TC23: John Niblock – Vasa

john niblock from vasa crowdsurfing interview podcast
Listen to Episode (01:01:22)

The Curator Podcast: Episode 23 – John Niblock from Vasa

Someone in a local music scene somewhere is always talking about how they watched band X grow, or how they’ve seen their music mature over the years. I’m not gonna be that guy. You’ve heard it all before.

I knew John before I knew of his band Vasa. Our paths crossed when he was somehow added to the writing staff of Daily Dischord, a music website I used to (sorta still do?) run. I’ve seen him grow as a writer and over the years I guess his band have just always been there. Once I heard about his band, once I met the man himself, they seemed to be omnipresent in the Glasgow music scene and wherever his band was not, John was.

I’m not going to talk about how much Vasa have changed since 2011. What I’m going to say is far more direct – their debut album ‘Colours’ is a triumph. You’ll hear us talk extensively about the record itself in the interview, but I think it’s important to mention how interesting it is. It’s dynamic, with huge production, odd and engaging arrangements, and with no shortage of hooks.

Their ascension has been as well earned. Their star will, I think, continue to rise.

This is the first interview I’ve ever conducted at home. I went mic to mic, breaking out the SM58 and leaving on the capsule mic for some ambience. There’s weird noise in the background from time to time, and occasionally you can hear us laughing for what seems to be no reason – that’s because my pet rabbit was out and about, causing trouble and generally being an adorable wee bastard.

Highlights include:

  • How he’s waiting for the band to say something incredibly stupid in an interview
  • Having been sitting on the album for ten months
  • The reason Cynthia was added to the album
  • Heavy, happy post rock
  • Blaine as the primary songwriter
  • Being heavier than most post rock bands
  • Moving away from being a post rock band to just a general rock band
  • And not being a math band
  • The attraction to playing instrumental music stemming from hearing This Will Destroy You
  • How Europe is so far ahead of the UK when it comes to playing shows and having friendly promoters with receptive crowds
  • Shout out to Bloc in Glasgow for being one of the very few places that have a European style outlook on music – free entry, rider, food and payment
  • Ruminating on why European shows are different from British ones
  • John Niblock Loves Mudvayne (In a Non Ironic Way)
  • Getting into bass, learning from Intronaut and Primus
  • The John Niblock Toilet Graffiti Nexus and a shout out to Fecking Bahamas
  • Why bass and not guitar
  • Writing hooks in songs and how Blaine has a natural talent for writing them
  • Asinine questions in interviews about the lack of vocalist and the origin of the name
  • Where the drive to keep touring comes from
  • Love for the new defunct The Darien Venture, Crusades and DIRTDRINKER
  • The annoyance of not seeing bands fulfil their potential
  • Being a relentless gobshite and talking to everyone
  • The Creative Scotland application process
  • The album recording process at The Ranch with Neil Kennedy and Daly George
  • And my embarrassing bands

John’s one of the easiest guys in the world to chat to and I think that come through in this interview. I hope you enjoy the episode.

Featured Music

Intro: Voodoo Puppets – Electric Chair Blues (used under CC licence, you can check it out here).

Vasa – The Angry Dome
Vasa – Ergonomic Keyboard
Vasa – Poseidon’s Kiss

Links

You can buy their debut album over on their website. The vinyl is beautiful. Buy one.

You can also find them on Facebook and Twitter.

Shoutouts to Bloc and Fecking Bahamas.

Photo courtesy of Monster Sound Collective.

You can see the John Niblock Toilet Graffiti Nexus here.

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