Having just toured with Oceansize and with the second album ready to drop in the new year, we though it about time we caught up with Vessels.

R13: You've just finished a European tour with Oceansize, how was that?
V: Totally awesome. It's the first time we've done a month-long jaunt across Europe and it was cool to do it with those guys. They're great fun and we have a lot in common in terms of tastes in music and films etc, so it was good to hang out for a whole month.

R13: Is it hard being the support band as it's not your crowd or do you take it as an opportunity to spread the word?
V: It wasn't hard at all, actually, and the crowds were all really supportive. I think we were lucky to support a band such as Oceansize, whose fans are clearly already into progressive, heavy music, as some of our music definitely fits into that category.

R13: New single 'Meatman, Piano Tuner, Prostitute' has just come out as a limited free download. What was the thinking behind making it free?
V: We thought it would be a good song to introduce people to our music, and we wanted as many people to hear it as possible. There are only a few people who buy download singles these days, so it seems appropriate to give away the first single from an album as promotion, and hope that those people who download it get the whole album when it arrives. We've also given away another song for members of our mailing list, called 'Ornafives', which didn't fit with the track-listing of the album so we decided to give it away as a freebie.

R13: The second album 'Helioscope' is in the can and due for release in February next year; have you tried to do anything different to the debut album this time round?
V: We were trying to get away from some of the classic post-rock cliche's that peppered the debut and give the album a bit more of a groove-based feel. There's a few more keyboards and synthesizers on this record as well. It's possibly more cohesive than the debut as well, as these songs were written across a shorter time-span than those on "White Fields...", although it hopefully still has enough diversity to keep it interesting throughout.

R13: How did you approach songwriting for this record? Did you have songs already or compose them during studio sessions?
V: We wrote these songs less as developing jams (as we wrote the first album) and more by recording demos and sequencing ideas. The songs were all composed before we got to the studio, but we only started the opening track - 'Monoform' - two weeks before we headed to Texas, so there was parts of it that needed fine tuning in the studio.

R13: You recorded with John Congleton again (who also produced the debut album), was that something you pushed hard for?
V: Actually, we were planning on recording this album in the UK with another producer, but we met John while he was in Liverpool recording Clinic and he was really keen to do the new one, and in the end he offered us a great deal to go to Elmwood - his studio in Dallas - and as we knew he'd do a great job and that we have a good working relationship with him, we decided to go for it.

R13: Vessels has been together five years now, who influenced your sound back in the early days and did it turn out how you imagined?
V: Four out of the five of us have been playing together for eight years now, and our influences have changed a lot since then as we've discovered new music and sounds. I think Lee and Tim wanted to sound like Texas Is The Reason when they started playing together, although I think The Appleseed Cast have been more influential as time's past. Do Make Say Think, Caribou and Broken Social Scene have been important as well. I don't think it ever turns out how you imagined, and if it does then you're not experimenting enough!

R13: What other bands do you think are pushing the boundaries on the post-rock scene at the moment?
V: My two personal favourites are Three Trapped Tigers and Zun Zun Egui, although I don't know if you could class them as post-rock. Both very funky and amazing live bands.

R13: Does Vessels fulfil your creative needs or do any of you have side projects on the go?
V: Me, Lee and Pete have side projects. I do an acoustic singer/songwriter thing called Peasman, and electronica under the name Peatronica. Lee produces some great tunes under his own name, Lee J. Malcolm, and Pete does an acoustic thing called Take Me Seriously Shoes. Lee and Pete used to play in a jazzy/world/funk originals band called Transpangeaen, but that hasn't happened for a while now... and Pete very occasionally does a Johnny Cash tribute band in which I get to play the mariachi horn part in 'Ring of Fire' on the kazoo whilst wearing a false 'tash, which is possibly the most fun I've ever had on stage.

R13: Can fans expect further UK dates in support of the album release next year?
V: Hell yeah! We'll be playing across the UK in February and March, so keep an eye on the website vesselsband.com for updates.