Portrait: The Pierce Brothers

The Pierce Brothers have made their way from busking on the streets of Melbourne to delivering irresistable energy in their sold out live shows everywhere. From England to the Netherlands, New Zealand, Canada and their homecountry Australia: the duo has proved to be a worldwide phenomena. The multi-instrumentalist twin brothers Jack and Pat Pierce even managed to sell over 50,000 EPs independently before signing to Warner Music Australia. At this portrait / interview, we’ll have a closer look at the origins of their music, the road to success and creativity.

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The music

Jack and Pat Piece are able to create songs that are great on an EP, but are even better during the live performances. They blend in the best aspects from acts like Mumford and Sons and the Cat Empire, but also give their own twist. Raw, energetic and consistent: these brothers has shown the world that they are huge crowd pleasers. They do not need an entire band to entertain a crowd. Just the two of them is enough:

“We know all our instruments well enough to perform a good show together. In our shows we are able to bring a huge sound with a huge diversity of instruments. We can both play acoustic and electric guitar, harmonica and sing. Then we also have a didgeridoo, kickdrum, djembe and general percussion. We love to perform with the didgeridoo, because of the sounds and the fact that it tells the audience something about our roots.”

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Busking

The roots of the brothers can be found in Melbourne, Australia. It was on the streets of this city (and the country in general) where the duo gained a lot of attention while playing live on the streets:

“Busking has really shaped our stage presence when playing live. During the times we were busking on the streets, we felt like we really had to jump around and do summersaults to make people stop and look at us. as soon as the attention arrived, we worked really hard to keep the attention. This experience has translated to our live performance in terms of the energy we tend to deliver on stage. That whole idea of us having to earn the crowd’s respect and enjoyment hasn’t left us from the streets.”



Not only the streets aren’t safe from the duo: footage on the internet also shows that Trams can be a creative environment to give a performance:

“Tram sessions is something that a lot of Australian artists have done throughout the
years. It’s a Melbourne thing, and the idea is: About 5:30-6:00 p.m. someone will get on
the tram somewhere, plays and films three songs and disappear. It is like guerrilla
marketing, but it brings so much fun doing it! All the excitement and interaction during this short moment is something we can appreciate.”

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The performances gave the independent musicians an enormous boost. Before signing to Warner Music Australia, Jack and Pat already sold 50, 000 EP’s:

“We have done a lot of small performances on the street. Performing and exposing our
music has been our life for two years non-stop. The people have seen us performing on the streets, but also have shown up at our shows more and more. We have grown naturally from a Melbourne duo to an act with international shows. It has given us the chance to travel a lot, from Berlin to Amsterdam: live is getting better and better, and our EP’s have already ran out of stock for a couple of times.”

Around the world

The city of Amsterdam is the place I have seen the brothers perform three times. Bitterzoet, Paradiso and the Melkweg: during all of these shows the boys have worked hard to enjoy the entire crowd as much as possible. Next to the music itself, this aspect has proved to be crucial for the Pierce Brothers:

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“Whether we are playing festivals or are a support act, we work really hard to give it our all to give these crowds an exciting show. We think this could be a factor as to why we have had these opportunities to play overseas so much in the last few years.”

There is hardly a country the boys have not played during on of their tours. They admit that the tour schedule can be described as exhausting, but it does not change their possitivity:

“Exhausting it is, but we always have fun on the road! Our tour manager Ankie has been
wonderful, both as person and as our driver. Because we are not insured for driving she is doing these extreme long drives without complaining at all. Most people will definitely be sick of us at the end of the road. As brothers, we can argue about anything. Literally anything. The subject doesn’t matter, we just need a reason to start arguing. We are lucky with our driver. She has got such a patience, although sometimes it must be hard for her, because we are more sisters than brothers with our arguing.”

Creativity

The way they create music, the way they perform it and the way the guys are: creativity and the Pierce Brothers is a match made haven. When I ask them for a definition of creativity, they conclude the interview with the following answer:

“Creativity is something that we strive for. Every day. It’s elusive and hard to grasp at times, and is constantly evolving. Being creative can be easy when you have a bright idea, that instant thought. But more often than not, creativity is hard work. Hours of rehearsal and practice and the mundane to inspire some light. Creativity is the payoff of never giving up!”

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Text ©: Mike Warrink / Capturing Creativity

Photography ©: Henk Warrink / NCO Photography

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