GuitarWorld.com has partnered with Fearless Records to bring you this exclusive premiere of "Bulls in the Bronx," a brand-new single by Pierce the Veil.
The new single, the Latin-themed followup to “King for a Day,” which was released earlier this month, has it all, from Mike Fuentes’ beefy percussion to his brother Vic Fuentes’ guttural growls and even — yes — a mariachi breakdown.
The San Diego-based PTV, who are considered one of this year’s bands to watch, will be releasing their third album, Collide With the Sky, July 17 on Fearless Records. In the meantime, the band are knee-deep in the 16th annual Warped Tour.
Below, Vic Fuentes lets us in on his music-filled childhood, how Fearless Records has played a role in the band's history and what’s in store for the duration of Warped Tour 2012. And be sure to check out the premiere of "Bulls in the Bronx" via the YouTube player below!
[[ Buy "Bulls in the Bronx" now on iTunes (opens in new tab). ]]
GUITAR WORLD: First of all, tell us a little about the story behind Collide With the Sky. What does the title allude to?
I guess you could say the album artwork kind of ties in with a lot of the themes on the record. On the cover, there is a girl floating above this house that’s kind of falling apart. The idea is that the character is supposed to look like they’re either falling or floating or jumping — you kind of don’t know what’s happening, so the idea is that you’re sort of jumping from the ground or foundation that’s beneath you. It almost inspires a little sense of hope like, “Maybe they’re not falling.” It’s like finding a sense of hope around destruction and chaos. It comes down to trying to get away from things that are maybe breaking in your life.
It can be argued that Pierce the Veil are one of the most diverse bands out there; you even included a mariachi breakdown in “Bulls in the Bronx.” Can we attribute any of this to your childhood — growing up and learning how to play guitar? And what is it about where you come from that shows up in this song?
Yeah, there is definitely a random Spanish break right smack in the middle of the song [laughs]. That definitely comes from a lot of influence from my dad. He’s the one who taught me how to play guitar and taught my brother [Mike] how to play drums. We’ve got a million guitars around our house. He’s kind of like a jazz-Spanish writer. So that [breakdown] definitely comes from him as well as just our love for throwing a small Spanish feel into our songs every once in a while.
In what ways did the album and the writing process reflect the growth and integrity of the band, even dating back to when you and Mike were playing in Early Times and Before Today?
My brother and I come from Southern California where there is a lot of punk rock. That’s where the band originated, and we still do a lot of fast punk stuff. Some of our songs can be kind of dance-y and random at times, but I think that we definitely keep that same vibe. I think we get inspired a lot by all of the bands we see, and I think we get inspired by the crowds. We talk to them and we see how crazy they go from the stage. So that all inspires us too.
A lot of bands are given a hard time by their fans for signing to hardcore and punk powerhouse labels such a Rise Records and Fearless Records. Many people feel these labels have a specific mold for bands, thus creating a stigma and controversy within the scene even though bands like Pierce the Veil are constantly proving them wrong. What led to the decision for you guys to team up with Fearless versus sticking with Equal Vision Records?
We were with Equal Vision for forever — eight years or something like that. I think we had just reached the end of our contract and just wanted to try something different to see what we would happen. I had kind of a cool opportunity with Fearless where our friend Chris — he is our A&R guy at Fearless — about nine or 10 years ago, we were all just jamming and stuff. We were friends a long time ago. He started interning at record labels, and he was basically the whole reason why we got signed in the very beginning. He was the one who pushed our demo. He was like, “This is a local band. You’ve got to see these guys.”
Since then, he’s worked in the industry with a bunch of major labels, and eventually he decided that he wanted to work with an indie label, so he started working for Fearless. The first band that he wanted to work with was us because we were friends with him, so it’s kind of crazy — this whole thing has come to a giant full circle with us working with Fearless.
As a guitarist, how did this experience of writing and recording Collide With the Sky emphasize your musical relationship with Tony [Perry]?
This album was cool because we just set up our gear and a PA and mic’d everything up. We were able to play around with stuff. We definitely just did a whole lot of jamming, and it was the first time we had really done that for an album. Tony and I were working on parts together all the time, and I think that just having that environment kind of helped to shape the songs a little bit and helped us to write a ton of stuff on the spot as guitar players.
What gear was used to write and record the album?
The studio had everything we really needed, so we actually didn’t have to bring much of our own gear. The guitar sounds on the record are what we spent the most time. It was insane. Basically, the guys that we worked with collected as much gear over the years as they could and then ended up selling anything that wasn’t what they thought to be the best. So basically, we got to record with the best-sounding stuff they had.
We spent a ton of time on guitars, using everything from nylon strings to acoustics to baritone guitars. It was really cool. The producers worked really hard with us to get the sounded that we wanted. They’re not like rock star dudes. They are still just trying to make a name for themselves, and so are we. We’d spend hours on one little guitar part, using different amps and mics to get different tones and stuff. Literally, every guitar sound on the record was super thought out and exactly what we wanted.
Based on the title alone, “Bulls in the Bronx” sounds like it would make for a very interesting music video. Do you guys have plans to do any videos for your recent singles?
Definitely. We are going to do a video for the first single, “King for a Day.” I think we’re going to be shooting really soon — possibly on Warped Tour when we have a day off. As far as “Bulls in the Bronx,” we haven’t really discussed any ideas yet, but hopefully it’ll happen. I could definitely see something cool going on during that Spanish breakdown [laughs].
Can we expect any guest appearances — not mentioning names — for your live set on Warped Tour?
Yeah. Absolutely [laughs].
Collide With the Sky will be released July 17 on Fearless Records. Pre-order it now on iTunes. (opens in new tab)