The Pierces, an American pop-rock band that consists of sisters Allison Pierce and Catherine Pierce, have made 2011 a year to remember. Their music career started in 2000, where both were attending Auburn University. From there, a friend of theirs sent a tape to a record company in Nashville, which would later result in the release of the their debut album The Pierces. In 2005, they released their second album, Light of the Moon. Their big break came in 2007 when their third album, Thirteen Tales of Love and Revenge, was released and received good reviews. It also peaked at #25 on the US Heatseekers charts. The Pierces have also appeared on the hit television series, Gossip Girl. Their work has also been featured shows on Dexter, Charmed, Ghost Whisperer, and Pretty Little Liars. The latest album, You & I, was released earlier this year. They also embarked on their first U.S. tour this past June.
In our exclusive interview with the sister duo, they talk about several topics such as future plans on where they wish to perform, what type of venues they enjoy performing at, how difficult it can be to make it big in the U.S., the music identities and depictions of their last two albums, influences, the meaning behind some of the tracks, and much more!
- Q: Will you be coming to Australia any time soon? - Jessy Manser-Wells
- A: Catherine: We don’t have immediate plans to play in Australia. We want to go so badly. I have tons of Australian friends in New York and I’ve always wanted to go there. We had a psychic tell the first guy that signed us that we were going to be huge in Australia. We’re still waiting for that to happen [laughs]!
- Q: Are there plans for The Pierces to come back to NYC for a tour or two? - Jay Rajani
- A: Catherine: We just finished the UK tour which was really amazing. Now we’re just waiting to see what the next steps are because we’ve been doing promotion in Germany and France and everywhere people have been picking up on the record. So we plan to go to those countries. We are going to go back to the US and do promo early next year so we are definitely going to do a New York show probably in early January.
- Q: Having lived in both places do you think the New York or London music scenes are producing the best artists and music? - Chris Keats
- A: Catherine: Both are amazing scenes of music. I moved to New York in 2001 in the midst of a great music scene. The Strokes were just blowing up, Ryan Adams was living there and there were amazing musicians everywhere you turned. Now that we’re in London we’re seeing this other scene. Women in music have done really well over here, with Adele and Florence and the Machine. Lana Del Rey just signed to our label. People seem really open to the female voice and what women have to say, so that’s great for us obviously.
- Q: I recently saw you perform in Norwich and have seen that you are going to perform at the Royal Albert Hall. Do you prefer small intimate venues or the large scale venue? - Sophie Grint
- A: Catherine: It really depends on the crowd. You can play an intimate gig and have the best energy from the crowd, and you can be playing for a couple hundred people but you feel like you’re playing for this huge crowd. It depends on the vibe and the energy of the crowd. Generally, I prefer larger shows because I don’t get as nervous. When it’s more intimate you can see faces right up next to you, and it makes it a lot scarier. It’s kind of nice to play a big gig because there are lights in your face and you can’t really see anything and you can get lost in the music and not get as nervous. We don’t want the crowd to feel anonymous. You can still get an intimate vibe from a big crowd, you just have to focus on a couple of people. When you’re in tiny little gigs and everyone’s right there you become so conscious of every word you say and that everyone is looking at you. Sometimes it can be nerve-wracking.
- Q: You've had an amazing year in the UK with the success of your new album. I was at the Shepherd's Bush concert in London and you guys were amazing! Do you think the US market is more difficult to crack for female artists who are true musicians like yourselves? - Brenda Faro
- A: Catherine: We’ve been doing it for over ten years, so it has felt difficult to crack. For some people it’s not. I think it’s a timing thing. It’s having the right music at the right time and being in the right place in your own mind, being in the right place emotionally. That can make a difference, because people tend to sabotage themselves without even knowing it. You might think you want something but really you’re not ready for it or you’re scared of it for whatever reason. I think that’s what happened to us. We thought we wanted success in the music industry, but really we weren’t sure what we wanted. It took us a while to figure out who we were and what we wanted to say. So I’m excited to see what happens with this record in America. We are in a better place in our own lives and we’ll see if that transitions into musical success.
- Q: Do you still feel like "Thirteen Tales of Love and Revenge" depicts you as artists or do you think that "You & I" is the your real musical identity? - Myrsini Karamanli
- A: Catherine: I still love both of those records. Our first few albums I don’t feel close to because I feel like I was very young. We grew up in a small town in the South and didn’t really know our own minds. So we were just singing nice songs. Thirteen Tales of Love and Revenge was about us figuring ourselves out more and rebelling a bit more from the way we were raised and saying what we wanted to say. We had to get that out a bit, and this newest record is where we are in our lives right now. Everything we’ve put out there is a part of us, it’s just in different moments in time. I’m sure the next record will be different from the last two. Thirteen Tales of Love and Revenge is a lot quirkier, and I do miss those songs and that vibe that we put out there. I think the next record will bring a little of that back.
- Q: Who is your biggest influence on your singing styles? - Chris Keats
- A: Catherine: Over our lifetime The Beatles and Simon and Garfunkel were the biggest influence on our writing and our singing styles and our harmony. I know that Joni Mitchell was a huge influence on Allison in the way she writes songs and the way she sings. I was inspired by Tori Amos in my teenage years. I thought the way she said things was so interesting and a little weird. It was unique to the other female artists who were out there at the time.
- Q: What was the meaning behind the song "It Will Not Be Forgotten." It is very dear to me! - Patrick Toye
- A: Catherine: Actually, Allison wrote that one. Allison: Well, I don’t really tell this story. It’s very personal. But it’s about being in love with someone who moved away, and we lost contact with them and had no idea where they were.
- Q: Could you please tell me the meaning behind the EP track "Me & Him?" I find it actually mesmerizing! - Patrick Toye
- A: Allison: Another very... going for the real personal ones [laughs]! That’s about a long relationship that came to an end and died. It was really hard to let go of it. The death of a relationship is hard and you have to mourn it.
- Q: Most of your lyrics contain a lot of drama and emotion. Is there any song in particular that hides a real-life story inside? - Myrsini Karamanli
- A: Allison: I think they all do. That’s how we write. We write from emotion.
- Q: How has using 'Secret' as Pretty Little Liars' theme song affected your fame? - Radz-Gollum TheImpaler
- A: Allison: I think it has taken our music to a broader audience than it would possibly have reached without it. It’s reached a lot of younger fans. Music on t.v. is a great way to reach people that wouldn’t otherwise hear it. Pretty Little Liars was a book series, and on the video for the song on YouTube lots of people had commented and said if they ever make Pretty Little Liars into a movie or TV show, [“Secrets”] should be the theme song. I guess somehow word got around to the Pretty Little Liars people and they just called and asked if they could use it.
- Q: I love you guys together, but have you got anymore solo songs or do you plan on doing any? - Lauren Gray
- A: Allison: Yes. We do plan on making solo records. I have a solo record that’s ready to go, and it will be very Americana / Folk, like Ryan Adams or Ray LaMontagne. Catherine will definitely do a solo project, but I don’t think she’s clear about what it will be like. I also have another band called James Levy and the Blood Red Rose. James wrote “Glorious” on our new record and he’s an amazing songwriter. He and I started working together a couple of years ago, and the record will be coming out in the UK soon, maybe in February.
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