The year 2006 brought us one of the best alternative rock bands that’s ruling the music scene right now: Pierce the Veil. Following the creation of their newest album Misadventures and non-stop touring, drummer Mike Fuentes, took the time out of his busy schedule to chat with MEB writer, Kristyn Shannon about Harry Potter, tour lighting, and being a perfectionist. Check it out below!
MEB: I know this might be a very strange way to start an interview, but I read that you – and I’m hoping the band itself – loves Harry Potter; you even got a tattoo, right?
Mike: I’m the only one with the obsession. Tony is the one with the Star Wars obsession, but no one else in the band has a movie obsession (laughs). I have a portrait of Harry on my leg with a portrait of Hedwig and a Deathly Hallows on my palm, which hurt like hell.
How’d you get into loving the series?
I’m not a big reader, but I did read the first two books before starting the movies. From then on, I was really hooked on them. Yeah, I just loved the movies. I’ve been to the park in Orlando like five times and the one in Hollywood a few times.
What city are you most excited about to perform in and why?
This next tour is called the Made to Destroy Tour with Neck Deep and I Prevail. For U.S. tours, I love playing in Texas because those fans always seem to go the hardest. New York and L.A. are always a good time. I think everywhere is going to be a good time, honestly.
I’m actually going to see you at the Orlando venue in October.
Orlando is going to be awesome. I like the House of Blues venue. And hopefully we can sneak off to Harry Potter World in Universal too.
I was actually in the photo pit right by the stage during the Philly stop on the Misadventures Tour. Which the lighting was amazing for, by the way.
Thanks (laughs). We’ve actually heard that before. Our lighting guy is fantastic. And with this new tour, the lighting will be even better. Bigger venue, bigger lights.
What was the reason you decided to keep the crowds so much more intimate than at bigger venues?
Well, we were doing the whole new record in its entirety, which a lot of bands don’t really do. We wanted to start off with a more intimate feel because it’s our first tour after being away for so long. I remember, as a kid, loving the feel of being close to the band, so we wanted to give that opportunity to the die-hard fans for this tour. I do like having as many fans in a venue, so I think that’s what this tour is going to be. So everyone can come and have a good time.
The topics that have been covered in Misadventures come in a wide variety, ranging from fans intimidating girlfriends to the attacks in Paris. While the lyrics are obvious, how did you manage to convey all that emotion through the beat of the drums?
Me and my brother, we spent a lot of time writing these songs, obviously. This record took a bit of time for us. When we write, he takes the skeleton of a song and I try to compliment his part and his melodies with my melodies. Some parts try to basically copy what I’m playing with his guitar parts, which is tricky. We make a writing style, which is tricky. His lyrics have always been so personal and so true where every song has a story, so we always try to keep it like that. I think the fans are drawn to that; they sort of rely on that and I love that.
I hear that there are a lot of ’90s influences in lyrics, which I absolutely adore because the ’90s was truly the best time. Could you elaborate on a few?
That is more of a “my brother question,” but I know a lot of our song titles like, “Ludicrous Speed”, that is heavily a “Back to the Future” reference, but don’t quote me on that. A lot of classic movies like Beetlejuice have been referenced as well. We actually had a Beetlejuice quote written into the song “Today I Saw the Whole World,” but we couldn’t use it because of rights issues. It started the song, which would have been cool, but maybe next time.
You’ve recently announced your Made to Destroy Tour, which I am super pumped about. What’s it like going nearly straight from the end of the Misadventures Tour into a new one?
It’s crazy. We actually just got back from Australia a few days ago. We played with Beartooth and Silverstein. We’re super pumped about it because we haven’t played the U.S. in a while. We’re sharing the stage with I Prevail and Neck Deep. A lot of shows are sold out already, so we’re encouraging fans to get their tickets fast. Directly after is another tour in the UK with letlive. and Creeper. So, we’re gone until Christmas, pretty much.
While the Misadventures Tour sold out pretty quick, are you expecting the same for this tour?
Yeah, I mean, I know our fans are one hundred percent; they’ve got our backs. They always come out strong and ready to sing with us. This tour is a mix of the old songs and new. We’re also doing an acoustic song that we’ve never done on a tour, so I think kids will be pretty excited for that. All four of us will be sitting in the middle of the stage and we’re just going to play, which will be awesome. Especially since I’m always in the back, I’ll get to be in the front for a little bit (laughs).
We all know what Vic [Fuentes, vocalist] has been up to the past four months with writing the songs for Misadventures. What were the rest of you guys doing while he was making the record?
I think we were getting ready for all the tours that were coming up. I remember Vic coming home and we had to immediately leave for tour. We had to write the whole set and rehearsed by ourselves. We got everything ready as far as production by ourselves and handled it without Vic. We always do everything together as a band, so that was pretty different. We supported Vic all the time, though. He would send us demos and we would tell him what was super cool and what was super lame (laughs). We just played the waiting game.
In a previous interview, you mentioned that Pierce the Veil were “perfectionists” when it comes to songwriting. What is it like to be a perfectionist as a drummer?
Well, it is a bit annoying at times because someone who doesn’t know might think this take sounded perfect, you know? But only the musician will know when it sounds right. I know when it’ll sound right. It’s the same with all the other dudes. We’ll spend hours and hours on a two second part just to get it right. Others won’t know what that’s like, which is a good and bad thing about the band. Especially about a song, we’ll explore every option for one song and eventually we’d just go back to the first option, but at least we said we explored every option.
Is there any way we could get a preview of some songs to be expected on this tour?
It’s going to be a mixture of new and old and very, very old as well. But that’s all I can give ya. We always like to keep that a secret and we’re doing some cool stuff this tour. For our VIPs we’re doing a sound check before the show and each day will be different songs. There are still some tickets left and we want them to feel special. We’ll meet some of them after the sound check and then we’ll start the show. Just so kids get a little behind the scenes to what happens backstage before we go on.
To be honest, Pierce the Veil has been one of my personal favorite bands for years, actually since the Spring Fever Tour – which was my dream tour to attend.
That was one of my favorites, too.
In your wildest dreams did you, as a band I suppose, ever expect to mean so much to fans through your music and the love you put into each song?
I don’t think anyone can actually expect that. If they do, then they’re pretty damn cocky (laughs). I’ve always dreamed of it. We’ve worked so hard and we’re excited that fans came along for the ride. I think fans attach to us in a different way than to other bands. Each member has their own sort of fan club. It’s not just the frontman that everyone loves. Everyone loves everyone in this band. We’re normal dudes and we came from a little town in San Diego and everyone expects that. Everyone loves what we do and we’re just going to keep being there for our fans.
Is there anything else you’d like to say to our fans at Mind Equals Blown?
Yes. We are going on tour with Neck Deep and I Prevail. The tour is called Made to Destroy and our new record is called Misadventures. Come out to a show and come sing along with us!