Despite only having a couple of tracks online, newcomers Vant earned themselves a support slot with Royal Blood and have already signed to none other than Parlophone Records. Mattie Vant, the brainchild of the band, and the person after which the group takes its name, happily agreed to answer some of my questions over email. After seeing them support Blossoms back in May at The Plug in Sheffield, I was eager to find out more about Vant’s influences, the reason behind their recent formation and whether they have any plans for a debut album release…
THE INDIEPENDENT: What was the main reason for the formation of Vant, and how did you all come together?
The project was formed out of frustration really. I couldn’t believe that no one (to my knowledge at the time) within the ‘rock’ genre was using their voice to speak up about important issues, punk was dead, hip hop was the new punk.
We formed through coincidence, I worked in a bar in East London and Billy (Morris, bass) worked in the kitchen, Henry (Eastham, guitar) was a friend of another bartender. I met Martin (Söderin, drummer) when I was 17 and his band were over from Sweden touring the UK, when I started the project he called my bluff and moved over from Stockholm where at the time he was moonlighting as a taxi driver.
THE INDIEPENDENT: What musicians/bands are prominent influences for you as a songwriter?
Musically I think my favourite songwriters are Ray Davies and Frank Black for their inventiveness and diversity. Philosophy wise bands like Fugazi and The Clash are really important to me, but lyrically I’m more influenced by comedians, film and literature than anything else.
THE INDIEPENDENT: What was the first song you fell in love with and which album could you not live without?
The first song I fell in love with was probably something from a Disney movie – they were my pop songs growing up. Things like Aristocats, Robin Hood, Pinocchio etc. The album that made me want to play music was Highly Evolved by The Vines, it was my Nevermind.
THE INDIEPENDENT: You’ve recently signed to Parlophone Records, but your double A side single ‘Parasite’ and ‘Do You Know Me?’ was released through your own label Dumb Blood Records. Why did you decide to do it this way?
We had already recorded the album and decided we were going to put it out no matter what before any labels started sniffing around. I think we just wanted to solidify the idea that we were an organic band and we hadn’t just come from nowhere and suddenly been born through a major label.
THE INDIEPENDENT: Your demo track ‘Birth Certificate’ tackles the issue of immigration (brilliant song by the way, one of my favourites). How did this song come about?
My ex-girlfriend was Australian and due to the two-year visa system we have in place she was forced to return to her so-called home late 2013. We were left with three decisions, get married, break up or I’d have to move to Australia with her. All of which are massive decisions for two kids in their early twenties to make. It seems baffling to me that commonwealth countries don’t have the same rights as those that are in the EU. Also I don’t believe in borders, I was born on Planet Earth, not in England. As a white, English male I’m pretty much in a position where I can go where ever I want in the world (for a determined length of time of course), do whatever I want to do and get paid more for it, there is no reason everyone else shouldn’t be able to do the same thing, regardless of race, background, gender or sexuality. The whole thing is fucked. I’m very, very lucky and very, very horrified.
THE INDIEPENDENT: You recently supported Blossoms on tour – how was that for you guys?
To be honest it was pretty fucking awful. I love Blossoms but we are completely different bands and most of their crowd just didn’t get us at all.
THE INDIEPENDENT: I see you interact a lot with your fans through social media like Twitter and Instagram (and now for instance). How important do you feel this is?
Massively important, part of me wishes we were still in a time where people got excited about a bands interview in a magazine leading up to an album release rather then seeing what they ate for breakfast, lunch and dinner. That said if you use social media wisely and try and be a little bit playful with it, it becomes a completely different beast. Also it’s a really fun and easy way to watch things grow, I still get excited every time someone new likes our Facebook page or follows us on Twitter.
THE INDIEPENDENT: Explain the creative process behind your music – what comes first (melodies/lyrics), how long does it usually take etc.?
Most of the time I come up with something on a guitar and the rest follows quite naturally. I rarely change stuff so once I have the basis of a song it’s usually the initial ideas and lyrics that stick, as they tend to be the most honest ones. Most of the time it only takes a few hours to finish a song but sometimes I can end up writing four songs in one day or one song in four months, it is a completely bonkers formula.
THE INDIEPENDENT: Have you got any plans set in stone for a debut album release?
We have pretty much finished the record, it just needs to be mixed and also it may be the case that some other songs come along to challenge the track listing. It should be out early next year.
THE INDIEPENDENT: I know you’re originally from Newcastle but are now based in London (correct me if I’m wrong). How does where you come from influence your music, if at all?
Sunderland actually (fellow Mackems would kill me if I didn’t mention this!) – I don’t actually think it really influences me at all lyrically or musically but there is certainly a mind frame in Sunderland that you have to be the best you can possibly be to get noticed on a national level, I made it easy for myself and moved to London instead! We have had some truly great bands over the years though – Leatherface, This Ain’t Vegas, Field Music & The Futureheads to name but a few…
THE INDIEPENDENT: Best gig you’ve ever played?
So far it was probably Sin City in Swansea (Billy’s hometown) – one of the loudest, rowdiest crowds I’ve ever seen in my life!
THE INDIEPENDENT: Finally, what advice would you give to young musicians starting out?
It’s all fucking clichéd but just find something you really, really believe in and just do it no matter what, if it’s good enough people will gravitate towards it, if it’s not at least you are doing something you love that is honest and something that portrays you as a person, that’s the most important thing!
Vant are part of The DIY Neu Tour that will take place throughout October, alongside The Big Moon and Inheaven. They will play:
1st – Nottingham, The Bodega
2nd – Bristol, The Louisiana
3rd – Birmingham, The Sunflower Lounge
5th – Liverpool, The Magnet
6th – Manchester, The Night And Day Café
8th – Edinburgh, Electric Circus
9th – Glasgow, King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut
10th – Newcastle, The Cluny 2
12th – Leeds, Brudenell Social Club
13th – Brighton, The Haunt
14th – London, Dingwalls
Words by Emmie Morris