Interview: The Pierces

14 years on from their self-titled debut album The Pierces, Alabama raised sisters Catherine and Allison are back with their fifth studio album Creation, released September 1st on Polydor records and their harmonies are still as precise as ever.

I chat to Cat about influences, fashion and of course, the new album!

Cat, your father was a musician and your mother a painter which is a wonderful creative environment. What influences did you grow up with that sparked your sound?

Yes, it was a very creative environment, but we were also home-schooled which meant that we could really focus on music and art; anything we gravitated towards, we were able to focus on that. And as far as education goes, that was really interesting and unique. We loved it!

Musically we were influenced by many different artists. Our parents were hippies so we listened to a lot of folk like Joni Mitchell, Simon & Garfunkel, The Mamas and the Papas…but we also loved top 40 radio! We would listen to Madonna, Michael Jackson, Prince…anything that was popular at the time. So I do feel we have a broad range of influences.

How did you an your sister start making music together? Was it quite a natural fit?

Yeah, there was so much music around the house so we would always be singing together. People would come over and ask us to perform for them so it is just what we have done since we were little kids.

Fast-forward a few years and you release three albums but then, in 2008 you broke up and the very next day you got a call from Guy Berryman.

What had led you to break-up? Were you not feeling valued or was it more personal inner doubts you were having with your art, with your music?

I think it was a little bit of both! We had been doing it so long and had these little moments of success and then it would always fizzle out so it didn’t really feel like it was flowing. So we thought that maybe this wasn’t the right path and we should maybe do something else, or maybe even do our own solo records. It just seemed like it was time to wrap it up.

And then Guy Berryman literally called the next day! So it just seemed like a sign. We think about ending things a lot because it is hard working with your sister you know? And you always have down moments, but something always happens to keep us going so it seems like we’re not allowed to break-up!

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Good news for you fans Cat! After all this went on, the next album you released was You & I. Did you feel there was a different attitude towards this album? Did you feel revitalised when writing it?

Yeah, of course! When you have someone like Guy Berryman get behind you and believe in you it gives you new hope because you doubt yourself when things aren’t going well, so when someone believes in you it reinstates faith in yourself.

And you never know what is going to happen, we didn’t know that album would be a success! But we knew that we loved it and we knew we had made something we were really proud of so I think that when that is the case you feel more natural towards your work.

And now 14 years on, you have just released your fifth studio album Creation. When it comes to creating albums do you feel you have a bit of a ritual now or is every album process completely different?

Every time is really different! Templates do not work in the music business. People have been trying to figure out for years what makes something work but you can’t really create that, you just have to go into it and see what happens.

So tell me about the process with Creation.

It was amazing! We actually made a false start. We worked with a producer but it didn’t feel right; it didn’t have the emotion that we wanted for some reason. So we regrouped to figure out the next step and we actually ended up working with Christian Langdon who is a musical director and also my boyfriend!

So this time business and pleasure worked?

Well that’s why we didn’t record with him initially because we thought it could be a problem; it could break us up. But it went really well because we know him and we love him. He was really passionate about getting it right and getting stuff done. So yeah, it was one of the best decisions we made!

That’s great. He must have had a real understanding of the whole thing because he knows you well.

And of course Creation is released on Polydor, a British label. You’ve also done Jools Holland in the past, Glastonbury, Secret Garden Party…you guys get a lot of love here. Does this feel like a musical home for you?

Oh definitely! We love it here and we always feel so welcome and loved! We lived here for a year and a half but we’re now living in L.A.

Finally, at Spindle we have a lot of fashion so tell me about your approach to fashion and your style

We feel the same way about fashion as we feel about music; there is just so much to pull from. We constantly evolving as people so as does our style. We don’t want to be categorized just as ‘hippies’. We just wear what we want in the moment and it changes every time.

Comfort has become more and more important to me. I don’t have the energy to feel uncomfortable. I feel you look the most beautiful when you feel good so that has become my focus. I still like to feel sexy and fashionable but I think you can do that in a comfortable way.

We love jewellery and to layer our necklaces and bangles. I think you can really change the look of an outfit with an amazing accessory!

The Pierces will be playing this month of June at Concorde in Brighton on Tuesday 10th and at KOKO in London on Wednesday 11th, Manchester on the 12th and Glasgow on the 14th, get tickets here

Their single ‘Kings’ is out June 9th

Follow the girls on twitter

Words: Irune ‘Rue’ Chamberlain