Interview with Jaime Preciado of Pierce the Veil

Interview with Jaime Preciado of Pierce the Veil
with Song River
Photo Credits: CowGirlZen Photography

The combination of talent and work ethic have raised Pierce the Veil to be one of the rock industry's front-runners. Fans of PTV have waited since their last album, Collide with the Sky (2012), for what PTV has always said they wanted to create, and that is something different, something with meaning and quality recording. Working with the same producer from their last album, plus the time they have taken to go on their 'misadventures' has paid off. The band decided together that a four-year detour of adventures as they toured worldwide and would bring the inspiration needed to each and every song recorded on their album, Misadventures. Now with ten years, four albums and constant touring PTV can state they are rock and they have rolled right to where they belong.

Continuing to keep that passion for life and music going come from the heart. Jaime Preciado shares how his approach to living by keeping a spirit of excitement, passion and the playfulness of never growing up is the grounding force really that the whole band embraces. Sure their latest album, Misadventures brings together a tight, well-balanced, full circle of deeply felt lyrics, along with a precision to its melodies and rhythm that makes PTV an artistic movement. Every single component of the artwork, to the lyrics, recording, touring is all a complete circle that brings the band members Vic Fuentes, Mike Fuentes, Tony Perry, and Jaime Preciado together with their fans.

Song River: It is so good to talk to you today Jaime. How are you doing? Awake enough yet?

Jaime Preciado: I have been up walking my dog around and yeah it's all good. 

SR: With the release of your new album, Misadventures, and your fans waiting patiently (sometimes not so patiently), plus all your touring you must be on that never-ending hamster wheel of interviews.

JP: (laughed) Yeah, but that is what we love! So, it's all good!  

SR: So, welcome to number 1,000,033! 

JP: (laughed) I am so excited!

SR: Yeah, yeah. 

JP: No, seriously I am. Love doing this and how are you doing? Oh, by the way, I love your name, Song, wow. What a great name.

SR: Why thank you. Yep, Song it is and I'm doing great. I have my coffee and bottle of water so we are good to go!

JP: Perfect.

SR: Well, first, I wanted to wish you a Happy Birthday Jaime (May 17th). 

JP: It is tomorrow and you know what? I think you are the first one to wish me a Happy Birthday! Wow, it's scary. I am going to turn 30. 

SR: Has it hit you that the 'youth' years are now leaving and the 'adult' years are now happening?

JP: Well, I guess I've been the one kind of holding it in the 20's as our guitar player had just turned 30 recently, in March I think, so... sorry I am running around here and my dog keeps following... It is great, though, I am no longer in my 20's. 

SR: Do you remember back when you were a kid, 11,12 years old and thinking, “Wow, 30 is so old?” I know I did.

JP: Yeah, I do remember thinking that, but now I am here and I don't feel old and hopefully don't look old. I am still trying to be as fit as possible especially as we keep these shows going.

SR: Do you notice a difference Jaime in how you feel when performing now in comparison to how you felt ten years ago?

JP: If anything I feel a lot smoother because from playing so many shows you learn this rhythm and stuff. I play a whole hell a lot tighter than I did when I was young. You know when you’re young you’re not as focused. You know in the back of your head you're thinking, “I've got to look cool man!” (laughed) Now we have already gone through that phase and it's just like let's play a good rock show, you  know?

SR: Yes, and that makes sense. For many of us out here as fans of PTV and kind of growing up with you all musically this album, Misadventures, kind of seems to be this diploma of graduated maturity, if that makes sense. It brings all of your talents into one place that sounds complete from beginning to end. You guys seem really comfortable.

JP: Yeah, making this record was a long journey. It turned out to be this crazy, well, exactly what the record was called, Misadventures.  It took us from having us experimenting with things from before and with this record we knew what we were going for. This new record really took us to places we never thought of.  I think like you said, it's more of a mature sound, but still very fun and exciting.

SR: This album certainly is fun and exciting. It is a whole package of incredible art from the music to the engineering, production, and artwork. It shows you guys get yourself now. Plus, you are working with the same producer, Dan Korneff, as you did on your last album, Collide with the Sky. He must fit right with you.

JP: He is really the dream producer. He is the guy you want on your team. In that audio department and producing department is the guy that can go the full 100% on it. He is one of the big reasons why the record sounds the way it does. 
We have always kind of given him the open end to do whatever... go crazy on it. We aren’t a band that wants to tell our producer to make us go sound like this band or this band you know? For us, it was let's make a good sounding record and let's do a bunch of weird sounding stuff on it. There are songs on this record that we couldn’t have played on Collide, they are just so different.

SR: Do you think your experience Jaime in recording and engineering has helped bring about where you all are now too?

JP: Yeah, I think so. I mean obviously like having someone in the band that knows about that world is always going to benefit a band. Whether it's performing live, writing music, arranging or recording obviously that stuff helps. I think it's helpful when you have someone in a band when you're putting together even set-lists who understands this process, you know, kind of like a musical director would do for a big concert event. It is very similar to that. 
When the four of us are in a room and we get busy creating I start thinking of the logistics of what we are doing. How is that going to sound? What will go with that? So, it is a really cool process we have all come up with and I think it's been really great. 

SR: Would you say that true art is always in motion?

JP: (paused) Wow, that's some neat stuff. True art is always in motion... Yeah, I think that is pretty accurate. I mean, we are always creating and thinking of different ways to do something. I would definitely say that is true. 

SR: Looking at your own creative music journey Jaime. I mean you go back to middle school and there you were on a trumpet, and now... look at all you've learned and created. First of all, though I want to know more about this trumpet.

JP: (laughed) You know it is funny. I think it was about a week and a half ago I picked up an old trumpet that was sitting in a place we practice and hang out. It's actually like a side garage over at Mike and Vic's parents house. And they had an old trumpet lying around and I picked it up and I played it. Everyone was like, whoa, and I can't believe it I still have the chops for it. It's such a weird instrument.
I played all kinds of music, it's funny because there was obviously that SKA style of music that was going around and I started playing a bit of that but when I was younger it never occurred to me that you could play multiple instruments and it was okay. I thought I had to learn one instrument and be really good at it and there was no way you could do that with multiple instruments. My Uncle gave me my first guitar and it all kind went from there. Thinking... you know I wouldn't mind having a trumpet lying around the house, you know, to scare the animals. (laughed).

SR: You've had the trumpets in older mariachi style tracks way back when, but would you consider playing the trumpet now and adding it in?

JP: Yeah, of course, I would have to practice up a bit, though. (laughed).

SR: And I think today the trumpet is a pretty, “Hey, I am cool in a band” type of instrument. It's an instrument that can get chicks today.

JP: That's funny. 

SR: There was a cinematic style as you opened up on tour down in Mexico City?

JP: That was kind of an idea that we had. It's funny. I get inspired by show stuff, production, anything involving our show I get a lot of inspiration from going to Disneyland a lot. My girlfriend and I go a lot.  We go so much I think because it reminds me of being a kid again. It is such a fun place to have a good time. So, I would go there and go on these little rides and see these shows that they would put on and the amount of production they did was so out of control cool. I couldn't believe it. I mean I know they have a budget to pretty much do whatever they want but they come up with really cool and creative ways of making you feel like you’re in another world. I take that thought process and apply it to our shows. I want kids to feel like they are not in this big room but feel like they are in this special kind of cool place. An event where they are very feeling like they are in a very exclusive place. The intimacy that has been put into place just for them. 
So, for this intro Vic and I kind of had this idea where we take them on a ride. Very “StarTours'isck” we take them on this journey and it is a difficult thing to do sometimes. But we thought let's bring the artwork we had to life, so it all came together with this crazy idea.  We had the help of  our super talented artist, Mike Cortada, who did all the artwork for the album, and then our incredible videographer, Dan Fusselman, he animated it all, then I did all the sound design work, but it was such a crazy project but it worked out. Everyone working on it got it. It was perfect. We got really lucky. We joke around that it seems everything we do, like this record, always takes plenty of time, but this just came together quickly and it turned out awesome. We are really excited to use it for future tours.

SR: When you look at the front cover of the Misadventures album art you think of the proverbial “Boy Scout knife” with all the gizmos. Then with the title and the story behind it seemed like a tunnel running from Alice in Wonderland's world. Put this whole album in perspective in its creativity. As it feels like a whacky, fun ride.

JP: The inspiration going into this came from Vic during his days of growing up and going to punk bands and stuff. He was the one designing the flyers for these punk shows by hand, going to Kinko's and run off hundreds of these posters and when you make a copy of a copy of a copy it kind of distorts. It starts making these weird things pop out and think that imperfect look is what we liked. 
The artwork is actually what you’re seeing on the front cover, isn’t actually a drawing but it is a photo of a drawing. 

SR: Oh, so that makes it make sense now because when you look at it, its seems a bit distorted.

JP: Yes, it gives it a sort of popping out look. How we achieved this was by cutting out each and every little piece then put them on this piece of paper and we took a photo of all that just to make it look like it had some depth. 
Then every piece of the knife represents something in a song or something in a lyric. It worked out really cool. It really was a nostalgic kick back to those days I think when we were going to those shows . It really I think is a perfect way to bring it back. 

SR: It really is. Can you help explain what some of the instruments coming out of the knife correlate to in your songs off this album?

JP: Yeah, I can give you a couple, there are so many.  The one we use a lot is, of course, the praying hands, the mechanical praying hands are for the song, “Circles” and you obviously know what that song is attached to, the Paris attacks and those who lost their lives, so we are saying a prayer for them. Then there is a little rocket and a hand with a gun shooting it off into space, and there's a little man in the rocket and sometimes you know how you want to say, f*ck it and get away from everyone.  There's a bottle that is getting poured out by another hand that has to do with a loss of a friend, and you know how you raise a glass to them. That one is to our friend Tyson Stevens of Scary Kids Scaring Kids.  You know it's like everything just kind of relates to our lives, it's personal. It isn't just for looks or whatever. It is all very personal.

SR: Well, isn't that why you all really took your time with this creation? Especially in a world of instant gratification, "get the next (fill in the blank) out quick and fast no matter what it sounds or looks like." You have to feel with Misadventures that this about good things come to those who wait.

JP: Definitely. We wanted this to be special. We want it to last. When we had pretty much everything done, but the lyrics weren’t hitting us like they should that's when we realized this isn’t our style. This isn’t what we like to do. We just can't put out this record because the management said so or the label wants it. We took a step back and said let's reevaluate all of this. As we did that, and the songs came together it felt right. And everything we do has to mean something to us. We want this record to be talked about for a while, not make something that fades and everyone's like what's next. We want longevity. 

SR: Maybe everyone on both sides can take some cues here from a 'seasoned' band. Doing anything right is worth taking the time to do. You have hit the ten-year mark, that says something in today's music industry.

JP: (laughed) Seasoned. But yeah absolutely. I agree. When you hit the ten-year mark it does say something. It feels so crazy.  It feels like with this album and the time we put into it that we have a brand new slate. Do I feel seasoned? No, we have a lot of time to create, put out great shows, do crazy stuff and make more music. We are now pretty much in the position where we can do what we want. I mean if we want to make paper flying pterodactyl and have them fly into the crowd we can. (laughed). I am pretty sure we could find somebody to make that now. I think its being in that place of where we now have full control over everything. And that's a good feeling. That's what we always wanted. We are very pumped and excited.

SR: What might be something your fans won't expect on this tour?

JP: Good question. I think what they are going to get is we are packing a lot of punch into these smaller venues. We are bringing the special feeling to our fans so they know just how much they mean to us. 

SR: Opening up and bringing who you are.

JP: We have seen tons of bands do what they do, now we always try to do something out of the box.  I think playing this album, Misadventures, from front to back is already a part of that. 

SR: Keep Disneyland always in your heart Jaime. Peter Pan rocks.

JP: I love that. Always, always keep that in my heart.  I will never grow up!