‘Pier-ce-ver-ance’ [peer-suh–veer–uh ns]
Steady sisterly persistence in a course of musical CREATION, despite initial difficulty or delay in achieving some folkin’ success.
Catherine and Allison Pierce are living proof that model looks and lovesome hooks don’t always lead to instant success. You can be the whole sunny, paradisiacal pop package – the “indie ABBA” – and still have to wait years before the clouds clear way to that shimmering spotlight…
But in 2011 the sisters’ forecast finally changed; with the release of their smoky retro-folk flavoured fourth album, the bewitching ‘You & I’ (recorded in the grey wash of London, no less.)
Some might say their eventual glory was at the hands of Stevie Nicks-inspired sorcery, others – “the hot one from Coldplay”. Yet it was undoubtedly due to those years of hard work, fine-tuning and pierceverance that saw the girls’ talent garner the global attention they well and truly deserved!
With their soulful and sunkissed single ‘Believe In Me’ out today, plus a brand new album called ‘Creation’ ready to hatch on June 2nd, we caught up with The Pierces via t’internet for a bit of an (E)Q+A!
[youtube height=”HEIGHT” width=”WIDTH”]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J9nDkSk7-Tg[/youtube]
Here’s a silly one to kick off with ladies: I saw you performing in a Clarks store about 3 years ago…It’s a good job I’ve never had a shoe fetish, otherwise those hypnotic harmonies of yours would have left me broke and on the floor, with heels sticking in and out of God knows where! But if The Pierces had their own shoe “creation” (see what I rather shamefully did there) – what would it look and feel like?
It would be a black ankle boot…we’re obsessed with finding the perfect pair. And it would be comfortable!!!
Was making ‘Creation’ a comfortable process? Tell us a bit about the new album and why it’s different to anything you’ve previously released…
We wanted to do something that sounded a bit more modern but at the same time didn’t want to make it a major departure from our last record – so we spent a lot of time tapping into influences that would make it a natural progression. A lot of the demos were made on GarageBand with only electronic sounds and they had a certain charm that we wanted to keep. The demos definitely opened us up to the idea of featuring the acoustic guitar a bit less and going in a different direction!
‘You & I’ received a huge amount of positive media attention and really propelled The Pierces into the limelight for the first time internationally. Did its well-deserved success make Creation’s journey feel more like “second album syndrome” than working on a fifth offering?
Totally! It was the first time we felt pressure to measure up to something. But, we had to ignore those thoughts and just dive into the creative process…
Your Dad encouraged you to sing together from a very early age – how much would you say being sisters intrinsically helps with that creative process?
I’d say it helps and hinders in equal amounts! We usually write separately because we find it to be such a personal process, but we always have the other listen to it first before anyone else hears it. The songs have to pass each other’s approval!
Speaking of passing approval, after three fairly successful but “not-quite-successful enough” albums, you almost entirely gave up on trying to please the masses and ever hitting the big time. In fact you had the shortest break-up in history, when after just 24hrs, fate handed you a phone call and tour invite from Coldplay bassist, Guy ‘broody-looking’ Berryman (and ‘You & I’ was initially conceived.) Had you not found the encouragement to continue making music, what type of career would you have each pursued?
Catherine: I think I would be a painter or a writer and Allie would be a psychologist/interior designer. 🙂
[youtube height=”HEIGHT” width=”WIDTH”]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OlEG0Ze4RjI[/youtube]
Catherine, you’ve been experimenting with digital art and actually created videos for the album’s first two singles, ‘Kings’ and ‘Believe In Me’ – how long’s this been a secret passion of yours?
I’ve always loved painting and drawing and have gotten into the digital side of things recently. I learned Final Cut Pro so I could edit our videos and I really loved the process so I kept experimenting. You can do amazing things with even the apps on your phone. Kings was shot fully on our iPhones and I did all the special effects for that on Final Cut Pro. I love technology! 🙂
Do you both have a ‘dream artist’ whom you’d love to collaborate musically with in the future? (We don’t mind if you use a few spells to resurrect someone from the grave…just be sure to carefully pop them back afterwards. I’m not going to be sued by any earthworms!)
Allison says Fleet Foxes. I say Prince or Pharrell. No zombie collaborations today…we’ll let the dead sleep!
Was there a melding of musical minds with anyone special – or indeed dreamy – during the making of Creation?
Yes! Leggy Langdon produced the new album – he is amazingly talented and was so passionate about translating our vision. It was a perfect match!
While we’re on the subject of getting leggy, the state of “feminism in pop music” has been a contentious topic more than ever this past year, with the likes of [a scantily clad] Miley Cyrus, Rihanna and Beyoncé all making waves (and of course there was Robin Thicke.) Is the world spending too much time dissecting pop music, or do you believe there are real issues that we all need to address?
My feelings are mixed on the subject. I don’t think there is anything wrong with expressing your sexuality or the beauty of a woman’s body, but it’s gotten to the point where every video, and every performance becomes more about how much of your body you can reveal rather than about the actual song. I think that’s disappointing.
Also feminism means social, economic, and political equality to men, it has nothing to do with shaking your ass.
I do love Miley, Rihanna, and Beyoncé and I think what they do is serving a purpose, but I think maybe there could be more of a balance and we could raise up some role models that give a different message. It would be a shame if all the young girls watching believed that in order to be noticed or worthy, you have be blatantly sexual. Subtle sexiness can also be very powerful and not overwhelm the other amazing attributes that women have to offer…like heart, soul, and mind!
Finally, the all-important question: can we expect any festival appearances as well as a European tour this summer?
It’s all being planned as we speak! We will definitely be touring and hitting some festivals!
You can purchase The Pierces’ new single ‘Believe In Me‘ on iTunes: