Roxanne Clifford on post-Veronica Falls project Patience, covering Roky Erickson & new single (stream / Q&A)
Roxanne Clifford spent nearly a decade playing in indie guitar bands, most famously Veronica Falls (but also Sexy Kids and The Royal We). For her solo project Patience, she’s turned to keyboards and drum machines. Having released Patience’s debut single back in the spring, she’s following it up with the lovely “The Pressure” on September 23 via Night School and it sounds like it could’ve been released on Mute in 1981. On the flip side is a cover of Roky Erikson’s “Wait for You” (you may remember Veronica Falls covered his “Starry Eyes” on their first single). “The Pressure” premieres here:
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Having just moved from the UK to sunny Los Angeles, Roxanne was nice enough answer some questions via electronic mail about her switch to synths, love of Roky, and what’s next.
What drew you to explore synthesizers for your solo project? Were the songs written on keyboards?
The Patience songs released so far were written on keyboard but sometimes I’ll pick up a guitar to work out a melody or something as that’s how I feel most comfortable. For the first single, “The Church,” I just built the song from the bass line up – I suppose the attraction was how liberating it felt to finish a song in a few hours and explore a whole new world of possibility for my songs. I’ve progressed a bit technically using my own drum machines and a couple of synths I have at home but I approach things simply at first, then it’s a nice opportunity for me to collaborate on the actual recording, I miss the collaborative aspect of working in a band dynamic so I like having outside input at this point. For the last two singles, I’ve taken my demos to my friend Lewis Cook in Glasgow who is a synth whizz and we’ve rerecorded the songs together on his analogue equipment.
Were there any specific reference points you were going for, sonically? What are your favorite artists of the ’80s era?
I have very specific ideas about the sounds I like but I rarely know how to get them, so I use particular reference points from different songs. I like a lot of the weirder female italo songs, avant pop like Anna Domino and Berntholer, Chris and Cosey and then more mainstream British stuff like early OMD, New Order etc.
“(Wait) For You” is the second Roky Erickson song you’ve covered. What draws you to him?
He’s just my all time favourite. Whether he’s singing about demons and vampires or playing a love song in a motel room, his songs just feel genuine and effortless. He has a special way of phrasing things too, he’ll mix the words up in a sentence to make them fit, sort of a stream of consciousness. They’re nice songs to cover because he doesn’t always have definitive versions and he often plays songs differently on different albums.
Is there an album on the way? Live shows?
Yes an album is on its way and I think a live show will take shape once that is finished, I’m incorporating more live instruments into my newer songs to bridge the gap between my two musical worlds. I’ve written and recorded a lot of different songs over the last couple of years and I’m excited to have them out in the world.
What occupies your time when not making music these days?
Well I literally just moved to Los Angeles a few months ago with one suitcase and a guitar, so I’m still getting used to living life on a different continent and pretending I’m on holiday for as long as I possibly can.