Catherine and Allison Pierce may already have four albums under their belt, but it is the most recent of the four, You & I, which has given the sisters wider recognition and critical acclaim in the UK. Produced by Coldplay bassist Guy Berryman, the record has garnered triumphant reviews since its release in May and will, shortly, spawn its fifth single, Kissing You Goodbye.
Doron Davidson-Vidavski caught up with Catherine (right) for a chat during a break from the band’s national tour, which lands at Shepherds Bush Empire this week.
How much time, during the past year, have you spent in London compared to New York?
Well…in the past year we have only spent maybe three weeks in New York and the rest here, in the UK, mostly in London.
So, do you regard London as your new home?
Effectively, yes. It’s our home base, that’s what we call it. Last time we flew back to London we were, like, ‘this feels like home’.
You and Allison live in Cambridge Heath in East London. Did you gravitate towards that area naturally or did your record company scout the location for you?
Polydor actually sent us a list of different places to stay at and we chose where we’re at. We really like the area, with Brick Lane and Shoreditch House being so close. There’s some great places to hang out.
Hand on heart, before Guy Berryman approached you to produce your record, did you like Coldplay’s music?
[laughs] Yes! I love their first record. We never thought ‘oh we’ll do a record that sounds like Coldplay’. Guy just wanted to start producing and he wanted to work with us. We had nothing going on for us at the time so it was pretty much: ‘wow, great!’. So, we tried a song with him and loved it and just kept going. Coldplay are great but we don’t set out to be the girl-Coldplay or anything like that.
Do you feel that your success in the UK is impacting on how The Pierces are now perceived in America?
We already had a fan-base over there but, as far as the way that record labels saw us, yes. We had three records released over there but I can’t imagine anyone else signing us again after that – well [pauses] I mean, you never know…but we do have another deal there now thanks to this record’s reception in the UK.
Were you in London during the riots? What did you make of it all?
Yes, it just seemed so surreal. We weren’t seeing it directly because everyone was going ‘don’t go outside’ so we just stayed in. And then you turn on the news and see all these blazing buildings. I didn’t react to it that much initially – it was hard for it to sink in at first but, you know, it was so bad that it got so out of control. But, you know, stuff happens – we lived in New York for ten years and crazy stuff has happened there too…
Have you been on a Boris bike, yet?
Yeah, the first time I saw the bikes was on television and I said – ‘oh, who’s that cool kind-of drunk dude?’, only to be told he was the Mayor [laughs]. When we first came to London on a short promo trip they got us on the bikes and now, living here, I can’t believe we actually went on them, because traffic here is so scary!
You’re currently on tour. Do you have an elaborate tour rider?
It is more elaborate than our last one, because we are the openers. We felt apprehensive about adding things but we’re trying to keep it very healthy. We asked for a toaster but we don’t always get one.
Tell us about the new single, Kissing You Goodbye
That’s one of the only songs that Allison and I wrote together. We usually write separately and we end up arguing if we write together but we made it through that one without incident. Now we’re just arguing as to who wrote which part of it [laughs].
What’s in store for you two after the tour?
Well, there are a couple of other songs that the label is talking about releasing as singles so I think we will keep working this record for a little while longer. We’ll be going back and forth between London and New York, I guess. Early next year we’ll probably start doing the next record.
The Pierces’ new single, Kissing You Goodbye, is out on 23 October on Polydor. They play live at Shepherds Bush Empire on Thursday 13 October.