We threw some cheeky glances at Chris (drums) and Tom (guitars) from Envoys as fired some questions at them over a game of Ludo...
*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: Your debut album 'Violescent' was released last year to critical acclaim on both LP and CD formats - how important was it for you to bring it out on LP and tell us a little about the funding you generated for it beforehand?
TOM: Well, the album was sounding like it would suit a Vinyl release very early on, partly due to the recording process of trying to capture natural sounds/reverbs and keeping it as organic as possible. Plus, it seemed like a really exciting thing to do, just very pricey, especially when it was our debut and we didn't know if anyone would be interested in it! So, there was the Pledge/Kickstarter option, but again, as a relatively unknown band we didn't think they'd particularly work, so we just went with a Pre-Sale for the Vinyl only as that was what we were trying to raise the money for. It felt like the right option as it was doing it all ourselves like we had with all the recording but it was a high risk tactic. We had a natural target of what we'd need to achieve to be able to afford it, so there was the potential for it to fail and us to have to refund everyone (less the PayPal fee!) but we just about reached it. We were enamoured with the response and the feeling of achievement of holding your 12' gatefold sleeve for the first time was a very proud moment.
CHRIS: I was awkward and thought it would never work. But then stopped being a moron and thought how cool it would look. When loads of very cool people started pre-ordering it, I was a little blow away. THANK YOUUUU
BOP: Envoys manage to straddle a nice line between both 'post-rock' and 'metal' genres - was this a deliberate route to go down when you first started out and how much do you think it's a help, or a hindrance, when booking/playing shows?
T: It evolved fairly naturally over time. Through the writing for Violescent we weren't listening to each others current influences which kept everything fresh and hopefully more individual. But it's actually worked out well for shows as we've been on post-rock shows (where we're probably the heaviest band most of the time) through to "Kin Hell Fest where we were relatively a soft core lounge jazz band soothing everybodies hangovers opening the last day! But it seems to fit in with a wider selection of genres - even at the Damnation warm up where we were followed by Black Metal and Grind bands, we got really positive feedback.
C: It happened because I like metal, and play drums like someone who learnt by listening to metal. I still play that way. I don't really listen to stuff the rest of the boys do, and they tolerate my drumming, so it comes out as it does.
BOP: At Bad Owl, we've been trying to create a bit of a 'scene' with our post-rock shows and you guys have been an integral part of that - what are your thoughts on the Leeds music scene in general?
T: The Leeds scene has lost some great bands in recent times, but it feels like it's throwing up new stuff all the time. We played the Bad Owl show in February with Band of Hope Union and Sunwølf and it was a real mixture of styles but incredibly high quality. It feels really good to be part of something like that.
C: THRIVING! Actually, I think it's getting healthier from the evidence of our gigs. People seem to genuinely want to come out and enjoy the shows. It's very promising.
BOP: Envoys 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?
T: Oh yes! We'll be there! Many friends bands are playing so as well as getting to watch them we get to hang out also. It will be great to see Vasa again after we played with them up in Glasgow and they blew us away. Lost in the Riots will be getting the full grubby Leeds experience from us. Looking forward to seeing Latitudes and Cleft for the first time, of course Himself are always amazing and Sunwølf, as mentioned before, blow us away every time we play with them. I've only recently heard Tommorrow we Sail and they seem really good... if I were to look at the line up this answer could go on all day probably.
C: Stewart from Bad Owl - fit!
BOP: Envoys are asked to curate their own gig - what four bands, past or present, would you have on the bill?
T: Chris would pick Korn, I'd probably pick Sigur Ros at this moment, Steve could pick anything from Russian Circles to Mariah Carey whilst Dan would probably chose a band who's name is unreadable... or Maiden (he actually has a varied taste in largely metal so it's hard to say!)
BOP: And finally, other than StrangeForms, what are your plans for the rest of 2014?
T: We're heading to Europe next week so, pre-StrangeForms, we'll be hitting some awesome cities like Prague, Varnsdorf, Berlin, Brussels, Sheffield etc. We're also playing with Tides From Nebula and our new friends Fly On Byrd, Fly On on Wednesday 16th April at the Library. After that, it's time to ramp up the writing process for whatever is next.
Envoys are due to play StrangeForms at 6pm on Saturday 19th April.
Weekend tickets cost £15 from Jumbo, Crash, Wharf Chambers & BadOwl.BigCartel.com
Day tickets cost £9 from WeGotTickets.com
Yorkshire-based Instrumental Rock.