Having released three albums as Purple Pilgrims, sisters Clementine and Valentine Nixon are back with a new record and a new band name. The Coin That Broke The Fountain Floor is their first LP as Clementine Valentine and sees them refining their dream-pop sound to a new level. The album title alludes to the tipping point extremes of recent years, colored by dreams crushing, wishes gathering, and an abundance of hope.
They joined forces with New York City producer Randall Dunn (Oneohtrix Point Never, Danny Elfman, Zola Jesus, SQÜRL) to transpose their keyboard-and-guitar demos to cello, pedal steel, 12-string guitar, and a gallery of vintage synthesizers. Percussion was provided by legendary drummer Matt Chamberlain (David Bowie, Lana Del Rey, Fiona Apple). Final audio finessing came courtesy of Brooklyn mastering engineer Heba Kadry (Bjork, Beach House, Slowdive). The results are regal and richly layered, softly orchestral yet lithe and shimmering.
We chatted with Clementine Valentine about why they decided to change their name and if being sisters every cause any creative problems.
Hi! How’s everything going right now?
Kia Ora! Very well, thank you. Our album is coming out very soon so we’re living in that world at the moment.
What classic album cover is your current mood?
Desertshore by Nico
Your beautiful new album “The Coin that Broke The Fountain Floor” is out on August 25th. When and where did you write and record it?
We started writing in 2020 in the middle of pandemic lockdowns. The recording process was a multi country affair with us in New Zealand, our producer Randall Dunn in NYC, and additional recording in LA. Made by internet alchemy!
This is your first album as Clementine Valentine – why did you decide to change your recording name (from Purple Pilgrims)?
This album felt like it had a slightly different voice to our previous work as Purple Pilgrims, and as our collaborators were expanding so much it felt like the right time for a change.
If you could only listen to one record, what would it be?
Low by David Bowie. It has everything, songs to dance to, songs to cry to, mediative songs – a perfect album.
Your first record together was released in 2011 – what advice would you give yourselves if you could go back in time knowing what you do now?
A good question, maybe “men will be condescending and sound guys will doubt you, but don’t worry so much, this thing called ‘me too’ is coming.”
As sisters, is there ever any sibling rivalry and who normally “wins”?
We’ve never had sibling rivalry, people always think we’re lying but it’s true. We did a lot of traveling as young children, living / traveling throughout South East Asia – we were often the only kids around so we kind of had to get along. I think that’s why we’re still best friends now.
You’ve toured the world extensively alongside the likes of Aldous Harding and Weyes Blood. What is the one thing you can’t do without on tour?
Tea. It’s on every rider we’ve ever had.
What would go on your signature pizza and what would it be called?
Oranges and red roses – ‘Clementine Valentine’.
What do you have planned for the rest of 2023 and beyond?
Touring! We can’t wait to be touring again – starting with here in NZ, UK/EU in February, and US to follow.
Photo Credit – Katya Brook