qmunicate Meets: The Van Ts

Image courtesy of the QMU’s Facebook page 

qmunicate: Hey! So you are from Glasgow, and you have been on tour as well. How do you find Glasgow as a place to play gigs in comparison with other places?

Hannah: It’s all we’re used to, usually. We actually love going to the likes of Newcastle and the north of England – we find it very much the same, the same sense of humour as Glasgow. It is always really nice to see family and friends at the Glasgow gigs – it makes it so much better and you feel more comfortable when you see people you know. You’ll always get a good response from them. I think Glasgow is like its own wee community that is lovely.

Shaun: We’ve got to a point where we don’t do [Glasgow shows] as often as we used to.

H: I know, so it means more people come to them when you break your Glasgow gigs up. I think tonight is our third Glasgow show of the year: we did our headline gig at King Tut’s, then TRNSMT at Glasgow Green, and now this one. Hopefully we will have another headline show by the end of the year.

q: Talking about TRNSMT – obviously it’s a new festival and a festival in the city, sort o billed as a ‘replacement’ for T in the Park. How did you find [it] as a new festival and a city festival in comparison to TITP?

H: Myself, I’ve been going to TITP since I just turned 18, so I’ve been as a punter before we played a few years ago. In fact our first festival was TITP in 2015! I preferred TRNSMT. It was more organised and we didn’t feel rushed off our feet. I think because it was in the city too, we basically woke up the day of the gig, went straight there, no wellies, no mud! We obviously still had a great experience, though, at TITP. There were more guitar bands, too, at TRNSMT. For me, it was better because of that.

S: I think it’s a different festival as well, different kind of vibe. There’s nothing stopping them from bringing back TITP alongside TRNSMT and just having two different things, it’s not necessarily a direct replacement.

q: Did you do any ‘proper’ festivals this year?

S: [To Hannah] Can you remember them all?!

H: The last one we did, the finale, was Stowed Out down in Stow. We played Northern Roots in Inverness, Solas Festival in Perth. Just different wee ones scattered about, day festivals as well. Stockton Calling was great – one of my favourites. That again was in northern England.

q: Do you have any pre-gig rituals?

S: I played a game of table tennis before, without a table. A lot of star jumps!

H: Yeah, you do a lot of star jumps, you get yourself hyped. We just like to sing, do some vocals, we just don’t take ourselves too seriously before we go on, there’s no point in doing that. We just see how it goes, we’re not that interesting – I speak for myself when I say that!

q: So tonight was a bit different – a gig, but part of other programming too like a festival. How was tonight?

H: You could tell it was most people’s first time seeing us, and you could see some young gentlemen going for it and dancing. Some were taken back, but people enjoyed the experience that is really lovely to see! This is perhaps people’s first gig experience, so for them to see us, us being the first band on, is really nice and hopefully we haven’t deterred them from going to any more gigs!

q: The QMU as well is a really well respected venue in Glasgow. Knowing who’s been on that stage before you, how does it feel going up?

S: It’s my favourite venue in Glasgow actually!

H: I really like the openness of the venue. You can see everyone with the lighting – I hate not being able to see the crowd because you don’t know if they’re enjoying it. Here you can read off of the crowd, it’s a really good venue to play.

S: We’ve played before actually, with WHITE last year. That was a really good show.

q: Yeah, you opened for them, and you’ll be opening for Jesus and the Mary Chain as well! How’s that?

H: That’s in a few weeks! We opened for them in Amsterdam and we loved it. They asked us back to do the Glasgow and Middlesborough dates, which should be fun. We love being the support – you’re the first on and first off and you can enjoy the show after.

q: Who are your main influences?

H: To be honest we absolutely love Jesus and the Mary Chain – meeting them was so cringey because we were just like ‘we love you so much’. Personally I love a heavily grungy influence – the Pixies, Smashing Pumpkins, The Breeders. I love Ty Segall, he’s a great fuzz guitar musician.

S: I prefer more punk rock side of the coin. We all have our own different influences.

q: As a female band you often get linked to riot grrrl. How much do you relate to that? Is there anything beyond ‘you are women who play heavy guitar music?’

H: For me it’s a poor man’s comparison and it annoys me! I love the punk movement, it’s one of my favourites, but it’s not what I enjoy playing, it’s not me.

S: There’s the energy of [riot grrrl] too.

H: Yeah, the energy is kind of in your face, lots of hair. I love it, it’s one of my favourite things to watch and listen to energy wise, but I wouldn’t say that’s us.

S: Are you a riot girl, Hannah?

H: I am a riot!

q: Finally: what is your favourite thing about the Glasgow music scene, and what advice would you give to new musicians starting out in Glasgow?

S: Be yourself!

H: Grab your differences and you’ve got to do your own thing. If you don’t you’ll wake up one day thinking ‘why did I do that?’. I know there’s pressure to offer something different in Glasgow, whereas Chloe [band member] and I were set apart because there aren’t many female musicians in Glasgow. We never felt that being female would benefit nor disadvantage us. I prioritise my talents and what I’m good at, not my gender.

S: It’s also important to have a good base of friends. Glasgow is full of bands – at house parties you meet people and it’s like ‘so, what band are you in?’

H: It’s hard to us to think of friends who aren’t in bands! I didn’t have much in common with people at school but then I got involved in music and met so many new friends, so did Shaun. My advice is to go out, make friends and progress.

[Clare Patterson, Amy Shimmin, Anni Payne]

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