Band breakups are never easy—they’re especially arduous if some or most of the dissolved act go on to make music under a new moniker. No one knows this better than Julia Pierce, the founding member of Cherri Bomb. The rest of her band went on to form Hey Violet, recent AP cover stars.

It’s been four years since CB called it quits and fans have been asking, “Where is Julia?” They’ve been patient, and she’s ready to make her whereabouts known. “I’m anxious in an excited way,” she reveals over the phone. “It’s been such a long time since people have heard from me.”

In 2017, Julia Pierce became PYRCE, a pop project of her own creation. We’re excited to premiere her first-ever solo single “Fix” here. We spoke to Julia about PYRCE, “Fix,” moving forward post-Cherri Bomb and just what’s in store for the future.

This is your first interview in four years. Have fans been hitting you up regularly, asking for music?

It’s been constant. The fans are curious: “When are you putting something out, what’s going on?” As time goes on, they’re still interested. They’re pulling their hair out and I am, too. I’ve had stuff lined up for a long time. It amazes me how supportive and patient they’ve been the entire time. I’ve been writing a lot. I was evolving my sound. It took me a long time to be happy with the sound I’ve decided to go with.

It’s great that you didn’t rush yourself—that’s the worst thing you can do in the creative process.

Fans just want to hear new music. They don’t mean to pressure an artist but the truth is, you know when you’re ready. Even though a lot of people were dissatisfied, I knew that when the time was right, it would happen. I didn’t want to put out something that I was unhappy with just to make other people happy. If I did, if I was unhappy, fans would pick up on that and maybe they wouldn’t like it either. I know they’re just excited and I’m so appreciative.

Let’s address the elephant in the room: Cherri Bomb’s disbandment. What happened?

When I was 11 years old, I had the dream of putting together a band of girls my age. All I wanted to do was take over the world with our music. I was the lead singer, lead guitarist, frontwoman and founder. As a band, we accomplished so much: We signed to a major label, we toured the world—Europe, the U.K., Australia, America, Canada—we toured with the Smashing Pumpkins, we opened up for the Foo Fighters. We did so much and things were going great.

At the time, we were all minors and when the parents were involved, it made things so much more complicated. It just got to a point where we weren’t working together anymore. It was obvious that the families really wanted to go in a different direction than I did, so we parted ways. It worked out for the best. Now they’re doing what they want to do and so am I. There is no reason to have bad blood. I am blown away by the support of the fans.

What have you been up to since?

I’m so happy I get to open up about this now! During the time that I was away, I went through so much personal and musical growth. It was a really significant time for me. To put it simply, Cherri Bomb was my identity since I was 11 years old. That’s how everyone knew me. I didn’t remember life before the band because I was so young when it started. Being 15, finally being on my own, I wasn’t prepared for it. For the first time in my life, I had to discover who I was, on my own, without the band.

It was a real identity thing for me. It was a dark time, it was a scary time, and it was confusing time; but at the same time, it was exciting and liberating. I finally could gain my own independence. That’s every teenager, too: Every teenager has to find themselves; I’m just so happy I did this when I was out of the spotlight. I got to grow up and do normal teenage stuff. I partied—and I think every teenager should get that out of their system. I worked a couple jobs and that really humbled me and gave me a new perspective, but I was working on music the whole time.

“I realized that I didn’t want to do the band thing, I wanted to do my own thing and remain in possession of my own entity for life.”

When did you decide to pursue music as a solo artist?

I knew right after Cherri Bomb parted ways that I was going to go solo. I wanted to take things into my own hands. All bands have creative differences, even if they work well together—you still have to compromise. I realized that I didn’t want to do the band thing, I wanted to do my own thing and remain in possession of my own entity for life. As a solo artist, you can evolve and change, you can go in any direction you want to go and always be you. In terms of longevity, going solo was the best move.

You’re recording under PYRCE, your last name spelled differently. What was the reasoning behind that decision?

I wanted to go by a moniker that represented me and who I am. I wanted something bold so it could stand out. PYRCE allows me to step outside of myself and be this limitless artist.

“Fix” is so different from anything Cherri Bomb ever did. How did you find this sound?

When I was going through that period of personal growth, through a lot of those dark and lonely times, it was pop music that got me through it. It’s very uplifting, and it’s when I realized, “Wow, the message of a pop song can be so powerful.” I was very open-minded to electronics and pop vocal hooks. I think that there’s a real art to accomplishing meaningful pop music. I want to contribute to that music. I gravitated toward it.

“Fix” is a huge sounding song. There’s something decidedly anthemic about it, it has a sort of blockbuster/arena-ready quality. Did you purposefully write a song that feels massive?

I like all of my songs to sound big. I like hearing songs that have that intensity to it. It wasn’t an intention that I had, it really just happened that way. My writing style gravitates towards big choruses, building up tension in the verses—it’s how I’ve grown as a songwriter.

There’s a lot of texture to the song—the guitar riff is unexpected—there’s a lot going on but it never feels chaotic, which is a hard thing to accomplish. Thematically, what is it about?

The song is about that feeling when you’re so captivated by somebody else, if you two were the last two people on Earth together, you would still be perfectly content. I make lyrical comparisons in there of the feeling of being in love to the state of being intoxicated. I think it’s an honest statement about how, in my opinion, love is the strongest drug in the world. I even make a reference in the bridge, how when you’re away from this person it feels like the comedown. It’s super painful and dark and lonely, and then once you’re back with this person you feel complete again.

Is “Fix” representational of what we can expect from you in the future?

It does represent my new sound: It’s got the combination of the grooving beats, the colorful synthesizers; it’s seasoned with guitars in there that gives it that edge. It’s the soulful vocals on top. It’s the direction I’m going in. It’s got that pop flair, but it has an edge to it.

What’s next for PYRCE?

I’ve got a lot of songs ready. I’m shooting to be playing live this year. You’ll definitely hear the music at the shows. That’s basically all I can say for now! ALT