We met up with Mattie and Henry from the indie rock-punk band Vant before their show at The Haunt in Brighton. They spoke about their upcoming debut album and since we all know what Vant are really about, there was no way around a few political comments.
Your debut album is coming out in February and some of your songs such as ‘Peace & Love’ deal with current issues. Did you feel the need to replace any older songs with newer ones on the record?
A lot of the stuff that we talk about in songs tries to be sort of more of a comment on the overall subject rather than specific things. There are a few songs that have very direct lines in them and there are a few that’ve kind of fallen on by the rear side as the years have gone on, but with the collection of the songs for the record, they all kind of remain relevant and the topics can be applied to things that are happening now even though now they might’ve been written about something else. Most of the songs cover various subjects, it’s like a brief representation of where we are as a species right now. The record is a broad take on our view of the world.
Is the album name ‘Dumb Blood’ referring to the ignorance and stupidity many people show in regards to politics etc.?
It’s so multifaceted. As you said the ignorance and stupidity of modern day society, but ‘dumb’ means silent as well, so it’s a comment on a silent generation; the fact that we have the power on our fingertips, but choose not to use it. If we did wake up then we would might have a chance at actually saving the planet, but unfortunately everyone’s a bit ignorant to it. People are too absorbed in their own lives, so I guess the whole point of the record is try to wake people up.
So you’ve previously mentioned you don’t believe in borders, imagining all borders were opened what do you think would happen short and long-term?
Unfortunately it would be nowhere near as easy as that,it would be absolute chaos. I’m sure it would result in a lot of war. It’s not necessarily about breaking down the borders, it’s about sort of allowing people to be where they want to be in the world. Obviously there has to be some kind of restriction on migration, because there would be 6 billion people in the UK and no one in Africa. At the same time, if we were open and equal and could break down the gulf of wealth, then people could take those resources or ideas and implement them in with other parts of the world; people would want to live everywhere. If there was more equality world wide and a greater understanding of everyone as individuals and minorities from different cultures and backgrounds etc, that would naturally stem across the whole system and make it much easier and more exciting for people to come and try living in new places and experience new things.
As you mentioned before, opening the borders would lead to a total chaos, which role does culture have in this?
I think it is about respecting each others cultures. I live in a sort of heavily Afro-Caribbean part of East-London and there is definitely a separation. I am not really friends with any people from that culture, not because I don’t like them or don’t get along with them, I just don’t have that culture to protect it. They want to go to church, go to their local shops and have a community aspect to it and that’s totally fine. It’s the idea of that interaction process that causes a lot of the problems, it’s not necessarily about everyone being friends with everyone, but at least have an awareness of their culture and respect it. Whenever I meet anyone from a different culture, it absolutely fascinates me and I love it, I love hearing about the way their life works and what their background is, what it’s like to grow up where they are from. It doesn’t mean that I’ll ever truly understand it, but I can be respectful. I think it is important to maintain that cultural identity as long as its not harming other people. A lot of the time the problem is that culture gets tarnished, because a small amount of people are extremists within that culture – obviously this is not representative of an entire race of people. But this can lead right wing figures like Farage or Donald Trump to group everyone into the same stereotype, that’s the main thing that needs to be destroyed, since it has nothing to do with that culture, it has to do with people’s own insanity and very radical leaders within those things. Using culture and religion to manipulate people into becoming war criminals.
The main problem we have as a society is the fact that we are starting to regress movements, such as the equal rights movement, the civil rights movement, later on gay rights and everything like that. So many people died for those movements and dedicated their lives to them. A lot of that generation are at the point where they are dying off now and it’s almost as if the idea is dying with them. We’ve got to a point now where we are a lot better than we were, but there is a hell of a long way to go now. We need to have governments with the same amount of women as men, as well as businesses with people from different backgrounds, sexualities and everything like that. The collective thought is what drives European countries, such as Finland or Iceland forward. We need to learn from that and not regress from it. In the minute it’s things like Brexit and Donald Trump, potentially Marine Le Pen next year, which stems from people praying on the prejudices and narrow mindedness towards minorities. The reason they have those prejudices is because they don’t understand the beautiful qualities these people bring into cosmopolitan cities like London. We are lucky enough to spend a lot of time in those places and have friends that are from all over the world and that’s one of the most exciting things to me. But if you lived in a tiny town just outside of Sunderland, like where I am from for your whole life and you have never travelled or gone to any of these places then everyone is an enemy to you and it’s very easy for people like Trump to pre-own those people’s minds and persuade them the only way they can have a decent quality of life is by eliminating the outsiders. The thing we really need to do is to come together and remind people why it’s important that we continue to strive towards greater levels of equality and acceptance rather than moving backwards in time, which is kind of my main fear at the moment. It’s important for people to speak up and talk about it between each other and make sure that it’s an accepted conversation rather than just something that we only discuss on the internet.
Do you have any more projects such as ‘Don’t do a Brexit’ planned ?
There is a lot of stuff that we are working on behind the scenes, but until we get on a certain level we can’t really implement those ideas. It’s all about building ourselves to a platform, so we actually have a powerful voice with which we can have an impact. I know, I sound like a fucking cult leader, but it’s not the case, it’s things I genuinely believe can benefit humanity. There will be definitely a lot of protests that we will be doing, hopefully a lot of free shows next year and raising awareness to subjects that are important to us. Eventually a lot of our profits will be going directly to worthy causes, but at the minute we lose money, because it’s expensive to tour and until we break even, we can’t implement nearly as much money as we would like to. That’s why it’s important that people to come to our shows and buy our records, we live in a consumerist world, so we need that support to continue. Hopefully, one day we are self-sufficient and can make the world to a better place.
How come you are heading back to the Netherlands soon? It nearly feels like you are touring there more than in the UK?
It’s definitely one of our favourite places to go. They were he first supporters outside the UK, NPO 3FM playlisted all of our records and made us their number one live band to see this year. They have just been amazing, every time we have gone there we just had so much fun. I asked our booking agent if we could go back by the end of the year and luckily we were able to book these 3 shows.
We have got a playlist on our blog called ‘Oh shit, I’m so hungover’, do you have any songs you like to contemplate life to that you want to add to the playlist?
Henry: I like to listen to The Velvet Underground, Metallica (Editior’s note: who the hell listens to Metallica when they’re hungover – not making our playlist) and ‘Five Years’ by David Bowie
Mattie: Santo & Johnny – Sleep Walk
Check out our playlist here: