Interview: Turn it up: The no-nonsense bolshiness of VANT

​Turn it up: The no-nonsense bolshiness of VANT

Mattie Vant speaks his mind about the big topics, and he’s only going to get louder. He speaks ahead of the Neu Tour 2015.

Three of the country’s best new bands are treading their own separate courses and taking bright baby-steps. This October, however, they’re joining forces for a triple-headliner extravaganza across the country. It’s the DIY Presents the Neu Tour 2015, and it’s going to be insane. We’ve put together a guide to the bands on the bill. Get tickets here.

Raised in Newcastle and with a quick detour to Brighton, Mattie Vant has led a musically-obsessed life that’s only just coming to fruition. After years strumming away at acoustic guitars and struggling to find a specific sound, Vant found its voice when taking on politics. “It’s a taboo these days - unfortunately,” he says, of music’s relationship with big world topics. Still, that hasn’t stopped him from speaking out. With relentlessly charged rock ‘n roll his tool, Mattie leads the charge. “A lot of the discussions we had with various labels before we signed, they said a lot of people might copy us. But I’d love that. I want a lot of bands to come out and have something to say, rather than going on about popping pills and dancing in a fucking club. That would be amazing,” he says.

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Where did it all begin with VANT?

It turned into a band when I moved to London. I lived in Brighton a few years before that and spent that time working out what genre I wanted to do. I realised all the music I was making at sixteen was still what I wanted to make now. When I wrote a couple of songs in that style, it really clicked again. And then it was a case of, ‘I need to find a band now’. London Birthdays, where I was working, became the creative hub I needed at the time. Our bassist was working in the kitchen. We’d play each other records that we liked and bonded over a similar taste in music.

When you were writing on your own, did you envisage it having a full-band mentality?

It was a conscious effort to make it into a band format. I’d been writing a lot of acoustic stuff and I just think the meaning behind the music works better in a louder environment. Rock music has that power and that aggression, regardless of if you’re singing about a girl or politics. My news stuff is down the political line and it made sense to make it brash.

“You had to look out towards hip-hop to really see anything that’s important being said.”

Mattie Vant

Was this solidified from being in Birthdays and seeing other bands have an impact from being in your face?

It invigorated my passion for being in a band again. Prior to that, I lived quite an isolated life in Brighton. I worked in a call centre with none of my friends. There wasn’t anyone that I felt like I could easily be in a band with. My only real release was playing acoustic music. Being stuck in that environment and doing a job you really hate - it put me off track for a while. Moving to London and joining the team at Birthdays, the amount of amazing artists you get through there felt really inspiring. It felt like this is what I should be doing with my life. And when I was making music at 16/17, I was illegally working in a bar then too. It’s a similar place. So it does make sense for things to come back round to that.

Does the political aspect of your music stem from the shit call centre jobs, or is it broader?

When I use the word ‘politics’, it’s a strange one. I don’t speak in an Arctic Monkeys or Mike Skinner ‘working class’ way, even though I do come from that background. My concerns are worldwide things. It’s not strictly centred around the UK - it’s wars, global conflict, global warming. But I think the reason I started making music like this again is because it didn’t feel like anyone was speaking out like this, at least in rock music. You had to look out towards hip-hop to really see anything that’s important being said. Growing up, when you listen to bands like The Clash and Rage Against The Machine, they have these amazing statements behind the music. Surely if you have a platform or a voice, you should take advantage of that. And also, I’d just gotten sick of writing about love. It was depressing and boring. I looked at all the bands that have been going for forty years, but most of them tend to put personal emotions and relationship stuff aside. I think that’s why you see a lot of artists implode - the ones that write so honestly about love. You’d not want to sing about your ex-girlfriends after a certain period of time.

VANT will play DIY Presents the Neu Tour 2015, also featuring The Big Moon and INHEAVEN and starting 1st October. See the dates here and get tickets here.

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