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The Pierces - The IndieLondon interview

The Pierces

Interview by Rob Carnevale

THE Pierces – aka sisters Allison and Catherine – talk about their latest album You & I and being pulled back from the brink of splitting up by Coldplay’s Guy Berryman.

They also talk about the inspiration behind some of the songs, including hit single Glorious, and overcoming nerves to appear on Jools Holland’s TV show.

Q. Hi Allison and Catherine, we love You & I. You must be delighted with the way it’s turned out, both critically and commercially too?
The Pierces: We are very happy, thank you. We feel like we are in the flow, and that is a good feeling.

Q. I gather you almost broke up prior to receiving a phone call from Coldplay’s Guy Berryman – how true is that? Were you about to walk away and why, if so?
The Pierces: It is 100% true. We felt like we had reached the end of the road for The Pierces and had decided to focus on solo projects.

Q. What did Guy say to persuade you otherwise? And what was working with him and producer Rik Simpson like?
The Pierces: All he had to say was: “Would you like to open for Coldplay in South America?” We took it as a sign that The Pierces were not over and done with. Both Guy and Rik are incredibly talented, hard working, and fun to be around, which is a wonderful combination.

Q. Lyrically, the album is also really strong, beginning with candid album opener You’ll Be Mine – what inspired that?
The Pierces: Oh, you know, love and heartache. The usual!

Q. And how much did you enjoy recording a song like Glorious, which combines a retro feel with a really summery vitality and some more great lyrics?
The Pierces: That song is really special and, of all the songs, I had the most fun with that one. Rik and Guy did, too. We did vocal take after vocal just because there was so much magic happening. It was Glorious! ;)

Q. And Kissing You Goodbye – I especially liked the instrumental opening on that one, which had a cinematic vibe. Was that intentional?
The Pierces: I don’t think so, but that is a lovely compliment.

Q. It’s been a long and patient journey to get to this point, so what set you on the road and made you switch from potential ballerinas to song-writers, singers and musicians?
The Pierces: It was always something that we knew we would do, ever since we were little girls. it just seemed inevitable.

Q. A cheeky aside… given your ballet training, have you seen Black Swan and what do you reckon? Go on, turn critic for a minute!
The Pierces: Black Swan is an amazing movie – one of my favorites of the last few years. I think they did a wonderful job of portraying the heart and soul of a dancer – even if the main character was losing her mind.

Q. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given in getting to this point?
The Pierces: Enjoy and appreciate every part of the journey.

Q. How is the working relationship between the two of you? Is one of you hardern on the other? Or are you almost always on the same page?
The Pierces: We get along surprisingly well, I think, but it’s not always easy. We are learning how to work through conflict in loving, mature ways.

Q. Who inspired you musically growing up?
The Pierces: The Beatles taught me to love music, and Joni Mitchell taught me to love songwriting.

Q. Your performance on Jools Holland turned many heads – how did you enjoy being a part of that experience?
The Pierces: I think that Jools Holland is the best music show in the world, hands down, so of course we loved being a part of it. It was very nerve wracking, though! Live TV can be terrifying, especially when you are surrounded by a bunch of amazing musicians.

Q. And what was touring with Lissie like. We think she’s also amazing? Did you hang out back-stage much?
The Pierces: Lissie is not only incredibly talented, she is also a lot of fun to be around. We had a great time on that tour and would love to do another.

Q. Is there any song you’d love to cover and why?
The Pierces: Lots of Joni Mitchell songs. I’ve fantasized about doing an album of her songs.

Q. Is there anyone you’d love to share the stage with and have as a guest (or guest with)? Coldplay perhaps?
The Pierces: Coldplay would be great. And on our upcoming tour we have the lovely ladies Alice Gold and Delta Maid coming along and look forward to doing some collaborations with them.

Q. Finally, what are the 10 tracks that are never far from your iPod player at the moment?
The Pierces: Mykonos….Fleet Foxes
Graceland…Paul Simon
Runaway Love…Alice Gold
Paint the Moon…The Czars
Keep Me in Mind…Little Joy
Stardust…Nat King Cole
They Can’t Take That Away From Me…Billie Holiday
Clam, Crab, Cockle, Cowrie…Joanna Newsom
Australia…The Shins

Read our review of You & I