by Helen Earnshaw |
The Band Perry are back with their fantastic second album Pioneer, a record that comes three years after their debut.
We caught up with the band to chat about the new record, how it has been received and what lies ahead.
- The Band Perry are set to return with a new album Pioneer so what can we expect from the new record?
For us, Pioneer is walking into the future, but not necessarily knowing what path you’re going to take to get there.
A lot of the songs were written on a literal road trip that we took from our home in East Tennessee all the way through the south west, Grand Canyon, New Mexico and then ultimately to California where we were writing as well.
A lot of it is about progress and discovery, each track on the album played some role in what we were thinking about, or living out over the last couple of years.
We also found inspiration frankly from a lot of fan stories as well. We listen to fans in the signing lines and their letters to us are intensely inspiring.
- The album has already been tipped by Justin Timberlake as one of the must buy albums of the year, what do you think when you hear comments like that?
To hear the enthusiasm from both our peers in the music business and also our fans is so exciting, ‘cos sometimes it’s hard to hit both, so that’s one thing we’ve been thrilled to see with Pioneer.
- Pioneer comes three years after your debut so how does the sound of this new record compare with that debut?
We feel that we embraced a lot more electric guitar and lot more aggressive drum beats on Pioneer. We always had those arrows in our quiver so to speak but, with the making of our first album [The Band Perry] it was more of a point of entry album.
You know, when you meet someone for the first time, you don’t necessarily show all your cards, but as you get to know each other you get to learn more and more about each other and that’s how the friendship grows.
That’s how we see the distinction between the sound of our first album and everything that we’ve tried to embrace on Pioneer.
With this being the second album, the one thing we were determined to not be was a one-hit wonder, and we made so many deliberate decisions to just dig deep and work hard and to bring our true and honest selves out on Pioneer, and we’re just so glad that it translated onto the record.
- How do you feel you have developed both as writers and musicians between this album and this?
Between the two projects we have evolved towards more honesty and vulnerability in our song writing. I think one of the things that we learned with ‘If I Die Young’ was the responsibility to write songs that people could relate to.
We heard so many stories about how ‘If I Die Young’ took people through losses and different scenarios in their lives, so as we were writing for ‘Pioneer’, the main sticking point for the three of us was to write as honestly as we could.
Not write just pretty lyrics or cool new sets but write completely honest.
That’s harder than it sounds because it’s so easy to write poetry that quite frankly means nothing and so it was a really cool thing to dig deep and ask ourselves on every line ‘do I really believe this?’ ‘Is this something that’s inside of us, or something that we’re writing on the surface about?’
Putting so much heart into the record is what has helped make it translate to our fans.
- The likes of Dan Huff and Scott Borchetta have both had a hand in producing so how did those collaborations come about? And what were you looking for in your producer this time around?
Rick [Rubin] was very involved, and if you read the liner notes, we spent a whole paragraph talking about Rick. He was so involved in the song collection phase, the song writing phase. We wrote several of these songs sitting in his studio in Malibu with him in his control room guiding us through the steps.
But you know Rick in his current incarnation is such a minimalist which is what we love about him but we also had to take a hard look at the production side of this, and say you know ‘we’re not playing theatres anymore, we’ve graduated to amphitheatres’ and it’s a very different style of song and a very different style of recording, so Dann [Huff] being a macro producer, the opposite end of the spectrum is why we ended up going to him.
He threw the rule book out and allowed us to have some really bold moments.
- Huff has worked with the likes of LeAnne Rimes and Bon Jovi so how did you find working with him? And what do you think his input brings to this album?
One of the things that we really appreciated about Dann is that he came out and saw a live show. And like we’ve always said that’s the perfect snapshot of the Band Perry - us live.
That’s what we did before we did interviews, before we wrote songs, we were playing shows. So Dann came out and saw us and said 'we need to bring in the best element of your live show into the recordings, which are more electric guitars, more aggressive drum beats, the crazier background vocals too.'
He pulled all those things into Pioneer. Dann also pointed out the extra 'noises' Kimberly makes as a singer - hence the 'ughhh' at the end of 'DONE.'
- How have you found the response to the album so far - both here in the UK and in the U.S.?
When the album was released in The States, we were wondering how people were going to respond. I think when Better Dig Two got the reception it did, people really clung to that song, they loved it... enjoyed it... and I think that it really gave us a big boost of confidence.
- Are we going to be seeing you back in UK at some point this year playing some live shows?
We are planning to come back for an 18-20 city European tour later this year and there are a handful of UK dates in there, not only London but other parts of the UK as well - we are thrilled!
- You are siblings so whose idea was it to start the band?
Our parents, who are the 4th and 5th invisible members of The Band Perry, told us when we were younger that we would never be a part of the band because our last name is Perry.
We had to earn our spot on stage and grow into our various roles. They inspired our love of music. Neither of them were proper players - Dad was a closet bass player in college and Mom took piano lessons as a kid - but they certainly played the radio non-stop around the house.
- How do you find making music and travelling with family? Does it sometimes put a strain on the relationship?
We have been traveling together for the past 14 years - we’ve gotten good about giving each other space and getting along to go along.
All in our 20s now, we have fierce debates about creative things. Fireworks go off, alarm bells ring, but somehow we end up walking out of the room on the same page.
OCCASIONALLY we will revert back to our childhood, drawing invisible lines and then yes, crossing them, but we try to keep it to a minimum.
- Finally what is next for the band as you go through the rest of the year?
HEADLINING! We are in the planning stages even now. We really want to grow, we want to work hard to be present in the UK, and in Europe.
We really feel our music is an international language, and we can’t wait to bring our live show here. Seeing The Band Perry live is more fun than recess.
It’s where we work it all out and wear our heart’s way out on our sleeves. To understand our band you must see us in our live element.
The Band Perry - Pioneer is out now.