As London-based rockers VANT prepare to release their debut album, ‘Dumb Blood’, frontman Mattie Vant tells us about stage diving, brainwashing people with lyrics, hearing his songs on Radio 1, and being himself in the live environment.
What one song on ‘Dumb Blood’ best sums up what VANT is all about?
‘Do You Know Me?’ It was one of the first songs I wrote on this album – it’s autobiographical, frustrated, but hopeful. The bigger we get, the more meaning it has.
The ‘Do You Know Me’ video was shot at Scala. What are your standout memories of that show?
It was the biggest headline show we’ve ever done – the whole thing was exhilarating. I guess the ‘Do You Know Me?’ video really captures the atmosphere which finished with my own customary stage dive.
How does it feel to be playing larger venues each time you go out on headlining tours?
We’re enjoying it more than anything, we’ve supported a lot of bands in these kind of venues in the past so it feels quite natural to step up and play them ourselves now! Our performance has grown with the size of the shows. I’ve seen so many great bands over the years, I think you’ve just got to be yourself in a live environment. For us that means a lot energy, sweat, and passion.
What was it like to play Reading Festival for the first time, seeing it was the first festival you went to as a punter?
It’s a really special festival. You look at the prestige of artists that have played there, even seeing your name on the poster – no matter how small – is mind-blowing. The shows have been great there the past two years, we look forward to playing it again.
And as the stages get bigger, your songs are connecting with more and more people.
It’s pretty insane. When we toured towards the end of last year we had a few singles and an EP out so people knew about half the set. This time around our album will be out so, in theory, they should know every song. That’s gonna be fucking crazy.
I think the first time I was aware of people knowing the lyrics was when we released ‘Parking Lot’ – the dynamics of the song lends itself to a sing along. It’s a really humbling thing when you get that reaction from hundreds of people to something you essentially wrote in your bedroom.
Your lyrics deal with important things like racism, religion, Syria, and the environment. How important is it to you that people connect with the lyrics? Do you mind that a lot of people might connect with the hooks in your music instead?
The hooks are a gateway. We love writing music and creating interesting, catchy melodies – it’s the start point for us as well. We’ve just added another dimension to our work with the lyricism. It’s there for people to read and digest but if they don’t want to that’s fine – I’m still brainwashing them anyway.
Do you remember hearing yourself played on Radio 1 for the first time? Or, with YouTube and Spotify and stuff like that, is radio less important?
Radio 1 still weirds me out – I do occasionally hear one of our songs come on and I still have to do a double take. I think radio is as important now as it ever has been and we can’t thank the BBC enough for all of their ongoing support!
Your album’s out on Friday. What’s been going through your head in the last few weeks?
Equal measures of excitement and OH FUCK.
You’re known for the energy of your live shows. In the recording studio was the aim to recapture/recreate that energy? Or to push yourselves as musicians? Or something else entirely?
All of those things. We kept the rawness and energy of our live shows and, with help of our producer Sam Miller, enhanced everything else.
- For the latest on VANT, visit www.wearevant.com. ‘Dumb Blood’ is released on 17 February. The band kick off their biggest UK and Ireland tour on 24 February, reaching London’s Electric Ballroom on 9 March.