“We’re always on the lookout for new stuff to get weird sounds and make your guitar sound… not sound like a guitar,” says Pierce The Veil lead guitarist Tony Perry. Today, the band are in London to promote new album Misadventures and finding it surprisingly sunny for rainy ol’ Blighty.
“We ended our last album, cycle and could tell things had definitely gotten bigger and bigger,” he continues. “That’s part of the reason why the record took longer than expected; we had to disrupt the recording process and try to come back with something even better.
“It’s definitely interesting now, because we’ve taken a long break and it’s almost like we haven’t really experienced what we’re coming back into! It’s only when I’m doing interviews I realise we haven’t really had time to settle into where we are as a band yet. I think it’s going to be an interesting year!”
You can say that again. The quartet’s fourth offering could very well be the second biggest pop-punk album of the year - after Blink-182, of course - and looks set to see them rise further still. Naturally, Tony and his fellow guitarist/singer Vic Fuentes have been searching for a guitar tone that can live up to such dizzying expectation.
“We used different amps our producer [Dan Korneff] had in the studio,” he says, “but generally we stick to our Marshalls. Our tech Johnny actually modded mine: it’s a 1971 that he dialled and tweaked to bypass the low-end of the amp through gain stages, and cleaning that up. Then he built a brand-new replica of mine for Vic - those things are like our tone machines!
“I guess a huge part of the Pierce The Veil sound is keeping your bass and low-end really tight, to allow space for those high-end harmonics. We used to use a lot of distortion and gain, but the problem is that can also make your low-end really muddy. There’s a fine balance.”
Here, the guitarist picks the 10 albums that changed his life…
Misadventures is out now via Fearless Records.
1. Green Day - Dookie (1994)
“This was a huge one for me! It was the first punk-rock album I ever owned - one of my aunts gave me a tape of it. That kinda paved the way; I think I was in fourth grade so really young at that time.
“I guess the big hit When I Come Around was my favourite song, just because it was the first to catch my attention… I used to listen to the whole thing from front to back because you couldn’t skip around.
“Then the first CD I bought one year later was Green Day’s Nimrod. It’s crazy to think the biggest single from that album was an acoustic ballad… there was a huge change between those two records. Green Day made me appreciate rock music in general and start thinking about becoming a musician. And I was only 10 years old!”
2. Blink-182 - Dude Ranch (1997)
“To me, Blink-182 are like hometown heroes! I think I first heard Dammit on the radio very early on. I loved it so much, I used to call in to get them to play it again so I could record it onto my tape player, ha ha!
“This was around the time I became more interested in playing music, around 11 or 12. I actually wanted to play drums at first, so my mom got me a little drum kit and I started practising at that. My life was changed: I wanted to be in a punk band… playing drums!”
3. AFI - Very Proud Of Ya (1996)
“Through Blink-182, I heard about more bands when I was in middle school. Some of the guys in my friend group had older brothers that used to listen to more heavy punk bands, not the pop-punk stuff. One of them showed us a band called AFI, and we would listen to the album over and over again.
“It was such a different take from the melodic stuff like Blink-182 and Green Day. From poppier stuff to this extremely fast yelling and screaming, Davey Havok just going nuts. That was huge for me - and became my transition to heavier styles of punk.”
4. Voodoo Glow Skulls - The Band Geek Mafia (1998)
“I think they used to call this ska-core, and there was probably more of a scene of it back then. When I heard that title track, the first thing that hit me was how it just felt really heavy and yet still had all the massive horns and everything.
“And that’s probably the reason I like it so much. There was still an aggressive enough sound like all the other punk bands of their era, which is what I was getting into at the time.”
5. Bad Religion - All Ages (1995)
“This is actually one of their compilation, greatest hits type of albums. One of my friends lent it to me and I have to admit, I kept it for so much longer than I was supposed to, ha ha! It just sounded so good to my ears…
“And I think, because I was so young, it was actually better for me to hear a good mix of everything Bad Religion had done up until that point. It was definitely my gateway into more political-punk stuff. Which actually reminds me of my next record…”
6. Anti-Flag - Die For The Government (1996)
“I remember this blowing me and all my friends away when we were in high school. It was quite extreme political and another huge eye-opener to that side of music. Because, before, I would listen to music in an entirely different context.
“Though I don’t see Pierce The Veil ever going down the political route: I don’t think that’s our thing, nor would our fans connect with it as much as they do the emotional side of life.
“Also, I’m not writing the lyrics… so storytelling is Vic’s thing, and his influences come more from his house, parents, relationships and all that. You’re either passionate about doing political stuff or you’re not. And if you’re not, it won’t translate on a record.”
7. Thrice - The Illusion Of Safety (2002)
“This record was my transition towards metal and heavier stuff. I was never a fan of metal before - it was only the punk stuff, because when you’re young you can be a lot more stubborn. You tend to like just one thing.
“Thrice opened my ears to heavy breakdowns and new parts I’d never thought of before. Everything was always fast… so they felt really new to me. It was a crazy mix of punk and hardcore. Their guitarists, Dustin Kensrue and Teppei Teranishi, have this unique writing style - their skills on guitar are insane!”
8. As I Lay Dying - Frail Words Collapse (2003)
“Around that same time, in high school, I fell in love with metalcore, and this record was the one for me. They were all from San Diego, too, so I remember seeing them play really small shows, and a lot of the hardcore scene in our community was based around churches.
“Obviously, As I Lay Dying were a Christian band at the time, so you’d see this brutal metal band play in a small church with a bunch of your friends. It opened my ears to an entire world of heavy.
“I thought about leaving this one out [singer Tim Lambesis is serving a six-year sentence for solicitation of murder]… but I don’t think it’s fair to do that just because of one guy’s actions. Everyone else in the band played that music and they’re still great musicians, so I figured I’d leave it in.”
9. American Nightmare - Background Music (2001)
“I think around the time this record came out, they had to switch names [following a legal battle] to Give Up The Ghost. Now they’re back as American Nightmare. This album always sounded on the more punk side of hardcore for me…
“I always found a huge amount of emotion and intensity in their singer, Wesley Eisold’s, lyrics. Like the kind of thing that made you feel exactly how he felt as he screamed those words into the microphone.”
10. Saves The Day - Through Being Cool (1999)
“Again, this one’s just an amazing record for me when it comes down to its lyrics. I love the way Chris Conley can write these very blunt, morbid lyrics to this kinda happy pop-punk music. Everything sounds so upbeat most of the time, but if you listen to what he’s saying it’s so morbid.
“Another very special thing about this record is, during a couple years of us touring, before every show we’d play this record. We’d warm up for our set playing along to all the songs, ha ha!”