SOUNDTRACKING: Seventeen Minutes With “Veronica Falls” Drummer Patrick Doyle

January 30, 2012 

by Daniel Colussi | Have you ever heard C86, NME’s 1986 cassette compilation of English jangle-pop bands? It’s a curious thing because although the majority of bands featured on the cassette are long since forgotten (sorry Bogshed), the term “C86 band” persists as a style of reverb-heavy, primitively-performed, 60s-indebted shamble-pop. It’s a style of music still very much in effect, and I’d wager that there are more C86 bands today than there were in 1986. Veronica Falls are one such band; able masters of the perfect 2 minute morbid love song. They’ve got the vibe down solid, and they come across as perfectly English in the way that they humbly and stoically embrace the hype surrounding their band. Hey, they’re just as surprised as anyone! Amidst a hectic schedule of recording sessions and touring the globe, drummer Patrick Doyle talks shop and gently chides me when I accuse the band of being Glaswegian. Read on, and why not listen to the original C86 while you’re at it?

What are your day jobs? What goes down in Glasgow these days? Are there still gangs of roaming, disaffected adolescent footballers terrorizing the city every night? We all do odd bits and pieces here and there, but we’re spending the majority of our time writing and recording at the moment. We live in London so not sure what’s going down in Glasgow…

What was the vibe like when you played at David Lynch’s club Silencio in Paris? Did you get to meet with him? What was the scene? It was pretty nice. I didn’t see David Lynch but James saw him. We saw Metallica there and apparently Lana Del Ray was there too. We were pretty drunk by that point though. Needless to say, the cocktails are the best bit about that club.

I’ve read that at least one member of Veronica Falls was a fairly amateur/unschooled musician when the band was starting out. Nowadays you guys are touring extensively around Europe and North America. So what has that transition been like, to have the band’s platform as a live entity expand so significantly? Marion hadn’t played an instrument before the band, but that was important to us when we were recruiting as we wanted somebody who could play simple, minimal basslines without getting bored (as more experienced players might). I’d never played drums before we started this band, so I guess keeping the rhythm section minimal was a pretty important part of our sound.

The connections between Veronica Falls and C86/twee English music has been much talked about. But whenever I talk with bands, they’re usually into a broad spectrum of music.  So what kind do you guys listen do that doesn’t fall into that aforementioned category? I think we are all aware of the C86 stuff but wouldn’t count it as an immediate influence. I think we’re probably more influenced by the stuff that influenced the C86 bands, like Joe Meek/Phil Spector bands, but we’re probably more influenced by American indie rock from the 80s and 90s. Basically, all music is what I’m trying to say. I think it’s too hard to name direct influences when you’re constantly listening to different things.

Something I see so much in music writing today is the concern that current music only looks backward – it only focuses on referencing the past. Is this of concern to Veronica Falls? Does it matter if bands today want to look to the past for inspiration? Is pop music at a point where there can’t really be anything new? Where else are you supposed to look? I think the most interesting pop music is created when bands try and copy other bands but get it wrong.

I saw this photo of you guys hanging with Ronnie Wood. What was the deal with that? We saw him having lunch at the airport when we were catching a flight and thought it would be funny to start putting pictures of ourselves on Twitter with famous people. He was really nice about it. We also have a picture of ourselves with the singer of Kasabian, which is pretty funny. Hopefully we’ll build up some more this year.

How much does a love of Lawrence/Felt figure in to what you do? And have you caught wind of the Lawrence documentary that’s just come out, Lawrence Of Belgravia? We’re all pretty big Felt fans. My Physics teacher at school lent me all their albums when I was about 13 so they’ve always been a big part of my musical upbringing. Yeah, I saw the Lawrence film last month with James. It was hilarious.

What’s on the horizon for the band? A lot of touring. We’re recording a new single next week and trying to finish writing a new album in between the aforementioned touring!

Veronica Falls and Bleached play the Media Club Monday February 20th. Tix still available at Zulu and Red Cat.

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Zulu Records veteran and tunage aficionado Daniel Colussi is the Music Editor of Scout Magazine.