Scene Point Blank (Matt A): So you'd never be interested in doing the dreaded concept album, where you have a gameplan?
Vessels (Lee): No, that'd be great. I've done some stuff recently writing electronica for contemporary dance pieces, and it's really interesting working with a different medium. The dynamic is there in front of you, so it's your own interpretation of the dynamic that has already been written out. I guess working to a concept is challenging but a lot of fun. You've really got your scope of where you can go. Instead of pulling themes out of thin air, it's already there. I wouldn't be averse to trying it.
Vessels (Martin): I think doing an album that's musically themed and has repeating ideas and concepts – that would definitely work with us. Trying to build in a whole story narrative – sometimes it works and sometimes it can be horribly cheesy and terrible. You've probably got to be pretty careful with that kind of stuff. But having said that, I really like The Mars Volta and they do that kind of stuff and can get away with it.
Vessels (Lee): I think the danger is...
Vessels (Martin): You can end up being pretty pompous and a little bit silly.
Scene Point Blank (Matt A): Like The Mars Volta's last 3 albums! I loved the first one.
Vessels (Martin): No, the last one was great!
Scene Point Blank (Matt A): I just think that since they've kicked the drugs they've gotten less interesting.
Vessels (Lee): You'll just have to campaign.
Scene Point Blank (Matt A): Yeah... "Get back on the crack!"
Scene Point Blank (Matt T): We had a look today at the videos for 'Yuki' and 'Hundred Times In Every Direction' – they've both got very strong, but distinct artistic direction. To what extent do you consider things like videos to be a part of the band's medium?
Vessels (Lee): You see a lot of videos, stuff like OK Go – they're funny, they don't take themselves seriously and they've got a nice idea and they've executed it really well. Videos are really important but it's tricky with music like ours because you can again look really pompous and up your own arse, especially with quite dynamic and grandeur music. Like it's nice having the dance group and working from their influence, it's nice to see what other artists interpret from your music and give back to you. I think we'll probably stay on that track, it's fun. It's fun to work with people like that and it's fun to see what they think about your music. We're very democratic about the music we write so...
Vessels (Martin): Sometimes.
Vessels (Lee): We try to be very democratic about the music we write. I would like to continue that with the visual side of things.
Vessels (Martin): I think the next video we do for a song would probably be an animation. I like the idea of a band doing a song and then someone else getting that song and developing on something they read into it – it might be very different to what the person who originally created it thought of, but it's interesting because it takes some aspect of it and develops that.
Vessels (Lee): Other people always notice things in your music that you don't personally pay attention to because you play it all the time. They do something with it and you go "Actually that's really cool, I like what you've done there." And that's why I think it's important to give people artistic freedom.
Scene Point Blank (Matt T): Staying outside of but related to the music, what are your non-musical influences?
Vessels (Lee): I hate to say it because it's cliché, but whole nature thing. The way it can be so powerful but gentle at the same time. I can't say for everybody else, but I know it influences me. And I'm quite interested in the possibility of life on other planets and all that kind of thing. I spend a fair bit of time staring up at the stars and wondering what's going on up there so that influences me. Because we're not a very lyrical band as such, well Tom will probably tell you something completely different, but my influence when I'm writing is more the emotion I get from where we are as a species and the dynamic we have with nature at the moment and how we treat each other. Which obviously has a very strong dichotomy. There's some absolutely beautiful aspects of life and nature and some absolutely horrible ones, so I think I try and encompass that in the music. So sometimes there's some beautiful moments, sometimes some fucking awful moments. It's just driving and sometimes it's not easy to listen to. Relationships, that kind of thing doesn't do it for me. Only the relationship we have with everything. A bit cheesy, but there you go.
Vessels (Martin): I'm probably influenced a lot by people that are around me. Friends, family. I read a lot of books, I read the newspaper a lot, I watch a lot of films. That influences the kind of things I think and do. I don't know how much of it ends up in the music.
Vessels (Lee): It's difficult to word. Obviously the way you go about your life. The constant relationships and your current mood is always going to be an influence in how you write but...
Vessels (Martin): There's definitely something in how you're just feeling at a particular point in time that affects what you do when you're in that rehearsal room or just the conversations you have with your other bandmates. It could be anything, you could just have not had enough sleep last night or had a massive argument with your girlfriend. That definitely ends up influencing how you interact with the other people and ends up in the music somehow.
Vessels (Lee): We try – I don't know if we succeed or not – but we try when we close our rehearsal room door to hang your ego on a hook and get on with the music because that's what we're there for. But how can you be sure if you're ever actually doing that? It's hard to gauge.
Scene Point Blank (Matt T): You've played quite a lot around the UK. Favourite cities and venues to play in?
Vessels (Lee): Brighton.
Vessels (Martin): Brighton, yeah. Our last show in Brighton was awesome. The venue was alright but we had a really good crowd and then we did an instore gig in a record store the next day which was quite entertaining. So Brighton has treated us really well.
Vessels (Lee): London has been pretty good to us. Manchester has been alright as well. Glasgow has been nice, not so much because of the massive turnout but we have some friends up there in a band called The Ocean Factory who are really nice guys.
Vessels (Martin): We've played this tiny little place in Bolton several times that's just really funny, The Dog And Partridge. You end up going to all these backwater shitty towns and sometimes they're the best gigs because there's probably not much else going on for the people who live there. But we can end up having really good shows almost anywhere.
Scene Point Blank (Matt A): On the flipside of that, was it quite intimidating to play in London for the first time, knowing what London crowds are like and how they've seen it all before?
Vessels (Martin): Well, we've played in London quite a lot. We must have done at least 15 or 20 shows in London and generally they end up being very good. The crowds are really nice. It has a reputation for being a bit standoffish but most of the time it hasn't been like that for us.
Scene Point Blank (Matt T): We're going to use the interview as part of a feature on Scene Point Blank for up-and-coming bands, do you want to close off by giving a shout out to any other up-and-coming acts that our readers should know about?
Vessels (Martin): Got some good friends of ours in a band called I Concur, also from Leeds. Kind of indie rock stuff with hints of post-rock . They've got an album coming out shortly and they're fairly good.
Vessels (Lee): Also some other friends of ours in a math metal band called White Boys For Gay Jesus. They're lots of fun. Red Stars Parade, fantastic band. You've got to see them live. There's loads really. Down I Go, another metal band from down south.
Vessels (Martin): There's a band called Truckers Of Husk, we've never played with them but they're really good. From Wales.
Vessels (Lee): Take A Worm For A Walk Week, good for a laugh.
Vessels (Martin): More math metal. I do quite like The Grammatics, they're going to be quite big I reckon. Definately up-and-coming, they've toured with Bloc Party so we probably don't need to recommend them. You already know who they are. And I also quite like Dananananaykroyd but again the name is everywhere.
Vessels (Lee): There's a local electronics artist called Random Number, he's got some great stuff as well. And another guy called Nature Has Patterns.
Vessels (Martin): And I'd definitely recommend, although people have probably heard of them, Errors. One of the guys from Errors did a remix on 'Retreat'.
Scene Point Blank (Matt A): Anyone got any last words they want to add?
Vessels (Lee): Recycle.