Introducing Veronica Falls
After one casual listen to their magnificent debut I had fallen hopelessly in love with Veronica Falls. Being one of the fortunate few lucky enough to catch them at their intimate Manchester gig at The Castle I can confirm that the London quartet are every bit as good live as on record, their beautiful and gloriously macabre brand of indie pop ripe to win over the masses both in the UK and abroad.
The band very kindly took a few minutes to chat with me during a bit of time off in Manchester's legendary Northern Quarter.
Would you like to introduce yourselves first for our readers?
Hi, I’m James, I play guitar.
I’m Roxanne. I play guitar and sing.
Hi, I’m Patrick. I play the drums and sing.
Hi, I’m Marion. I play bass.
How long have you been together?
Roxanne: We were having this discussion yesterday. We’re always changing about the time.
James: I think we’ve been playing for not quite two years. Is that we’ve been saying? And then we were together quite a while before we played a show, practicing, writing the songs and getting the sound.
You wanted to make sure you were good enough before you got on stage?
Roxanne: We just did it in kind of leisurely fashion, just doing it for fun and we sort of got ourselves together. We did give ourselves a deadline: Right, we need to play a gig now!
So it kind of started off as a bit of a hobby?
Where does the name of your band come from?
Roxanne: We just made it up. Thought it sounded nice, and thought maybe it was quite evocative. It’s nice to have a name that sounds like a place that doesn’t exist.
You literally just made it up?
Roxanne: It’s also quite nice the double meaning, you know, ‘falls’...
Are you all based in London? But you're from all over the place is that right? How did the band come together?
Patrick: Me and Roxanne lived in Glasgow, we used to play in some bands there for a while and we moved to London and met James through a mutual friend and we knew Marion because we were friends with her ex-boyfriend. We kind of knew Marion from Glasgow as well and she’d already moved to London so we just kind of like...yeah pretty casual, just through friends I guess.
Roxanne: We all had mutual interests.
I love the darkness of the album - it’s slightly macabre yet it’s far from a depressing album. I think I read that you felt that people missed the sense of humor. Where do you get your musical influences from?
Roxanne: In terms of lyrical content and things like that, a lot of it is supposed to be tongue in cheek, a little bit humorous, you know? Kind of like the tragedy of 60s girl group songs.
Patrick: The idea of over-romanticism, over-dramatic ways a lot of the Phil Spector bands had songs that were about their boyfriends. It’s always really exaggerated and kind of funny.
Roxanne: Kind of a sense of telling a story.
James: Maybe in the sense of the harmonies, I don’t think musically.
Patrick: We like the call and response aspect to it and the vocals, melodies...
Roxanne: The way they managed to make a song both happy and sad at the same time. I don’t think it was a really conscious thing but I think that may be where that came from.
What other bands are you influenced by?
Marion: The Velvets, The Chills, we all like these bands. Definitely The Velvets I think.
Patrick: I really like minimal stuff like The Violent Femmes first record and Beat Happening; they’re really minimal, almost tribal.
I read somewhere that you had practically a whole album recorded which you scrapped? What was wrong with it?
Roxanne: Just did it in the wrong way really. We went into the studio and did it properly and it just took a lot of the energy out of the songs because we had to record everything separately, we did the vocals first, and we did some of it to a click and it just wasn’t how we were used to playing and we needed to just do it live in a room. That just worked best for the songs because that’s how they were written and how we play them.
Did any of the songs survive onto the new one?
James: Yeah, like three of them, but basically we re-recorded the whole thing.
Did you produce it yourselves?
James: We did have an engineer but I’d say we probably did produce it. We didn’t have someone saying what sounds to go for or changing the songs at all.
You’ve been touring with The Drums.
Roxanne: It was in American and Canada.
Where in the Sates did you go?
Marion: We did some of our own dates on the West Coast and then we joined The Drums in Boston. Up to Canada then back to Chicago, across the country on the middle, the Midwest and then all the way up to Seattle, Vancouver and Portland.
Portland’s my hometown.
Marion: Oh, we love Portland!
Roxanne: That was our favorite shows!
How has that been? How is it opening for other bands as opposed to paying your own shows?
James: It’s always going to be a lot more fun playing your own shows 'cos people come to see you as opposed to... I mean some people came to see us but a lot of them are Drums fans. But it’s good 'cos they’re going to walk away and buy the record but it’s a lot more fun to play your own shows.
Roxanne: The tour was booked really well actually 'cos the big cities where people know who we are we had big crowds, like New York, and L.A. and stuff like that we did on our own, but then the other places where we’re not so well known it was still nice to play to a big crowd.
James: Yeah, it’d be really difficult to play in Iowa our own shows...
Patrick: I think I lot of people came to see us and others really liked it in the end and came and chatted to us after, but if we had played there on our own we probably wouldn’t have filled the room. So it’s nice, it worked out quite well I think.
So the response from The Drums fans was really good?
Roxanne: I think we won them over every night.
What’s next for you? Any other support slots or tours planned?
Roxanne: We’re doing some more shows on our own in the UK and then we’re doing some of our own shows in Europe and then we’re doing a small tour with The Dum Dum Girls.
James: And we’re going to be doing some recording before Christmas to get a new single out.
A Christmas number one?
James: Yeah! (laughs) Actually it will probably come out a few month into the new year but we’re going to try to get the recording done this side of Christmas.
Roxanne: Yeah, we’re been playing new songs on this tour just to keep it interesting for us just because we’ve been playing these songs for such a long time.