Mattie Vant took some time out of his hectic touring and recording schedule to talk to us about his influences and inspirations.
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It’s a rare occurrence these days to be able to tune into a mainstream radio station and actually hear something that gives you a shake and makes you go "ok, what's this?". Mainstream daytime radio is usually nothing more than four interchangeable presenters, playing the same tracks over and over until 7 - 8pm.
When a band like VANT manage to hijack the airwaves it really does restore a bit of faith in the industry, and it’s refreshing to find a band who whilst more dedicated to their cause than to hitting the big time, are still managing to achieve it regardless.
As well as the support from BBC Radio One, VANT have also received a lot of airtime from XFM, 6 Music; have signed a contract with Parlophone, played shows with the likes of Royal Blood and embarked on a summer festival tour; not to mention the glowing reviews from every publication they've been featured in.
To tell us a bit more about how they ended up where they are now and to explain the inspiration behind what they do as a band, we spoke to lead vocalist, guitarist and nice lad Mattie Vant, who kindly put the guitar aside for a bit and answered a few questions for us.
Alright Mattie? How’s it going?
Jolly good thanks. Yourself?
Very good mate. It’s been a busy year for you lot. Signing to Parlophone, Reading & Leeds etc. What were some of the other major highlights for you?
Getting a track like ‘The Answer’, with such a strong political message, play-listed on BBC Radio One was pretty special for us and gave us reassurance that we can continue to write with total honesty and purpose.
Can you tell us a bit more about how the band came together?
Coincidental meetings in bars, right place, right time scenarios and in the case of our drummer, old friends.
You studied in Brighton and the band formed in London, two cities renowned for their vibrant music scenes and for breeding new & exciting artists. How do you think these two places helped to shape your sound?
To be honest I’ve always had a very insular approach to writing and never particularly engaged in either of those city’s music scenes right up until a few months before we got signed when we started to gig a little bit in London. I’ve always made the musical side of things for myself, it’s the lyrical content that is more universal.
Your lyrics obviously reflect your politics and world view. What messages would you most hope to convey through your music?
Equality, education and the environment are the areas most important to us as a band. A lot of our songs cover a wide range of topics, sometimes we dance between themes from one line to the next. It’s a bit like how dreams are conceived, a condensed whirlwind of everything I perceive during my waking life but condensed into song format rather than my sleeping sub-conscious.
We know you’re a native mackem. Have you had the opportunity to play in Sunderland recently? How was it?
Not for a while now, our last show there was really good fun, hopefully we’ll get to play there again later this year.
To what extent do you think hailing from the North East has influenced your views and your music?
I feel very detached from the North East and England as a whole, I don’t really associate with a particular nationality. That said I was influenced and inspired by bands like The Futureheads and Field Music growing up, mainly because they proved to me that you can travel and have success worldwide as a band no matter what your background is, that was a great lesson to receive as a young artist.
Doing what you do, you must get to hear some great new talent. Who are 5 new artists we should be on the look out for this year
Clean Cut Kid
In terms of musical influence, which artists do you draw inspiration from?
Bands and artists that stood for what they believed in – The Clash, Neil Young, Nina Simone, MIA, Bob Dylan to name but a few.
When it comes to electronic music, who are some of the artists you admire?
I love a lot of electronic music, but in particular those acts that incorporate real instrumentation with synthesis and samples such as: Tame Impala, LCD Soundsystem, Aphex Twin, Baths, Chad VanGaalen, Metronomy & Thundercat.
3 favourite albums of 2015?
Tame Impala – Currents
Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Multi-Love
Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit