Pierce The Veil have just released their fifth album, the grunge and alternative rock leaning 'The Jaws Of Life.' We caught up with bassist Jaime Preciado to learn more about the record.
Pierce The Veil (Pic by Celina Kenyon)
On Friday, the famous American band Pierce The Veil returned with their fifth album, The Jaws Of Life. It’s an album that’s outside the band’s post-hardcore and emo vein, instead showcasing a penchant for grunge music, alternative rock and a bit of experimentation.
“This album has truly brought us closer than we've ever been. It was extremely difficult for us to be off the road and apart for so long. We've never missed anything more than playing music together and never had such a strong appreciation for recording, touring, and simply being in the same room together than we do now,” singer and guitarist Vic Fuentes said upon announcing the album.
He added, “The Jaws of Life is about how life can sink its teeth into you and try to devour you. The negativity in the world and within your mind can be a vicious thing. We're extremely grateful for this record, our fans, and the opportunity to play live music again.”
To celebrate the release of The Jaws Of Life, we caught up with bassist Jaime Preciado who’s hanging out at his home in “sunny, sunny San Diego.”
“With every album, we go in with the same mindset of ‘try not to try to make the same album twice, try to do different things.’ But we also take everything that we've learned from the previous albums and then be bold and try to experiment with stuff. And honestly, every album is kind of a snapshot of where we're at in life,” Preciado explains. While the band were recording The Jaws Of Life, they were listening to all sorts of music, from Deftones to Rage Against The Machine to The Smashing Pumpkins.
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“We wanted to peel back and try to make them more impactful,” he continues. The band also experiment with different sounds and tones, particularly the bass and electric guitar tones full of fuzz. “Yeah, I had a lot of fun on this album with the bass. I feel like this album featured the bass probably more than other albums – that was definitely on purpose.”
The aim was to give the album more life – more guts. A lot of the time, the bass guitar isn’t treated like a primary instrument and, other times, ends up getting buried in the mix; something Pierce The Veil actively subverts.
On Pass The Nirvana and Emergency Contact, Pierce The Veil utilise acoustic guitars to build richly layered tracks that bring grunge music into 2022 – just with brighter vocals. “I think for us, we're always learning about textures and trying to find new sounds, or maybe trying to make an old sound different,” Preciado says.
“On Pass The Nirvana, for example, the guitar Vic was playing on was broken,” he laughs, remembering the weird sound of the guitar. “He was just playing that riff over and over again, and we just thought it sounded amazing. A lot of stuff from the original demos made it on the actual album because it's just like, they captured exactly what we were looking for.”
The Jaws Of Life was produced by Paul Meany (Twenty One Pilots, Mutemath, The Blue Stones) and mixed by Adam Hawkins (Machine Gun Kelly, Turnstile, Twenty One Pilots). “Working with a producer like Paul Meany, who is an artist as well… he was a singer for Mutemath, he knows the ins and outs of being in a band, handling bandmates and label management – he knows the ins and outs of which we've never had before,” Preciado notes, talking about Meany’s creativity as well as the knowledge the band never knew they needed.
“He's an artist, so we were definitely going to push each other. And that's what we wanted from a producer,” Preciado adds. “It was a really cool, creative process. And, of course, Adam Hawkins is incredible – he elevated the songs to a new level sonically that I never thought could ever happen. You know, he made us still feel like a band, which is something that we've always wanted. I know what's popular right now is, you know, music sounding very digital and computerised and perfect. Everything's the perfect take, and it sounds really polished and clean. I think we went in the complete opposite direction – we want the noisy stuff. I think that builds character.”
Last year, Pierce The Veil performed at the inaugural When We Were Young festival in Las Vegas – an event that celebrated emo and pop-punk music of the 2000s and early 2010s. Of course, Pierce The Veil have come a long way since their Tumblr-famous second and third albums, Selfish Machines (2010) and Collide With The Sky (2012), the latter of which featured the hit single featuring Sleeping With Sirens’ Kellin Quinn, King For A Day.
“Growing up, we were going through different things, and I wouldn’t change anything,” Preciado explains. “I love the music we made together; it was like a snapshot in time. We're one of those bands that will always try to play the songs people want to hear.
“It's been such a treat to meet all these amazing people, people that I looked up to growing up… a perfect example was last year, the When We Were Young festival, playing that and having just pretty much every band we've ever played a show with in one place,” he continues, “it’s a testament to how long we've been doing this and what amazing people there are in all these bands. These friendships last a long time.
Pierce The Veil have grown up in “the scene,” and they’re getting ready to pass the torch to the next generation. It’s inevitable, right? “I can't wait to see what the new generation of music, bands and artists come through because right now, we're feeling like veterans from the Warped Tour days. It makes us feel like the old guys, but we're definitely feeling fresh, new, and young. So yeah, it was a pleasure playing with all those bands and seeing all those familiar faces.”
The Jaws Of Life Is out now. You can listen to it here.