“VANT may have been away, but the need for voices like theirs has only grown greater.” Upset Magazine
In August 2017 everything – from the outside at least – seemed to be going according to plan for then-indie/punk/rock startlets VANT. Five consecutive ‘BBC R1 Hottest Record(s) In The World’, a critically acclaimed debut album under their belts and a summer spent on the main stages of festivals including Governor’s Ball, Lollapalooza and Reading & Leeds. Meanwhile, frontman Mattie Vant, was quietly planning his own demise.
“I’ve tried everything over the last 18 months,” explains Mattie. “Sobriety, transcendental meditation, “The Artist’s Way”, volunteer work, social media blackouts, fasting, extreme work-out regimes, therapy, travelling, ballet. You name it, I’ve tried it.
“Turns out I’m not particularly good at sticking to anything for too long”.
Navigating the current socio-political climate is difficult enough without the added uncertainty of how long you can continue doing the thing you love. “I took a massive risk,” Mattie continues. “I had to relearn everything I ever knew about song-writing and I’m only now just starting to touch on my best work. There’s a long way to go.
“If I had wanted to keep making straight-up, ballsy rock music for the rest of my life, I could have kept that incarnation of VANT going forever. Once I stumbled upon the song ‘Propaganda Machine,’ I knew there was no turning back and that I’d have to start from the bottom, prove myself once again”.
Mattie spent 2018 in the studio, experimenting with every new instrument or bit of software he could get his hands on. A chance meeting with an old friend – Jamie Reed (Partybaby) – in Mattie’s home city of London led to a late-night collaboration, which escalated into a summer spent in LA.
“Something clicked when I worked with Jamie. We were both questioning the current state of rock music and wondering how we could move the genre forward.” More songs emerged from his work with Jamie and fellow Partybaby band-mate Noah Gersh, and one in particular – ‘Exoskeleton’ – became the nucleus for the album.
“‘Exoskeleton’ is the best song I’ve ever been a part of writing,” beams Mattie. “It’s a song I can imagine people listening to on repeat, until it becomes torturous.” Further sessions in LA were a mixed bag, leaving Mattie confused but encouraged. On his return to the UK, he linked up with long time producer, Sam Miller to begin collating the pieces of what would become VANT’s second record; ‘Conceived In The Sky.’
“This was always going to be a transitional record for me. Returning to being a solo artist, exploring different genres, essentially completely reinventing myself, all as a newly independent artist.” Conceived In The Sky will be released on Mattie’s own imprint Dumb Blood Records (date TBC). “Some of my favourite records are those that ‘join the dots.’ You can see where an artist is going but they are still discovering themselves and playing with new ideas, without the weight of expectation. There is something beautiful and exciting about stretching out into the unknown and it’s only when you finally reach that solid ground that you can look back and see how far you’ve come.”
After a successful, sold out, first tour in 18 months in April 2019 Mattie headed back in to the studio and completed the album, which is pencilled for release in September. The upcoming October tour will combine old classics with future favourites and is set to be his most elaborate stage show so far. VANT mach ii is truly upon us…
“VANT stray further from what came before. More deliberate, more measured and packing a synth, that rebellious spirit is in full effect as the band refuse to play by anyone else’s rules – including their own. It’s good to have ‘em back.” DORK
8th October – Edinburgh The Mash House
9th October – Leeds The Key Club
11th October – Newcastle Riverside
12th October – Manchester NBHD
13th October – Birmingham The Castle and Falcon
15th October – Norwich Waterfront Studio
16th October – Brighton Patterns
17th Oct – London Garage