“I’ve literally never met somebody on the math or post-rock scene that I didn’t like,” enthuses John Niblock, bassist and founder of Scottish post-rockers Vasa.
A fiercely DIY band, they’re incredibly hard-working, playing at least a couple of tours a year and paying back goodwill by promoting strings of gigs in their native Glasgow for touring acts. And Niblock is so skilled in his role as band organiser and impromptu spokesperson that friends of his all over Europe have taken to supporting his band in the oddest way: scrawling bass-related graffiti in venue toilets before posting pictures online.
“Don’t print that – people will think I’m a weirdo!” Niblock laughs. “My father buys this magazine and I don’t want any questions about that,” he adds, before explaining, “It’s a really close-knit community where DIY makes a lot of sense. We’ve just got to know a lot of people.”
My father is a huge Rush fan and that was one of the first gigs he took me to.
Founding guitarist Blaine Thompson met Niblock while studying a commercial music course at the University of the West of Scotland, at a time when Niblock, newly hopped-up on the idea of starting an instrumental band thanks to discovering seminal American post-rockers This Will Destroy You, was on the lookout for collaborators. Thompson posted a demo of a song idea online and the rest is history. Drafting in Thompson’s childhood friend Scott Coupar on guitar, the line-up was completed when drummer Niall Morison MacRae joined just over a year ago.
“Obviously having Niall was a big change,” says Niblock, observing that the change in energy and style between the Never Have Dreams EP and debut album Colours was largely down to changes in the skill of their rhythm section. That said, Niblock doesn’t consider technical ability to be the be-all and end-all: “I think a lot of people think you have to be very technical to be eye-catching, but I think we’re more interested in a catchy hook. Blaine’s got a gift for writing things with a really good hook.”
|Blaine Thompson (guitar), Scott Coupar (guitar), John Niblock (bass), Niall Morison MacRae** **(drums)|
|And So I Watch You From Afar, This Will Destroy You, Godspeed You! Black Emperor|
|Colours is out now on Black Sheep|