Saturday 1 December 2018

An Interview With LORD VAPOUR


Lord Vapour released their debut album Mill Street Blues back in 2016. The album made a great impression on the Doom/Stoner Metal community with it's heavy style of 70s Hard Rock music spliced with elements of Psych, Doom and modern Stoner Metal sounds.

Fast forward two years and the band are back with their even better new album - Semuta. Which sees the band adapt a more Progressive Spaced Out Theme and the results are brilliantly entertaining.

Ahead of the album release today, I managed to catch up with the band to discuss the making of the new album and possible future touring plans.

You can read my review of Semuta here.

Hi guys. Thanks for doing this interview. How are things with you today?

Hi man, not too bad, thanks for having us! Hope things all good on your end too.

For people not in the know can you give a brief history of how Lord Vapour came together and what the current line-up is today.

Myself (Joe) and Henry have known each other for years and we met Squirrel (our drummer) from local gigs. As we are all into the same music we had always made drunken promises about starting a band which eventually we did in 2014. Henry (guitar) and I (bass, vocals) were playing together quite a lot at the time and had written a couple of songs which we took to Squirrel and after playing together and recording rough demos things just seemed to fall into place and we wrote ‘Mill Street Blues’ and things just carried on from there.

You released your last album Mill Street Blues a couple years ago. What a response that album received. Did it surprise you how many people reacted to the album? Both fans and critics rating it very highly. Even snagging a place on the illustrious Doom Charts Best Albums of the Year.

Yeah that totally blew us away really, being on such a small island (Guernsey) we are isolated within our own community a lot of the time so we didn’t expect much attention from people around the world. It was great to see other people from all over enjoying our music, and earning a place on the Doom Charts was absolutely awesome.

Did you realise before Mill Street Blues was released the album would receive that kind of response. It struck a chord with the global Sludge/Stoner Metal scene and still is today after it was originally released.

No not at all, I don’t really know what we thought would happen when we released it, we just put the album on Bandcamp and sat back to see what would happen and things just snowballed on from there. Getting featured on great sites such as More Fuzz and The Ripple Effect really helped to get the album further afield.

Looking back on Mill Street Blues, would you change anything about it?

Given the chance we would love to release a remaster of the album one day as there are some bits we ended up not being happy with. We would not want to go to over the top and lose the raw fuzzed out vibe we went for because at the time that’s what we wanted, but it would be great to re-record some vocals, guitar solos and even double track some bits to make it sound massive and more up to date to our current album. Looking back there’s always times we think about how we could have done things differently or tried things in a different way but I guess it helps fuel future work.

How would you describe in your music in your own words.

A massive sound of loose psychedelic jams, groovy bass lines and a singer who smokes more than Keith Richards.

You have a new album Semuta scheduled for release later this month. Can you give provide any details on this album. Such as what people can expect from the album, who will release the album and what formats.

Expect 6 tracks of strong grooves, extended solos, psyched out jams, and big vocals. We are putting the record out through our own label Magic Moustache Records, we have big plans for it in the future! Currently it’s only going to be out on Vinyl and digitally both through our Bandcamp but plans for a future CD release are in the works.

Does the new album have a different sound compared to Mill Street Blues?

Yeah, I feel our songwriting has come a long way, and our use of tones and pedals has become more extensive, helping to had a bit more dynamics to our sound. Also the production on this record is a lot better, we spent two weeks in the studio with our good friend Mikey from Apocalypse Studios making sure we got it sound exactly how we wanted it rather than the two days of recording we did for ‘Mill Street Blues’. We still played the songs live but we then went back and double tracked guitars, put down vocal tracks and made the final touches.

Was recording the new album a different experience compared to your debut album?

The answer above pretty much explains this but to expand briefly, we went into the studio with more knowledge of our sound and what we wanted this time, we knew we wanted this record to sound massive and blow peoples minds so that's what we set out to do.

The album cover for both your albums are awesome. Who designed the covers and how much input did you have into the final designs.

Yeah we are really happy with how the artwork came out for both records, David Paul Seymour did the art for our debut, and MontDoom did the artwork for ‘Semuta.’ They’re both amazing artists in their own right. We let the artists on both occasion have total freedom with designs, so we just sent them the finished album and said go for it! We felt the artwork would come out better with less restrictions.

Will you be touring and promoting the new album heavily.

Currently we have no tours or dates booked, but we have future plans to get out on the road for as long as possible so if any one is looking to book us then get in touch!

Any word on European Dates.

Were planning to get a UK and EU tour at some point in the future so its definitely on the cards but as for now we are not sure when.

What is the song writing dynamic in the band? Is it a group collective or down to certain individuals.

We’ve always written as a collective, we each bring ideas in and then we jam a lot and ideas are conceived that way, sometimes someone comes in with something complete but then it turns into something else. We always try to get rough recordings so we can listen back but most of the time our songs evolve over time from playing them in the practice room, as for lyrics Joe and Squirrel will work together on them.

What comes first when writing and recording new music? Music or lyrics.

Always the music first and then maybe a vocal melody will happen at the same time but lyrics will either come as the song starts to evolve or at the very end, we just decide when we think lyrics will be and then if it works it works. We never try to force them into a section. Unless they sound like they should be there then we wont bother so at times we end up with tracks that are mostly instrumental with a few sections of vocals.

With this year almost drawing to a close, what have been your favourite albums of the year?

Kikagaku Moyo - Masana Temples,
Khraungbin - Con Todo El Mundo,
Track Not Found - The Only Way Is Lost EP
Earthless - Black Heaven
Naxatras - III,
The Babe Rainbow - Double Rainbow,
The Recks- The Beast From The Sea

Words by Steve Howe and Lord Vapour

Thanks to Lord Vapour for the promo. Semuta is available to buy now on DD/Vinyl via Magic Moustache Records.