Interview: A Chat With...Jimmy from The VANNS

Monday, April 10, 2017

The VANNS have been playing shows across the country this year, and they have no plans on stopping anytime soon. I chatted to Jimmy from the band on their new EP, the impact the Queensland floods had on their tour and merch. 

Amy: You released your new EP Shake The Hand That Picks The Fight, which is a bit of a tongue twister, there's a lot more growth and it's very different from your previous stuff. Were you going for a more mature approach on the project?
Jimmy: I guess musically, because we've got Cam Little on guitar and keys now, myself and him were doing a lot of the writing together. He came into the writing process about halfway writing this EP. And it comes naturally as a band to grow and build our sound, which was something we really wanted to expand, especially with 'Harder To Find'. So we just experimented more and try play a little bit more to our musical abilities. Myself and Cam love playing guitar, so we tried to evolve that a little bit more.

As I said, the EP's title is a bit of a tongue twister, how did you come up with the name?
That line was out of a song, I think it was a b-side from a Kings of Leon song. It was just a song I had on play, you know how you go through phrases of loving a song? It was something similar to that anyway. When I was writing 'Harder to Find', I kept on referring back to that line. It's a little different to the one that was in the song I heard. I guess it's a bit of irony as well as a lot of us take the easier option, which we're all guilty of at some stage, rather than taking the hard road to help your mates.

How long did it take to put the EP together?
The EP come together after some time actually. We released 'Skinny Legs', which was the first single, and then we we're still writing. We had a bunch of songs we wanted to put on it. I'm going to say over a period of 6 months. We wrote the whole EP, and then we pretty much didn't use any of the songs except 'Skinny Legs'. And then we kept writing, and as I said, Cam stepped in as well and we got writing. The main process of the EP happened quite quickly, but the time it took to fully put it together took some time.

You've been playing a few gigs recently, how have they been? I know you had some in Queensland, so were you affected by the storms and floods?
Yeah, so we literally just got back. Up there was just mayhem. We arrived in Byron, and we're like 'yep, this is sweet', and it was absolutely pelting down. The street turned into a flood and we had to cancel our shows that we were going to play in Maroochydore that day. And then we literally took 6 hours of backroads to get to Toowoomba. It was chaotic. But, we did as much as we could. It was devastating that we had to cancel a show on the first leg of the tour.

Did you take some gumboots up with you?
(Laughs), No, I think we should have taken up a boat. It was real horrible when we went through Lismore as houses were underwater. So we're just lucky to have our belongings and be alive, as it was just crazy up there.

You've played a few shows during the last few years, but is there a show that's been a stand out for you personally?
We recently got back from Tasmania, there's a festival there called Party in the Paddock. It was definitely our biggest and best show we've ever done as a band. There was probably around 1000 people watching, crammed into this big circus tent thing. That was a highlight for us. It's such an awesome festival. 

I had a look on your site, and you sell pretty great merch, particularly the tote bags they look cool. But if you could introduce any item into your merch, what would it be?
I don't know (laughs). I've never thought about it.

It can be as bizarre as you like.
Cam would like VANNS chicken. If we could have anything, Dune Rats recently released their own beer with Young Henrys, that would be awesome.

That would be cool. The craziest example I can remember is when Miley released golden leaf rolling papers.
I was going to say rolling papers. But I feel the whole rolling papers thing is fading out.

Yeah definitely. So, as soon you finish up the shows, what's up next?
As soon as we finish tour we literally start another tour, which is an all ages Australian tour. But once that's done, from now until the end of the year, we're going to be writing an album. Potentially going to New Zealand this year. At the start of next year, we want to release a single or two off of the album, and then from there we'll be touring flat out. Hopefully we'll get to go overseas to the UK and America. So at this point, we're just smashing out the tour and doing some endless writing. 

Written by Amy Smolcic

The Vanns will be playing a show at The Evelyn in Melbourne on Saturday 15th April.