VANT are a four-piece Indie-Rock band but above all they are a political band. I anticipated that the interview would be an eye-opener, admittedly I was a tad sceptical about the band incorporating politics in their music. I just felt that it was a tad gimmicky.
Then I met Mattie Vant.
I spoke to them ahead of their gig supporting You Me At Six at the Middlesborough Empire. The band had just released their new video for ‘Peace and Love‘ – the song contains political themes and the video appears to show young people from Jordan and Ukraine. In it Mattie Vant harks that we need peace and love mother******s.
Who are the mother*****?
Mattie Vant: It’s Everyone, politics is basically useless now, no one gives a f***. [The world] it is in the hands of corporations, obviously politicians still do influence a lot of stuff. People are just incredibly disillusioned with the world and how it’s run, I think it’s just time for people to wake up and realise that this isn’t going to last forever, especially if we continue at the pace that we’re going.
When the freedom of movement thing started in the 60s and 70s, the whole peace and love meant so much to people, it helped civil rights, women’s rights, gay rights. Fifty years later we’ve almost forgotten what it meant it’s just used in a throwaway fashion. Now it’s not something that truly means anything any more, people throw away those words willy-nilly. They don’t understand what people fought for… and what people died for!
As I say it’s not going to last, were on a self destruction course right now. You can either sit there and do nothing or you can go out and speak to people because in reality if you sit there and post something online, the only people that are going to see it are those that already agree with you because of the way that algorithms work etcetera…. You’re literally preaching to the converted!
The band recently urged their fans to watch Adam Curtis’s Hypernormalisation, I ask them what they made of it:
Incredible. Life changing. Unbelievable.
Mattie Vant: We are a political band because we want to do something that means something. Music is secondary this just happens to be our platform to have a voice and to try and make a positive impact on the world and obviously that stems from having fear and anxiety about the world in which we live in .
It’s unexplainable as to how we’ve got to this state – or at least I thought it was till I watched that video. That’s the closest thing I’ve seen to anyone offering an explanation as to why we are who we are and why society is where it is. I think it’s an important thing that everyone needs to see. So many of my thoughts run in a parallel with that, but he(Adam Curtis) describes it in an intelligent way that I would not be able to do myself. So I think if people can watch that without any sort of expectation not wanting to love it or hate it or whatever because it’s not that sort of thing. It’s three hours of facts.
Henry Eastham: Well that’s what we were saying, it’s concise. You get the facts, get the basics of it and if you want to go back in then then there’s a platform for you to go into.
Mattie Vant: I would never want to force my opinion down someone’s throat, the only way you can ever change something is by letting people form their own opinions. It has to come from you as an individual, whether that’s your diet or football team, it has to stem from an individual wanting to affect something. If you say this is what I do and this is why I do it then people might think about it and make their own opinions on it.
We have to have equality, we have to have a better education for our children and we have to think about the consequences of how we’re affecting the planet. We can’t just deny it. And it’s not me being an evangelical preacher, preaching doomsday or whatever it’s just facts the facts are f***ing there!
Not everyone can write songs or be in a band and do stuff, we’ve worked for decades, we’re very lucky and privileged to be in this position. We want to give the minorities a voice that has been lost, most of us (the band) are from working class backgrounds. All of us have done shitty jobs and lived on like £100 a month I’ve lived through all that s**t. I know how hard life is in the real world. I want to give those minorities a voice just as popular music has always done look at Bob Dylan and more recently Bjork, Beyoncé and PJ Harvey, these artists are actually trying to do something.
Was there an incident that instigated the Vant project:
When I started writing this collection of songs I was almost going to give up on music, it was so self indulgent, it was just about me. I was about to give up then I wrote a song that was in a political vein and my manager was like yeah, that’s where you need to go. There’s a place for other lyricism, emotional lyricism people need that release but that’s just not us.
Love from Holland and the BBC:
Mattie Vant: The Dutch people have really embraced us, they have been massively supportive of our work. We want to keep that connection going because we feel spiritually and emotionally connected to it.
Mattie gives thanks to the BBC especially as some of their songs have things that are quite difficult to broadcast he says that they “probably wouldn’t be sitting here without them”
Why is your album titled Dumb blood?
Mattie Vant: It’s a comment on a silent generation
Dumb obviously has several meanings. It’s a positive and negative, to me young people are more engaged than they ever have been because of social media, it’s impossible to scroll down a feed without seeing articles that don’t invoke thought. It isn’t using its voice correctly its just spouting it into the ‘webosphere’ and it isn’t actually changing anything. Unfortunately, our parents and grandparents have f*****d us by striving for greed.
No one knows what the f*** is going on. But we can change it. We can do so many things but we need unification, we have to make the world a smaller place and not further apart.
Everyone wants to talk about this stuff but people think that they can’t and that’s something that we need to change.
Mattie has a point there. He goes on to say that in the future the band hope to do things other than music but they need to get to that level. Who knows what the future holds, all I know is that Vant are trying to ensure that our kids have a future!