My interview with VANT takes place before their main support slot with Southend’s Nothing But Thieves. I am a little earlier than anticipated, the band have just finished their pre-sound check jog. Still in high spirits, singer Mattie Vant and guitarist Henry Eastham are excited for tonight’s show after a “wild” set in Birmingham the night before, “we broke them down” Mattie recalls and “converted a few” in the process. That’s the joy of a support slot — you have to work hard to get the crowd onside, gaining new fans along the way. Reflecting on previous gigs with You Me at Six and their own headline tour, “it’s been a very busy couple of months…It’ great, we love it” says Henry. “That’s exactly what you want as a band, playing to new people, new faces and in new places…it’s been wicked” chimes Mattie.
Reminiscing about their headline tour and their biggest headline show at London’s Scala, it is clear the band are still on a high from Tuesday night, “I really, really enjoyed the show… its seems so surreal” Henry recalls, “It was great!”.
Reflecting on Mattie’s stage dive, he said “I did a crowd walk…they did catch me” thank goodness. The band seem excited to play Manchester, the last time they came to visit was as part of October’s Neighbourhood Festival at Sound Control. “There was so much energy” chimes Henry. Before then, they played Deaf Institute in April: “That was incredible…one of the best shows we’ve ever done!” cites Mattie. It seems that Manchester has always been good to the band, reflecting on a support slot at the legendary Ritz with FIDLAR last year the band told me “it was crazy”. It’s clear that a Manchester crowd never lets the band down.
Mattie describes their band’s sound as “sagacious, esoteric punk rock,” and when speaking about their most recent single PEACE & LOVE, written after the Paris attacks in November, he told me “it’s the most ballady song we’ve had so far…. It gives us a different dynamic in the set”. Although a sad song, its meaning remains stronger than ever; “it’s nice to play a song that people know the words to.” Following on from this, we speak about ‘Freedom of Movement’ a phrase that is written all over VANT’s speakers during their live performances. Mattie explains that it’s a protest to Theresa May’s stance on immigration, “it’s a direct opposition to Theresa May saying if you are a citizen of the world you are a citizen of nowhere” everything that VANT stand against, it’s clear that politics has a huge influence on their sound and demeanour as a band.
The band are all based in London and met at a death metal club night in Putney. Mattie hails from Sunderland, Henry from Blackpool, drummer David ‘Greenie’ Green is from Gateshead and bassist Billie Morris is from Swansea, they all developed the desire to move to the big city and escape their hometowns after travelling to major cities to watch live gigs. Moving to London “gives you the best possible chance to pursue music and succeed” chimes Mattie. Henry echoes this, “the opportunities are so much greater…there’s so many shows… so much going on… there’s so many bands it’s a great scene.”
After touring with Nothing but Thieves, the band have a hectic schedule, including travelling across Europe before they take some time off for Christmas. In the new year, the band will release their debut album DUMB BLOOD on the 17th of February . The title “is inspired by the comment of a silent generation and the potential that this generation has to change the world, we want to wake people up and that’s the point of the record” and is done and ready to go. I’m told the album will contain a mix of old and new material and Mattie confirms that “all the singles will be on there.” Result. The band have recently released new tour dates for February and March next year: “We’ve been building up to this” says Mattie “every time we announce a tour its bigger venues.” With plans to travel to the USA in the new year, it’s going to be an exciting and busy year for VANT. One thing is for sure, there are great things to come for VANT watch this space.