The Vanns

Born in the shadows of a Kiama garage indie group The Vanns began jamming in the early months of 2012 and went onto win the 2012 Red Bull Bedroom Jam, which scored them a gig with The Getaway Plan at the Sydney Hi-Fi, recording time in Melbourne with Jan Skubiszewski (Way Of The Eagle) and a set at Homebake 2012. Recently they were the band chosen as the focus of Vivid’s Ideas session ‘Access All Areas – breaking new artists in 2013’, and have been receiving regular plays on triple j unearthed. They have started to headline shows in Wollongong and Sydney, plus support popular Australian artists such as Jinja Safari, Kingswood, Sticky Fingers and The Bamboos. Our intern Mikaila Ng caught up with them for a chat to see what they’ve been up to.

Describe The Vanns in just 5 words?

Energetic, loose vintage, party band!

Tell us a bit about yourselves, how did The Vanns first come about?

We have all been good mates growing up together and started playing in bands when we were younger. We came together in the same band at one stage with another member but it didn’t quite work out, so we still jammed every so often when that band broke up not taking it seriously at all, really just for the fun of it. We started to think about doing shows and making a name for ourselves and ‘The Vanns’ stood out for us at that time as we had nothing else and it it suited us as it was after the lead singer/guitarist ‘James Vann’. He is the main writer of our songs so yer it worked I guess and people liked it

So far, you have received a lot of airplay on Triple J. What is it like to hear yourselves on the radio?

At first receiving air play from Triple J was such a shock to us, just coming from a little garage band to one of our first writen songs was getting a fair plug on the radio was crazy haha. It was and still is weird to hear our music on the radio, but at the same time it kinda hits us that we might be doing something right and we should definately keep giving it a shot to get more music out there.

How has the Triple J Unearthed experience influenced your music and success as a band?

It hasn’t necessarily influenced our music, it’s just been there as a big support and really helped us gain a name for ourselves as our music fits into the triple j unearthed scene. We have also been able to build contacts through unearthed including presenters and bands.

What is your most memorable live show experience?

Definitely Homebake 2012. Not necessarily because of the crowd, but the whole experience of hanging out with some of the other bands playing like San Sisco, Sticky Fingers and Jinja Safari.

As a young, up and coming band, what are your thoughts on the all ages scene for young musicians in Wollongong?

There aren’t really a lot of places you can do all ages shows in Wollongong at the moment, but they are starting to come. Rad (formerly Yours & Owls) is now all ages most nights, The Den has some all ages shows but that’s about it, so being an underage band is hard in Wollongong. You can still get the gigs but none of your friends can come which is something you need when you’re first starting out to build confidence.

The Vanns EP was recently put via iTunes. How does it feel knowing that people all over the world can now buy your music?

Having out EP on iTunes has been one of the most important things to happen with the sales of our music. It makes it a lot easier to purchase music over iTunes and still support the artist behind the tracks. Knowing that our music is being spread across the world and that anyone can purchase it has made us really take note and knuckle down to concentrate on our songs and try to nail them all before release. We want to be happy with every track that is out there and for all our listeners to be happy as well.

Walk us through the creative process you went through when you recorded this EP…

We wanted to try and make the EP sound like our live performances, so not overdo it in the mix. Keep it simple and structured.
We wanted to keep to a lyrical theme with all the songs so we needed to think one up. We decided on just typical teenage life of growing up, feelings, love, anger, fear etc. We recorded the EP with a really great producer (Jan Skubiszewski), which at the time helped us simplify songs and help further develop our ‘sound’ in the studio to make the end product what we wanted it to be.

What are some other Wollongong based artists grabbing your attention at the moment?

There are a lot of great bands in Wollongong at the moment including Tommy M & The Mastersounds, the Maze, Blueberry Circuit, Lavinia Row and Hockey Dad, and there are more and more popping up every month. Wollongong is definitely a town to keep your eye on!

Which one of your songs do you think is the crowd favourite and why? 

Probably Don’t Hold Me Back. We always play it last and everyone always sings a long so we feel that it’s probably the crowd favourite.

What’s on the horizon for The Vanns for the rest of the year? Any upcoming shows?

We’re going to be opening for Stonefield next month, we will be playing the main stage of Viva La Gong in November and we’re touring with tassie band Chase City up and down the east coast in December.

Find out more about The Vanns by heading here.