Hard work starts to pay dividends for The Pierces
Catherine and Allison Pierce, known collectively as the New York-based folk band The Pierces, had called it quits a few years back, frustrated with the lack of attention their music was getting in the U.S. It wasn't long before that the break they had been wishing for arrived.
Coldplay bassist Guy Berryman, to whom The Pierces previously handed a demo, decided he was going to start a production team with Rik Simpson, who turned the knobs for the British pop band's albums. They wanted The Pierces to be their first project.
"Of course we said yes," Catherine Pierce said with a laugh. "We had actually broken up the day before. Allison and I decided we were going to do other things because nothing was happening with The Pierces. Then he called and we got back together."
Now The Pierces, on the heels of their album "You and I," are opening for on select dates of Coldplay's current U.S. arena tour. The Pierces' collection was actually released a year ago in the U.K., and it recently hit stores in the U.S.
"It feels great," Pierce said about the U.S. tour. "We've always had little moments of success [in the U.S.], but it felt like it would never keep going. It just be a little peak and then it would drop off again. In the last year and half, it's kind of kept building in a really great way."
Pierce chalks that up to a variety of factors, including, admittedly, lackluster music.
"I think the first two records we made weren't really that great," Pierce said. "Maybe we thought they were at the time, but we think they were naive and we didn't know how we wanted to sound. Then the third record, we kind of came into our own a little bit. People started to pay attention a little more and then this last record, it's kind of taken off, in a way. It's been really good."
Pierce said she and her sister have found "a" sound but not "the" sound, thanks to Berryman and Simpson, who are collectively known as The Darktones.
"People evolve from that," she said. "The first two, we didn't know what we wanted. ... It always feels better when you feel confident. The fourth one feels better than the third one. But it still felt like a good direction for us. The next one will probably change, too, because we don't want to do the same thing over and over."
That means that The Pierces may not necessarily work with The Darktones next time. But for "You and I," the production duo brought organization and focus to The Pierces.
"I think Guy is super organized and when he gets an idea, he makes it happen," Pierce said. "That's what Allison and I were lacking in the past. We were more dreamy and we drift along and see what happens.
"He's more like, 'Let's make a plan and do it.' He was the organizer, ringleadler. We played him all of our songs. Our last record was really eclectic. We had an eclectic group of songs. He was able to sift through them and say, 'This will sound like a record if we use these 12 songs.' He whipped us into shape that way. He made us focus a little more."
Of all their success, The Pierces thank The Darktones for reuniting them.
"The fact that we're still together and making it work for so long just feels like an accomplishment to me," Pierce said.
"I think the thing that feels the best is that we're still going and we're able to make a living doing what we love."
24 - Portland, OR - Rose Garden Arena (with Coldplay)
25 - Seattle, WA - KeyArena at Seattle Center (with Coldplay)
27, 28 - San Jose, CA - HP Pavilion at San Jose (with Coldplay)
1, 2, 4 - Los Angeles, CA - Hollywood Bowl (with Coldplay)