Music Q&A: Vessels

The Leeds electronic post-rockers are gearing up for a tour visiting Brudenell Social Club in Leeds, 30 Sept and Soup Kitchen in Manchester, 5 Oct

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What informs your music and songwriting?
On a fairly basic level an inherent curiosity with the possibilities of sound, melody and rhythm and what can be done with technology to open up sonically exciting avenues. We are keen to experiment with technology but always with a mind towards the organic, and live performance, so that the music is never overtly electronic or clinical. We are all obviously influenced by the world around us – the political, social, environmental, scientific and artistic climate – and this informs the songwriting also to a certain extent.

How have you evolved as a band over the years?
We have been together over 10 years now and I think the band has changed in a number of fairly obvious ways, though I do think evolved is a better word. It has been quite a natural progression to swap our guitars and amplifiers for synthesizers and laptops as we were simply responding to the way in which our musical tastes and interests were evolving to incorporate more and more electronic music and the associated ways of creating it. The two drummers have stayed, but many of the drums have been swapped for sample pads! I do believe that we have managed to retain the guiding principle that has always run through Vessels’ music: a love of interlocking rhythms, layers of sound and strong dynamics. We learnt a lot of these tricks from listening to and playing post-rock but have tried to retain them as we moved more into the world of dance/techno music.

What are you up to at the moment artistically?
We are about to release our fourth album, The Great Distraction, and then go on tour around the UK and Europe starting Saturday 30 September.

What’s on your rider?
Continental cheese and ham, hummus, carrots, crisps, trendy beer and wine (if we are lucky). And a lot of coffee.

Tell us your most embarrassing or surreal experience?

I think I’ll go for surreal 😉 We played a festival in Italy a few years ago in a medieval courtyard in Foligno. Towards the second half of the set the sun had gone down and the old courtyard architecture was lit up with atmospheric lighting and filled with smoke. Combined with the music we were playing this created an otherworldly ambience quite different to any other concert we have played. I will always remember it as an extremely surreal musical experience.

What song do you wish you’d written?

As a band, probably Atlas by Battles. It is so infectious both rhythmically and melodically – the perfect fusion of the cerebral, the catchy and the danceable by four talented musicians at the top of their game.

What’s your worst lyric?
As primarily an instrumental band we tend to rely on our guest vocalists to write the lyrics for the tracks we work with them on. That said, our worst piece of lyrical comprehension was a line by John Grant in Erase the Tapes where we heard “fake distraction” as “great distraction” and then named the record after it!

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