In The Middle with VANT @ Y Not

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You said that Y Not was your favourite festival last year, how did it compare this time?

It was amazing! We just spoke to the stage manager and he said that it was the biggest crowd they’ve had at that time all weekend. So yeah, wicked! I hoped that it would be really good as last year we played The Giant Squid tent and it was rammed. No one really knew who we were at that point so it was kind of amazing. I think it’s just a new music lovers’ festival, that’s what it seems like. It’s great to be a part of it again and hopefully we’ll come back further up the bill.

How have the other festivals been for you? You seemed to have played most of them!

It’s been such an amazing summer so far. I think really since our tour late spring, it seems like everywhere we go now it’s a good crowd. People really get it. We had more EU flags again today and it’s just acknowledgement more than anything that people get what we do and appreciate the message as well. You can’t ask for more than that recently.

I think one of the reasons you’re doing so well as everyone’s looking for a way to express their feelings about what’s going on in the world.

People need a voice, and popular culture is a great way for people to resonate with something that exists. There’s a lot of great movies and documentaries and comedians that are talking about important issues but there’s not a lot of bands at the moment. I think rock has always been a way of people protesting and saying what they want to say about the world. That’s what we’re doing, sticking to tradition!

What other voices have inspired you and your music?

Neil Young is big to me, and The Clash. More recently M.I.A and PJ Harvey. Even Bjork touches on it and Beyonce speaks about inequality, race and gender. That’s the thing though, you’ve got to look a lot a little more left-field to the world of pop, electronic, hip-hop and grime to see my modern influences. I think it’s inevitable that more bands are going to take note and care because I think you have to, there’s no real choice at the moment. You can’t ignore the fact that there’s news reports every single day of deaths everywhere over Europe and the rest of the world. Unfortunately it’s so much more prevalent and obvious than before.

When you’re writing the songs, do you think about the issues you want to discuss first or do you find yourself bringing the topics into the songs you’re already writing?

It normally starts from something I’m particularly passionate about, like if I’ve read a certain news headline or something triggers a string of consciousness that makes me write about a certain subject. A lot of the time it’s trying to fit it into a musical scenario rather than it necessarily fitting, which is why you get some elements of spoken word in there as well. It’s not conventional lyrically, I’ll have several characters in songs and just weird stuff. I think it’s the only way to tell the story sometimes. I think if you’re trying to fit a lot of words into something, sometimes you sacrifice the melody. It’s totally born out of frustration and the fact that no one is really talking about stuff that we do. It’s kind of justification, as every day I go out onstage I feel okay with what I’m doing with my life because I’m actually speaking about important things. I think if I was going out and just talking about love or how much bling I want, then I’d feel fake. There’s too much selfishness in the music industry now and it’s all about glorifying wealth and prestige. It should be about speaking up for the working class and for everyone, no matter who you are or where you’re from. That’s what we try and do. It’s a platform isn’t it, so it’s what you choose to do with it.

Do you think that music can and will change things?

It has in the past so I can’t see why it won’t do it again. The whole creative side of life, whatever it is, is a way for someone to have prominence or have a voice without having to go down the political route. You can be completely true and have your own opinion without being voted down by other politicians or other parties that muddy your water. I think that’s an incredible privilege and something people need to take advantage of. There’s a whole different layer to music with lyricism that can quite easily be missed because it’s all about writing a melody. So I think it can change things. It’s people power and you’ve got to get to a certain point, but there’s no reason why we can’t get there and why other bands can’t get there. I think it’s evident how much we’ve grown this year since Y Not last year so who knows in a year’s time where we’ll be and where music will be in terms of a global political market.

What’s coming next for you guys?

We’ve got an EP out and probably some more music in the Autumn and Winter. We’ll bring the album out in Spring next year. Probably a lot of touring and generally keeping ourselves busy and playing to and interacting with as many people as we can. I think that’s the most important thing to us, that physical connection.

Is the album ready?

The album has been ready for a while! We chose to do an EP now because there’s quite a lot of songs that unfortunately didn’t make the final cut of the record that we still feel we really love and we wanted to give them their time to shine. That was the theory and it also allows us to grow a little more as well. It’s good to get some more stuff out there as well as we only have a few songs out there. It’s nice that there’s more of a body of work, and it’s nice to see the reaction.

Is there a theme to the album? Are any of the songs you’re released already going to make an appearance?

It’s quite mixed. There’s a lot of new stuff but most of the stuff we’ve released will be on there. It’s not a concept album or anything but I think it gives a real overall insight to our opinion on this world and where we are. It puts a marker in history of 2017 when it comes out and soundtracks a generation hopefully, that’s the point. That’s what The Clash did, that’s what Rage Against The Machine did. It was all about the list of things that’s wrong and how we’re going to solve them. That’s what we want it to be like.

 

Catherine Dowie

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