Indie rockers Veronica Falls know people in the right places

Indie rockers Veronica Falls have had a few helping hands along the way, writes Charlie Carter

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 06 November, 2013, 10:39pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 06 November, 2013, 10:39pm

It's not what you know but who you know.

For Veronica Falls, had it not been for the help of some influential friends, the British indie rockers may never have enjoyed the level of success that has resulted in a headline Asian tour that brings them to Hong Kong this month.

To those uninitiated in the finer points of indie music, gigs with Crystal Stilts and The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, plus the patronage of Scottish popsters Teenage Fanclub, may mean little. But to the genre's cognoscenti, such connections are tantamount to nods from Paul McCartney or Robbie Williams among mainstream acts.

"Our friends sort of helped us out, which is nice," says frontwoman Roxanne Clifford.

Clifford, 30, met drummer Patrick Doyle at art college in Glasgow. Their love of music ushered them into the city's band scene that spawned the likes of The Jesus and Mary Chain and the Creation label that signed Primal Scream and Oasis. They formed Veronica Falls in 2009.

"The music scene in Glasgow is really small," says Clifford. "Just from going to gigs and being in a band and going to record shops, you become friends with people with the same interests. Everybody really helps each other. It's the same in New York."

The band has been compared to the so-called "twee" bands of the mid-1980s who played harmonised, melodic guitar pop typified by the now-legendary C86 tape issued by the NME in 1986. Featuring an early incarnation of Primal Scream and The Pastels and The Shop Assistants, the emphasis was on gentle melodies.

"We do get compared to those sorts of bands and it is music that I listened to when I was growing up, so it had an indirect influence," says Clifford. "But it's not something we were going for - it was accidental. We were influenced by the same bands that they were."

Those include heavy drone pioneers The Velvet Underground and bittersweet chiming-guitar folkies The Byrds.

"With our female vocals we can sound a little twee, but I think people will reassess that when they hear us live," says Clifford, who shares vocals with bassist Marion Herbain.

While the C86 bands sang of broken hearts and missed loves, Veronica Falls have followed a darker theme with songs such as Beachy Head about the UK's cliff-side suicide black spot, and Found Love in a Graveyard, whose gloomy title speaks for itself.

The band name is also tinged with menace. "Veronica was a name I really liked when I was young," says Clifford. "It's an emotive name. There are a lot of American teen flicks and the bully's always called Veronica."

Two albums in and the band remains peripatetic. Four tours of the US, countless shows in the UK and forays into Russia and Poland show a sense of wanderlust. "I love to move around," says Clifford.

Their travels continue this month with their first journey east, to Australia and Japan then onto Bangkok and a night at Central music venue Backstage Live. "It's always good going to places that a lot of bands don't go to because people are really appreciative when you make it over and the atmosphere is always really amazing."


Veronica Falls, November 12, 8pm, Backstage Live, 1/F, 52-54 Wellington Street, Central, HK$230 (advance), HK$280 (door), Inquiries: 9709 2085