With work and other commitments at the moment, finding time to do anything outside of my little work bubble is proving quite hard. However, being given the chance to interview Vessels sure gave me the excuse I needed!
It is quite hard to fully commit to a solid genre labelling for the Leeds born four-piece, unless of course you want to be really anal about it and call it Post-electronic-metal-gaze-rock-core…… yeah, maybe not. Who cares what genre they belong to, they sound awesome! This gang of multi-instrumentalists recently released Helioscope which was my first album addiction of 2011, the kind where one more listen just isn’t enough. You can read the review for this new wave genre bending masterpiece here.
I’m not sure if I was suffering temporary insanity in the run up to this interview with my increased work cycle, some of the questions are weird! Read on and you'll see what I mean…
BR: First question, if you could steal the beard off any famous person, dead or alive and claim it as your own, whose would it be?
That’s a very difficult question; I always kinda liked Dimebag Darrell’s. He had quite an interesting beard.
BR: A lot of people seem to say Charles Darwin.
BR: Genre labelling has gone a little bit mental in the last few years; people are just making them up left, right and centre. How would you categorise your music?
I get asked this quite a lot actually and to be honest I just say “its rock music”, but it depends on who I’m talking to. If it’s somebody who I know is into loads of music that I like then I might start using a label or referencing bands. I’m not really that fussed about saying “it’s like post-hardcore emo…” or any of those, but I don’t get annoyed about those labels either I just think it does get a bit silly after a while. We’ve got influences from many genres; there’s a bit of metal in there, a bit of folk, lots of different things. I just tend to call it rock music.
BR: Good! I’ve been looking at some of your photos online and there’s one where you’re all sat in a line with all your gear set up in front of you. Are you guys tech-heads?
Sort of, I like pedals when they sound good and look cool but I’m not massively geeky about it. To be honest some people who come to the gigs are geekier about it than we are.
BR: Like me…. Have you got anything in the pipeline that you want now that you’re making more money, touring, etc.
Number one, there ain’t no money! Absolutely none, we’re in debt. Generally speaking people tend to think that when you get to a certain level you start making money but we’ve yet to see any of that. I guess we’re always looking for something new or different in our sound so I’m sure we’ll get something, some new toy/pedal/keyboard to play with at some point. We’ve just introduced an old style Korg MS-20 synth which Lee uses and that’s given us a cool new sound. I suppose if we get any more money we’ll be buying retro synths to experiment with new sounds. We have a sampler that Tim’s using live, so lots of potential there too.
BR: You’ve got quite a good ear for vocal placement in songs. Is that an organic thing or do you sit down and say “this song’s going to have vocals in, this ones going to be an instrumental”?
The music always comes first, then at a pretty early stage when someone’s written something, usually Lee, we’ll play it together or he’ll play what he’s recorded and we’ll have a think about it. It’s fairly obvious if vocals are going to work, sometimes you try a bit and you just know it’s not going to work.
BR: I’ve been looking at your artwork for Helioscope, and you’ve got some of the coolest t-shirts around. Who does all your designs?
It’s a guy called Luke Drozd. You can get him on www.lukedrozd.com. He’s pretty much done the art for everything we’ve done, apart from the very first few things. We really like his art, we’re friends with him and he’s from Leeds. It’s always felt natural how he’s produced art that matched the music quite well and that we also liked. I think it’s quite important to get coherence between the different art that you use with the band because it helps to shape your identity. We’re pretty pleased about that.
BR: Cool. In your experience of the music industry so far has it been full of nice people or is everyone just a bunch of wankers?
Ha ha! I suppose it depends, it’s pretty difficult to generalise. It’s not as if we’re mixing with the big wigs yet, we’re not doing stadiums or arenas. You notice when you get from playing a gig in a pub to decent size venue, the professionalism steps up, and I don’t know if there’s any more wankers or not, there’s definitely some though, there’s wankers everywhere aren’t there?! Gig promoters for one, but generally most of the people we’ve encountered are cool most of the time.
BR: What’s the stupidest thing you’ve ever done?
Wow, I don’t know! Erm… the other day we were in Belfast and I tried to get into the wrong van. I mean, all white vans look pretty similar don’t they? I ended up opening the side door and pulling it off, spent ages trying to put it back on and it just wouldn’t. I felt a bit stupid at that point. I’ve locked the keys in the van several times so we’ve had to break in. We’ve all done some stupid things though. Our sound guy got left in Poland for two days when we were touring because he forgot to tell anyone that he was going to a service station! We got a call from him about two hours later when we were just outside Berlin saying “erm, I’m not with you any more…”
BR: Can you remember the first time you were blown away by music, and what was it that you were listening to?
It was probably Paradise City by Guns and Roses. I think I was about ten years old and that pretty much blew me away.
BR: Did you have a bandana?
No, but I definitely wanted to be Slash for a long time.
BR: What would be your plan in a zombie apocalypse?
I’d probably just get high. I don’t think I’d try to fight it. I’d have as much fun as possible before I died.
BR: If it was to happen tomorrow and you could tell our readers to go out and do one last thing, what would it be?
Buy the new Vessels album, Helioscope! I suppose it would have to be “go out and have as much pure fun and pleasure as you can, however you get your kicks”.
BR: Nice one. Thanks very much.
Posted: Sun 27 March 2011