Interview Veronica Falls: ‘We Got Tired Of Being Pigeonholed’

The band re-visit their recent album, and talk about trying to jettison their doom-and-gloom tag.

After whetting the appetite of the assembled bloggerati via singles ‘Beachy Head’ and ‘Found Love In A Graveyard’ , Veronica Falls had a sense of expectation surrounding their debut album, eventually released last September. Since then, they’ve backed it up with a solid schedule of touring, which saw them deliver a typically confident performance at this year’s Indietracks. Just prior to the performance, we sat down with the band to talk revisiting the album, and trying to jettison their doom-and-gloom tag.

You’ve played Indietracks in 2010. Are you coming here now, having got a full-length record under your belt, with a different mindset?
Patrick: We got here on time this time. Last time we left it a bit late and turned up about a minute before we were supposed to be on stage. So it’s been a bit more relaxed this time. We’ve had time to chill out and eat some dinner.
Roxanne: I’m actually looking forward to playing this time, whereas last time I was dreading it. That’s because we were never prepared and always under-rehearsed, and we weren’t sure if people were going to like us, so now I definitely feel a lot more relaxed about playing.

Are you coming here with a greater sense of confidence, would you say?
R: I think so, yeah.
James: Yeah, I mean simply from a point of dynamics. Previously we’d have to play everything we’d got just to pad out the set, whereas now we’ve got more choice and room to breathe.
P: We’ve also been playing a lot in the last two years or so we’re far more confident about playing.
R: Now I almost feel like I could play the songs with my eyes closed. Whereas before I’d be thinking about messing up a guitar part or not singing a harmony in tune, but because we’ve been touring so much together I can’t see how war could get the songs any better than they are - if we can’t now than I don’t think we ever will!

How important was it for you as a band to get a debut album out there and released?
R: Well, you have to really just to move on and draw a line under it.
P: Yeah, it’s nice to document these things and move on.
J: Otherwise you can constantly be reworking the songs, whereas once you’ve released something it’s out there.
R: Yeah, you can torture yourself if you’re not careful.
J: Exactly. Messing about, and what have you. It’s good for your piece of mind.

Having had a few months to reflect on the record post-release, can you now go back and listen to the record on its own terms?
R: Yeah, definitely. There’s nothing you can change about it now so you just have to approach it with an open mind, and appreciate it.
P: It’s nice when you get feedback from people who’ve just discovered the album as well. You spend so much time with a record before you get released that you lose perspective.
J: You also find that you don’t listen to it. I mean, you might, but quite often you tend not to because you’ve listened to it many times because of the mixes.
R: If you listen to it too soon after you’ve done the mixes, then if you’re not careful you’re left thinking ‘noooo! We want to take it back and change that!’
J: Especially if like us you’ve been hands-on in the mixing process, where we’d end up listening to a single track for ten hours straight.
P: It’s just nice to have some closure on it, I think.
Marion: I don’t think I’ve ever listened to it from start to finish, actually.
R: Thanks for taking such a keen interest, Mari!
J: Since it’s come out I’ve found I haven’t really listened to it, simply because you end up looking at how you can do things differently.
R: I’ve listened to it a few times, but mainly because people like my mum put it on in the car. I don’t know, I quite like listening to it.
P: I remember going out for a Sunday roast on New Year’s day this year and as soon as I sat down someone put it on from start to finish. I was trying to have a conversation but just picking up on bits I’d like to change.
R: I always act like I don’t want to hear the album when people suggest putting it on, but in reality I do!

Has the rise of self-production and self-release prevalent amongst bands now in any way undermined the concept of the magic of a debut record? Is there still the same impetus to release it via a label?
J: I think it’s still good to do it via a label if you if actually want people to hear it.
R: It really is a gamble. It’s very rare that something still reaches the same amount of listeners as it would if released through a major label who would promote it or whatever.
J: What usually happens is that thirty years down the line then people hear it, like all those lost 60s masterpieces that now cost loads. Hardly anyone had heard it in period.
M: I think it needs to be said that we actually had all of it recorded before we had a label. We just had this album ready and took it to the label.
J: We also had this really supportive manager who funded it for us.

Looking at the line-up this weekend, and the coverage that they’ve received, do you think that guitar-based pop music is back in trend, so to speak?
R: I think it is coming back in trend actually. I think there’s always been a place for it.
J: I think that there are bands releasing records now who a few years ago may have had a slightly more abrasive sound and it’s maybe a bit more in vogue to be more melodic now.
R: Yeah, maybe it’s a bit more in vogue now to embrace the more classic pop songs.
J: Yeah, as opposed to people hiding behind walls of sound or whatever.

How would you, as a band, define the concept of pop music? What set of ideals would you matters to you?
R: Something that makes you dance.
M: Something catchy.
J: When you hear it for the first time and it seems familiar and instant. That’s when you know it’s a good song.
R: Something that moves you. When you hear song and it brings about a certain emotion and transports you somewhere.

How close to those sets of ideals do you think you’ve got with your output to date?
J: It’s really difficult to be objective about your own songs when you’ve written them yourself. I guess they have a totally different effect on you than they would do to somebody else. It’s been really nice, people have been telling us about how certain songs remind them o certain things, and that’s all you can ask for, really.

There was a lot of commentary on the new sound on recent single ‘My Heart Beats’. Is that something which might act as a preview to any other new material?
J: I think it could do, yeah.
R: I think we got tired of being pigeonholed as being doomy and gloomy, and that was never really a conscious thing. It just happened because we were quite laid back about the lyrics to begin with and it was all a bit tongue in cheek, but then it got latched onto by certain people. So we really didn’t want to go down that road again and write another depressing song.
J: I think that what you said earlier about getting closer to a classic pop sound is ringing true. I think we’re slowly edging closer towards that pop sound, and we want to have as many hooks as possible
P: I think that we’re still learning how to play with each other, maybe? I guess you’re always learning to play with each other but I think that we’ve just been touring so much with each other that we’re learning more about production and what we want to sound like. I think it will sound different, I just don’t know how different.

What’s the main themes you hope people get out of your music?
P: It always makes me really happy when people at least dance at our shows. That always makes it worthwhile, and makes it seems like you’ve done something right.
R: I want people to like our music, but they don’t! I used to just listen to the same album over and over again when I was growing up, to the extent that I can still remember it off by heart. I’d love it for people to listen to our record and for it to have a lasting impact.
J: It’s always nice when you get the really young kids in who have that connection.
P: It reminds me of what you were like when you were that age.
R: So, teenagers! That’s what we want.
P: Break into the teenage market.

Read More

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Stay Updated!

Get the best of DIY to your inbox each week.

Latest Issue

March 2024

Featuring Green Day, English Teacher, Everything Everything, Caity Baser and more!

Read Now Buy Now Subscribe to DIY