Pierce The Veil’s lead singer and guitarist Vic Fuentes took some time out of his busy schedule to speak with me about the band’s newest release, Selfish Machines. This disc is a testament to the band’s growth as songwriters and musicians over the past few years. The band has a unique way of blending pop infused post-hardcore with a progressive metal sound that is adventurous and sometimes surprising. Fuentes’ vocals are so emotionally charged and powerful that at times the passion is almost palpable. In a musical landscape that is filled with watered down clones, Selfish Machines is a fresh, vibrant and innovative offering that is more than enjoyable to listen to. The band will be touring as part of the Vans Warped Tour this Summer. Here is what Fuentes had to say about Selfish Machines.
Now that your brand new CD, Selfish Machines, is complete how do you feel about it? Are you satisfied with the outcome?
Vic: I am more satisfied now than I was after we actually left the studio because of the overwhelmingly positive reaction from our fans. I had heard the record a million times when we were making it in the studio and after a while I didn’t even know what to think of it! So happy to be on the road playing the songs live.
What was the writing process like for this CD? Did you guys all write together? How long did it take?
Vic: I did a lot of writing at home in our studio in San Diego. Hours upon hours of endless coffee cups and late night experimenting. We tried to finish the record before we hit the studio with Mike Green in L.A., but it just didn’t happen. The songs are all so detailed and in-depth that it took forever to finish them. We did a lot of writing on the spot in the studio during pre-production and I ended up living in L.A. for an extra month and a half just writing and recording vocals. The whole thing was so intense, pushing ourselves and our creativity to the brink of insanity and mental break downs.
What is the significance to the title of the disc, Selfish Machines?
Vic: “Selfish Machines” refers to the voice inside our heads that makes us want to take things and keep them for ourselves. I don’t see anything wrong with telling someone that you are selfish with their love and that you can’t stand sharing them with anyone else.
You worked with Mike Green-a very well known well respected producer. How did you get in touch with him and what was it like working with him?
Vic: Our management set up a meeting with Mike after I had heard some of his records. I thought that they all sounded amazing and I could imagine our music sounding great as well if we recorded with him. Working with Mike was great, because he is everything that I am not. He reads music, knows theory, and can tell you almost anything you want to know about writing a song, where I am much more freestyle and play everything by ear. We balanced each other out very well in the studio.
When writing and recording Selfish Machines was there any pressure to follow up your critically acclaimed release A Flair For The Dramatic?
Vic: I think that the only pressure I felt was from time deadlines to finish the album. I knew that the music was there, it was just a matter of actually finishing it all in time for the tours that we had lined up. It literally came down to the last day and the last vocal before I could drive back down to San Diego from L.A. and leave for tour at four in the morning for a show the next day.
What is it that normally gives you inspiration when writing lyrics and is there a theme or themes behind the writing of this record?
Vic: I write lyrics everyday as I go. I’m always taking notes in my phone whenever I am inspired by something. Most of my writing starts out as poetry before I put it into songs.
Did you spend a lot of time trying to vary the music or is it something that just came naturally?
Vic: Our diverse style comes completely naturally. We are constantly pushing our music into unknown territory so that we can keep changing and progressing as musicians and as people.
What is the toughest lesson you learned while recording Selfish Machines?
Vic: I really need to start writing more on the road. It is not an easy thing to do when there is so much going on, but I think I’m going to give it a shot for the next one.
How quick are you in the studio? Can you usually knock things out in a couple takes?
Vic: No. I think producers hate me because I will sing something 20, 30 times before I feel it. I always know when I hit it the way I want to, but it’s really all in my head and no one else can understand it.
Do you decide on a suitable sound fairly quickly, or do you tend to tweak tones obsessively?
Vic: At first we wanted to write only fast and aggressive songs to fit a certain vision we had for the new record, but after awhile we dropped all of our guidelines and just did whatever felt right. After that, the music flowed much easier and was much more enjoyable to write.
Any closing words?
Vic: We want everyone to go pick up our new record Selfish Machines in stores everywhere and on iTunes! Love you!