Veronica Falls’ new record, Waiting for Something to Happen, drops this month via Bella Union. It’s another set embroiled with jangling guitars, flowing harmonies and bitter-sweet hooks. We tracked down Marion from the band to talk about the new record, the tours and finding peace at the top of a lighthouse.
Bowlegs: Has the writing and recording of album number 2 been a breeze or a pressure-fuelled, stressful and head-aching process? It is the ‘second
album’ after all.
Marion: I don’t think any of us would call it a breeze! It was rather stressful because the first album came out just a year ago and we’d been on the road ever since. We’re not the sort of band who find it easy to write while we’re on tour so most of these songs had to be finished in the recording studio. It was very different with the first album as we’d been playing the majority of the songs live for a while before we recorded them.
Bowlegs: So how do you approach a new set of songs – are you mindful of what worked well last time? Did you listen back to the debut as a guide – or
start from scratch?
Marion: We learnt from our mistakes the last time ’round so we had a clear idea of how we wanted the recording process to go. We didn’t sit down and set out any grand plan of how we wanted the record to be like, no. All we knew is that recording everything at the same time live in a room works best for us in terms of carrying energy across and getting the sound that we like.
Bowlegs: It feels like there is more of a pop vibe on this record, maybe in production or lyrically perhaps? – how do you go about making a record ‘more pop’? Was that intentional – and what would you say are the main differences between this record and the debut?
Marion: The production is almost identical to the first album in that it was all recorded live in one room and we produced it ourselves. I think maybe the difference is in the lyrical content which is a bit less dark, even though the dark side of the songs was always meant to be tongue in cheek. The song are also maybe a bit more structurally complex, there are more layers to them but I don’t know if that should make it “more pop”.
Bowlegs: Broken Toy is one of my favourites – are these love songs written from bitter/joyful experience?
Marion: Both. They don’t necessarily come from a specific experience but everyday life.
Bowlegs: Recording an album isn’t always that much fun right? You can be playing the same riff, singing the same line or hitting the same drum pattern for hours on end. How do you keep the studio a happy place – were there many major rows?
Marion: There were a few rows. Quite a few of them were to do with the pace of the songs. The girls in the band tend to want the songs to be faster while the boys usually want to slow it down a little… We recorded the album on a converted lightship boat so we could always climb to the top of the lighthouse for some peace and quietness.
Bowlegs: How was working with Rory Atwell? He did Male Bonding (who we love) and The Vaccines (who we don’t really love) – why was he the producer of choice for you?
Marion: Rory is a good friend of ours and we’d actually done our first ever demos with him, one of which ended up being the first single. He gets what we are trying to do and he is really good at recording us all live in a room.
Bowlegs: Daniel – the most stripped and exposed song of you’ve put down? Who is Daniel anyway?
Marion: I am genuinely not quite sure I’m afraid! It’s nice to have stripped down, minimal songs like Daniel which always remind me of the Velvet Underground. We’ve done a few stripped down B-Sides in the past too…
Bowlegs: If you had to describe the sound or attitude of Veronica Falls by handing me three records – what would they be?
Marion: Beat Happening – Beat Happening, Velvet Underground – black album and The Feelies – Crazy Rhythms
Bowlegs: What albums are you most excited about hearing this year?
Marion: I’m really looking forward to our LA friends Bleached finally releasing their first album! I already know most of the songs from them touring with us in the States last year and they are really fun and poppy!
Bowlegs: Guessing you’ve got some serious touring coming up – is that something you enjoy? It’s kinda cold in the UK at the moment – do you stock up on healthy snacks to keep the colds at bay? What else is high on the priority list when packing for the road?
Marion: Luckily we’re starting off with a Spanish tour so it should be a little sunnier. Our rider is pretty healthy too so hopefully that helps… I do really enjoy touring once I get into the groove of it after a couple of days on the road! Some tours I look forward to more than others. US tours are always a lot of fun. Germany, Spain and France too… Playing new places is always exciting and it’s nice to see a few familiar faces along the way! I’ve become really good at packing power adapters for all the different countries we visit.
Bowlegs: Do you have a large music collection? I can see a clear line in my collection where the digital age kicked in and I struggled to get down the record store on a regular basis (because it was just too easy to download). Though lately I have gotten back into buying vinyl – which I am loving – it feels like a way to escape a computer screen? How about you?
Marion: I’ve gradually parted with a lot of my music collection and only kept what would be hard to find again or records I was emotionally attached to. I don’t get to be home a lot and I have moved around so many times in the last few years that carrying all these heavy boxes around wasn’t worth the rare enjoyment I was getting from my collection! Mp3s obviously aren’t as nice but they are a lot lighter.
-Interview by Charlie Holt-