Backstage with Glaswegian grunge rockers The Van T’s at TRNSMT Festival

The Van T’s delighted crowds at TRNSMT festival in Scotland last weekend, flying the flag for Glasgow as the sun continued to bring the good vibes to the Green.

We caught up with the new Glaswegian grunge band ahead of their set on the King Tut’s stage.

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The Van T’s originally formed as a duo, how did you decide on the other two members?

Hannah: We recruited them! My very first job was with Shaun at Primark. We wanted to add a few more members and extra instruments. I knew that Shaun played drums so I asked him. We had a drummer before him, but he copped out.
Shaun: Yep, second choice
Hannah: Haha, the best choice! We stole Joanne from another band to play bass, and so The Van T’s were formed.

Where did the name come from, is it true that it developed from your surname?

Hannah: Our surname isn’t actually Van. We had some dutch friends, and it came from them calling it us as a nickname, to then putting it on Facebook, to then an ex boyfriend calling me Van T – and that just stuck. When we started our music, we needed a name, and we actually planned to change it later, but it never happened.

So are you excited for the gig today, especially with Glasgow being home?

Hannah: Yep, the last two years when we played T in the Park, we had to travel far and the weather wasn’t great. Whereas here, me and Joanne live round the corner, so we only drove ten minutes down the road. It feels great to be playing at home! It’s really lovely that we’ve been considered to play the first year of the festival.
Joanne: We’ve not played Glasgow for a while, so it’s really nice to play here again. Great crowds!

Were you all into music from an early age?

Hannah: I think it’s sort of the same story for all of us. Chloe & I were raised in a musical household, so we started really young. If I had to learn now, I don’t think I could do it! The older you get, the more you drink, the harder it is to learn. Haha.
Shaun: Yep, I’ve been playing the drums since I was about 3 years old, basically since I could hit anything!

What have you got coming up for the rest of the year?

Hannah: We’ve got a big international sports festival next weekend which they had in Japan last year. They’ve asked us to headline this year, which is a bit of a weird one, but we’re stoked. Our current single Fresh Meat came out a few weeks ago, and our next single comes out in August. We’re supporting Jesus and Mary Chain for two shows, and Carnival 56 is coming up in August.
Joanne: After that it’s freshers season, so we’re playing universities alongside a few other gigs here and there.

Are you sticking around for the rest of the weekend?

Hannah: Yeah, we managed to get some guest tickets – so we’ll definitely be making the most if it.

Who are your ‘must see’ bands of the weekend?

Hannah: Mine was last night, Radiohead – I’m a big time Radiohead fan and I hadn’t seen them before. I was as excited to be playing as I was for seeing them to be honest!
Chloe: For me – The Wytches, The Amazons, Blossoms. Blossoms are class! They’re good boys.

You’ve already played festivals such as T in the Park and Electric Fields – do you like a big crowd at a festival or do you prefer a more intimate gig?

Joanne: As long as the crowd are giving you good energy, then it doesn’t matter the size of it! As long as people are enjoying themselves.
Hannah: You take the best of both – intimate is more chilled and sometimes it can be a bit daunting because it’s smaller, but fans aren’t there to criticise you – they’re there to have fun.

If you could create your own festival, who would you pick to headline?

Chloe: I’d choose the B52’s probably! Awesome. A wee bit of rock or grunge, like Pearl Jam or LCD Soundsystem.
Shaun: Hiatus Kaiyote, Aesop Rock and The Bronx.
Joanne: I’d probably choose Joy Division, Blondie and maybe Hot Chip – so good at festivals.
Hannah: Scissor Sisters, Pixies (they’re a favourite of mine) R.E.M… I’ll take anything good!

That’s cool! What’s your most recent single, Fun Garcon, about?

Hannah: When we wrote it, it was a dark time in our lives with broken relationships. We don’t have any other songs like it in the set, so it was good to introduce a darker sort of sound. It means a lot to us. Most people won’t get it but we’re happy to sing about it because we’re at a better place in our lives now. It’s got a great response so far! It’s been out just over a week now and it’s doing really well on Spotify – so we’re chuffed!

Who writes the lyrics?

Hannah: We all have an input, but it’s mainly me and Chloe that write. We usually write the instrumental first then come up with something, it’s just pot luck really, whatever springs to mind. The sound of the music is more important, so we’ll do that first then choose the lyrics. Or write the lyrics and see if we can find a melody to fit! To be honest, it’ll mainly happen after a night out – pot noodle in hand and guitar in the other and we’re just like ‘sounds good to meeee!’ haha.

How would you describe your musical sound?

Hannah: It varies in every song I think. Within the set, some are upbeat, some are more relaxed. Some are more grunge/grittier, some more fast paced and fun. It changes – we’re pretty loud with lots of feedback. A lot of people just expect us to be light pop with being girl fronted, but grunge is our favourite genre!

Where do you see The Van T’s in a few years?

Hannah: We love doing festivals! Hopefully we’ll keep doing what we’re doing, then do an album and tour. For us, an album is the next big thing. It’s really exciting – obviously when you’re young, you’re sixteen and attending festivals like this one, you don’t expect to see yourself playing here a few years later. We’ll take it as it comes but we’re just really lucky and happy to be here!