Harmony drenched boy/girl quartet Veronica Falls is gearing up to release one of the year’s most anticipated full-length debuts via their new home on Slumberland, and we are definitely looking forward to snatching up a copy ASAP!
Forming three years ago in London, with two EP’s and a couple of 7″‘s already out and about, the project is standing at the edge of a massive fall, following up the album release (9/20) and our Glasslands show (9/27) with a North American tour alongside The Drums.
In anticipation of all the forthcoming fanfare, I exchanged a few questions with guitarist Roxanne Clifford and drummer Patrick Doyle touching on Veronica Falls’ sort of tension strapped aesthetic as well as the recording process for the new record and their feelings about the project’s perceived influences.
A reoccurring theme throughout the project is a tension between sweet melodies and macabre lyrics–does the name Veronica Falls factor in at all with that fascination? Is Veronica some old rival or something?
R: Veronica doesn’t exist, she could be the school bully or a wistful old lady. I like places with human names, it makes them sound like an ode to that person. The double meaning, the romance of a waterfall and the tragedy of a woman falling is nice too but all this meaning was probably constructed long after the conception of the name, at the time we just said it and liked it. We were called Draculas at our first show and Spiral Stairs at our second!
P: No, Veronica Falls is a mythical place that we made up for the band name. Although Veronica does tend to be a typical ‘mean girl’ name, doesn’t it?
You guys have opened for a few veteran bands like The Pastels and Teenage Fanclub, did the older fans of those projects appreciate what you were up to? Seems like you would translate really well in those crowds.
R: It’s a nice experience playing with bands that have been together for such a long time, the inter-band relations seem far more relaxed and humbled, they’ve decided how they want to do things and have less of an ego.
Bands like Teenage Fanclub and Belle & Sebastian (who we’ve also played with) are lovely people, they have a core and really loyal fan base. I feel like we went down well and got a really warm response but you also can’t help feeling like the crowd are just there to see the main attraction but everyone’s very polite!
P: They seem to. I think a lot of the older fans like where we’re coming from, and tend to come to a lot of our shows. It’s really nice that they appreciate what we’re doing, rather than branding us revisionists, or whatever.
I read that you scrapped your original master of your debut and re-recorded it live in just three days. Was that a difficult decision to make or was the original session a really negative experience?
R: It wasn’t a massively negative experience, but I think we learnt a lot from it. First time we did everything by the book. Tuned the drums, recorded everything separately etc with a million microphones and it just didn’t work for us, the songs lost their energy. We ended up over thinking it, we either played too fast or too slow.
The recordings came out ‘sounding’ good but we felt that they lacked the essence of the band and energy of us all playing in one room together. We used a couple of the recordings from the original session for the finished album but we remixed them.
P: The original sessions just weren’t really representative of our sound. We tried to record in a way that we’d never been recorded as a band before and it just didn’t sit well for us. We learned a valuable lesson in how not to record! Hopefully we’ll be able to apply these lessons when we come to record the 2nd LP.
The cover art for your debut is ominous–even though its just a snapshot of a house, I don’t know why, but it seems sinister. What made you pick that particular image?
R: It is an image from a postcard found at a flea market in Amsterdam. There isn’t any information about the photograph, but we’ve decided it’s somewhere near Veronica Falls. It is ominous and I’m not 100% sure why, I love wooden buildings.
P: Ominous is a good word to describe the sleeve. As I mentioned before, Veronica Falls is a mythical place name, and likewise the shack on the cover looks like it could be anywhere in the world or nowhere at all. It’s eerie and unsettling…we love it.
Your music definitely walks a number of genre/ time period lines, but one single influence is never omnipresent–as musicians who are also obvious music fans, is it ever difficult to avoid picking up too many cues from some of your favorite artists?
R: We generally get compared to bands that we are not influenced by at all to be honest, I wish we sounded more like the bands we love! I don’t think we are remotely twee, especially if you’ve seen us live but unfortunately we do get tarnished with that brush a lot but maybe that’s more to do with our style!
We do like bands like the Pastels and the Vaselines (who unfairly in my view, were often labelled twee) but these bands are really more punk than anything else. Their early recordings are raw and honest and that’s what we love about them. We’re influenced by a lot of loud energetic music from the 60’s as well as 90’s american indie rock bands, the Dunedin Sound and more ethereal stuff like Galaxie 500 amongst lots of other stuff!
P: I think as long as you avoid straight forward copying of your influences, I think it’s easy to avoid. We each have input to the sound of the band, and obviously we’re all listening to different things at any given time. I don’t think we’ve ever sat down and tried to write a song that sounds like a certain band or genre…they just seem to come out the way they do. I think most influence is subconscious, right? Saturating yourself with good music is key.
Thanks again to Roxanne and Patrick!
You can pre-order Veronica Falls HERE due out September 20th on Slumberland
Get yr tickets HERE