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A conversation with The Band Perry's Neil Perry on the sibling trio's
The Country Fest debut, new album finalizations and much more
The Country Fest is back for its sixth year, returning to Clay’s Park & Resort in North Lawrence, Ohio for
three evenings filled with an all-star lineup of country artists and bands. Presented by Project Live LLC and
sponsored by 94.9 WQMX, Bud Light, Dusty Armadillo, Pepsi and General RV Center, The Country Fest 2015
runs Thursday, June 11 through Saturday, June 13 featuring 12 performances.
Amidst recording sessions in Nashville and travelling down an elevator, Neil Perry
(drummer/mandolin/accordion) of Thursday night headliner The Band Perry spoke to Out Of The Blue
about the sibling trio’s debut at The Country Fest and the current progress of their third album,
which follows the band’s hefty amount of accolades including a Grammy for Best Country Duo/Group
Performance and six gold-certified singles (“If I Die Young,” “All Your Life,” “Better Dig Two,” “Lie,”
“Done,” “Postcard From Paris”).
Right now you are writing and recording the follow up to Pioneer?
Yes, we are in the studio right now. We’ve been doing it kind of everywhere, a lot of songwriting on the
road and doing some recording in LA and Nashville as well. It’s been a really exciting album to create and
we can’t wait for you guys to hear it, it’s going to be a blast.
What’s some of the different approaches you’re taking on for this album after being on the road and touring
with sold out shows for so long, you mentioned multiple studios, is that a new process for the band?
It is. The three of us have definitely been determined to take some time off the road to make sure that we
write the best songs that we can and just enjoy the process, because sometimes whenever you’re
recording an album, it can be kind of stressful, so now we just make sure that we all kind of remember
every day, “enjoy this process.” Recording an album should be enjoyable because you’re creating
something new that you’ll be playing and singing along to crowds every night, so that’s one of the things
we’ve done. We’ve also enjoyed musically bigger drum beats and bigger sing along types of vocals.
We’ve taken several changes to heart and we’ve created some really exciting music that we can’t wait for
you guys to hear.
Are there any collaborations or any hints you can let fans know about or a title to the album that’s been
worked up yet?
We are working on final details for a lot of that. A lot of those things are in like a classified folder
somewhere. We will definitely have a collaboration somewhere and it’s going to be really, really exciting.
I can’t wait for you guys to know all the details and the album title. I feel like all the gears are starting to fall
into place as we’re getting the finishing touches put together. It’s been two years since we’ve had new
music, so it’s going to be really cool to have a new show and a new production.
Having a series of successful singles, is there a lot of pressure on you to compete with those and follow up,
you mentioned the process is more stress free this time, but is there a lot of pressure to write more hits?
It’s definitely in our minds that we’ve had some songs that have done well, but I think we write the best
songs that we can and it’s out of a place of writing what we know. I don’t think the pressure comes from
that. We just write the best we can and hopefully the fans will love it and they’ll want to sing along to it
every single night.
Do you have a tentative release date or a seasonal time frame for the release?
Yeah, we’ll definitely be releasing in 2015, should have a single out in about a month. We are really excited
about that and we’re getting a music video together.
Being together as band for so long, going on 10 years, and being a family growing up together on the road,
what has been the biggest struggle that you’ve faced as a band and how did you overcome that struggle?
That’s a great question. I think probably one of the things we’ve had to come to terms with as being a family
on the road is being together literally 24/7, we are a very tour oriented band, we love playing live. I do think
it’s just learning how to live on the road with real life and then figuring out how to write about that (laughs).
I think that was one of the toughest things we had to figure out and of course that came when we were in
the process of making our second album, which you’ve heard the scary stories about making a sophomore
album, it’s tough. So that was probably the toughest thing, figuring out how to live on the road and also
write about it.
Going through all of that together, what is it that motivates you and makes you remain passionate about
music and performing?
The fact that we honestly can go anywhere musically in this next phase, I think that’s what’s kind of exciting
to the three of us. The door is wide open creatively with wherever we feel like going. That’s really exciting,
there are no boxes.
Having no boundaries, have you considered experimenting in different genres outside of today’s country
styles? What comes to mind is some rock and metal musicians going into country music, like Jonathan
Davis from Korn recently working with Big and Rich on a project, Aaron Lewis of Staind, Steven Tyler of
Aerosmith, Darius Rucker and others.
With country music, you’ve got a different type of country for every country listener and I think that’s a
really exciting thing. You’ve got your traditional country and you’ve got your more creative and different
types of country, like the guy from Korn coming to country, I haven’t heard that, that interests me (laughs).
Man, that’ll be interesting!
Have you ever considered doing that just for fun, maybe experimenting with electronic music or
I think creative people have to do whatever they feel is in their heart. You can’t put a box around creativity
or then it’s just cookie cutter at that point. I think you’ll feel what you’re meant to do. I don’t think there are
rules to anything.
Being a live touring oriented band, how do you determine what songs to play live?
In the early days we would play every single that was out on the radio because we wanted fans to know as
many songs of ours as they could and have them singalong with it, these days it’s really fun; we can be
really picky about what we play, we want it to be a musical and emotional journey throughout our set, we
want to have the highs and the lows; the fast songs and the ballads. It’s really just reading through every
song and asking ourselves how it makes us feel, “so we need to put in this kind of feeling in this section.”
Well, I guess it’s kind of scientific really, it’s not that fun (laughs).
Having a Grammy under your belt and a lot of awards, how would you define success at this point in the
I think success for the three of us would be able to continue to play shows and for us to put out music that’s
relevant for years to come. The awards are always an honor and I think the awards encourage us to keep
going, but I think for us it’s having the opportunity like The Rolling Stones have had, for forty fifty years, to
keep playing music and having people come out and sing along.
Is there one person in particular that you’d like to collaborate with?
That’s a great, great question. There’s so many people that we’d love to collaborate with. We’ve been
playing Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk” lately in our sets, so I’ve always thought Bruno would be a fun guy to
do something with. Next time you talk to him, tell him we’ll do it. (laughs)
With this being your debut at The Country Fest in northern Ohio and headlining this year’s opening night,
we talked about planning a setlist, but what can both new and old fans expect from your performance?
They can definitely expect to hear all of our songs they’ve heard on the radio since our first album, we love
playing “If I Die Young” every single night and of course songs from Pioneer. We have a really exciting
opener for the set and it just starts off the whole night in a roaring and exciting place. And who knows,
maybe by then you might get some new music, you never know what you’re gonna hear at a Band Perry
show. We have gigantic singalongs with the crowd every night. We’re going to give them a big, exciting
performance. Bring your dancin’ shoes cause you’re gonna need ’em!
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|Out Of The Blue
Publications Association, LLC
Kimberly Perry, Neil Perry, Reid Perry. Photo: Kristin Barlowe
Neil Perry, 2013. Photo: Neil Shumate