theaussieword.com special interview with The Vanns.
How and where did it all begin for you? What drew your interest to the music industry? I grew up in a household where music was playing often. There was a piano and a guitar sitting around, albeit a right handed one (I’m left handed). My brother’s started playing guitar and I followed suit. Once I got my own left handed second-hand Yamaha guitar for Christmas when I was 11, playing guitar, singing and and writing songs was all I wanted to do.
What motivates or influences you in your quest to make great music? Other great music, life experiences, wanting to carve out my own sense of purpose and meaning on planet earth; all the good stuff.
What are your biggest goals you hope to accomplish as an artist? Derek Sivers has a TED talk that I really enjoy titled “Keep Your Goals To Yourself”… so nothing.
What can we expect from you in the coming months? Any plans to tour? We are on tour right now as a matter of fact! For the coming months: more touring, festivals, interviews and trying to get our album into as many people’s ears as possible… oh god I just announced my goals…
Tell us a bit about your latest release and how would you best describe your music? Our latest release is an album titled “Through the Walls” – 12 songs about experiences that I feel everyone has been through in one-way or another. It’s fundamentally a relationship/break-up record, although not entirely. It’s also fundamentally rock/guitar music, although not entirely.
Give us an insight into your creative process. What gets you writing songs? I think it’s pretty similar for a lot of artists. I’m constantly scrawling notes and recording voice memos of ideas; that part of it never stops. Then I literally schedule time to sit down and read/listen to those and flesh them out. I spend a large amount of my time writing and working on song ideas, and try to always keep at it even if I’m not feeling particularly creative or like I’m in a rut.
Is there a hidden meaning in any of your music? Not really… that’s a cool idea though. On this new album there’s a Ned Flanders quote on the song ‘Thieves’; “nothing at all, nothing at all, nothing at all”. That was intentional. I guess that’s the closest thing to something that’s hidden in our music?
Success, what is the secret to it? Competence, conscientiousness and luck… I think. You tell me?
What has been your biggest career highlight so far? Making and releasing this album.
Which stars of the music industry do you find inspiring? Man, John Mayer is just so damn cool. His career is inspiring, and he really is doing what he wants to do and seems true to himself as an artist. Justin Vernon is also awesome for the same reasons. I just admire people who follow their internal compass without wavering.
Are there any new projects in the pipeline? Not really. I’d say there’ll be another album… but I’m not sure when that’ll be. There’s ideas for songs and what we want to make next but honestly we’ve been working a lot on getting this album we’ve just released out and getting these shows right for tour.
The music industry is huge, where do you see yourself a few years from now? I have absolutely no idea and I suppose that’s the fun of it all.
What is your favourite and least favourite part about this line of work and why? My favourite part is getting to make music and play shows with my mates for a living. My least favourite part is everything that is not that.
Name a few of your favourite Australian artists. Three off the top of my head are Gang of Youths, Holy Holy, Rai Thistlethwayte.
The shape of the music industry has changed significantly over the years, including the use of social media, how do you feel about the industry as a whole and what does it mean to you in getting your records out into the public eye? I don’t have much industry knowledge, to be honest. I think social media is good because it makes communicating with people who are into what you do easier. It’s a throughway for that. It helps to get your music into the public eye, and more and more people are putting out music now than ever before. The music industry as a whole for me is super strange, and pretty antithetical mindset-wise to the actual act of sitting down and writing a song or creating something.
How do you plan on cracking the international market? Making the best music we can and getting overseas and playing shows.
Do you collaborate with others? Who is on your wish-list? I do! I don’t really have a wish-list. I mean, I mentioned John Mayer and Justin Vernon earlier, so that would be cool – although I feel I’d be out of my dept a bit. I’d love to sit on a back porch with John Prine and just play through his whole discography with him.
What advice do you give for someone wanting to follow in your footsteps? Make the music you want to make and don’t compromise what you feel you HAVE to be as an artist, by your own definition.
A message for your fans. How do you best interact and respond with your fans? Thank you for listening to our music and buying tickets to our shows; we appreciate it immensely. Apart from having a yarn after a show, social media is for sure the best way to interact and respond. It allows for artist/fan communication, and communication means talking AND listening.