Showcase Spotlight: The Van T's

Ahead of their showcase for Wide Days at The Electric Circus on Friday 22 April, we spoke to Hannah and Shaun from The Van T's about their music.

Q: Who are the Van T’s?

Hannah (H) : The Van T’s consist of Hannah, Chloe, Shaun and Joanne – Joanne and Chloe couldn’t be here today because of work (nursing and supervising at Lush). 

Shaun (S) : The best two.

H : Yeah, they earn the most in the band, we’re skint. We’re all kind of from Glasgow – Joanne hails from Dundee, me and Chloe are from just outside Glasgow and Shaun’s from Clydebank. We like to play music to people, write music and play loud noises.

Q: Where did you meet? 

H : Me and Chloe met in the womb – we’re twins. We met Shaun through work; me and Shaun used to work in Primark at Braehead. When me and Chloe started writing music at about 18, our drummer at the time bailed, so I was like 'shit, we’ve got a show coming up' and I knew Shaun played drums, so I kind of pleaded with him to get him to play drums with us and from there it escalated. We only met Joanne a couple of years ago, she was in another band from Dundee, they split up and we needed a bassist so I just asked her. At this point we knew we were playing T in the Park so we really needed a steady bassist and she was totally up for it. She didn’t actually play bass at the time she played guitar so she learned bass for us.

S : That was her second gig with us.

H : Yeah, our second gig with her was T in the Park last year, but that’s how we all got to know each other I guess.

Q: The video for your latest single, ‘Laguna Babe’, was released last year alongside an imaginative video – can you give an insight into how you came up with the idea for the video?

H : It was Tim Courtney who did it, he directed everything, it’s quite a dark song and I think it reflects in the video. We just got told to show up and we sat with Kaye Felvus who did our hair and makeup quite early on in the day – we were only actually in the video for like two seconds and we sat in our makeup for ages.

S : 12 hours; we played Stereo that night as well.

H : Yeah, it was a good day, good video. The people who got involved were amazing as well, they were actually proper dancers and actresses, they just played the whole part, it was good, fake blood – lots of fake blood. 

Q: You’ve played the likes of T in The Park, Wickerman and Electric Fields in the last year – what festival, venue or location would you love to play in future? And why?

H : Last night someone was asking me “what festival? If I could do any festival” and I said “Coachella”, because it’s in California, which is my favourite place ever and it’s sunny and all cool famous actors/other famous people, so I’d love to play that. Venue? I don’t know? What do you think?

S : I’ve got a couple on my list, Olympia is one of them, the ABC Glasgow for something a bit closer. Festival wise it would be cool to play Wilderness Festival down in London, we went down last year and it was really nice, so I’d love to play something like that as well.

H : Anywhere that’s not really Glasgow would be good, it would be good to get out of Glasgow for a bit.

Q: The fact you’re a female fronted band gets mentioned a lot in press. Has this proved a help or a hindrance?

H : We don’t mind either way, if people want to ask us we don’t have any problems with it. We feel everyone’s all about equal rights and that’s all we’re about too. We’ve been asked is there is any misogyny and I’m not going to say no – one of the finest examples I can think of is when you’re backstage at a gig and you approach the other band, nine times out of 10 it’s going to be a guy band and you introduce yourself and they reply with “Oh, you’re so and so’s girlfriend,” but that’s just initial thought from a guy’s perceptive. On that front there is a little bit of misogyny, but in Glasgow we haven’t experienced as much as maybe other bands would in different places, because I think Glasgow’s quite a sound city. At the end of the day we’re a band just like everyone else – we play hard, we work hard, it’s no difference to us at all.

Q: Who would you like to speak at an event like Wide Days and why? 

H : I don’t really know because to us anybody who’s made a name for themselves is good for us. We’re just looking forward to seeing all of the different speakers and what they have to say because we’ve not been exposed to anything like that – we don’t know many big names, we just play music, we’ve never seen that kind of business aspect.

Q: What else have you got planned for the coming months?

H : A lot – recording mainly, that’s this month. Our EP comes out in June, summer release – nice time for festivals. Then obviously Wide Days, got a few other festivals including Brew in The Bog, Stag & Dagger, Electric Fields Festival and a couple which I don’t think we’re aloud to say yet. We’re also doing a tour in May of Inverness, Aberdeen, Dundee and a show in London with a band called Hawk.  That’s everything we’ve got planned for now, but hopefully just keep gigging and getting exposure.

Q: What are the most extreme acts you listen to? And what are your guilty [musical] pleasures?

H : I love Wham! ‘Club Tropicana’ is my song. Extreme? I don’t think I really have any – I know you have some extreme tastes…

S : I say guilty pleasures wise my go to is Die Antwood because I can never actually say why I like them – I shouldn’t, but there’s something there that I’m into but can’t quite put my finger on. Extreme wise – I’ve seen a couple of extreme bands play, I listen to a lot of progressive rock so I’ve seen mad shows. Actually most recently I saw Joanne our bass player doing a thing for a band called Afro Celt Sound System for Celtic Connections at the ABC – a 20 piece world music band – it was really great.

H : Lush, who Joanne works for, played a show with them in England as part of this choir type of thing and Joanne absolutely loved it. 

Emily Hood