Need help? Call our helpline…

5pm–midnight, 365 days a year …or find help online here

Nationwide

0800 58 58 58

London

0808 802 58 58

Use

Webchat
Need help? Call our helpline 0800 58 58 58
or Use our WEBCHAT.

CALM MEETS: Vast Robot Armies

From one man band to a four-man odyssey, Vast Robot Armies are on the march but still managed to put a little time aside to chat to James Nock about their journey…

Jason Thomson’s formidable solo multi instrumental project ‘Vast Robot Armies’ has recently become a fully-fledged band effort – a natural progression for the former frontman and drummer of the now sadly defunct Canadian three piece ‘Sometimes Why’. After a fantastic first album, pretty much wholly written and performed by Thomson, he wanted his next outing to be a more dynamic record, bringing in other likeminded musicians to evolve the ‘Vast Robot Armies’ (VRA) sonic footprint.

Joe and John

Joe & John have a pretty relaxed jamming style…

A few months before the recording of Jason’s last VRA effort ‘Goodnight Myopia’, a friend recommended he check out the band ‘Sundiver’. A new fan was born and in turn, unknown to Jason, John Agee from ‘Sundiver’ was already hooked on VRA’s sonic workings. John shared the new discovery with fellow band mate Joe Wells, and thoughts of possible collaboration started to form.

Joe Wells in the studio

Joe Wells in the studio

After spending a while digesting ‘Goodnight Myopia’, John and Joe finally reached out to Jason, establishing a friendship borne out of a mutual musical respect.  Working together seemed like the natural progression of this budding creative partnership.

With John and Joe hailing from Kansas City, Missouri and Jason from Toronto, distance  was a minor obstacle, so they set about sending demos back and forth, adding to them and deleted over eager sentiments, repeating the process, sending audio over the web and back to each other again and again.

These musical sketches would eventually become the audio blue prints of the space rock, shoe gazing collaboration that became Vast Robot Armies’ new album Little Creatures.

Vast Robot Armies Painting

Artwork by Lauren Sharp

Soon it was time for a face to face. John and Joe took to the road, heading north through the States and over the border to meet Jason in Toronto. A classic American road trip for two creative heads full of ‘what ifs’ and excitement for the musical collaboration about to happen.

The newly established VRA line up took to the streets of Toronto, played a live gig and embarked on a relentless schedule of practice sessions. Soon it was time for the Kansas City boys to return home but the to-ing and fro-ing of demos and edits took on a new urgency.  This was going places.

The new core of VRA had now been established but Jason was unsure that his drumming were up to the standard needed by their new songs. They approached old musical cohort and formidable drummer for ‘The life and Times’, Chris Metcalf ,who jumped at the chance to join the VRA project. Allen Epley and Eric Abert, also from ‘The Life And Times’, were already on board to engineer and produce the record, so Chris joining VRA was something of a no brainer.

His drumming perfectly complemented the guitar and bass parts that Jason, Joe and John had intricately created. They had found the perfect dynamism to complement their epic opus. A passion for their art had brought members of three vibrant and prolific bands together to bolster the ranks of Vast Robot Armies.

Jason Thomson & Chris

Jason Thomson & Chris Metcalfe

The morning after Jason joined the Sundiver boys in Kansas City,  the new core of VRA hit the road, their destination: Electronical Studios, Chicago.

After a prolific and productive week in the studio (and Chris only having one practice with the rest of the band before recording), the studio fell silent. The record was done. It was time for post-production to take its turn with Allen and Eric bringing all the tracks together with Jason overlooking the process.

The melding of creativity was not only on the musical front but also in the artwork produced by Lauren Sharp. Lauren has crafted art for a handful of bands from the Kansas City music scene, creating a number of inserts and gig posters.

VRA Shadow Puppet

Artwork by Lauren Sharp

Again, like the sharing of demos, after the to-ing and fro-ing of images with Jason and the other members of VRA, Lauren established a portfolio of concepts that all parties felt would represent the ethos of the band. Lauren eventually came up with the goods for their single ‘Foxtrot’, as well as producing promotional art and other supporting images, including the shadow puppet teaser for the album.

A team effort, finally the look and sound that would represent the new incarnation of ‘Vast Robot Armies’ had become a reality.

The new album, ‘Little Creatures’, is due out in the UK in March 2015. You can catch early releases of ‘Everything new is old again’ and lead single ‘Foxtrot’ by following the links below.

facebook.com/VastRobotArmies
sloucher.org
soundcloud.com/vastrobotarmies/everything-new-is-old-again
soundcloud.com/vastrobotarmies/foxtrot

 

 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article or in the comments below, are not those held by CALM or its Trustees unless stated, and liability cannot be accepted for such comments. We encourage friendly and constructive debate, but please don't share personal contact details when commenting and exercise caution when considering any advice offered by others. We don’t allow abusive, offensive or inappropriate comments or comments that could be interpreted as libellous, defamatory or commercial and we will remove these without warning as and when we find them.

Leave a Reply

Related Articles

Latest Articles

  • WATCH: The #BestManProject goes Royal

    WATCH: The #BestManProject goes Royal

    The Duke of Cambridge joined Rio Ferdinand, Loyle Carner, Roman Kemp and more to celebrate the power of friendships as part of the Best Man Project. …

  • Five royal #BestManProject moments

    Five royal #BestManProject moments

    Last night The Duke Of Cambridge met with #TeamCALM volunteers and familiar faces like Rio Ferdinand, Loyle Carner, and Roman Kemp – in celebration of the power of male friendship. Here’s some…

  • Duke Of Cambridge to support CALM’s #BestManProject

    Duke Of Cambridge to support CALM’s #BestManProject

    This Wednesday the Best Man Project goes big! As part of our ongoing support of Heads Together, a group of CALM supporters, volunteers and some very familiar faces…