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Striving For Perfection: An Exclusive Interview With Jaime Preciado Of PIERCE THE VEIL

By Larry Petro, News Monkey
Thursday, September 25, 2014 @ 6:04 PM

"Did I think we were gonna get this far? Absolutely not, no, but we're thankful to be here and we're not planning on going anywhere."

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From their humble beginnings in Southern California, San Diego-based rockers PIERCE THE VEIL have really had one mission: to play live as much as possible and to better themselves musically. The band enjoyed moderate success with the release of their first two albums, their 2007 debut, A Flair For The Dramatic and 2010's Selfish Machines. PTV toured extensively on those releases, joining runs with the likes of SLEEPING WITH SIRENS, A DAY TO REMEMBER, THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA, ESCAPE THE FATE and MISS MAY I. While serving most of the time as a support act, the band actually found themselves in a co-headline position on several occasions, an omen of what was to come.

2012 would become a real breakout year for PIERCE THE VEIL with the release of their third album, Collide With The Sky. The band's popularity started to skyrocket. The album went on to sell over a quarter of a million copies as the band went from playing the main stage for the first time on the 2012 Vans Warped Tour to touring the world over on multiple headline and co-headline sold out tours, culminating with the Spring Fever Tour in 2013 with ALL TIME LOW which wrapped up in May of that year.

Now, as the band is putting the wraps on their new, as yet untitled new album, bassist Jaime Preciado discusses the band's surprising success, the in-studio recording progress, working with returning producer Dan Korneff and what fans can expect in the coming months from PIERCE THE VEIL as they prepare to head out on the road once again with SLEEPING WITH SIRENS. Check it out!

KNAC.COM: Hey Jaime! How's everything going?

PRECIADO: Doing well man

KNAC.COM: The band is still in the studio recording the new album, correct?

PRECIADO: That is correct.

KNAC.COM: Where does the recording progress stand at this point?

PRECIADO: We are about to finish vocals. We finished all the music and stuff and so it's the vocals and some other little stuff.

KNAC.COM: How long have you guys been working on it?

PRECIADO: We've been in the studio about two and a half months and our singer (Vic Fuentes) is still in there finishing up all his stuff so yeah, we've been in there quite a long time.

KNAC.COM: So are you actually at the studio right now?

PRECIADO: I flew home. I'm in San Diego.

KNAC.COM: You're done with your parts then?

PRECIADO: Yeah, pretty much the whole band. Normally our singer kind of likes to work on vocals and stuff, he kind of locks himself away and just writes lyrics and melodies and so forth. He likes to really focus in on that stuff and we'll email ideas and stuff back and forth at the very end. But for the most part the songs are written.

KNAC.COM: What's the anticipated release timeframe?

PRECIADO: I believe early next year if everything goes as planned.

KNAC.COM: You don't have anything pinned down as far as month or anything?

PRECIADO: No, I think we're talking sometime in January but that can always change. We're kind of a band that tries to make those deadlines but when it comes to the music and stuff we just try our hardest to get everything that needs to get done, done, and if that means going over a couple weeks, we think it's worth it. But you know the record label is always hounding us, which that's their job so.....

KNAC.COM: How did it feel working with Dan Korneff (Producer) again?

PRECIADO: Dan Korneff was awesome. I think that this time going into this record was our very first time going into a record with a producer that we were familiar with. This is the first time we've ever done that. Every other record we've made was with somebody new. He (Dan) worked with Collide With The Sky, our last record and so going into it was like, it felt good, ya know? We weren't worried about the first impressions and seeing how if this guy was gonna work with us or not, like in other producer situations where we were worried about the music. so it was kind of nice, we ended up in Long Island in the studio with him and it was awesome.

KNAC.COM: Was it pretty much a unanimous decision to go back with him again?

PRECIADO: Yeah, I mean working with him on Collide was such a great and fun experience. I think that all the guys in the band really enjoyed his work ethic first of all, he's a machine and he kind of brings the best out of all of us. Not to mention he makes the record sound awesome. He's done a lot of work for us obviously, but also other bands of our genre.

KNAC.COM: Do you guys have a title in mind for the new album?

PRECIADO: No, that stuff kind of comes at the end as far as right now, we're making sure that we're writing the best songs we possibly can and really focusing on the music and trying to get better at everything we're doing; songwriting, musicianship, all that stuff. That's been our whole vibe ever since we started playing music, just trying to get better as musicians and songwriters.

KNAC.COM: Any song titles you can leak to us?

PRECIADO: Well, like I said, those are all kind of in the working stages. That's like the last thing we do. Normally it comes down to lyrics. Lyrics are generally speaking the later part of the process. We work on the music and the structure of the songs. We jam. For example, in the studio we set up a jam area where we set up all our instruments and like pow-wow together and just play. I think for the first 3 weeks we were there we just jammed out every single song and pretty much exhausted every way to write each song possible until we found the right way and then we move on to the next one.

KNAC.COM: What can the fans expect from the new PIERCE THE VEIL in terms of musical sound?

PRECIADO: I think it's going to be one of those records where it has a little bit of what we've been. You know, we're such a strange style of music, some people call us heavy, some people call us funk, some people call us pop. We have a little bit of all that stuff. I don't necessarily think we're a heavy band, we're not like metal at all, but we've toured with heavy bands like that so people put us in that type of category all the time. So, it'll have a little bit of everything.

KNAC.COM: For you personally, what is the hardest part of the recording process?

PRECIADO: Me personally? I think it's trying to find the right balance for each song. We're all very stoked on this new record and we're passionate about what we're doing, so there's times when half the band thinks the song should go in this direction and the other half thinks it should go in that direction, so it's like a compromise there. That's probably the toughest, but we're pretty good about finding the best in each part or song or vibe. We've been touring for a really long time and we're a family in there so we know what each one likes.

KNAC.COM: As the bassist, is there anything special that you do when you prepare to go into the studio?

PRECIADO: You know, just listen to a lot of funky tunes man, to get inspired. (Laughs) As a bass player, you really don't get a lot of moments to shine but fortunately for my band, they give me a couple breaks here and there to get real funky on the record.

KNAC.COM: Is everybody in the band pretty upbeat at this point?

PRECIADO: Yeah, I mean, like I said, our singer's still kinda grinding away and that's just how we do things. We finish all the music and then just work on vocals real diligently. That's how it's worked and that's how we like to do it and it's worked out pretty good so far. And we inspire all that stuff when we're actually writing the songs in the studio and he's singing melodies and whatever. We hear the melodies and we give him input on that and there's times where we sound the melody right in the studio and we're like 'that's it, whatever you sang right there, that's it'. You just add lyrics to that and boom!

KNAC.COM: Do you guys write any songs outside of the studio environment or do you do all of it once you get in the studio?

PRECIADO: No, for the most part we took off a year, a little less than a year to write. We did the same thing for Collide. We took a year off to write Collide With The Sky. We actually got a cabin up in Big Bear where we had it set up where we would just work on stuff and get...we're from San Diego, so to get out of the San Diego element. We did the same thing on this record and yeah, we definitely come into the studio with as much material as possible but sometimes that material doesn't necessarily make it at that moment so there's some writing in the studio as well.

KNAC.COM: Originally the band had hoped to have the album out around this time or just a bit later this year. What caused the delay?

PRECIADO: I think just for us, getting the studio actually booked and I know Korneff had some bands that he was working on and that kinda pushed us back a little bit, but also, for us, we like to take our time to write and we're not the quickest writers, you know? We trudge along but we definitely like I said before, we exhaust every possibility for every song we make. We've heard the faster version of it, the slower version, the Spanish version of it, whatever version we have for that song we've probably made 30 of 'em. We definitely aren't just sitting around, we're definitely working.

KNAC.COM: You want to make it the best possible product that you can.

PRECIADO: Yeah, for us, we've always tried to better ourselves, trying to get better and better and better and I think that we wanna get better. The only way to do that is to make mistakes and try each way even if it's not gonna work, still try it that way just to hear and maybe that might inspire something else down the road.

Adam Elmakias
KNAC.COM: Speaking of your last album, Collide With The Sky, which was released in 2012, sold around a quarter million copies, which is pretty respectable considering the state of the music industry right now.

PRECIADO: Yeah, that's pretty crazy.

KNAC.COM: Are the expectations pretty high for this new album?

PRECIADO: (Laughs) I can only assume that they are. I don't know, that kind of stuff we phase out towards the studio process because we can't have anything like that, you know, that nervousness that's always good to have, you definitely want that when you're going into the studio cuz you want to feel like you're making something and have a little bit of that pressure, but not to the point where you're taking away from the creative aspect of it, you know?

KNAC.COM: Which leads right into my next question, if you guys were feeling any pressure to top the last album?

PRECIADO: Yeah, I think the longer the time that we're in the studio we feel it and I think it's a good thing. I think it's one of those things that keeps us going every day. And that's another one of those things that Dan was good at, Dan Korneff. He's the realistic fifth member of the band. We could spend 3 or 4 days on a song and he's like 'alright guys, we gotta move on, let's finish this up, let's go'. He's got a timeline in his head, that sort of thing that keeps us going. He's like the moving pressure, we gotta keep going, we gotta keep going... (laughs). He knows exactly what needs to be done, not to mention he's got to sit there and mix the thing.

KNAC.COM: You've got a short US tour coming up with SLEEPING WITH SIRENS which kicks off in November before the album even comes out. Can the fans expect to hear some of the new music on the tour?

PRECIADO: I believe that's the plan. Every time we start a new tour with a record that's about to come out we'll try to pull out a song or two. Yeah, that's definitely the plan and that tour is gonna be pretty crazy, it'll be a fun one. We're actually doing a lot of dates on that one so...

KNAC.COM: How excited are you to get back to playing live again?

PRECIADO: So excited! We run on a schedule of like, we're at home and we're writing, and then we jump in the studio and record. Then there's like a couple of months in between where we're really excited to go play and then we play for like 2 years straight (laughs), and then you wanna get back in the studio and all that stuff. So, right now we wanna get back on the road ASAP and start playing some new songs and playing shows and going out with SLEEPING, I think that tour's going to be awesome.

KNAC.COM: I caught the sold out Spring Fever Tour that you guys did with ALL TIME LOW in Houston last year. My son is the one who talked me into going because he's a huge fan of you guys. I was impressed, really impressed.

PRECIADO: Thank you man, it was a fun show.

KNAC.COM: You had a pretty cool stage setup on that tour. Are there any surprises coming in terms of stage production for this upcoming run that you're about to do?

PRECIADO: Yeah, we're always trying to outdo ourselves in every aspect of everything. That tour was one of those jumps of production and I think we're on that train to jump up in production again and outdo ourselves on that. We had a lot of fun making that stuff and I think there's some cool stuff to be created and thrown onstage to make it a real show. That's what we're all about.

KNAC.COM: The band appeared to be having a blast on that tour. Are you guys really having that much fun?

PRECIADO: Yes (laughs). We're definitely having that much fun, there's no doubt about it. We always get that, it's like the best thing, it's not an act. It's very difficult to act that happy. We're definitely just stoked just to be onstage playing.

KNAC.COM: And you guys as a band really, that last year when Collide With The Sky came out, that was really like the take off point for the band. You went from ground level to the atmosphere in a very short period of time. You had to be amazed.

PRECIADO: (Laughs) We were very shocked. It was a very exciting time for us. I think at that moment we didn't really know what to expect, putting out a new record, and kind of how we're feeling now, coming into this record. I really don't know what to expect, putting out a new record. People change, the ideas change, things happen and all you want is for kids to listen to it understand what you were trying to do and just enjoy the record that you made, you know? For that one (Collide), we were SO lucky to have the fans on board and support us like they did. Hopefully with this new record they'll do the same thing. I hope it does it.

KNAC.COM: Given the fact that the last couple of runs were sold out all the way through, will you be hitting bigger venues this time around or are you going to try and keep it small and more intimate?

PRECIADO: On this SLEEPING WITH SIRENS tour we're going to be playing some pretty good size rooms. I think it's just to get more kids to come out. Thatís what it's always been about, to reach as many kids as possible. I think now, for both us and SLEEPING WITH SIRENS, we're in different places in our careers now. When we toured back in 2012 we were in completely different spots, they've got a new record coming out and we're going to have a new record coming out, so I think it'll be fun. I think the kids will wanna come check it out. Not to mention we'll have some really cool up-and-coming bands on that tour too. It'll be a great show.

KNAC.COM: What are the plans after that U.S. run? It's really kind of a short run and not what you would consider a major world tour.

PRECIADO: We announced dates for the World Tour in Europe and the UK. We released those and we're planning to release more legs of the tour very, very soon, cause there are a lot more legs.

KNAC.COM: So you plan to be out on the road for quite a while then?

Yes sir (laughs). We're going to be out there, happy about it until, you know 4, 5, 6 months in and then I'll be like 'man, I need a break' but, we're good man, we're ready for it.

KNAC.COM: Do you ever schedule a break in a tour like that, give yourselves a couple of weeks, maybe a month off or is it pretty much keep going?

PRECIADO: Yeah, I mean, I think in the very beginning it was all about keep going, keep going, keep going, just because you were growing, and that's not to say we're not growing still but I think in the earlier times in the band we were trying to push ourselves to just do as many gigs as possible. Now we're a little bit more established and we can do a short U.S. tour, like a B-Market tour in November, take December off and then get back at it.

KNAC.COM: Did you ever think the band would become this successful when you first started out?

PRECIADO: I think my level of what I thought successful meant was just being able to play music every night and since we started the band it's been nothing but, it's been surreal. Did I think we were gonna get this far? Absolutely not, no, but we're thankful to be here and we're not planning on going anywhere. We're just going to try to keep outdoing ourselves and try to push ourselves and hopefully the band'll grow and the fans grow as well.

KNAC.COM: How about a message to all the PIERCE THE VEIL fans in closing?

PRECIADO: Well, thank you guys so much. I love you guys and hope to see you on the World Tour, the tour with SLEEPING WITH SIRENS very, very soon and if you don't think it's coming to you, it probably will be very, very soon.

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