Interview: Jimmy Vann From ‘The Vanns’
Hailing from the regional New South Wales town of Kiama, The Vanns have released a stream of bangin’ alt-rock singles. The trio are currently on tour in support of their latest single I’m Not The One. We spoke to lead vocalist Jimmy Vann about how far they’ve come, musical figures, friends, and his love of touring.
How was The Vanns formed?
We were in a previous band and we were really bad. There was another dude singing and I was playing guitar. I’d never sung at that point and we were like “screw this, let’s try and start making our own music” and then it all kind of just began, just in my parent’s garage. We didn’t really know what we were doing, we just purely played blues music and we really took it from there. We released an EP and kind of got some attraction on triple j, so I guess that’s how it started really.
What was your previous band called?
We had like two names, it was shocking. It was like Jiminy and the Art of Motion or something.
How old were you guys then?
Back then, we would have been like 15 or something. Yeah, so we’re glad we moved on from where we are now!
What was the hardest part of trying to break into the music scene?
The hardest part was, I guess, when we started was being underage, so that wasn’t an easy part. But from there, because we never had a booking agent from where we are now, it’s just really booking gigs and getting yourself out there. I’m one to not like the internet at all, but it’s such a good way to get yourself out there on Facebook, Soundcloud, and stuff like that. It was quite hard in the sense of getting out and playing, but social media helped that because people then wanted to see you live!
What kept you guys going when it kind of seemed like maybe you weren’t getting anywhere?
I don’t know, we just really love playing music and I guess at the end of the day if you love what you’re doing, that kind of keeps you motivated to keep doing it. Just take a little steps at a time. I feel we’ve put in the hard work, so we can really appreciate where we are now!
What was the first big gig that you guys booked, that you were like “yeah man!”?
Well our first gig was in Wollongong or something, it was not good at all. But then our first actual gig where we were like, “hey we could actually do something with this” would have been in 2013 or 2014. When we played with Jinja Safari at Oxford Art Factory in Sydney, that was kind of our first really good gig where we were like, “this is pretty awesome let’s keep doing it!”.
How did your latest single I’m Not The One come about?
Well it’s kind of based on a true story, if not fantasising…it kind of is a little bit. It came about when you really like someone. It’s kind of this big underlying story, but I kind of just spew it out in the lyrics as this fun kind of being a little bit cheeky. It’s just really not being the one for the lovely lady or man. I think we all know the feeling and we can all relate to that. I just really write about anything and if it works, that’s good!
What musical figures have shaped the sound of The Vanns?
As I said, when we started we pretty much just played blues music and that’s still in our music, our live shows we still do a big bluesy gem or something. But we’ve been influenced by bands like Arctic Monkeys, Cold War Kids, and back in the days it was Jinja Safari that we were really inspired by. But yeah, we kind of just have our own sort of vibe and we’re just going to keeping that going.
Have your friends and family been supportive of the band?
Yeah, we wouldn’t be where we are now without them. If we’re going on a big trip to Melbourne, our friends will be like, “oh, I want to come!”. They’ll just be like doing merchandising or drinking all of our backstage rider. But yeah, it’s been good, they’ve all been supportive as well as our parents. Thanks for lending us the garage and being noisy!
What is the best and worst part of touring?
Touring? I absolutely love it! You’re out on the road, getting away! The best part would probably have to be the live shows, because with each tour we’ve done it just gets better and better. I guess the worst part is because we’re in a kombi, a lot of the times we’re just living in the kombi and you’re literally living on top of the other person. I like my space…but there’s not too many bad things about touring. I guess just the long drives at 1am in the morning! But there’s always a beer at the end waiting for you. So that’s just what keeps us motivated.
When you finish touring do you and your band mates try and give each other some space or do you still hang out?
when we finish touring we’ll have like two weeks off where we just do our own thing, relax a bit. We’re not really stopping, we’re thinking about the next step. We don’t finish touring and hang out with each other every day!
What does the future hold for The Vanns?
At this point we’re just going to keep writing the best music we can, and obviously our shows. It’s cool when people start singing the lyrics of the songs. I don’t want to say I want to be doing this at this or that, I guess what ever happens, happens.
A lot of musicians talk about how it’s surreal when they’re performing and people start singing their lyrics. How does that feel for you?
It’s crazy, it just weirds me out because I write these songs in my bedroom on my bed or something and then there will be like 200 people just singing the lyrics, every word..,I’m just like “whoa that’s pretty cool!”.
What advice would you give to bands that are just starting out?
My advice would be, as I was talking about before, when you start out it’s hard to get gigs and stuff. The main thing is if you write good music and you play as hard as you can, just give it everything, you’re going to go well. If it doesn’t work, at least you can say that you did it. Just literally no screwing around, no questions, just straight into it. Make good music, that’s a good start!
Do you guys see yourself travelling overseas to perform?
Yeah, we’re keen to get over to America, California or something. A few Americans will come to our gigs and they are like, “you need to get overseas” and so we’re thinking maybe it’s time to head overseas. So we really want to do that as soon as possible. But it’s expensive, to fly us and our gear. But yeah, that’s definitely a goal for the next couple of years, to go overseas and try and break into that market!
The Vanns ‘I’m Not The One’ Tour
THU 28 APR
Milk Factory, Brisbane
FRI 28 APR
Beach Hotel Byron
WED 4 MAY
May Bird House, Wagga Wagga
THURS 4 MAY
Frankies Pizza, Sydney
FRI 6 MAY
Uni Bar, Wollongong
SAT 7 MAY
Moonshine Bar, Manly
SAT 14 MAY
The Evelyn, Melbourne
SUN 15 MAY
The Evelyn, Melbourne
THURS 2 JUNE
Odd Fellow, Fremantle
FRI 3 JUNE
Settlers Tavern, Margaret River
SAT 4 JUNE
Get Tickets HERE