Interview: Veronica Falls
Published on October 2nd, 2011 | Jonny Abrams
Velvety boy/girl harmonies, mysteriously hazy production, sunny surf-pop melodies concealing somewhat darker lyrical content, and chugging, shoegazingly hallucinatory guitars: what is there not to like about Veronica Falls and their eponymous debut album?
Indeed, its eerie lusciousness/luscious eeriness has been wrong-footing and beguiling listeners on both sides of the Atlantic, with Rocksucker amongst not only the ensnared but also those who may be finding it hard to imagine such dreamy fare emanating from dingy studio spaces Hackney.
We fired over some questions to the band’s drummer Patrick Doyle and, well, here’s what he had to say…
How did Veronica Falls come into existence? And why did you decide to go with that name?
Roxanne and I met James soon after moving to London and took advantage of a free rehearsal space in Hoxton, where we wrote a substantial part of the album. We changed names a lot in the first six months, but landed on something which we thought was ominous and ambiguous enough that everyone could take something different from it. Veronica Falls was born.
How are song-writing duties divvied up? Do you write individually or as a group?
Each song tends to be written differently. Roxanne wrote most of the lyrics for the first album and the music was written communally.
Is there anything to the opening paragraph of Pitchfork’s review of your album? Or is there no particular significance attached to the book-burning?
I think it was purely for the visual aspect, no heavy subliminal messages.
Quite a few of the songs on the album deal with dark subject matter cloaked in sunny melodies. Was this a modus operandi you decided upon or did it just turn out that way?
It just turned out that was really. We like creepy songs like “Pink Frost” by The Chills. And I guess they’re more fun to write. I’m a big Beach Boys fan, so sunshine harmonies are always on my agenda.
What/where is that spooky building on the album artwork [see picture below]? It suits the album down to the ground.
It’s a postcard that Roxanne found at a Flea Market while we were in Amsterdam. There isn’t any information as to where it is, or what goes on there, which I guess is the appeal. It looks like some dark stuff might have happened there.
Who is Stephen, of “Stephen” fame?
A married man I drunkenly tried to seduce, many years ago.
This may be a drastically premature question but do you have material in mind for album two yet? If so, what kind of direction can you see it taking?
Yeah, we’ve been writing a lot recently. We just got a new rehearsal space in Hackney, so we’re keen to get moving on the second record as soon as possible. The songs we have so far seem to be a bit louder and more like how we play live. We’ve put a couple of them in our live set and they’re really fun to play.
Are there any other up-and-coming artists you’d like to recommend or give a shout-out to?
There’s a band in Glasgow called PALMS, who seem to be doing some interesting things, and also from Glasgow is a band called Muscles of Joy, who I LOVE. We have the pleasure of playing with them next month, which I’m really looking forward to.
Finally, if I asked you right now to name your top three albums of all time, just off the top of your head, which ones would you pick?
R.E.M – Murmur, Arthur Russell – World of Echo and The Feelies – Crazy Rhythms.
Patrick, thank you.