(SXSW 2016 flavoured!) Bands to Watch #371: VANT

By on Tuesday, 26th January 2016 at 11:00 am
 

Editor’s note: we’re making some exciting changes in the way we cover SXSW 2016 this year, especially in the way we preview all the bands that we want to introduce you to before the big event in Austin in March. Read all about our big plans here.

VANT are an English rock band fronted and formed by songwriter Mattie Vant in 2014. The band signed to Parlophone Records last year, releasing two singles with them, ‘Parasite’ and ‘Parking Lot’. The fact that Parlophone Records signed the band immediately after hearing their debut single ‘Parasite’, without having the benefit of hearing them perform live, really says a lot about the energy and attraction of VANT’s music.

Mattie Vant met band mates Henry Eastham (guitar) and Billy Morris (bass) early on after moving to London and working at the Dalston venue Birthdays, and in 2015 the band was joined by David Green (drums). So far, they’ve supported Royal Blood, and they have also twice received the accolade of Annie Mac’s Hottest Record in the World for ‘Parking Lot’ and ‘The Answer’. 2016 is set to be just as interesting for the foursome: after appearing at various festivals last summer, including Reading and Leeds and Secret Garden Party.

VANT are producing hard-hitting, punch-packing rock music that isn’t just here to sit pretty, but that is making a bold statement too. The music has an overtly political edge. In an interview with DIY, songwriter Mattie was honest and open about his preference for having “something to say, rather than going on about popping pills and dancing in a fucking club”. This drive to put a worthwhile message out there, to go along with the assertive music, reminds me of the angle towards social commentary that a lot of artists have used throughout history. This drive makes sense, as the band cites the Clash and Rage Against the Machine as influences.

Mattie’s ideas are reminiscent of those of Lennon or Dylan in the sense that he picks up on wide-reaching themes that affect the whole world rather than focusing solely on the smaller issues. Lyrics such as “100K is A-OK, it’ll all blow over, what the hell can I say? / 1000K, well, Iraq was Iraq, you know the USA will take and never give back” from ‘The Answer’ show the big ideas that the band are working with and aren’t shying away from. These intense messages are mirrored by the force and vitality of the music itself.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mp7RFP3R8uE[/youtube]

The songs are well put together and has a professional finish, in the sense that they doesn’t sound thrown together or rushed: you can really feel that a lot of thought and passion has gone into the production of the music. The heavy guitar and drum rhythms don’t overpower or drown out Mattie’s vocals. The sound is distinctly punk/garage: it’s energetic, dynamic and intensely listenable, a la Queens of the Stone Age or the Strokes. Mattie Vant even looks like a young Julian Casablancas.

‘Parasite’, VANT’s first single, is a double A-side also including the ‘Do You Know Me?’, the latter racking up the most listens on the band’s’ Spotify page. ‘Do You Know Me?’ is more everyday than the politically charged ‘The Answer’. The catchy, repetitive chorus consists of Mattie screaming, “you should know me / you should know me by now”, an anthem for anyone whose ever been stuck in a rut and feeling as though they aren’t reaching their potential, and the associated feelings of frustration.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mprGjEfjMFA[/youtube]

‘Parking Lot’, released towards the end of 2015, is a loud and vigorous concoction of indie rock ‘n’ roll. At times during the song, particularly during the reiterations of “wait a minute / wait a minute” I’m reminded of the everyman ease of Chris Martin’s vocals, albeit a far edgier Martin. The track builds through the opening chorus before crashing like a wave, with trippy guitar riffs thrown in for good measure.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z5wSb8UWig4[/youtube]

VANT don’t seem likely to drop off the radar any time soon; they are scheduled to appear at SXSW 2016 in March. If you don’t happen to be in Austin then, no worries: the band have just announced a UK headline tour for April too, with tickets to the tour on sale now.

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

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