Before he embarks on his long-awaited return to touring, we caught up with VANT (Mattie Vant) to find out more about his new project…
- What are you most looking forward to when you return to touring?
- Actually getting on stage again is what I’m most excited about, I feel more comfortable there then anywhere else. I haven’t played a show since November 2017 and it’s been absolute torture. Live shows keep you going and remind you why you started making music in the first place.
How will these VANT shows be different from those prior to your hiatus?
- I have a completely new live band playing with me and there are a lot more electronics, synths and samples involved this time round. I’ll be fucking around with the arrangements of some of the old stuff, keeping some of it true to the original incarnation and adding some new songs into the mix as well. It’s a way more diverse setlist than the previous balls out rock stuff but it’s going to be just as energetic.
Who will be joining you on stage as your new bandmates?
- On this run I’ve got Alice Costelloe (Big Deal / Superfood) playing bass, Ed Hayes (Yuck / Frank Ocean) on guitar & Adam Gammage (Baxter Dury) on drums.
You’re a big fan of doing covers so will you be adding any to the setlist this time?
- I haven’t planned any yet, I’ve got more than enough stuff to work out with the original material before I can even begin to consider the idea of covering other people!
What artists inspired your new sound?
- Kendrick Lamar, Twenty One Pilots, The 1975, Talking Heads, David Bowie, Roxy Music, Tyler The Creator, Childish Gambino.
How have the lyrical themes developed along with it? Are they still as politically-driven?
- Part of the experimentation of the last 18 months has been about me trying to write about new subjects. However, as hard as I tried to expand my lyrical palette, an element of societal commentary or philosophical under tones just kept on coming through, so I stopped trying to fight it and started to acknowledge that those principles are fundamental to who I am as an artist and I’ve fully embraced them. That said, I think the themes are broader than before, more metaphorical, possibly less abrasive and direct I’m trying to allow the audience to draw their own conclusions. All my favourite songs only give away about 60% of the story.
How have fans reacted?
- Overall very positively. Obviously it’s been quite polarising but I expected that. I set out to do something completely different and at the very least I have achieved that (laughs)! Most of the fans are excited to be part of the journey. It’s all new terrain for me as well so I’m very grateful for all the positivity and support they have given me so far. Those who have bought tickets for the shows will get a truer, fuller taste of what’s to come.
You’ve got a new song ‘Exoskeleton’ coming out soon, what can you tell us about that?
- This one is very much for the fans, I think it’s the best song I’ve ever been a part of writing. I wrote it with my friends Jamie Reed & Noah Gersh (Partybaby) when I spent a month in LA last summer. It’s all about having support systems in place to keep you going through dark times. This transitional period has been the most challenging of my life so far. I didn’t have a clue what it was about when I wrote it but looking back on it now it seems much clearer to me.
Can we expect an EP or album later on this year too?
- There will be at least one album! I have a pretty overly ambitious idea which I can’t talk about right now, but put it this way there is a LOT more to come in the near future.
Before you went on hiatus, you told Dork that you’d achieved everything you wanted to, so what are your new goals?
I think that was a pretty naive comment to make in hindsight. I did loads of amazing things in the first incarnation of VANT but there are still lots of things I want to do. I want to tour worldwide (I only really tapped into Europe first time round with the odd foray into Japan and the US), I’d like to play some stadiums (supporting someone else at this stage obviously!) but most importantly I just want to be able to continue being an artist and to continue putting out music I believe in. I feel like I’m only just starting to make music that is unique to me. There is a long way to go but I know if I keep pushing myself and working hard, eventually I’ll surpass any expectation I’ve ever had. I’ve just got to keep going, that is my number one goal right now. Keep going.
Check out VANT’s latest single, “Propaganda Machine” here:
VANT will be on tour this April so grab your tickets quick!interview / vant