Published in Drum Media (WA) | 23.08.12 | Issue # 302
Published in Inpress (VIC) | 24.08.12 | Issue # 1238
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 Fuentes. Daniel 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.