Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 September 2014

The Pierces took new look at album

Allison and Catherine Pierce have reworked their fifth album Creation

The Pierces have revealed how difficult it was to make their latest album and how they feared they would be dropped by their label - until they were inspired by a traditional Amazonian ceremony.

Following the success of their fourth album You And I in 2011, Alabama-born sisters Allison and Catherine went back into the recording studio last year with an unnamed top producer, only to have their efforts rejected by their record company.

"It went well at first," said eldest Pierce, Allison, about the forthcoming Creation. "It's hard to put your finger on why something doesn't sound right, but you know it doesn't. It didn't have the energy or the emotion or life that we wanted it to have, and the label agreed."

In need of inspiration, younger sibling Catherine went travelling to South America, where she took part in an ayahuasca ceremony. Ayahuasca is a brew made from the banisteriopsis caapi vine, known for its divinatory, hallucinogenic effects and is traditionally consumed by Amazonian Peruvians.

"We all felt like we were in a really delicate place," said Catherine. "We were scared we were going to get dropped, scared we hadn't written the right songs, and then we did ayahuasca and it put everything in perspective.

"It's hard to talk about the experience, hard to describe, but it's given me a whole new perspective," she added. "People get so caught up with career, with money, with future, and I had a lot of anxiety about those things, but during the first ceremony, I realised I have a home, I have loved ones, I am generally happy, and it took the pressure off all of that."

The US folk rock duo re-recorded the songs they'd written and recruited Catherine's fiance Christian 'Leggy' Langdon to produce the album.

"He was hesitant," she said. "He said, 'What if we do it and it flops?' and he was worried that we might argue, because we do argue when we're working together. We're both stubborn when we have an idea we believe in. There was some friction, but it was worth it."

Allison finds it hard to talk about Creation because the songs were created when she was going through a tough time and felt "heartbroken".

"Being emotionally centred is important to writing songs," she said. "I needed to feel more settled, although most of my songs have come out of heartbreak, or out of some sort of emotional suffering, so I should be used to it.

"I think those songs are like little gems, l ike gifts I've been given. So if it takes a while to get to them, through a load of pain, then I'm willing to pay the price.

"Listening back, I think everything we've been through for this album was all worth it."

:: The Pierces release their fifth album Creation on September 1. They begin their tour on September 16 with the following dates:

Sep 16 - Edinburgh Queen's Hall

Sep 17 - Gateshead Sage

Sep 19 - Bristol Trinity

Sep 20 - Sheffield Leadmill

Sep 21 - Manchester Academy 2

Sep 23 - London O2 Shepherds Bush Academy

Sep 24 - Birmingham Glee Club

Sep 25 - Cambridge Junction

Sep 27 - Liverpool O2 Academy

Sep 28 - Nottingham Rescue Rooms

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