C2C: Country to Country returns! - The Band Perry press conference
I was able to have a second press pass for the last day of Country To Country and chose to attend The Band Perry's press conference....
Your presence on stage is amazing, I wanted to ask how important that is to you? You are very dedicated to your fans, how important is that?
Kimberly - Well first of all we live to play live, it's our very favourite thing to do. Before we were doing interviews, before writing songs, we were playing cover songs on stage for somebody who would sit there and listen. We remember in the early days there were more people on stage playing than listening and there are three of us! But we love it, it's kind of like one part therapy for us and two parts recess. Every night the three of us go on stage you're going to get a bit of a different flavour depending on how the day's gone, we just love really working it all out right there on stage with the fans. Bringing that authenticity is really what draws the fans into our band's story and into our live show.
Reid - We grew up loving the stories and songs in country music but our true hearts lie in rock and roll, everything with The Rolling Stones to Queen, Freddie Mercury probably being our favourite front man. We like to look at those people as our live musical idols.You were over here very very recently, what was your response to that? Did we do our job as British fans and cheered long enough?
Neil - You know it's funny, the first time we ever came over here we didn't know what to expect. Coming over and playing a show for the first time in countries that you've only visited once on vacation....but we'll say European crowds are the most energetic that we have played for and ever since the first show we were like we have to keep coming back, just because we enjoy it so much. The seven hour flight is definitely worth it. We started out the "We Are Pioneers" world tour here in Europe and played the UK and it was great. They learned all of our songs, the album cuts, the singles and had large sing alongs, it was great.
Kimberly - Well the London shows is typically....it felt like a turning point for us, over here across the pond because you do have to come over and really have boots on the ground time and time again to feel like you're making progress and waves and that was a really special show because the crowd turned out and sang with a vengeance which we love.
Neil - Well I remember too when we were finishing writing "Pioneer", the UK was definitely instrumental in finishing that process up. We played a show in Manchester, some girls from, I think they were from London, were at that show and we played the song "Pioneer" for the first time and we told them that and then later, the next day, we played a show here in London and those same girls came to that show and they were holding up lyrics to "Pioneer" and after that we were like you know what, this is such an inspiring moment, we should name our album "Pioneer" and that's the truth. So that's why we named the album "Pioneer" is because of those London fans.You're a very young band, a family band, who's the boss?
Kimberly - There's this ongoing debate where I, who am the oldest, am the boss or just bossy. It depends on which one of us you ask but we do wear our stereotypical sibling roles right there on our sleeve, I'm the oldest and the bossy one, Reid is our middle, fearless middle child, full time peace keeper supposedly and Neil is the baby and all that goes along with that, trouble, enthusiasm and laughing at his own jokes.
Neil - I will say, Kimberly was kind of like, on the first album we were making, Kimberly was the one who had the bossy baton, on the first album. But on the second one Kimberly and I agreed, Reid was that for us, he was really just extra bossy
Reid - Which means on the third record Neil will be the bossy one and it will be a comedy record [laughs]Do you find there is a particular song that the UK go crazy for compared to maybe the US fans? Is there anything over here that you notice slightly differently?
Kimberly - We do, "If I Die Young" is always a big moment for us in our live shows regardless of where we are in the world, it's such a special thing because we wrote it up in my bedroom and on the porch in east Tennessee. For that to really translate this many miles away from Tennessee is amazing. But one song off "Pioneer" that we did notice, I don't know if it's the beat, or the melody, "Forever Mine Nevermind" is the song off the album. For whatever reason, you can play it some nights at home and get a decent response, over here everybody goes crazy and so we'll like specifically change our set list and incorporate it into the set. I think everybody likes to put their faces up in the air and jump - that's a fun thing to do on stage too!You guys have written a lot with another family band The Henningsens, how did that collaboration come about? Would you think about maybe doing a duet with them?
Kimberly - It's a great question. Yes, they were actually on the road writing with us this past weekend and our's is a very organic relationship. Paul Worley, who is a producer in Nashville, he was like well you guys are a family and you guys are a family, you can all write, how about a six way co-write. It seems like a crazy idea on the surface because you do have six very strong opinions being tossed on the table in any particular session but it's kind of a cool relationship because we figure if all six of us can agree on an idea it's probably the right idea. We share a lot of the same beliefs and love of the same style of music so they're kind of like the muse for the three of us.You're still new on the scene to a certain extent, what was it like to be asked to be a mentor on Team Blake on The Voice?
Neil - That was fun
Kimberly - I think we thought about it for point two seconds then we jumped up and down and said yes. It was a really great experience.
Neil - Yeah absolutely. Blake asked us to be on The Voice as advisers and the three of us were excited to do that because we grew up with people giving us constructive criticism and guiding us along the way so it was kind of our way to give back and we had a great time, there were some great singers on his team and a diversity too. You think Blake Shelton and you think that as a country artist he would have just country singers but he had everything from country to rock singers, he had a crooner and some soul. It was really exciting the diversity he has. I wouldn't want to be him because he has to send some home, that'll be a tough decision.
Kimberly - And I really love The Voice for that reason in general. They truly care that these singers, whether they go on to win the entire show or walk away, they care about really improving their craft as vocalists. Like Neil said, just to emphasised that again, that's how we learned from day one. We've been touring since I was fifteen and Neil was eight and Reid was ten, we would just always ask questions, we were clueless when we first got started. We would always record our shows and watch them back and really look at them with a critical eye and hone our craft and continue to do what we do so that was really cool to get to push that advice forward to some of these singers.Your energy on stage is immense, how do you manage to keep the energy going if you've had a really bad day?
Kimberly - The worse the day the better the show! [laughs]
Reid - Whether it makes us angry or just pent up all day it will be more fun for us and the crowd.
Kimberly - We get inspired by feeling like the underdog. That's always like our favourite position to be in. So, in the music business it's just like any other walk of life, there are particular challenges on a day to day basis. That's what I mean what we say it's one part therapy, sometimes it's two parts therapy and that's really were we work it all out. It's that moment where you feel like you can turn off the cell phone and just really do what you were put on earth to do for an hour and a half and escape everything else. It's a really special place for us.You mentioned you've been touring for quite a while now, how do you feel your live set has developed?
Reid - We were developing the live set when we were over here in Europe and a month ago for Canada and the States. As far as figuring out what we do, we consider where we're playing and what kind of crowds they are. We'll take in to consideration that as far as the songs we're going to play, what we're going to start with, even for the set we play over in the States we ended with an emotional song. A lot of it is just trial and error. On some nights we'd literally be changing it up every single night so it keeps everyone on their toes. It's more trial and error with us in The Band Perry.
Kimberly - It is, to write for so many years as a family I think the one thing that's really developed in the live show is being able to read each other, especially if I forget the lyrics, it's funny to read the boy's expressions, there's no help happening!
Neil - I will say that in the beginning we were more aware, just to cut eyes or maybe a look, especially if someone messes up, but now we just point it out, that was not me, that was her. We still do look at our shows, we film pretty much every single show, watch it afterwards to see what we can do better, so we do that a lot and we get a lot of ideas from watching ourselves, see what else we can do better, it's a scientific process.You seem very grounded, do you think that is because you are actually siblings working together rather than just band members? You seem to get on very well.
Kimberly - We do, our parents really raised us that way. You say about being grounded, they used to ground us all the time! [laughs] I remember one particular occasion, it's always amazing because we, all three, were really really young and we had been in a particular two brothers and sister spat and I remember our parents carried us over to the window and they said look you three, out there is the world you're going to have to grow up and fight in, we're not going to do it underneath this roof. I think part of it is that we have an awareness that in our line of work, which is not so different from anybody elses, you're going to just have to roll with the punches so you might as well not throw them, really conserve your energy for that and we have each other's back. We know that we share a workmanship. Our dad always told us you're not going to be in a band because you share the last name Perry, you're really going to have to learn how to play the bass, learn how to play drums and mandolin and you're really going to have to learn how to sing if you want to be in the band and so I think that we continue to share that history and workmanship, that we've really worked hard to earn our spot together as a family on the stage.Read my recap of day 1 here
Read my transcript of Martina McBride's press conference here
Read my recap of day 2 here