Vessel: New Year, New Sound.


Written by Nina Bertok
04 Tuesday 04th February 2014

And while we’re not quite sure whether this exotic instrument will be making a special appearance on the upcoming Vessel release, one thing is for certain – the new record is going to be a much darker affair and a step in quite a different direction from Order Of Noise. 

“I don’t listen to that record,” he says of his debut. “I don’t care for it overmuch either. It was a stepping stone. It allowed me to explore a new format and all of the attendant challenge. It allowed me to grow, but I generally think it’s clumsy and misguided. I can look at it and see what I don’t want to do. I still play Lache, which I think is probably the best song. There has been one EP which we released last year. The rest of the time I’ve been working on a new record for Tri Angle. There are lots of different aspects to the music I enjoy making, not all of which feature on one particular alias. The new Vessel record is more melodic and also more brutal. It was a conduit for difficult experiences. It sounds very different to the first record.”

And while some producers are quickly put off by the often-draining and slow process of making a full-length album – as opposed to the more stock-standard EP or single – Vessel claims the challenging aspects of making an album far from discouraged him from working on a sophomore. The new Vessel record is going to sound different, as Seb claims, but it will also see the return of a more mature and grown musician. 

“I would be worried if my influences hadn’t changed at all since. If I come to a point where things feel too comfortable, I feel compelled to make things hard again. It’s the only way I can keep myself engaged and honest. I have a short attention span, I guess.”

While Vessel admits he equally enjoys working on albums and shorter EPs, he claims that a full-length record poses a greater personal risk for an artist and leaves his heart and soul much more vulnerable to the judging audience.

“An album requires a more considered narrative than when you’re making three or four tracks. The parts have to relate to the whole, otherwise all you are doing is making a compilation of tracks. The idea of having to say something other than, ‘I am experimenting’, or ‘these tracks are purely functional’, is frightening. There is fear. It means you have to examine yourself in ways which might be uncomfortable, or make something which means a lot to you and not much to anyone else. The prospect of public failure and mockery isn’t appealing to anyone. I enjoy making album-length releases because it forces you to change and adapt and to grow as an artist. I enjoy making EP-length releases because they are points around which you can quickly orient yourself and try out ideas which may go on to influence you later.” 

Vessel's current influences include very “British sounding music”, he reveals, citing The Shadow Ring as an example. More extreme sounds are something he’s also been playing around with recently, though at its core, Vessel still remains electronic.
“I wouldn’t ever describe myself as a producer, I dislike that term,” he states. “I didn’t intend for this to become a career, it just happened. I make music because I couldn’t not make it. I enjoy performing to people and getting to release my work is a privilege, but it’s something I was lucky enough to fall into. There are too many different places that I take influence from to list and it seems reductive to try and define influences by naming just a few. I’ve always taken influence from early electronic music. I’ve taken increased influence from more extreme music, such as industrial and punk. I’ve also become very interested in non-traditional tuning systems.” 

Basically, as Vessel sums it up, it’s all about forming new ideas and innovative ways of musical expression – which, unfortunately, is an approach that doesn’t always garner support from those in the scene. While Seb has equally positive things to say about his native Bristol as well as London, he admits every city or town has its negatives too...

“Bristol is a small place and the music scene is fairly easy to penetrate. There isn’t the sense of competition that seems to dominate somewhere like London – people want to help each other most of the time. In a lot of ways I don’t feel part of the Bristol music scene because there isn’t much there that I care about. For a city that trades off of its reputation as a breeding ground for progressive music, there isn’t much in the way of support for people who are trying new ideas. New ideas are scary.”

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