UK indie-rock act VANT announce Belfast headline show at the Oh Yeah Centre on February 27th 2017. The band’s most recent EP ‘Karma Seeker’ was released on 5th August 2016.
VANT aren’t just a band, they’re a war cry. A statement, a revolt, the new generation’s charge to the socio-political barricades. As much as their music demands moshpit bedlam, their lyrics demand discussion, on Syria, environmentalism, sexual assault, inequality, racism, religion, social media isolation, and the all-out self-destruction of mankind. Make no mistake, Vant vent.
Singer and centrepoint Mattie Vant well knows that if you want things to happen, you have to make them. Born in the North-East town of Seaham, he was dismissed by teachers as lacking the musical talent to learn guitar at the age of seven. At the age of thirteen, he resorted to begging his parents for a cheap Argos electric and strong-armed a local community band project into his songs, which were inspired by The Strokes, Arctic Monkeys, QOTSA and an intense love of The Vines. Having followed his mates in Tigercub and Demob Happy to Brighton, he moved to London in 2012 and took a job in the bar at Birthdays in Dalston just as the club became the new cult hangout. It was a pivotal year for Vant.
A stint of depression in Brighton had landed Mattie in a musical rut, struggling to put together insular, self-obsessed songs. What poured out over the next three months were around 30 dazzling punk rock songs wracked with political discontent, trying to make sense of a disintegrating world. Mattie had found his calling and VANT was born, bawling about the injustice, hypocrisy and self-destructive idiocy of humanity. Concerns that had been festering since he’d watched Zeitgeist in his hallucinogenic teens and started searching for clarity and meaning in our post-God age.
VANT cohered surprising quickly, under its own creative and ideological gravity. Bassist Billy Morris was Birthdays’ mohawked pot washer with whom Mattie had bonded over the bar’s musical playlist; another bar worker played in a band with a “more theoretical, practical” guitarist called Henry Eastham. Billy’s boss pulled in a favour with ex-Clor drummer Harry Bennett to help Mattie record his first five songs late in 2013, but when it came to playing live, Mattie convinced his Swedish friend Martin Söderin to move to London to join. United by a shared vision and mutual values, VANT played a handful of shows during 2014, before a broken leg confined Mattie to the studio, recording seven more songs in five days at Willesden’s Fish Factory studio. His injury also forced him to make a 2015 New Year resolution to change his life.
Right on cue- a call from his manager one Friday night in early January. The video for ‘Parasite’, an eighty-three-second blues-mocking firestorm about nematodes, had come to the attention of Parlophone Records. By Monday morning virtually every label in the country was on the phone, but VANT felt Parlophone best understood their plan to “make a statement and do something important.” VANT slowly inched their vision into the public eye. ‘Parasite’ made for a tongue-scorching taster on their own Dumb Blood label in April, alongside its autobiographical new wave garage AA-side ‘Do You Know Me?’, a catalogue of Mattie’s soul-crushing jobs in telesales and bartending. It wasn’t until their second AA-single ‘Parking Lot/The Answer’ in September that their harder hitting blows began to land. The deceptively upbeat Americana of ‘Parking Lot’ disguises a dissection of sexual boundaries and the rape culture of the US college system. ‘The Answer’, meanwhile, was Mattie’s brooding, forthright reaction to the chemical attacks and Western invasion of Syria. Replacing drummer Martin with David ‘Greenie’ Green over the course of a hectic summer of festival shows, tours with the likes of Royal Blood and The Big Moon and further recording, VANT upped their game by 2016.
February’s release of the sassy, ramalama ‘Fly-By Alien’, featuring a middle-eight written in a naked animalistic frenzy inspired by Lucien Freud, had him imagining himself as an extra-terrestrial observer deciding “that species is a waste of space… can I zap my laser?” Then the summer’s ‘Karma Seeker’ cued up the debut album ‘DUMB BLOOD’, an opinionated garage pop firecracker that chews up a vast array of contemporary issues and spits them melodically in your face. ‘Peace & Love’ bewails inequality and the off-hand dismissal of the sixties counterculture ideals in the Brexit age. ‘Lampoon’s’ chorus cry of “everything is dumb with this generation” acts as the album’s de facto title track, challenging the way that social media mob rule mutes our increasingly clued-up youth. Elsewhere, ‘I Don’t Believe In God’ is Mattie’s atheist anthem revelling in mortality, while the likes of ‘Headed For The Sun’ and the album’s summary song ‘Time And Money’ call time on the human race. If there’s to be any hope, Mattie knows we have to make it. That’s why he’s leading the new alt-rock charge to stand up, start conversations, change minds, make a difference. And he’s already seeing the silent generation opening up to VANT. You know the war cry.
Tickets on sale Thursday 01st December 2016 at 10am.