A Conversation With The Stonewall Vessels
The Stonewall Vessels are impossible categorize into one single genre or, really, even a certain set of genres. As musicians they are influenced by a wide variety of styles and even many things outside of a strictly musical realm. “So who are we to just try to fit into one thing,” they ask, “when we like so many different kinds of things?” For each member it has always been about coming together, brining all they can to the table, and “let[ing] it come out the way it’s meant to be.” This effort without a specific goal leads to universality. The Stonewell Vessels have played with everything from pop punk to metal acts, “but we always seem to leave the place with people liking us. They might not have liked the whole thing, but a certain part of it got them because it’s so universal. We’re not trying to fit in with any specified thing, we’re just doing what we feel and that’s the creative aspect of it.”
Our conversation came as the band was putting the finishing touches on their now-released music video for “Candle Light,” the first taste of what’s to come later this year on their third album, Through The Weird And Wild. “Basically what happened was my grandfather filmed all this footage on a reel-to-reel camera in the 60s,” says guitarist Luke Krizner, “and then a couple years ago at a family reunion my aunt converted all of it to DVD.” The footage was mostly taken around Philadelphia and Baltimore, even a little campground in Gettysburg. It was then mixed in with clips from a documentary on the band, which a friend put together in 2014. Together these two create an interesting mash up in line with the band’s own unique sound.
Listening through The Stonewall Vessels’ discography, there is a clear progression between their self-titled debut and its follow-up, Colours. This trajectory continues with “Candle Light” and Through The Weird And Wild as a whole. “I would say [the progression] would be like twofold – five, tenfold!” is the sentiment of the band. “I would say that the first two albums were kind of stepping stones and this one I think is a while different ball game.” The production is one aspect that has been ramped up with this latest music having been recorded at Atrium Audio, the same studio as August Burns Red’s Grammy nominated Found In Far Away Places. Additionally, some of the metal undertones are coming out even further. “We just started listening to more music and not stealing, but being inspired by other things. And that shows in our music,” says vocalist Darrion Washington. “We started listening to heavier stuff and that’s why I started screaming a little bit more or we’re playing dirtier guitar.” But that’s just one example of an influence and how it comes out in the music. In the end “I just think we do whatever’s in our fucking bones.”
The biggest drive of change, however, is personal growth. When the band started five years ago “that was a different part of our lives, so the music sounded different. And when we grow and pick up on other things it helps us to evolve and make the music better.” As the band members and their sound have grown, so have their friends and fans. “When we made Colours and were trying to figure our band and ourselves out. I think a lot of our friends that were there in the beginning were trying to do the same things with their lives. As we were getting older and our music was progressing, their lives are as well. So it’s not only us growing into this new thing that we’re doing, it’s also the people that love what we do.” As new situations, challenges, and highs and lows of adulthood continue to crop up these ideas and the feelings that come with them are being channeled right back into the music. While Through The Weird And Wild may be melodically, and even lyrically, darker the band has no worries of anyone losing out but, rather, are excited for their fanbase to continue to grow with them.
Looking to the future The Stonewall Vessels are focusing on finishing up Through The Weird And Wild, while not neglecting to play shows. One of the more exciting upcoming performances will be at the Chameleon Club on October 29. It may not quite become the record release show, but they should have something to keep fans satiated by then. In the end “the message we would like to say is like ‘Just patience. Everyone have patience with us because things are coming.’” I have no doubts that it will be well worth the wait.