Interview: Veronica Falls

Interview with Veronica Falls

Veronica Falls

Introduction

Veronica Falls are back, and they’ve got a load more lo-fi, indie-pop up their sleeves. We caught up with Patrick from the band to find out more about their second album, Waiting For Something To Happen.

Questions and answers

Hey Patrick, how’s it going? What have you been up to?

I’m good. We’ve been recording an EP of cover versions. We did one when we did the first album, as a bonus disc, so we just chose six more songs and recorded them all at home on our own. On this one we’ve covered an old punk band called The Rats, a song by The Moles, The La’s as well, and Bob Dylan. It’s been fun!

Lots of older acts there. Do you listen to much contemporary music?

Yeah, but probably not as much as I should do; I find it hard to keep up. I’m not sure why because there’s a million different ways on the internet to see what’s going on. I tend to get a bit overwhelmed by it. But I still go to shows a lot so I still see a lot of London bands.

Like recently, I went to see a band called Omi Palone who sounded a bit like The Chills. And I went to see a new band called Primitive Parts who I really like. It’s the side project of a couple of the guys from Male Bonding.

There’s been a lot of talk in the press about 2013 being the year that guitar music returns. Do you think there’s any truth in that?

I didn’t realise that was the next thing, but that’s cool. I guess it all goes in waves of musical fashions but I really like guitar music, so I hope so! There are good releases coming up soon by some guitar bands I really like, like Parquet Courts from New York.

Speaking of good new releases – congratulations on Waiting For Something To Happen! How long did it take to make?

We started writing it pretty much as soon as we’d finished the first album, in late 2011, and then we got really busy with touring and it was a lot harder to find time to be in the studio. So it was a really slow process. We only finished it a few months ago, and then we wanted to put it out as soon as possible.

Is there any truth that the statement that second albums are tricky to make?

It’s weird isn’t it? I think maybe people let the myth get in the way of things, whereas I think you’re ok if you’re honest and make the record that you want to make, and try not to listen to anyone and let things influence you too much. I know that’s easier said than done but we didn’t feel that under pressure, really.

So it was probably easier to make than your debut, which you recorded twice, right?

Yeah, we recorded it and then we scrapped maybe all of it bar two songs. Just because we worked with a producer who had an idea of how the band and the record should sound, that didn’t really fit with what we wanted to do. Sonically, he did a good job but it just sounded too sterile.

Scrapping it was a really hard decision but we just wouldn’t have been happy bringing that record out. So we went back to London and recorded it in three days in one room and it all felt a bit more honest and organic, I guess.

What was the goal sonically this time round?

I think we were just learning to be a little bit better at playing together and trying some slightly different things. There’s much more emphasis on guitar-work on this record, and we spent a lot more time on the instrumentation, whereas on the first record we focused on vocals and harmonies. I don’t think this album sounds drastically different really, so hopefully anyone who liked the first record will still find the things they liked about that in the new one.

How was it working with Rory Atwell this time round?

Rory’s known us since the very, very beginning; he was actually the first person who ever recorded our band, because our first practice studio was next to his. It made sense to work with someone whom we knew would get what we were trying to do and would understand how to make us sound the way we wanted to sound. And because you spend so much time in the studio, it’s nice to spend it with an old friend. So we self-produced and Rory engineered it, and he did a really great job.

Were there any specific musical reference points for the album?

That’s a hard question to answer because we’re all listening to a million different things. But some of the names that kept cropping up when we were writing were Big Star, The Feelies and the first two R.E.M. albums.

What was it about those records that you found inspiring?

I think the raw energy and the looseness of it; the way they embrace mistakes or bits that you might normally try to perfect. I feel like we’ve pulled it off quite well, with the energy of the recordings and the really abrasive sound of the guitars.

The Soft Boys were another band that I know me and James were listening to a lot during the time of recording. We love bands who are not so much influenced by musical fashions but just do their own thing, whether it’s cool or not.

Can you tell us about some of themes on the record please?

It’s hard to look at it objectively but – like the album title suggests – an overriding theme seems to be that feeling of being a little lost, and looking for things to come together. Or looking for a conclusion that doesn’t necessarily come along, or doesn’t come along in the form you think it will. It’s an almost wistful feeling of being in flux.

Do you have a favorite track on the album?

I really like "Teenage". It was one of the songs we wrote first for the new record, so we’ve been playing it for a long time, and it felt like everything else came along from that song. I’m proud of it.

You’ve got a busy touring schedule ahead of you. How are you feeling about that?

I love touring. It’s when you start to realise whether or not people like the record, because you’re confronted by lots of people standing there, listening. And I’d never really travelled much before we started being in the band. When you’ve been in the studio for a while you start to miss touring, so we’re really looking forward to getting back out on the road.

Do you all get on well when you’re in a confined space together?

I think the more time you spend on the road, the more you learn to deal with each other and how to not p*ss people off. (Laughs) You kind of know when to put your headphones on and when to go into your own space. Because it is an abnormal amount of time to spend with three other people when you think about it. Being in a band is like being in a relationship; you see them first thing in the morning and last thing before you go to bed. I can see how it can end up driving people crazy.

Will we be seeing you at any festivals this year?

Our booking agent is starting to look into it now, but hopefully. We played a lot last year so I’m looking forward to seeing which other ones we can do this year. There’s just so many to choose from; it’s crazy. And it’s weird because on paper you’d think how different can festivals be? But they really do have different vibes.

I’d really like to play Flow in Helsinki; I really like the city and it’s supposed to be a really good festival. I’d like to play Primavera again one day because it’s really fun. I really loved End of The Road too.

Do you get much chance to check out other bands when you’re at festivals?

It totally depends. Some weekends you’ve got to arrive, play and then head to Holland or something. But if it’s a really nice festival then we try and stay a bit longer.

So we know that if you’re straight out the door, it’s a rubbish festival?

(Laughs) Maybe… Unless we’ve got somewhere to be.

Finally, what’s been the highlight of your time in Veronica Falls so far?

One of the things we did was play a club show in Porto for Primavera, and it was just really fun. It was one of the first all-ages shows we did and you don’t really notice how much teenagers add to the atmosphere of a gig until they’re not there. It’s nice to go back to playing small, really packed-out club shows; it reminds you of why you started playing shows in the first place and it gets you really excited about your own music.