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Teletext Interview with Vessel (June 1997)

Kerrazy, quiffy, spangly pop japesters David Devant & His Spirit Wife have just released their debut album, titled Work Lovelife Miscellaneous and frankly you should rush out and buy it. Why? "Because it fills the Vessel-shape space we all have in our lives," says vocalist Vessel, not unreasonably.

We had a chat with Vessel in the middle of their current tour to discover how things are going and what his sidekicks the "Spectral Roadies" actually DO.

So how's the tour going, Vessel?
"Very well. There's lots of committed people out there. Support is swelling. Tunbridge Wells is always wonderful for some reason. There's this strange chemical reaction that drives people mental whenever we play there. One time we were there and I fell into the audience, who held me aloft horizontally as I carried on singing. They ripped my purple glittery shirt right off me."

You seem to be toning down the stage antics of late.
"Yes, we feel that we have to be a bit more subversive about it to enter the pop structure. Certain people see the carrot ritual we do during Ginger as a carrot sketch, which it isn't at all. If we stop doing it we're left with nothing, and nothing as a concept excites me. The void left by the carrot is equally exciting. We now refer to it as the Dead Carrot Sketch."

What input do the Spectral Roadies have in the band?
"They're basically visual underliners, or underminers. On stage, they compress my ego. If they see me getting too pompous, they'll undermine me visually. Alternatively they can augment elation.

"In the studio, they smoke fags, drink beer, and just hand out really. I'd shout them out if they started messing about with props. They affect the music in that everything I come into contact with has an influence on what we do."

Why did you leave Pimlico off the LP? Did you feel it was too Britpoppy?
"No, it wasn't that. It was just that we recorded the record very much as an album. We wanted a distinct atmosphere, to create a world within a world."

The song Ballroom's about Cluedo, so do you play the game yourself?
"I haven't got enough patience. When I do quizzes I always look at the answers. My brain is a random computer. The crossword needs exercise but I'm too lazy."

A lot of the songs on the new LP are quite old. What new material do you have?
"There's a new one called Deep Breath which we play live. It came from a conversation I had with Jyoti from White Town, who's a big fan. He was asking what you'd do if you met yourself on your own doorstep. We came to the conclusion that most men would hug themselves, while women would probably have a snog. I think I'd weep. I'd be wearing a wig, of course!"

all done by kindness