Choose Your Own Adventure

Pierce the Veil had quite the frenetic experience recording their newest album, but it proves to be paying off: 'Misadventures' is soaring.

Photo by Jonathan Weiner

Pierce the Veil may have missed some deadlines getting their newest album out, but it proves to be paying off: ‘Misadventures’ is soaring. Bassist Jaime Preciado expounds on the adventurous decisions that led to the final record, the back-and-forth nature of their studio sessions and how they found out MTV’s Matt Pinfield was true to his word.

Photos by Jonathan Weiner

They’ve become one of the most beloved acts in the new generation of pop-punk and post-grunge music today. In ten years together, their fan base and exposure has steadily increased in number and intensity. And while still in the wake of their fourth studio album release, Misadventures, the quartet known as Pierce the Veil has already exceeded expectation, receiving critical acclaim and the adoration of fans from the work. Reinforcing this truth, Billboard’s Top 200 welcomed the spicy and energetic record at an impressive No. 4, topping Collide with the Sky, the band’s previous effort, as the most successful Pierce the Veil album chart-wise. (Collide debuted at No. 12.)

With their amplified success, the band has gained a sense of maturity and graciousness to go along with the personality and humor they embody. They’re focused and professional. Their jovial bassist Jaime Preciado is as good an example of these characteristics, something that makes the band relatable and accessible, no doubt contributing factors to the band’s rise, sharing the stage with brothers Vic and Mike Fuentes (frontman and drummer, respectively) and Tony Perry (guitarist). The amiable conversation I had with Preciado was a favorable reminder of the humanity found in the people of the music industry. As we spoke, Preciado looked forward to the extensive touring for the band, speaking delicately around the surprises fans can expect on the upcoming Made to Destroy Tour, a Journey’s-sponsored 30-plus date nation-wide trek with Neck Deep and I, Prevail, while also peppering in major festivals along the way.

A multi-instrumentalist and music engineer himself, Preciado also has a grand ambition outside of music: His passion for flying. Adventurous as he is, the band is still his primary focus — so getting his pilot’s license is on hold — but he is more than willing to sub in touring and recording. And though Pierce the Veil may have missed some deadlines getting their newest album out, it proves to be paying off: ‘Misadventures’ is soaring. Here, Preciado expounds on the adventurous decisions that led to the final record, how MTV VJ Matt Pinfield ended up in the band’s life and he assures us he’ll be ready to fly us to safety and save us in a zombie apocalypse.

Hey Jaime, how’s it going?
It’s going good. I just got back with the dudes, we’re jammin’, getting ready for our Australia trip tomorrow. We’re just tying all the loose ends up and we’re good to go!

You’re going to be pretty much on the road from here until the end of the year, right?
That is correct, yeah. I think we do Australia then we have a couple days home to get prepared for the Made To Destroy Tour. That’ll be the full U.S. with Neck Deep and I Prevail. Then from there we go to the U.K. and Europe and have some other stuff going on, including a bunch of radio shows and festivals and stuff. So we’ll be busy boys. Busy, busy boys.

You ready?
I think we’ve been waiting for a long time, especially with these songs. We’ve been anxious to play them on a stage, play them all over the world. A lot of new things are happening for us. (It’s our) first time headlining in Australia. We’re playing a lot of radio festivals we’ve never played before. It’s a lot of firsts for us, so we’re really excited about it.

Pierce the Veil Photo by Jonathan Weiner

Pierce the Veil (left to right): Mike Fuentes, Vic Fuentes, Tony Perry, Jaime Preciado; photo by Jonathan Weiner

You are touring in Australia with Silverstein, Storm the Sky and Beartooth. That’s going to be a killer show for the fans, they’re so lucky!
I hear that all the time. People will be like, “Why can’t that show come here?!” You gotta pick and choose. Australia’s been waiting a long time, so we’ll give them this one.

I can’t thank those bands enough for helping us out and being part of the show. They’re all really good friends of ours — we’ve toured with Silverstein plenty of times — and we’ve shared laughs, and it’s all been fun. They were going to do their own tour, and we were going to be down there at similar times and we kind of decided, “Yo! What if we just all toured together? What do you guys think about that?” They were just like, “Hell yeah, let’s do it!” It really isn’t so much about the band stuff, it was more about the friend stuff. Like, Let’s hang in Australia together, that’d be great! So, I’m glad it turned out the way it did. All those bands are super great and it’ll be a fun show.

So what’s this I hear that you created some kind of a cinematic intro for the tour?
We haven’t unveiled anything of it yet or anything like that, but I deal with that kind of stuff all the time for when we go on tour. I’ve been into that since I was younger; I went to school for it. But yeah, I don’t want to give away too much, but it’ll definitely be a fun show.

You did the Foley effects for it, though. Are you cool talking about that?
It’s more for the Made To Destroy Tour. We’re doing more of a visual intro thing that we’ve never done before. We had our buddy Dan help. He’s a great animator, he’s a great video guy, he does a lot of our stuff. We worked with (other) artists. What it pretty much is — without trying to give away too much — is the artwork from Misadventures coming to life and taking you on a little trip, if you may. Obviously, all those things need sounds, and they have to come to life in a creative way so I tried to make that happen. I had a lot of fun doing it.

That sounds like a really good time! Was your buddy Dan the same guy who did the video for “Circles”?
The one who did “Circles,” his name is Drew Russ. We’ve worked with him on a couple of videos, but he’s not necessarily, like, our “main video guy.” Depending on what we need, we kind of pick and choose what’s appropriate. We’re actually doing a new video here soon, and it’ll be with a different director.

I thought it was just me picking up on it, but my husband noticed it, too: Was the “Circles” video inspired by the ’90s movie Nothing But Trouble?
Absolutely. Nailed it!

That’s so awesome. We were just dying watching it, it’s great! Although, I don’t know how much of the younger generation will pick up on the movie reference.
For sure. We’re a little bit older (than our fans), and we love that movie and thought it was a cool concept. We didn’t want to completely just take the whole movie; there were some parts that we changed. We put it in a hotel instead, and it was just one guy. The ending, of course — the “We’ll see you soon” — that was the main thing that had to stick. It was really fun. We just liked the whole concept of trying to escape this crazy madhouse of contraptions this guy was running. But yeah, that definitely was the inspiration and it turned out really cool.

We had Matt Pinfield in it. He was the “bad guy.” He’s such a cool guy. He was an MTV VJ for a lot of years, and he was in the rock industry forever. The guy will literally talk your ear off. He has a story about everything. He signed a ton of bands, like Coheed and Cambria. We actually called his bluff, because we’d told him we were shooting a video in the next couple of weeks and he was like, “If you ever need a short, bald guy, you let me know!” So we called him up literally like three days later and were like, “We’re shooting a video tomorrow, you want to be in it?” He was like, “Absolutely, yes!”

That’s so epic!
Yeah, it was so great!

Well, so far the album is doing just incredible. Are you guys surprised by the amount of success you’ve already achieved in the last few months with it?
Yeah, I would definitely say surprised. Honestly, I think we were so caught up in the fact that we were trying to finish it in a timely manner. Obviously that didn’t go as planned, hence the name of the album. We tried so hard to get the thing done and get it done our way, you know, and make the record we wanted to make. It took a toll. It definitely was tough at times. There were times when it was like, holy crap, we’re not going to get this done.

“I think every record we make there’s always going to be that “Is this the one?” vibe, because you never know what we’re going to make or create.”

At the end of the day, we just wanted to make a record we felt really strongly and good about from beginning to end. So, all the shit that went through everything — from having to create songs in the studio to having our singer kind of go on this crazy road trip to find inspiration for the lyrics — all that stuff kind of made the record what it is. For us, we’re so pumped right now, and I think more thankful the fans were patient enough to wait for it. That was the biggest great thing, you know? We were still so relieved when the record was done, that’s how that idea came up to play (the album) in its entirety on tour. Like, why don’t we just play this whole record at a show?

Nobody does that. Everybody just plays an eclectic set list.
Yeah, and that’s kind of reserved for bands that’ve been together forever and have this crazy record that it’s, like, the anniversary of or whatever. We were being a little ambitious and just said, you know what? Let’s do something crazy. Let’s try this and see what happens. And it turned out great; we played I think 15 shows in the States and it was crazy, crazy, cool. That was, for me, the best moment so far of having this record out: seeing every single kid sing every single song. And the record was only out like a couple weeks then or something. What’s most incredible for me is that the tour sold out before the record was even out.

Pierce the Veil on the set of Conan O'Brien; Photo by Team Coco

Pierce the Veil on the set of Conan O’Brien; Photo by Team Coco

That’s shows a lot of faith in you guys.
(Laughs) Yeah. I was like, man, what if they get the record and they’re like “This is horrible! I’m not coming!” With this record, we tried to break out of our little comfort zone a little bit. I think you have to do that to stay on your toes, especially in this industry, because you can get really flat really fast. You gotta mix it up, you know?

Absolutely. You guys are ten years in, give or take. You’re pretty close to a decade together, and it’s been the same lineup throughout, right? It’s been the four of you?

That’s so incredibly rare. How does it feel at this point? Does this record feel more weighty, does it carry more pressure with it, like, is this the one?
Yeah. I think every record we make there’s always going to be that “Is this the one?” vibe, because you never know what we’re going to make or create.

“We do make a lot of mistakes, but we definitely take them and use them and learn from them. I think that’s how you mature and get better at anything you do. You gotta mess up first.”

After the first deadline we missed, then the second deadline we missed, then the ten other deadlines we missed — everybody was a little crazy! You know what I mean: You’re in a studio, then you’re not. We had a tour right in the middle of a session so we had to stop recording, went on tour — it was a world tour — came back to recording, then did Warped Tour, then came back to it. It was such a weird process. That’s just not how it works, that’s not how bands work. They go into a studio for a couple of months, they make a record, and they move on. Like I said, it was just a crazy process.

Probably wouldn’t do it again that way if you could choose?
No, absolutely not. The best thing about being in this band, I feel like, is that we do make a lot of mistakes, but we definitely take them and use them and learn from them. All of these things that we’ve done, some really great things and some not so much, we learn from it and go, Okay, let’s try this next time or let’s do it this way next time. I think that’s how you mature and get better at anything you do. You gotta mess up first. You gotta fall off the damn thing and try to get back on and see how it goes. The fact that we have almost ten years of being in this band and in this industry, I think that only helps us.

One thing I think is really cool about you guys is that you give a lot of props to your producer. I’ve read several articles already that talked about how pleased you were working with Dan Korneff again. Do you think he has a lot to do with how well this record has been received?
We always say the same things about Dan. He’s the guy, he’s the man. He’s the dream producer of all time that you want on your team. He’s the Brett Favre of the team.

He’s created some magic on so many albums.
We do a lot of work and prepare our music and songs, but he’s so good at getting what you want out of each song. If you want to spend a whole day on guitar tone, he’s there with you being like, “You know what, let’s get it right.” Because once you get it right, it lives forever. That’s how he thinks about it. So we’ll never be like, Oh man, I’m so bummed that we took this long to make this record, because all that matters is that the record is finally done and it’s set in stone. I think that’s (Dan’s) whole intention. If we’re going to take this long on it, let’s do it fucking right. I think that’s what kept us going and kept us motivated. Yeah, he’s the best, you know? We talk to him all the time. I’ll have a random question and call him up and whatever he’s doing he’ll stop and answer this 35 second question that I have or whatever. He just makes time for you. He is just such a good dude. We’re super pumped that he has our backs and we’ve always had his since the beginning. He’s our dude.

Pierce the Veil Photo by Jonathan Weiner

Pierce the Veil (left to right): Mike Fuentes, Vic Fuentes, Tony Perry, Jaime Preciado; photo by Jonathan Weiner

As somebody that has their own studio and does sound engineering on the side, what would be the artist that you’re just dying to record?
Alive or dead, recording Freddie Mercury would have been probably the craziest thing. I don’t know if you know anything about recording or how sound waves work, but his harmonies were so perfect — like, similar — they’d record three harmonies all the same and his harmonies were so perfect they would literally cancel each other out. So when you’d hear it, there was, like, nothing there.

How is that even possible?
I don’t know. It was a weird anomaly of a thing.

That’s awesome, though. Well I won’t keep you much longer, but I did want to ask you if you’d achieved becoming a pilot yet?
I have not. I’ve been a little busy as of late.

Just a little bit busy.
The hard thing about it is that I try to put so much time into the band, and I need some time (to fly). With flying, you can’t take a couple months off and then jump right back into it. You don’t start over, but you have to take a couple steps back to get your feet. You know what I’m saying? You can never start exactly where you left off. When I was home, I was doing a lot of work, flying two to three times a week, an hour each time, and it was super easy and it was going well. So, it’s a little bit tricky.

I’m really close to getting my pilot’s license, but the band is always going to be first. I think we’re off in January and that time is when I’m really going to sink my teeth into it. I only have maybe two weeks left of it, so I’m right there. Let’s just say, in a crazy zombie apocalypse — I live next to an airport — I could definitely fly us to safety. That’s how confident I am right now.

That’s pretty good! Do you remember the first time you actually got to be in the pilot’s position rather than being a passenger? What did that feel like to be up in the air and knowing you were in control?
I think the first time I felt the most gnarly was when I did my first solo. The very first time the instructor stepped out and I closed the door without him and it was just me in the cockpit and I taxied up to the runway and took off — I think I yelled out the most girlish scream I ever yelled out. It was just pure joy! I was like, “I’m flying a plane!!!” It’s one of those feelings I don’t think I can describe to anyone, because it’s very rare that there’s somebody that’s been in that position. It isn’t like tennis or golf where anyone can just show up.

For me, I’ve been wanting to do it since I was a little kid, so to be able to fly, that was one of those moments, I was just like, Holy crap, this is the real thing. I try to talk about it with some of my friends and they’re like, “We get it dude, we get it. You’re super cool.” I’m just like, Oh, dammit, no! I’m a loser… I’m a loser (laughs). But yeah, it’s something else, I tell you what.

Pierce the Veil was posted on August 15, 2016 for HM Magazine and authored by .