In the first of a series of interviews in the lead up to StrangeForms festival we caught up with John from Glasgow instrumental math/post-rock act, Vasa...
*StrangeForms Festival takes place over the Easter Bank Holiday (19th & 20th April) at Wharf Chambers and features sixteen post-rock, post-metal and math rock acts.*
Bad Owl Presents: Glasgow's Mogwai are obviously one of the pioneers of UK instrumental music but, as far as we're aware, there does seem to be a dearth of post-rock, post-metal and instrumental math-rock bands coming out of Scotland at the moment. What do you attribute this to and do you often find yourselves playing with a mixed genre of bands due to this?
John: I'm not entirely sure if I'm honest. When we first started playing there was quite a large amount of instrumental bands playing then a good few of them dissolved and now there seems to be a little bit of a rise in numbers again. I'm not entirely sure why there is a bit of a lack of bands in this genre. It's anyone's guess.
BOP: You've supported some awesome bands recently (Deafheaven and Nordic Giants) - is it hard to treat these as 'normal' shows when you're playing alongside bands that you're clearly big fans of?
J: I don't think it's really that hard to treat the big support slots as normal gigs as we just go about them the same way we go about any other gigs. The main difference is there are a few more nerves as we're obviously sharing a stage with amazing bands who we really love and, in Deafheaven's case, we were playing to a crowd that wasn't hugely 'au fait' with the genre we belong to. It went really well though which is always a plus and we received a good few messages in the days after the show from people who said how much they enjoyed us. Deafheaven and Nordic Giants were actually two of the most amazing live performances we've ever seen and being asked by Nordic Giants personally to support them again is really cool as was just being involved in both gigs. Also as an added bonus, Simon Neil (from Biffy Clyro) caught a good chunk of our set at the Deafheaven show and had some very kind words to say to us after. Which was nice.
BOP: You'll be embarking on your very first European Tour in the lead up to StrangeForms - how excited are you about it and, of the band members, who do you think is the least likely to make it back in one piece?
J: There's actually been a bit of a change of plans in terms of the Europe tour. We are now going on another UK tour in May instead and are pushing a potential Europe date back to later in the year. We will be going away with another band who will remain nameless for the time being. We are all really excited for this tour as we will get to go back to the cities we loved playing in the last time round and will be visiting some new places as well which will be fun.
In terms of who won't make it back that could be anyone. Alex will probably get lost at some point during proceedings. Blaine and Scott will get severe hangover symptoms like last time (jakey shakes* were the main problem) and I will probably burst a few blood vessels in my brain after several bouts of furious road rage. If anyone makes it back it'll be a miracle.
*for anyone wanting a translation from Scottish to English - "jakey shakes" are just severe shakes brought about by a previous night on the screaming piss.
BOP: Vasa will be playing on the Saturday at StrangeForms - are you planning on sticking around for the day or weekend and, if so, who are you looking forward to seeing?
J: Hopefully we will, work schedules permitting. Polymath are a definite must see for me. I absolutely love those guys. Cleft and Lost in the Riots are also ones that we will be looking forward to. And we'll definitely want to catch our pals in Tidings as we love them. Big tarts that they are. Honestly, we'll just want to check out all the bands as there are some we've never heard and there's a big fat chance we'll come out loving some of the bands we've never listened to before StrangeForms.
BOP: Vasa are asked to curate their own gig - what four bands, past or present, would you have on the bill?
J: This is a dangerous one as I could just put my own personal preferences up and piss off the others. I'll get pelters for whatever I put anyway so here goes.
And So I Watch You From Afar
BOP: And finally, other than StrangeForms, what are Vasa's plans for the rest of 2014?
J: We have a few gigs planned in the coming months. Obviously we've just played the Nordic Giants support mentioned earlier and we are also supporting wecamefromwolves in Glasgow on March 13th for their EP launch. We may also be playing a gig south of the border in March but again that is work schedule permitting. Of course after that we have our tour with *insert unnamed mystery band here* and we are planning a release of something just before that. Nice and vague.
Vasa are due to play StrangeForms at 5pm on Saturday 19th April.
Weekend tickets cost £15 from Jumbo, Crash, Wharf Chambers & BadOwl.BigCartel.com
Day tickets cost £9 from WeGotTickets.com