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The Band Perry interview

The country trio tell us about their new album Pioneer.

The Band Perry

The Band Perry is one of the hottest country bands in the US at the moment.

Their debut self-titled album sold over 1.5 million copies in the US and enjoyed moderate success here in the UK. Their new album Pioneer has topped the US Country charts and is looking likely to give the band their biggest UK success to date.

We caught up with Kimberly, Neil and Reid to find out more about the new album, talk about country music in the UK and find out what they have coming up during the rest of this year.

How are you guys today? Where does this Q&A find you?

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Kimberly Perry: We’re actually in Kensington in a very nice hotel! We only just landed, a couple of hours ago, so we’re adjusting to the time!

How is the jetlag finding you?

KP: You know, jetlag is a little tougher this time. Usually we leave later in the evening back home so it gets more like a “oh, hi we just got a whole night’s rest on the plane” but this time is a little bit tougher. We’re a couple of cups of coffee in right now so we’ll just be fine in a little bit!

Your  new single “Done” is about to be released in the UK. Can you tell us the story behind the track?

Reid Perry: You know what’s funny, whenever one of us from the Band Perry goes to something, we always say it’s “we” just because when you’re in such tight quarters as you are in the bus, if one person is dealing with it everyone does. “Done” is something that once splashed all of us, we were just basically fed up with this situation and we’re ready to set on.

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KP: My favourite thing about “Done” is that it’s capital D-O-N-E period. Very definitive. Reid and Neil actually wrote this song and they just kind of kicked me out of the room for it, so I had to double check and make sure that I was not the inspiration for it. But it’s just that age old sentiment that we all feel from time to time whether it’s in a relationship or in a particular circumstance, or whether it’s a friend or a job when, you know, you pour into something so much you have nothing left to give. And my favourite thing right now too is that so many of the fans are making it a down track and a song to be more whatever they are in that day, whether it is “all I want to be is done with my diet so I can get back to eating chocolate” or “all I want to be is done with this work week so I can get to the weekend”, we read all of these sentiments on Twitter.

Done is taken from your second album Pioneer. What can fans expect from the album?

Neil Perry: Fans can expect a little bit of everything on Pioneer. Some of the things that they can expect is to hear our journey, what we’ve been going through for the past few years since we released our first album since we released our first album. We’ve lived a whole lot of life since then. People will hear a little bit of rock’n’roll, they’ll hear a little bit more of our vulnerable side as well.

KP: I think we’ve reached a whole new level on Pioneer, we pushed both sides of those extremes. Our first album was very acoustic-based and we kept that acoustic core. The three of us grew on not only on country music but also on the Rolling Stones, Queen and Michael Jackson. In some way, we’ve worked all of those different influences into Pioneer. But then as Neil said, on the opposite side of that spectrum, we’re as vulnerable as we’ve ever been. One of my favourite songs on the record is “Back to Me Without You”, a song that we wrote in real time on this day that, unfortunately, you know the strains of the road and also put strains of friendship. So, on the day we wrote “Back to Me Without You” unfortunately a friendship of mine was crashing and burning on this particular day. I remember taking breaks from the song writing sessions to go back to the back of the bus and just cry and mourn the loss of this friendship. Reid and Neil kept coming back and saying “Kimberly you really get back to what you know and get back to you do. It’s gonna be the way to navigate through this”. So we ended up putting those exact lyrics into the song. It’s almost not like a duet, it’s more like a true-et! Reid and Neil giving me brotherly advice and we wrote that to the song. Everything is just really, really real on Pioneer.

What ways would you say that Pioneer is different from your debut album?

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RP: I guess the truest picture that you’re gonna get of us as the Band Perry is whenever we’re on a stage playing live. And we brought a lot of these elements to Pioneer, those are a lot of the aggressive drum beats, a lot of electric guitars and one song that really gives a great copy of that is “Better Dig Two” which has all the aggression of Pioneer but it has a lot of the sensibilities of the love songs.

KP: I think one of the biggest distinctions about Pioneer versus our first album is that we were really just kind of making an introduction on the first full length record. So even as a singer there were certain decisions that I made when recording the first album to make our sound more pliable, as the introductory piece. But on Pioneer we got to throw the rulebook right out of the window when it came to vocals, when it came to even background vocals. And the bonus with the way we approached the recording phase of this record, it’s been cool to see the fans respond to that and also, quite frankly, it’s grown the fan base, because we’ve so many new flavours that we’ve wrapped into this project.

Give us an insight into what you’re like in the studio. How do you guys put a song together?

KP: Well, we dig deep in the studio. There’s three of us which means there’re like 300 ideas for each song. And the cool thing about the three of us and our producer Dan Huff is that we allow each other to try out every single idea, every single route, because I think that allows us to walk to completion of the album and say “this is exactly what this record was meant to be”, because we tried all the other ideas that didn’t work.  And that’s one thing I’m the proudest about in the studio. When it came to nerdy things like picking the tempo, you know with the tempo we would adjust even half a beat per minute as opposed to a full beat per minute just to make sure we were settling in the right place. We’d surely laboured over every detail of the project in the studio and I think that that made it special.

Being siblings, does that make it harder or easier when you’re on the road?

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RP: Actually it makes it a lot easier. We’ve been in bands with non-family-members before and whenever you have family you have a lot of the same sensibilities. We’re on the same page a lot of the time but even whenever you’re not you can have a lot of honest conversations, and kinda cut to the chase, if you will.

KP: I think what Reid is saying is we’re always respectful but we don’t always have to be polite. In-between those two, we never get disrespectful. We know the best of each other, we’ll make no bones about saying “Hey, you had a really bad attitude today.” So, that’s kind of the cool thing about being a family.

You’ve enjoyed huge success in the US. How does that feel for you?

NP: Success in the US is very humbling for the three of us. We’re going into 14 almost 15 years of doing this and we’re finally feeling the tangible evidence of all the hard work. People see the three of us but there were a multitude of other people who helped us. Our mom and dad, for example, we always say they`re the invisible fourth and fifth members of the band. It’s a lot of blood sweat and tears that are paying off finally and that’s really exciting for the three of us.

KP: It’s such an interesting thing because there’s a heck of a lot of work. Basically, since our first song came out in the radio we’ve been home for maybe four collective weeks  in like the last two and a half years.  But on the flip side, we got to places we never imagined, we met Sir Paul McCartney at the Grammys last year. So life changing, we’ve had the opportunity to play in the White House last year as well. We’ve gone to Australia, we’ve got to come to the UK and these things that we only were imagining a few short years ago. It is a lot of work but it certainly is the time of out life and we’re just so thankful for having the opportunity to live it.

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Country music has a tougher ride here in the UK than it does in the US. How do you find UK audiences and what’s the reaction been like to your music over here?

NP: We played our very first show in the UK about a year or so ago and we honestly didn’t have any idea of what to expect. So whenever we came out and played our very first song, which actually wasn’t even on our first album, it was just on YouTube, they sang every single word and kept singing for the rest of the night. And every show we played here in the UK and the rest of Europe we found the same thing.

KP: Back in the States, they’re definitely more single-focused. So our giant sing-alongs in the States happen on a single. So it’s really cool to come in here and see that the UK audiences who have dug deeper into the album. They know every song, even songs that haven’t recorded. So they get really supportive over here across the pound.

When can we see you play some live shows here in the UK?

KP: We’re actually gonna be back in November, which we’re really excited about, we’re doing a full European tour. We haven’t announced a date yet but that information will be coming out shortly.

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What else do you have coming up this year that you can tell us about?

KP: Of course, we’ve got the June 10th release of Pioneer here in the UK. Right now we’re out on tour with Rascal Flatts in the States. We’ve just done the Billboard Awards and the American Idol finale, wow! We’re busy! My goodness, we’ve got lots and lots to do!

The Band Perry’s new album Pioneer is released on Monday 10th June 2013.

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