From Seaham to Radio 1’s hottest record - Vant return home for headline show

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“The hottest record in the world” says respected DJ Annie Mac of the latest track by Vant.

The four-piece indie rock band released Fly-By Alien to much acclaim at the end of last month, with it rocketing up the airwaves to become Radio 1’s track of the day.

It followed hot on the heels of previous releases The Answer and Parking Lot, which has seen them carve a name for themselves on the music scene, while also drawing comparisons with artists such as Pixies, Manic Street Preachers and The Strokes.

Hailed as “the future of UK rock”, the band are heading out on a headline tour with North East audiences seeing if they live up to the hype at The Cluny on April 28.

It’s a significant date for lead singer Mattie Vant who honed the sound for the band while growing up in Seaham.

As a well-known figure on the North East scene with previous band The Small Screen Light Show, Mattie, 25, was a regular to venues such as The Cluny before moving to Brighton five years ago.

Mattie Vant

Mattie Vant

“This isn’t our first headline tour, but it’s our biggest to date. It’s the first time we’ve sold out some of these venues, which is really exciting for us. “It feels like we’re on the brink of something much bigger,” said the former Seaham School of Technology pupil.

He added: “Last time we played the North East was in Cluny 2 and now we’re in the main room. It will be great to see North East faces there.”

Along with band members bass player Billy Morris, guitarist Henry Eastham and David ‘Greenie’ Green on drums, Mattie has a No 1 record in his sights and they’re putting in the graft to get there.

Since meeting in London two years ago, the band have signed a deal with Parlophone Records and have embarked upon a relentless gigging schedule, with plans to release their debut album in the next year.

Mattie, who moved from Brighton to London three years ago, said: “I met the other guys when I was working at a music venue in London, the bass player had performed there, the guitarist enjoyed beverages in the bar and the drummer I knew from a few years ago as he used to play in Detroit Social Club and Little Comets.

“It was perfect timing really, as he’d come to the end of his journey with Little Comets.

“It all came together and we’ve built up a real momentum over the past year - and it’s continuing that way. Things like spending a month on the BBC playlist had a massive impact for us. We’ve noticed social media shooting up and there’s a real buzz.”

Speaking about the debut album, he said: “We’re not sure when it will be, either this year or early next year. We want a No 1 record and we want to release enough that people want to buy it, we have plenty more music to put out. We can’t wait for the album, but we’re in no rush to put it out.”

As well as the headline tour, the band will be playing their sharp, socially-aware tracks at a host of festivals including T in the Park and Bestival this 
summer.

Mattie said: “It’s going to be a busy 18 months for us, and we’ll be announcing more dates. But we’re very much a live act, it’s how we pick up fans. People connect with a band when they can see them in the flesh, they become the advocates of your music.

“It’s the thing we love doing most, it’s when most people begin to support us, as it’s a very visual, exciting show.”

Though Mattie picked up a following with his previous music projects, he says it was moving to London which opened up more opportunities.

“It’s so hard for any local band to get noticed,” he said. “A few years ago, Sunderland started to get attention from the music industry, thanks to bands like Field Music, The Futureheads and This Ain’t Vegas.

“It forced people to come to Sunderland to check them out and see what was happening, but since then there hasn’t been that consistent music scene to force people like Parlophone to come and sniff you out. You have to go knocking on their door instead, like we did, and it’s paid off.”

Recalling how he first became interested in music, he said: “It was a combination of my dad being into music and playing records and an aspect of self discovery.

“When I was 11 it was when Arctic Monkeys kicked off in Britain, you had bands like Kings of Leon and The Strokes coming out of American and, for me, an Australian band called The Vines were really influential.

“Going to see bands like that excited me and I knew it was what I wanted to do. I learnt guitar and went to a local bands project in Seaham and formed a band out of that, Small Screen Light Show.

“We were passionate 15/16-year-olds who wanted to make music but the way the North East scene was then we couldn’t elevate that to the heights we wanted, which is when I moved away.”

The gamble paid off with Vant’s past live shows including dates with Royal Blood, Fidlar and Hinds, as well as 2015 summer appearance at Reading, Leeds, The Great Escape, Dot To Dot, Calling Festival, Secret Garden Party, Boardmasters and Bingley Live.

“Playing Reading and Leeds was amazing,” said Mattie. “Leeds was the festival I would go to as a kid so playing that last year was very exciting for us. “Another major thing so far is having our songs picked up by the BBC because our music is so political.

The bigger we get, the more powerful the message we can get across is. It’s a real achievement for a rock band to make music like that and get recognised for doing so.”

Vant play The Cluny on April 28. For tickets visit http://wearevant.com/