Tom Vek was intentionally “missing” from the music world throughout his late twenties, dabbling in other pursuits and reading lots of books since his infectious 2005 debut We Have Sound. Now he’s back with Leisure Seizure, his lucky album number two, being released in the U.S. this month. He’s already been bringing his shows around live and the buzz is once again building fast, from our humble Brooklyn venues all the way to the posh beaches of Ibiza. Most recently, meaning this week, Tom played the first official London Vice.com launch party, along with Iceage.

We missed you.  Glad you’re back.  Loved your Union Pool show recently!
Thanks, I totally loved that show, incredible venue, incredible city.

Were you more interested in building new sounds with samples and delving into studio experimentation this time around, rather than writing songs based around a guitar part?
Yes, that question sounds like the answer I would give. I found that I would experiment, waiting for some unusual sounds that I could build a track around to happen, bringing something weird back into being accessible is quite enjoyable. When I first started working on the album, I wasn’t getting much joy from the guitar as a starting point, not to suggest that I won’t write from the guitar ever again.

Does your approach to coming up with and building a new song keep evolving?
It’s started to evolve, I feel like I’m in the early stages of developing a signature sound, or getting more familiar with how to harness it, perhaps. Then again, I don’t like repeating myself too much so there’s a bit of friction between those things that any artist has to work out how to operate within.

Did building your own studio and having your own space to think and work this time, rather than working away in a garage studio, make it more conducive for the creating of an album?
Looking back it’s hard to say, the glamour of any kind of independence is often outweighed by how attractive working with many people and varied environments can be, in terms of getting stuff done and the power of camaraderie, grass is greener; I think I definitely wanted to do this album that way but it may not be how I do all my albums.

Are you influenced as much by visual art as you are other music and sounds?
I’ve been realizing that I don’t think I can really translate other art forms into musical influence, I read loads of books I really liked during the period and can’t see any of it coming out in the tracks, even lyrically. I’m a big fan of visual arts, but I don’t know how to relate anything to music. I think there is an influence in terms of how to make it work on a fundamental level, stick to your style, work hard, look to excite and challenge people in an aspirational manner, like a lot of modern artists have managed to. Because I incorporate visual art into my music in terms of the cover design I use it as a tool to contextualize the music.

What comes first, the melody or sound of a song, or the lyrics?
Usually it’s the verse noise part, creating a chorus part after you have a verse is something I’ve always enjoyed, because you have your canvas, your musical landscape, that you need to build on. Lyrics are always last, only when the music is there do I like doing the stream-of-consciousness lyric takes that will eventually form the final lyrics.

 

There are quite a few beautiful women in your latest videos. Did you have anything to do with the casting or video concepts?
Some of them I did, if asked for my opinion on something I usually become quite black and white about it, the casting for “A Chore” was an odd experience, that was Ollie [Evans] the director’s idea though. We were after something quite specific but left it down to chance as to whether it was going to walk through the door, which thankfully it did. I bring an idea to the table if I have one; “A Chore” came from a starting point I had which I worked up with Ollie Evans, the “World of Doubt” viral thing came from an idea my friend told me about, the “hair trick” sensation, that my friend Ferry Gouw managed to make work.

“Aroused” was completely the concept of the director Saam Farahmand, but we are close friends and it feels like the concept came about from him knowing me so well. I’ve been quite interested in the idea of aspiration recently, I’m not really into the idea of putting someone through a gruelling or gritty experience, as I try to avoid them myself.

How did you cope with the riotous situation in London recently?
I was in Berlin while it happened; watching from a distance was very frustrating but it was quite beautiful to see all the people who came out for the clean up, which a lot of my friends got involved in. There’s clearly a lot of unrest in the UK, and it’s the culture of aspiring to consumerism that’s clearly a factor, but all these industries are based on it, sucking the little money the poor have out of them. I think everyone needs to re-address value and contentment.

Will you be back in the U.S. for CMJ or sometime this fall?
[ I don't think we know this yet, hopefully. ]

Tom Vek tours the UK this November, so the U.S. will have to sit tight for now.