It was all part of the fun, says Vic, of really “living in the album” – something he wholeheartedly endeavours to do each time Pierce The Veil record. Having found an “amazing home” to suit their needs courtesy of producer Paul Meany’s realtor friend, the band set up drums in the dining room and a studio in the living room, and struck the perfect balance of working every day but also still being able to enjoy their surroundings.
“We could walk down to the water or to coffee shops and ride bikes around there,” Vic remembers. “The weather was flawless. And parades would happen outside of our door while we were recording! The energy was really, really fun. We would hang out at night and cook dinner and watch movies.
“I think it brought the three of us – me, Tony and Jaime – closer together in that experience,” he adds, more importantly. “We talked a lot, we had a lot of good communication and it really strengthened our bond, making that record at a time when I think we really needed it the most. This album really brought us back together as friends.”
It was even more vital following the completely uninspiring time that was the pandemic. Having penned “a few songs” after Pierce The Veil came off the road in 2017 but not gotten “super far” into things, Vic essentially took a two-year break from writing during COVID.
“I just wasn’t one of those artists who was inspired by the pandemic,” he admits. “Because some artists thrived – they were so inspired making new music and stuff. And I was just not one of those people! I was just more introverted, hanging at home and riding it out.”
When they headed east to get recording, then, there was plenty of work to be done. Though Vic came as a man relatively prepared, the trio allowed room for Paul (frontman of Mutemath, and co-producer of twenty one pilots’ two most recent albums, Trench and Scaled And Icy) to work his magic.
“I think what we were excited about with Paul was that he is an artist,” says Vic, full of praise for his new collaborator. “He’s not just a producer – he has a really cool band. We wanted to work with somebody who had that perspective, and we really needed more of a challenge: someone to kind of battle with us a little bit, and fight for what he thinks is the best version of the song. We definitely got that from Paul. And we had a lot of lot of battles over the songs, which was awesome! I really wanted somebody to have an opinion, and care enough to have one.”
How hostile did these “battles” get?
“We’re pretty civilised people,” Vic laughs, “so we weren’t fighting or anything, but there were definitely a lot of strong feelings about the songs: of what I like versus what he liked. He was always like, ‘At the end of the day, this is your song, and you’re the one who has to go out and play it.’ We would always have the final call, but he did really challenge us to change some of the songs in ways that I never even imagined we would.”