Off the back of two phenomenal singles, ‘The Answer’ and ‘Parking Lot’, voice of a generation in the making Mattie Vant is readying his band’s debut album. His lyrics, which address classism, religion, politics and more, coupled with the band’s phenomenally energetic live show, have put VANT on the musical map as frontrunners in the ones to watch league of 2016. On the brink of their inevitable ascent to great things, we asked Mattie about the past, present and glistening future of planet earth’s most promising new four-piece.
I was blown away when I saw you perform in Norwich before Christmas. Do you put a lot of thought into the energy of your live shows?
I would say that the energy is completely natural, and we feed a lot off the audience too. I actually remember the crowd that night being quite difficult to win over, but sometimes that experience is more rewarding than having crazy audiences. When they finally cave in and lose their shit it can be quite euphoric.
You played a lot of songs that night. Are you sitting on a lot of unreleased material?
Like a lot of artists, we were lucky enough to have a large catalogue of material to choose from when recording our debut album. It’s finished now, and we’re really excited to share that unreleased material with the world as the year goes on. Choosing which songs to keep and which ones not to is never that easy. Songs that you might think are terrible sometimes turn in to your strongest. One lesson I’ve learnt over the last few years is to just persist and finish songs – sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but at least if you’ve tried every possible outcome then you can move on satisfied and create something else.
Why do you choose to write songs about real life events, like politics, as opposed to just putting out catchy tunes?
Because it’s really fucking important. The world is at a crucial point right now and I want to write songs that shed light on issues that are important to me and relevant to this time. This is not just a band; it is a platform for change. I find inspiration a lot of the time in news articles or documentaries that often trigger something creatively in me that more often than not results in a song. But there is no strict formula to the way I write music; sometimes the lyrics come first, sometimes the music comes first.
“This is not just a band, it’s a platform for change”
VANT simply describe their home as ‘Planet Earth’. What’s the reason behind this obscurity?
We don’t believe in borders. I feel very lucky to have been born into a relatively prosperous society, but I don’t feel that I have any more right to be here than anyone else on this planet. Until we start seeing ourselves as citizens of Earth rather than a specific nationality we will always have division and conflict. Everyone is equal but most people aren’t willing to share that privilege with those less fortunate than themselves.
Who’s behind your striking logo and single covers?
We initially worked with an incredibly talented illustrator called Sam Dunn. We will however be experimenting with new visuals moving forward into our album campaign, although the logo will of course remain the same. To us, image is important but our message is a lot more.
What kind of music do you as a band listen to?
It varies all the time. Check out our Broken Bones series on Spotify, that’ll give you a flavour of the kind of stuff we’re in to.
In 2015 you played shows with a huge range of other acts. Which were some of the highlights?
At the Warner Christmas party, we played with Formation, Kylie and Duran Duran to a pub with only 120 people in it. It was very surreal to see those kinds of acts in such an unusual environment. We also supported the Kooks and FIDLAR at the Forum [in Kentish Town]. Both of them were really great, although FIDLAR’s crowd were definitely the rowdiest of the two.
“Message is more important than image”
You were also on the bill for DIY Magazine’s Neu tour last autumn. What was that like?
It was really nice to tour with such a lovely bunch of people. The Big Moon and Inheaven are great bands and I’m sure they both have a great 2016 ahead of them as well.
What do you make of your coverage from bigger voices, like NME and Radio 1?
I don’t feel any pressure from it. As long as we’re honest and continue to do what we believe in, I’m confident we can live up to any so-called ‘hype’.
Speaking of NME, how was your sold out Awards show at the Lexington?
It was great! We all live in London so nights like that feel the closest thing to a hometown show for us. We’re really looking forward to our first ever London all-ages show in April. It should be complete chaos.
Finally, 2016 is tipped as a big year for VANT. What do you hope to achieve over the next twelve months?
Our album should be out in late summer or early autumn. We’re really proud of it and I think the tracks that have made the final cut really summarise where we are as a band right now, and encapsulate the journey so far. I think for any artist getting your debut album out is pretty massive. We’ll be touring a lot this year too and we’ll hopefully get to visit a lot of places we’ve never been before. All will be revealed in due course…
(Words: Alex Cabré)