Back in March, The Band Perry were one of the acts playing London’s second annual Country to Country festival. They also took part in a press conference, and you can read the entire transcript below!
52 Weeks of Country: How important is stage presence for you and your dedication to your fans?
Kimberly: Well first of all we live to play live, it’s our very favorite thing to do even before we were doing interviews, even before writing songs we were playing cover songs on stage for somebody who would sit there and listen, and we remember in the early days there were more people on stage playing than off the stage and there are three of us. But we love it, it’s kind of like one part therapy for us and two parts recess, and so every night when the three of us go out on stage you’re going to get a little bit of a different flavour depending on how the day has gone. We just love really working it all out on right there stage with the band and 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 of country music but our true hearts lie with the performances of rock and roll and so everyone from the Rolling Stones to Queen (with Freddie Mercury probably being our favorite front man), we like to look at those people as our live performance musical idols.
After Dark Country: You were over very very recently and I was wondering what your response was to that and whether did we do our job as British fans to make you want to come back?
Neil: Absolutely.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 a country you’ve only visited once as a vacation. We were a little nervous but we will say that European crowds have been some of the most energetic that we have played for, and ever since the first show we had to keep coming back just because we enjoyed it so much. The seven hour flight is definitely worth it. Last November we started out our Pioneers World Tour here in Europe, and played the UK and it was great and they learned all of our songs, the album cuts, the singles, had lots of great moments, it was great.
Kimberly: Well in the London show specifically 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 before you really feel like you’re making progress and waves. That was a really special show because the crowd turned out and sang with a vengeance, which we love!
Neil: Well it happened too when we were finishing the writing of ‘Pioneer’, the UK was definitely instrumental in finishing that process up. We played a show in Manchester and some girls from London – 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 the same girls came to that show and they were holding up our lyrics to ‘Pioneer’. After that, we were like, this is such an inspiring moment, we should name our album ‘Pioneer’. That’s the truth and so that’s why we named the album ‘Pioneer’, because of our London fans.
Network Scotland: You’re a very young band and a family band, I’d like to know who’s the boss?
Kimberly: Well there’s this ongoing debate whether I’m, being the oldest here, the boss or just bossy
Neil: We say it’s bossy!
Kimberly: 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 fearless middle child
Kimberly: Full-time peacekeeper… 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, on the first album we were making Kimberly was the one who held the bossy baton, but on the second one Kimberly and I can agree, Reid was that extra bossy.
Kimberly: He is starting to follow in my footsteps!
Reid: Which means on the third record Neil will be the bossy one and it’ll be a comedy record! (laughter)
Think Country: Do you find there’s a particular song that fans in the UK go crazy for, compared to maybe the US fans?
Kimberly: I do, “If I Die Young” is always a good moment for us in our live shows regardless of where we are in the world, and that’s such a special thing because we wrote it up in my bedroom and on the front 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, and we didn’t know if it’s the beat or the melody of “Forever Mine Never Mind”, is the song off the album, and for whatever reason… you can play it some nights at home and you’ll get a decent response, sometimes more mild – over here everybody goes crazy! So we’ll specifically change our set list and incorporate it into our set, because everybody likes to put their fists up in the air and jump! That’s our favorite thing to do on stage too.
Telegraph Online: You guys have written a lot with another family band, The Henningsens, and I was wondering how that collaboration came about and if you were thinking about doing a duet with them?
Kimberly: It’s a great question, yes they were actually on the road writing this past weekend and that was a very organic relationship. We were introduced by Paul Worley, who’s a producer in Nashville and he was like, well you guys are a family and you guys are a family and you all write, how about a six way co-write! Which seems like a crazy idea because you do have six very strong opinions being tossed on the table at 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 have a lot of love with them, we share a lot of the same beliefs and love of the same style of music, so they’re kind of a muse for the three of us.
UK Country Music: You’re still new on the scene, so what was it like to be a mentor on Team Blake on The Voice?
Kimberly: So exciting! I think we thought about it for 0.2 seconds before we jumped up and down and said yes! It was really great.
Neil: Well yeah, absolutely. Blake asked us to be on The Voice as advisors and the three of us were excited to do that. 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. We had a great time, there were some great singers on his team and diverse singers too. You’d think Blake Shelton being a country artist he would have just country singers but no, he had everything from country, to rock singers, to a crooner, and some soul. So it’s really exciting the diversity he has and I wouldn’t want to be him because he has to send some home, and that’ll be a tough decision. But we’ll see how it goes!
Kimberly: I really love The Voice for that reason in general. They truly care about these singers, whether they go on to win the entire show or walk away. They care about really improving their craft as vocalists, and like Neil said, just to emphasise that again, that’s how we learned from day one. We’ve been touring since I was 15, Neil was 8 and Reid was 10, and we would just always ask questions, we were totally clueless when we first got started. We would always record our shows and go back and really look at them with a critical eye and make sure that we grow in our craft and continue to. So it was really cool to get to push that advice forward to some of these singers.
2 Country Radio: Your energy on stage is immense, so here’s the scenario: you’ve had a really bad day, how do you manage to keep the energy going?
Kimberly: The worse the day, the better the show!
Reid: If someone makes us angry or we’re just pent-up all day, it’ll actually be more fun for us and the crowd!
Kimberly: We get inspired by feeling like the underdog, that’s always our favorite position to be in. In music this is just like any other walk of life, there are particular challenges on a day-to-day basis and that’s what I mean when I say it’s one part therapy… some nights it’s two parts therapy, and that’s really where we work it all out. It’s that one moment when you feel 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.
Hitting All The Right Notes: You guys mentioned that you have been touring for quite a while now, how do you feel your live set has developed from that?
Neil: We were developing the live set over here in Europe a month ago for Canada and the States, but as far as figuring out what we do, we consider where we’re playing and what kind of crowds they are. We’ll take into consideration that as far as what songs we’re going to play and what we’re going to start with, even for the set we played over in the States we ended with not a downturn song but more of an emotional song. A lot of it is just trial and error, getting out there and some nights we’ll literally be changing it up every single night so it keeps everyone on their toes. It’s more trial and error with us.
Kimberly: It is, and you know touring for so many years as a family, I think the one thing that joined it all to the last show at the O2 is being able to read each other. Especially if I forget the lyrics, it’s really funny to read the boys expression and there’s no help happening in that moment!
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 like, that was not me that was her!
Reid: But we still do look at our shows and we film every single show and watch it afterwards to see what we can do better. We do that a lot and we get a lot of ideas from watching ourselves, see what we can do better, see what is working for us. It’s a scientific process, The Band Perry show.
Cross Country Magazine: You’re only young you but you seem very brand new, do you think that is because you’re actual siblings working together rather than just band members which can argue… you seem to get on very well.
Kimberly: We do and our parents really raised us that way, speaking of being grounded, they used to ground us all the time! (laughter) I remember one particular occasion and we were all really really young when this happened, but 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 a world you’re going to have to grow up and fight in every day, we’re not going to do it underneath this roof. So I think part of it is that we have an awareness that in our line of work, which is not so different than anybody else’s, is that you know you’re just going to have to roll with the punches so you might as well not throw them inside. Orat least conserve your energy for that! We have each other’s back, we share our workmanship, our dad always told us, you’re not going to be in the band because your last name is Perry, you’re really going to have to learn how to play the bass, and really learn how to play the drums and mandolin. You’re really going to have to learn how to sing if you want to be in the band. So we continue to share that history and workmanship and know that we’ve really worked hard to earn our spot together as a family on the stage.