Credit: Adam Elmakias
A lot has happened in the three years since Pierce The Veil released their debut A Flair For The Dramatic in 2007. The band have toured the world including Warped Tour in 2008 and Taste Of Chaos in 2009; converted countless fans to their unique brand of progressive post-hardcore; and, most notably, grown as both people and musicians from these cumulative experiences. All of this figures into the group’s long-awaited sophomore release Selfish Machines, an album that sees the band—frontman Vic Fuentes, drummer Mike Fuentes, guitarist Tony Perry and bassist Jaime Preciado—coming together to craft an inventive album that is certain to challenge people’s perception of the band.
Recorded with Mike Green (Paramore, Set Your Goals) in Los Angeles, the album ended up being more involved than initially planned—but that ended up being a blessing in disguise. “It was actually a pretty intense process,” Vic explains, adding that the band didn’t finish the album in the time allotted which forced him to stay in LA for an extra two months working on vocals and bouncing between recording studios working on new ideas. “It was definitely necessary to take the extra time with this recording,” he continues. “We’re not settling on anything with this record because from the artwork to the songs and final mixes, everything has to be perfect.”
From the soaring pop sensibility of songs like “Bulletproof Love” to the upbeat aggression of “Caraphernelia”, the album shows how versatile Pierce The Veil have become, whether they’re screaming their hearts out or gently bearing their souls. There are also plenty of sonic surprises on Selfish Machines, most notably the emotive, piano-driven ballad “Stay Away From My Friends” which displays the band’s growth as songwriters. “That song was my first crack at writing on piano,” Vic explains. “I’ve got a piano in my house now so I’d been messing around on it and ended up writing some riffs, which I think definitely gave the album a different feel,” he continues, adding that he hopes to eventually implement keyboards into the band’s live performances.
Although Pierce The Veil have toured incessantly for the past three years, they made some time late last year to write these tracks and instantly threw themselves into the songwriting process. “It’s pretty hard for us to write on the road because we’re touring in an RV most of the time with tight quarters, which doesn’t bode well for creativity,” Vic acknowledges with a laugh. “We have a studio at home that I like to hang out in, so I basically just shut myself out from the world for three or four months and spent all day and night writing,” he continues. “Every song is super personal; they’re all very real about our lives and I think once people read them they can probably see a little bit about what’s going on with us.”
“We are all in one way or another selfish machines,” Vic explains when asked about the album’s title. “In no way is this a negative thing, it's human nature. We all have natural tendencies to want, love, and take. When it comes down to it, humans have animal like qualities that we keep inside and even try to deny—but no matter how morally good someone may think they are or try to be, we are still humans,” he continues. “One example of this is how we are all constantly searching for someone to love, or even more desperately, someone to love you. It is human nature broken down to its bare bones, no bullshit, just rock bottom honest feelings and desire. No trying to be nice, shy, or respectable, it's about the ‘evil’ thing inside of us that is really not evil at all, it's just there and always will be inside of us all.”
Having played with bands in nearly every subgenre, Pierce The Veil have always prided themselves on not confining their band to one particular scene or genre—and the harmony-rich songs like “I Don’t Care If You’re Contagious” are guaranteed to expose them to entirely new crowds of followers with Selfish Machines. “Every band that I’ve ever loved and admired has constantly grown and each record is a little different in their own way and I think that’s how it should be because it keeps you setting new goals and trying to change for the better,” Vic explains. “This record is definitely going to take us new places and after this we’ll keep writing and try to make the next one even better,” he summarizes. “We’re always looking ahead.”
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