’s going on down here isn’t any less significant – I think it’s particularly fertile creatively. I think it’s an incredible place and there’s some incredible things happening here, but if you have any desire to push what you do to new audiences, you’ve gotta get out and you’ve got to relocate to somewhere else, I think.

“We’d toured Australia countless times and thought, ‘Well, why play to the same faces over and over?’ Eventually people get bored and we weren’t going to keep doing a victory lap of Australia. So we got to play to new people and keep pushing ourselves creatively, you know; put ourselves in a completely new environment. I’ve maintained that kind of belief throughout whatever I’ve done creatively because you have to push yourself out of your comfort zone, otherwise you end up with the same results and the same kind of sounds.”

One listen of Burning Boy and you’ll hear a completely different sound to that of Snowman. While Snowman relied heavily on rhythm, McKee’s solo work is based around melody, which was a first for him but something that had to be done in order to capture the feelings surrounding the loss of his childhood home. So, does listening back to the 10 tracks on his debut solo release provide him with the closure he needed? “It’s funny; I try not to listen to anything that I’ve done,” he admits. “It’s living its own life and doing its own thing and I’m living my life. It’s like having a child, and it’s gone and left the nest.” He did divulge that the process in itself has delivered desired results.

Burning Boy was an internal record – it was an escapist, cathartic record. It’s about creating peace. The second Snowman record was an angry record and a record born from frustration. The last Snowman record was a record born from loss and was about creating some kind of peace and moving on. With Burning Boy, the title’s a reference to burning off land in order to replenish yourself, you know, and I guess it’s about burning off my childhood, burning off that past in order to start again. So it’s about fresh beginnings and starting again with a new, clean slate.”

Daniel Cribb

http://themusic.com.au/interviews/all/2012/08/24/joe-mckee-daniel-cribb/7753/

theMusic.com.au: Pennywise Exclusive

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

***Written by a staff writer at TheMusic***

EXCLUSIVE: PENNYWISE FRONTMAN ADMITTED HE WAS WORRIED ABOUT THE SHOWS

21 August, 2012

Following yesterday’s announcement that Pennywise will no longer be in Australia this week for their scheduled tour, theMusic.com.au’s Daniel Cribb has unearthed concerns the injured Zoli Teglas had about the tour when speaking with him at the beginning of this month.

“I’m worried about the shows,” Teglas told Cribb in an interview on August 1. “I can’t really jump around or stage dive or nothing because I got back surgery three weeks ago and so I’m a little worried about this tour coming up. I think I’ll be all right – I’ve started to work out and stuff. I’m gonna do the best I can.”Teglas collapsed on stage at Germany’s With Full Force festival last month and was required to have immediate surgery. Due to this the band were forced to cancel a number of European shows, though were hopeful they would be able to fulfill their Australian commitments.“I just got started walking about a week ago, so it’ll be interesting,” Teglas said in the same interview. “I don’t want to be boring on stage, but I’m gonna just have to stand there and sing”

The band have promised they will return when Teglas is in better shape, an official statement from guitarist Fletcher Dragge was issued on the band’s website overnight.

“We love playing in front of our fans all over the world,” Dragge said. “The doctor’s news was a hard blow for everyone but Zoli’s health is our number one priority.
“We are working with the best doctors around to make sure Zoli gets back on his feet as soon as possible…our apologies go out to all our dedicated fans…we will be making up these shows as soon as possible…keep the beers cold!”

The band were set to kick off their tour on the Gold Coast on Thursday night.

Show Review: Kate Miller-Heidke 11.08.12

Published in Drum Media (WA) | 16.08.12 | Issue # 301

pic by Graham Clark

 

KATE MILLER-HEIDKE, THE BEARDS

ASTOR THEATRE

11 August, 2012

 

With Adelaide’s The Beards opening every show on Kate Miller-Heidke’s Nightflight tour, it would be fitting to describe its theme as ‘beauty and the beast’. Not that the openers are in anyway repulsive musically or aesthetically, they just collectively have enough facial hair to cover someone head to toe. With no local support fronting the tour, The Beards strolled out of the darkness and into the spotlight at 8pm sharp, pointing out impressive beards in the crowd whilst stroking their own, before kicking into Born With A Beard.

With uncontrollable excitement, vocalist Johann Beardraven ripped his shirt open during the intro and, although sheepishly turning away from the crowd to do his buttons back up, did the same thing numerous times before the songs end. Tracks that run for no longer than three minutes on CD were stretched out by three minutes, with four-part harmonies and additional instrumentation added wherever possible. While visually there’s a juxtaposition between the Adelaide four-piece and the headlining act, their brand of humour lies hand in hand with one another.

Once The Beards had departed, the stage turned a deep purple, the smoke machines kicked into overdrive and the houselights dropped, leaving the venue in dead silence. AfterKate Miller-Heidke soaked up some quick applause, the packed room returned to silence and guitar picking led the intro of The Tiger Inside Will Eat The Child. Three booming hits of the kick drum and a barrage of guitar distortion led the vocals to unite with the bass, backing harmonies and drums. The first thing heard from the audience, after the expected cheering, was heckling from the front row about her lack of beard. “I’ve got a special deal with The Beards – you can’t see my beard,” Miller-Heidke jokingly replied, while guitar bonded with chunky bass for Mama.

Caught In The Crowd and Nightflight surfaced surprisingly early in the set with a “campfire segment” following shortly. The stripped-back interlude contained intimate performances ofSpace They Cannot TouchThe Devil Wears A SuitPolitics In Space  and Let Me Fade. Then it was back to the rock with a song about a sleazy man who lives in Melbourne (God’s Gift To Women), followed by crowd favourites Last Day On EarthSarah, a quirky cover ofThe Real Slim Shady and Can’t Shake It, seeing the set out with time for an encore that took in The Beard’s You Should Consider Having Sex With A Bearded Man (feat. Beardraven on saxophone). The show ended with Words, giving the crowd their Miller-Heidke fix for the evening, but definitely leaving everyone wanting more.

Written by Daniel Cribb

Interview: Pennywise (on Sea Shepherd)

Published in Drum Media (WA) | 16.08.12 | Issue # 301

GIVING IT ALL

 

If you’re a fan of so-cal punk rockers Pennywise, you’ll no doubt have their latest album All Or Nothing on repeat in anticipation of their upcoming Australian tour. You also probably heard about vocalist Zoli Téglás collapsing on stage at Full Force festival in Leipzig, Germany. But what you mightn’t know is Téglás has a burning passion for activism. All Or Nothing being his first album with Pennywise meant his messages weren’t as apparent as he wanted, but when it comes to the stage you’ll often see him wearing a Sea Shepherd shirt and talking about the cause.

“It’s very powerful, being on stage, and I don’t think a lot of people understand that if you wanna preach a positive message, you’re gonna hit a lot of people with a positive message, if you wanna preach something negative, you’re gonna fuck up a lot of people’s heads. I think it’s our job on stage, and my job, to spread a positive vibe.”

After a few weeks of rehabilitation, although being slightly worried about returning to stage, he wastes no time in continuing work with Sea Shepherd and promoting them as much as possible. “I clean the toilets on the Steve Irwin, because I’m the new guy and the new guy cleans the toilets,” he laughs. So out of all the organisations out there, why preach the message of Sea Shepherd? Well, as Téglás tells, it’s an international organisation and, with touring all around the world, it’s a message that doesn’t weaken the further he is from home.

You don’t have to look far in WA to see Sea Shepherd’s work. 60km north of Broome you’ll find a place called James Price Point, which is the world’s largest humpback whale nursery. The whales in the area are often targeted by Japanese whalers, but, as has been plastered all over the news, Woodside and the WA Government want to drill and dredge up to six kilometres out to sea and construct a jetty stretching several kilometers right through the middle of it. Oil spillage, noise and other byproducts of the construction would affect the whales and other wildlife in the area. Sea Shepherd accepted an invitation from the Goolarabooloo native inhabitants to stop attempts at such a thing.

“I know they’re going to make money off this dredging and pipeline they’re talking about and it’s always, ‘Oh, we need more oil, we need more jobs’, but not at the expense of your pristine, beautiful backyard. Australia has such a beautiful coastline and there’s so many amazing diversity in types of fish. You really need to protect that, man, because everybody’s just looking to rape and pillage off your local waters.

“I think the best way to do that is to get into the Sea Shepherd conservation society and then, through that, find out one specific thing and focus on that. You can’t change the world, but you can save that one specific thing.”

Focusing on Sea Shepherd’s tireless efforts to protect sharks in the South Pacific, Téglás sheds his thoughts on shark culling as a method of reducing attacks. “By the billions every year sharks are being killed off. If you take sharks out of the ecosystem, you’re going to get a sick ocean. It’s not going to stop them from attacking people, they’re still going to attack people until you kill them all off. Maybe people should just be more cautious and careful about where they are, because we’re actually in their backyard. Why don’t you just come here and eat some of the [feral] cats in Hollywood hills? Fuck, man, we’re in their backyard.”

Daniel Cribb

Show Review: Tim Barry 08.08.12

Published in Drum Media (WA) | 16.08.12 | Issue # 301

TIM BARRY, JOSH SMALLS, YIANZ MCSTAVROS, TOM WARE

THE DEN

8 August, 2012

 

Old school pop punker and member of the late Billings Method, Yianz Mcstavros was meant to be in charge of warming up the early comers, but due to sickness split his set with Grim Fandango’s Tom Ware, master of the banjo. Although Mcstavros put on a slightly annoying US accent, as a lot of non-American musicians unfortunately do, he made up for it with ridiculously catchy melodies attached to songs about drinking, partying and sex.

Bringing his brand of “telecaster Disney jazz” all the way from Virginia, Josh Smalls started plucking away in a world of his own, immersed deeply in the job at hand. Wearing denim overalls and a denim jack, he meant business. As he swayed from side to side whilst singing, it seemed his guitar was the anchor keeping his body from bouncing off the walls.

Tim Barry was 12,000 miles from home with two of his closest friends and a small room full of people ready for a good time. Smalls provided backing guitar with Andrew Alli on harmonica. Picking up his mic stand and walking into the crowd, Barry began his set by saying, “I’m glad you all got a front row seat”. Shoulda Oughta opened the set, and between songs Barry didn’t even have to talk into the microphone to reach everyone in the audience. The same applied for tunes that revolved around fingerpicking, and for those songs there was no middleman between Barry and his fans, and that left them hanging off every word. Apparently upon arrival to the venue earlier that day they discovered the stage had a huge hole in it, a problem they fixed in no time. “Give us a horrible day and we’ll fix it. Take a bad day, tear it up and beat the shit out of it,” he emphasised. The rest of his set and stage banter followed in a similar fashion and, after an hour-and-a-half of memorable sing-alongs and inspirational speeches, punters left feeling like they were leaving a motivational seminar. Tim Barry sure knows how to use music to inspire, incite change and bring joy.

Written by Daniel Cribb

http://themusic.com.au/reviews/reviews-live/2012/08/14/tim-barry-the-den-daniel-cribb/

Show Review: The Bride 03.08.12

Published in Drum Media (WA) | 09.08.12 | Issue # 300

 

MASSACRE LAUNCH: THE BRIDE, ANCHORED, AVEIRA SKIES

THE BEAT NIGHTCLUB

3 August, 2012

 

It would appear security at The Beat Nightclub haven’t had many dealings previously with hardcore crowds, with the vocalist of Anchored confronted and almost denied entry because of his attire. But once punters had removed their hats and hoods, the upstairs bar, where the first instalment of Massacre was ready to kick off, was much more accommodating.

A droning hum took control of the small room as Aveira Skies geared up and, before the band had time to play anything, vocalist Haydn Wood leapt off the stage and onto the dancefloor. The usual semicircle of punters was formed and it was hard to tell whether it was created due to a lack of enthusiasm or whether people were worried about being struck by the flailing arms of the frontman. Once warmed up, their set held an energetic vibe that enticed those on the sidelines to join in.

Taking a lesson from the openers, Anchored also forced the crowd to become involved with the show – shortly into their set they introduced large plush soccer balls into the crowd, which flew around like beach balls at a festival, knocking over every drink in their path. By their final few songs most of the band were utilising their wireless gear, running around the room whilst playing their brand of metal-infused hardcore as punters eagerly awaited the east coast headliners.

“You’ve got a strong scene here in Perth and the only way it’s going to stay strong is if everyone leaves here with a smile,” The Bride’s Kevin Schwartz announced, and from the moment they started jumping around on stage, that was their mission. Now in their sixth year as a band, playing music together since they were 14, it’s no surprise these guys know who to throw down live. The charismatically inspiring stage talk of Schwartz left little room for dull moments, during War Widow he had the entire room jumping in sync, and the floor was actually shaking. When finale You Hung Yourself rolled around it was hard to tell where the band ended and the crowd started. The debut of Massacre shaped up into an impressive night with a room full of people ready to party that complimented the intimate and energetic nature of the music played.

Written by Daniel Cribb

http://themusic.com.au/reviews/reviews-live/2012/08/07/massacre-launch-beat-nightclub-daniel-cribb/