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Interview: VANT

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It’s all too easy to bury your head in the sand, and ignore all that is happening in the world. It’s easy to join the flood of tweets, to shake your head in despair when watching the news and then flick over to catch up on the soaps, to think that one tick of a box at a polling station and that’s a job done.

VANT are a band who are truly sticking it to the man. Yeah, they’re angry. Nope, they’re not just going to shout about it. Crafting songs that are genuinely moving, thought-provoking, melancholic yet brave, VANT have their heads screwed on.

“You have to start with the seed, then you can grow an intelligent, brilliant generation of forward thinking young people, who could save this planet and push towards equality for all!” says front-man, Mattie Vant, believing that improving the mandatory educational system would have infinite benefits to society.

Explaining how he was recently looking at his secondary school’s OFSTED report from the year that he left, “It had the worst possible scores in almost everything, it made me realise why I was so uninterested at that age.”

VANT are a band unafraid to question the politics of government and humanity.

You feel frustration build in Mattie’s distinguishable vocals, as their brash garage tracks uncage rattled emotion. They’re not preachers, they’re teachers. There’s no frills, no shit, rather a new perspective that should be the dominant.

With a strong belief that politics should be added to the curriculum, “Children should have a basic understanding of the governmental body that essentially imprisons them until the age of 18, what their vote means and how to use it. Done correctly the impact could be monumental.”

In one of the most confusing and exasperating years we’ve seen, the trail blazers’ explosion into the ears has never been more timely. Mattie gives a nod to the band, being surrounded by “three naturally gifted and brilliant players” has allowed him to embrace guitar; it “doesn’t come naturally but it does give me a unique style, I’ve embraced that and learnt a lot from those around me.”

The four-piece do this with ease. They observe and they learn, then challenge societal norms in their lyrics. They ask how we can all call Earth our home, but are separated by borders built by ancient kings. We’re killing Earth anyway. They bluntly tell the truths about war and death. They urge small rebellions in change, mock conspiracy theories.

Given the opportunity to do this through their music, Mattie says; “As individuals and collectively we’ve all become more aware of how important it is to talk about important issues and actively challenge them, whether this is with your art or your work or any little way you can it doesn’t matter.

“Attend a protest, talk to your family and friends, now is the time to use your voice louder than ever before.”

Scarily, a VANT lyric is written for now, but they could have easily been at any point in the past and even the foreseeable future. For VANT, it’s about recognising the environment of PLANET EARTH and documenting human condition.

“In reality we are nothing but animals, albeit supposedly intelligent ones. We can create infrastructures and we can also tear them apart. That is fascinating to me.

“Fundamentally our purpose is to reproduce and fight off anything that threatens our own survival. If only we used our intelligence to realise that these basic parameters can be changed, we could all have the same opportunities, regardless of our backgrounds.

“However, without collective thought we will only continue to destroy ourselves instead. It’s a heartbreaking realisation.”

Born and raised in the North East, it holds a place in Mattie’s heart and despite it housing a lot of brilliant people, he’s quick to realise that there is animosity towards minorities and abnormality.

“I received a lot of verbal abuse growing up because of the length of my hair and the clothes I wore. It was nothing compared to the racism and homophobia I also sadly witnessed over the years.” He says, referring back to the need for education. “People are afraid of the unknown and anything that challenges their perception of normality.”

This runs across their brisk and furious latest single, ‘DO YOU KNOW ME?’. With a contagious hook so large it could take you down with a swoop, the massive chant-along track plays activist and escapist simultaneously. It’s the protest we need; one that isn’t afraid to be outspoken and understands the modern stitch – judged for every little thing when really “the wonderful differences we all have benefit society.”

Words like ‘peace’ and ‘love’ have become throwaway words, used as fillers, and cheapened when used without true meaning. Yet “the reason they are just as important today is because we need to uphold their ideologies and appreciate the sacrifices previous generations made to make it a slightly more even playing field.”

Written in the aftermath of the Paris attacks, their fan-favourite track is named after the duality. It swells with ache. There is still a long way to go, we need an even spread of genders and ethnicities across our governments and our leading bodies, it is the only way we will ever truly have equality.”

VANT’s debut album ‘DUMB BLOOD’ (released Friday 17th February) is best described as “our perception of where we are as a species in 2017 and the beginning of a discussion about where we need to go.” The new track names are statements in themselves – ‘Put Down Your Gun’ and ‘Bribe Me To My Grave’.

New release ‘I Don’t Believe In God’ “is interesting as it shows a different side to us that people might not have seen. Quite a few tracks on the album are more philosophical. IDBIG is an understanding atheist anthem.

“I was annoyed that atheists are often tarred with the same brush, as if we look down on people who have faith. I think everyone is entitled to their own beliefs and I am very respectful of that. I wanted to shed light on why I live life the way I do and why I choose to simply not believe. ‘I see it as beauty that we rot in the ground, our molecules mate and create a new sound’. To me we are here once but we will always be part of the world, it is important to enjoy this moment because at the end of the day we are but matter in an infinite universe.”

The long and short of every problem is, we are all exactly the same. Human beings, living on planet Earth. VANT are here to tell us that “we just don’t realise it or we let people in positions of power tell us that we are not” and “this needs to change.” For them, “the next step is civil disobedience.”

 

‘DUMB BLOOD’ is out 17th February.

VANT tour the UK later this month.

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