Favourite Things: The Sisters of Purple Pilgrims

Valentine and Clementine Nixon, of dream-pop band Purple Pilgrims, share their favourite things

Valentine and Clementine Nixon, of dream-pop band Purple Pilgrims. Picture / Babiche Martens

Travels and tours have seen musicians Valentine and Clementine Nixon gather objects from all corners of the globe — from picking up a copy of Wuthering Heights in Yorkshire to finding vinyl at a dusty record store in Prague.

Together the sisters make up Purple Pilgrims, a dream-pop duo, currently splitting their time between their isolated family home on the west coast of the Coromandel Peninsula and a cosy studio apartment off K Rd.

“Our apartment is in a 1980s’ office building, which has lots of concrete, brutalist features that we really like — the absolute aesthetic opposite of endless ponga and nikau [of Coromandel]. We both thrive in extremes so this setup is pretty perfect for us right now.”

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The sisters are set to spread their ethereal vibes with a performance at Laneway 2017, to be held at Auckland’s Albert Park on January 30. A dreamy new single and video is also in the works, aptly focused around joining a cult — a theme based on tales told to them by neighbours of happenings from the 60s and 70s in the valley around their family home, it’s here they have been “leisurely” recording their second LP.


Japanese vinyl; Levi’s 501 jacket; Silk scarves. Pictures / Babiche Martens

1. Japanese vinyl
We found these 7-inch records in a magic little record store in old town Prague, while on tour playing music around Europe. The place was dusty and felt just like going back in time. They’re Japanese pressings, which always have the best design and most amazing colours.

2. Levi’s 501 jacket
This jacket was our mum’s in the 70s, she got it in San Francisco when she moved to the States age 17. It lived in our dress-up box for a while as kids, we both wore it through our teens and continue to wear it today — now it’s only just held together by a few threads and is pretty sentimental to us.

3. Silk scarves
Valentine: An ever-growing bundle of silk I’ve collected in countless op-shops while travelling here and overseas. They’re the perfect souvenirs to collect on tour, they take up no space and cost next to nothing as they serve no real purpose other than looking lovely and feeling wonderful. Clementine and I have always collected vintage clothes and recently, having reached full capacity, we’ve started selling the overflow in a tiny shop on the main street of Thames in the Coromandel. It’s called Delius, we shop-share with our friend Pete, who sells Crown Lynn pottery and the odd hand-picked LP.

Printed matter; Clementine by Sam Harrison. Pictures / Babiche Martens

4. Printed matter
Clementine: I found this copy of Wuthering Heights in Yorkshire very near where our dad was born and also where Emily Bronte wrote the novel. It’s been a favourite of mine and Valentine’s since forever and we’ve both read it more times than we’d like to admit. I’ve picked up a few different copies from second-hand shops over the years but this one has the most beautiful cover of any I’ve seen.

Valentine: This copy of The Catcher in the Rye was given to me by our dad in my early teens and at the time it (very gently) blew my mind. It was the same copy Dad read at university so there was a nice generational symmetry in reading that copy for the first time. I also think the faded metallic silver of the cover is really beautiful.

5. Clementine by Sam Harrison
Clementine: A woodcut portrait of me by artist Sam Harrison a friend from my art school days in Christchurch. His work is so beautiful. Printed on the most incredibly delicate paper, it’s completely transparent when held up to the light. I love the natural pattern the woodgrain has created. It’s super special to have had that chapter of my life immortalised on paper.

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