Vic Fuentes, Kellin Quinn on why they couldn’t “ever beat” “King For A Day”
When Pierce The Veil released their collaboration featuring Kellin Quinn in 2012, it seemed like a match made in heaven. PTV frontman Vic Fuentes and Quinn joined their powerhouse voices together on “King For A Day,” and the rest is history.
However, the collaboration was a long time in the making. Dedicated fans pushed for the two to collaborate on a track together, and while writing their third album, Collide With The Sky, Fuentes reached out to the Sleeping With Sirens vocalist to get him involved.
AltPress sat down with Fuentes and Quinn to reminisce on working together for the first time, recording the track and to celebrate “King For A Day” recently going platinum.
KELLIN QUINN: I can vividly remember where I was. And then I think of how it started. You and I were getting [into] a random Twitter conversation that sparked this whole thing.
I think I tweeted at you that fans are asking us to work on a song together. I know that you guys were writing the record. Did you know as far as "King For A Day" went that you wanted me to be specifically on that song? Or was it one of those things where you're like, "Oh, Kellin would be cool on this?"
VIC FUENTES: I had been getting those tweets just like you were. You know, all these fans every day, relentlessly [being] like, "Kellin and Vic gotta do a song together." It was like every day. And we were getting reamed by kids just wanting us to do a song together. So I started thinking about that while we were doing the record. And I think “King For A Day” just presented itself as the best song for us to work on together. It had the right energy, and I felt like it was going to let us both really open up our voices and make [us] really tear into the song vocally. It just felt like the right one. I didn't really know off the bat. It formed organically from those tweets and from us connecting after that.
I remember calling you and talking to you for the first time because we didn't know each other. We'd never toured together. I had only known you from some YouTube videos and hearing some of your songs. So we knew who you were, but we didn't know each other personally. And I remember [during] that conversation I was pacing outside of our studio in New Jersey. And I just remember asking you if you're down, and we were both super into it. Do you remember that conversation?
Yeah, it was funny because I remember you talking to me and sending me the song. And at the time, I was living in this small, really tiny apartment. And I didn’t really know anybody that could track my spot except for this kid Johnny, who had the shittiest computer. Dude, I remember doing it in his room, and his brother was going to college, and he just got back, and he was sleeping. I was tracking parts, and it took him forever to get my parts done, and his brother was banging on the wall to tell us to shut up because I'd scream parts. So I'd have to retrack it, and I remember getting you the final version and just waiting for you to respond. I think you were in a session, and I was like, "Dude, he hates it. He hates the part." And then you finally responded, and you were like, "I love it." And I was like, "OK, cool." [Laughs.] It was really funny.
I thought you recorded it with your producer or something.
No, no. It was just some kid that I knew, dude. It took forever to get it done, and I finally got it to you. And you were like, "Yes, great." And I was like, "Thank god."
Oh, my God. I had no idea you recorded these vocals so sketch. [Laughs.] That's awesome. Thanks to that guy, he killed it. I had purposely left a lot of the song blank for you to sing on and to add your style and do whatever you wanted to it. And that was scary for me because who knows what you were going to do. You could have freaking rapped over it. I would have had no idea. But when I got it back, I was literally jaw dropped. We all were blown away. It was perfect for the song.
Well, it's crazy because you did the Isles & Glaciers thing before that. And now Nick [Martin, guitarist] is in my band, and he was a part of that, too. So he's told me just from working with you how critical you are over music. Like, it takes you a while to get stuff done because you do everything . Like, you're writing the guitar, and you've got to think about that. And you've got to think about vocals. It's probably tough for you to give something to someone else and be like, "Here you go."
I think sometimes a song needs someone else. I think good collaborations, the best ones, are when the song is missing something. That song needed you. When a collaboration works, it really elevates the song to a new level that I don't think either of us could have accomplished without each other. So I think that's what makes a good collaboration so special. And I think that's what made “King” something that was just a phenomena for both of us.
That's what makes me laugh when kids are like, “You need to do a song again.” But it's like, I don't know if we could ever beat “King For A Day.” That's like lightning in a bottle.
We got so lucky. We put out the right song at the right time. I didn't know it was going to be what it is today at all. Obviously, none of us did. But I knew that it was the first single, though. I was like, “This is the one. We have to put this out first.” I didn't care what anyone was going to tell me.Especially because you and I were about to go on Warped Tour together.
Do you think us doing Warped Tour together that summer helped push that song as well as it did? I remember having to finish up on my stage because you guys were doing main, and we were doing the Monster Stage or something. There'd be days where I'd finish my set and have to book it over to your side of the stage and get through the crowd to do our song together.
Oh, God, yeah. That was every day. We had to talk to production on Warped Tour to make sure that our sets never overlapped so that you could come and do your part every day. We were just running you ragged having you sing two sets. But dude, that really was part of the perfect storm, with that song in the beginning and really coming out strong with all of our fans. We had a lot of the same fans. So these kids, as soon as we put it out, it was within days [that] they were singing all the words. It just really took off from Warped Tour. I think that was super important that we did it at that time, and it really worked out.
We did a lot of touring together after that. And I think that both [of] our bands work really well together on a tour. I know the highlight of my performance was being able to get up there each night doing that with you. Playing that show in Southeast Asia, playing that song in Southeast Asia. It was just crazy. I remember doing that tour together. I think there's something special about both of our bands touring around the world and playing that song. And it's something I'm very thankful for.
So how is this collaboration different than ones you've done in the past?
Honestly, the biggest difference between this collaboration and other ones that I've done in the past is the fact that it happened in such an organic way where I feel like it's something that everyone else wanted more than the band even really realized. And I think that it was so premeditated by everyone that it was supposed to happen. And the fact that it did and it turned out to be such a big song is what makes it so special for me.
Absolutely. When we first started working on [the] song together, I think I may have told you what the song was about and how it's about getting pushed to the edge by people who are mistreating you or looking down on you. It's a pretty angry song about standing up for yourself. What did you feel like lyrically when you were writing your part? Because your parts just came out screaming right out of the gate. People just light up when they hear you sing on that song.
I was nervous about putting the word “fuck” in it, to be honest. [Laughs.] I was worried that maybe putting the word “fuck” in there was going to be a bad thing. I didn't know if you guys cussed that much on songs, you know?
You really soiled that song up with the fucks. For the record, Kellin added the word “shit” at the very end. We did not ask him to do that. [Laughs.] Dude, I love that you did that. We were all like, "OK, that's supposed to be there. That's perfect. We're leaving that."
It was a blur, dude. I remember getting the track, going in, recording it, sending it back and just waiting to see what you thought of that. And then you were like, "It's good." But then when you guys dialed it all in and put all the harmonies and added all the parts, it sounded so awesome. I remember being really, really hyped on it.
I remember our producer Dan Korneff [being] super stressed because you had sent it with every effect, and everything was on it already. It wasn't in tracks or separate things or any dry vocals. It was basically done, and we just popped it into the track. We were scared that it was going to stick out and people were gonna notice that it was two separate recordings. But it ended up just sitting nicely in there. So shoutout to Johnny on that. Dude, I can't believe you recorded that in a bedroom. I had no idea.
I have a question for you. Did your manager and everybody just bring you those plaques at your New Year's Eve party? Did you know that it had gone platinum at the time, or was it just a complete surprise when it showed up?
Well, we found out a couple of weeks before, maybe even like a few weeks before we got the plaques. We already knew it had gone platinum. And I got a text or something from our label. And it was a total surprise. I had no idea that it was happening. People had been telling me over the years that it was on a trajectory to go platinum someday. Everyone's like, “Oh, it's getting close. It'll probably go platinum someday.” And I'm like, “Yeah, right. That will never happen.” And then we got that text just out of the blue that it went platinum. I couldn't believe it. So then we just wanted to wait and get the plaque so that we [could] make a proper post for the fans and show everybody and celebrate it.
I mean, we're talking about a song that never had any radio play, as far as I know. This is a natural thing that's happened just from people listening and supporting the song. You hear a lot of bands go gold, which is still a huge feat. I've had our tracks with Sirens go gold, but platinum's a lot, dude. That's a massive thing.
I don't know how you are, but I have a lot of trouble celebrating sometimes. You don't want to jinx anything or celebrate too much. You want to keep moving forward. The song has so much good meaning to me and so many great memories. It was really easy to feel something really great about it. And there are so many things about this song that just make me smile. From recording it when we were in New Jersey living with the band. And my best friend since I was a kid, Curtis Peoples, he was one of the early writers on the song. So me and my best friend share a platinum record now. It kicked off our relationship with our bands and a friendship that's been [going on for] almost 10 years now. I met my girlfriend on the video set.
There are so many great things that this song represents to me. So hanging that plaque does mean a lot.