Introducing ... The Band Perry
In the likeability stakes, The Band Perry are winning. Their new album, 'Pioneer' is an entertaining slice of modern country pop and rock with teen appeal, but one with a solid grounding in the genre's heritage.
The three Perry's (Kimberly, Neil and Reid) present a solid front to the band, in the way only siblings can, and in a post-Taylor Swift world, they're just the kind of act who might, finally, get younger British audiences to listen to a bit of country.
We were delighted to catch up with them as they did the promotional rounds for their new album.
Please introduce yourself to readers and tell us what the last thing was that you ate.
Hey! We're The Band Perry and the last thing we ate was:
Kimberly: Macaroons from Bottega Louie in LA.
Neil: Can't remember but whatever it was had hot sauce on it - I'm the 'Chilli-Pepper King'.
Reid: A Western Omelette.
Congratulations on debuting at number one in the US country charts with 'Pioneer'. You’ve worked with Rick Rubin and Dann Huff on this second album - how did you find that experience?
K: We had the opportunity to work with some of the most talented people in music and a couple of our heroes. We learned so much about songwriting and finding the heart of the music from Rick, and Dann did an incredible job of capturing what we do live and putting it in a recording. Both guys played a roll in bringing Pioneer to life: Rick gave us confidence, Dann gave us freedom. Rick was the rock, Dann was the roll.
What made you want to work with Rick and/or Dann? Did they introduce anything specific to your sound or process; or get you to do something you didn't expect?
R: Well, Dann was the first producer to ever come out and see us play live. He came back to the bus and said, "Oh! THIS is what you do!" He made it his ambition to bring all of that live energy into the studio album. Dann also pointed out the extra 'noises' Kimberly makes as a singer - hence the 'ughhh' at the end of “DONE.”
There are a lot of stories on the new album - ‘Night Gone Wasted’ for example. Which ones are drawn from personal experience?
K: 'Night Gone Wasted' is a snapshot of what a night at The Band Perry's show is - the best Night Gone Wasted you've ever had! It's our recess, it's our playground.
N: 'Back To Me Without You' is perhaps the most vulnerable song on Pioneer. We wrote it in real time as a friendship of Kimberly's was crashing and burning. She kept taking breaks from the writing session to go to the back of the bus and cry. Reid and I kept telling her “Get back to what you know. Just get back to what you do.” That lyric made its way into the actual song lyric. It's basically the two of us giving her advice in a song. It's one we're really proud of.
Have you got plans to tour the UK this year? Do you think you would need to make any changes to your show for UK audiences?
R: We're coming back to the UK this November/December during our 15 show tour in Europe. One thing we've noticed about our UK fans is that no matter what songs we put in our set (even ones we haven't released on an album yet!) they ALWAYS sing along to every word. It's the best feeling on the planet.
Do you have an earliest musical memory? Was there a record or act that made you think 'I want to do this'?
K: We took a family road trip across America with our parents when we were kids. I remember one night; our mom had the midnight driving shift. To keep her awake, the three of us figured out a song in three-part harmony. It's the first time I remember us singing three parts. So many of our earliest musical memories were made while making family memories. Those two have always been intertwined. Collectively we love The Rolling Stones; one of our very favorite all-time records is Let It Bleed.
There’s often a temptation for country artists to move away from their original style over time towards more mainstream pop or rock. How do you see your sound evolving?
N: We call our sound a "modern throwback" - lots of traditional instruments with big beats, electric guitars, and a modern lyrical perspective. On Pioneer we got to show even more of these cards than on the first album. Between the two projects we have evolved towards more honesty and vulnerability in our songwriting.
Have you got any tips for other artists we should listen out for?
ALL: We are HUGE Eric Church fans!
What’s the question we should have asked you today - but haven’t?
N: What our favorite movie is… The Godfather of course.
Pioneer is out now on Decca Records.