[INTERVIEW] Cam and Jimmy of The Vanns

Who doesn’t love new music? Local Wollongong band, The VANNS, have just released a new single
How Was I Supposed To Know and celebrating with a tour. Kicking things off with a bang, the four-man band played at Yours & Owls 2018 last Sunday.

The VANNS currently have 2 EP’s released including singles The VANNS in 2013, Scattered By Sundown in 2015 and Skinny Legs in 2016. But they want to share more with a new album in the not so distant future.
We were lucky enough to talk to Jimmy Vann (vocals/guitars) and Cam Little (songwriter/guitarist) and share their excitement of the new single!!

First off are how are you guys?
Cam: We’re great yeah, we are pretty good

Keen for Yours & Owls on the weekend?
Cam: Very keen for Yours & Owls, we get to see the whole festival so it should be good and keen for that.

Now I have to ask, who is the face of the new single, the man with the moe? Who is this Legend?
Cam: That’s Jimbo’s Dad, Sharky

So why did he get he get a feature and not the other dads?
Cam: well we have more art coming for more songs. We like this theme of not us on the cover, but I don’t know its just a cool photo. It was kind of like “yeah that photo is cool” so we chose it.

So I listened to your new single How was I Supposed to Know, and it sounds like summer is gonna be fun and hella crazy and out there. What does the single mean to you guys?
Jimmy: Well it is probably our favourite song to play live because there is so much energy in it. Not only summer I feel it covers the whole year, every season of the year to be filled with fun. *laughs* But for us, yeah, it was probably one of the first songs we put together that we were writing  like a new batch of songs and this is probably one of the first ones we were playing the longest out of the new songs and yeah still a fan of them all.

Yeah definitely sounds like a good one to play live, are you guys gonna play it Sunday?
Jimmy: We are yeah, so its gonna be open of our first times playing it live which is exciting.

You have a a lot of new music coming up, how do you choose what’s the single is gonna be? Like what’s gonna be the single of the album or EP?
Cam: Umm with this one I guess like for the first single we just wanted the one. Well number one it’s the shortest song on the album – well one of the shortest – and its full of energy well I guess its the next step in our sound compared to the last EP. And yeah it was gonna be another song that was gonna be the single but then last minute we were like nah nah lets do this one.

Do you guys decide that as a group?
Cam: yeah we do a lot of nice arguments

What is the process of making new music? Do you guys share responsibility of writing your songs or is there one main songwriter?
Jimmy: Cam and myself do most of the music when it comes to the lyrics and all the other instruments and then we take it to the lads. There is no real plan but me and Cam are always writing, which just works which is cool. You know we are always pushing out boundaries to make new stuff as well and yeah. So it doesn’t really matter for us however the song comes together, as long as writing it feels good. But yeah, the main purpose is Cam and myself.

So do you guys have any rituals that you do to prepare yourself to write music?
Jimmy: Not really we just kind of… we don’t plan to write music if that makes sense. We are always just hanging out and we will just be gabbling on our guitars and have a little song idea and then next thing you know we have written a song and yeah, there are no real rituals. Like every time we write a song we always need to do that thing we also do.
Cam: Like lighting a candle *laughs*
Jimmy: *laughs* Light a candle, get it all vibey. Yeah no, just whenever we are feeling it. There is no
secrets, its just about working and hard work and lots of it.

Cam, I hear you have a snow globe collection, can you tell us about it?
Cam: I should say that my snow globe collecting days started and ended before I got into music I think… it was just one of those things that my dad collected bottles and I started collecting snow globes. I think I got like 20 in a box somewhere.

Do you have a favourite one?
Cam: My favourite one is probably the size of a small car believe it or not, its like huge, we got it stored away in the garage. It’s a large snow globe, is that weird?

What’s inside the snow globe?
Cam: well actually I got this one that’s like a haunted house and its got little bats inside instead of snow. So it looks like the bats are flying everywhere. But I haven’t collected one in a while.

As a band do you guys have any bands/artists you inspire you or your style of music?
Cam: Yeah I guess there are heaps. The people that are inspiring us at the moment are a band called Parcels if you have heard of them. They are originally from Bryon Bay and then they moved over to Europe. You should definitely check them out cause they are playing shows and you should go see them. They are just awesome and whenever we get together as a band, we get together and watch their live
show. So check out Parcels.

So what was your first “big break”? How did you feel about that?
Jimmy: Ah, our first big break was performing at Homebake Festival. That was like one of the our first gigs. It’s not a festival anymore but it was great playing on a big stage, towards lots of people and yeah we were stoked. It was in Sydney, it was kind of like our Big Day Out. It was a huge festival but now its not anymore. Its sad to see all these festivals like not happening.

With the tour kicking for with Yours & Owls, what are so stylish tips you give those festival goers?
Jimmy: Stylish tips… pink hair is a goer, I have seen a bit of pink hair going around lately. It
looks like it’s coming back, I don’t know. *laughs*
Cam: I would say dress more situational wise. Think about the festival and where you are going. But not really, I’m not a stylish dude. I just wear like pretty basic Kmart shirts. Cheap and particular but nothing fits me anyways *laughs*

What’s the craziest thing that’s happened on tour?
Cam: One time we had to cancel a show once because of really bad flooding up around Bryon Bay and stuff. We went all these back roads to try and get there. I don’t really know any crazy things though.
Jimmy: That flooding one was pretty good cause we had water following in and slowly making its
way through the venue. Its was bad luck and we were flooded in.

Oh wow, that’s pretty crazy. Did any equipment get ruined?
Jimmy: No not equipment but more importantly, where they were selling the beer, it flooded at the front of the pub. It was devastating to see the beer getting ruined. No one wants beer destroyed. 

Being a festival lover myself I have discovered a few things that I find necessary to bring to a festival like spare hair ties, chewing gum (but only bring it out in front of your friends) and ponchos just in case. What are your top three items you must bring to a festival?
Cam: A portable phone charger so you can always contact your mates. Probably sunglasses and if you can get your hands on an AAA pass, you will be able to get free drinks which is always good. What about you Jimmy?
Jimmy: My top three would be… everyone needs chewing gum… you need a pretty randy shirt. Sorry that’s randy meaning as like an out there shirt because you’re at a festival. You got to fit the vibe. So you could also bring snacks into a festival. Can you do that anymore? Cause they are over prized. Yeah bring some snacks in if you want and bring your mates. *laughs* Mates are essential!!! That would be my top three.

How do you decide on what to wear on stage?
Cam: Whatever really, whatever is laying on the floor. Especially when by the end of the tour, when you’re living out of a bag, it’s like literally what’s clean.
Jimmy: What’s the cleanest, what can I turn inside out. There are like full on shirts you can turn inside out, whether or not that’s clean. That’s just like exposing the dirtiness. But yeah not really, we just wear black clothes.
Cam: Yeah we cant wear colour cause we spill stuff on it all the time cause we are real clumsy. I would love to wear white shirts but I just can’t it will be wrecked in about 5 minutes. It’s so dangerous. Whenever I see someone wearing white clothes, I’m like “damn there is a risk taker”.
Cam: That’s a brave person!

If you could collab with anyone, who would it be? Dead or alive?
Cam: I would love to do a song with Dire Straights, when you know released Telegraph Road but I don’t know. I would probably mess it up. Yeah they are one of my favourite bands. But they aren’t dead or anything, they just aren’t a band anymore. So I would have to round up the boys again. What about you Jim?
Jimmy: I would love to play with Frank Ocean. I would let him sing but to just play with him. Just create music with him. That would be very interesting just because he is a very interesting songwriter and know never know what he’s gonna do. He is very to himself and I like that.

Would that be a solo thing for you Jimmy or the band?
Jimmy: Nah it would be me and Frank. *laughs* It will just be a duo.

Would you guys consider branching out into different genres?
Jimmy: Yeah definitely. You look at bands that can – well except AC/DC but you know – if you change it up every album it keeps it interesting. You become a fan of someone when you get surprised

So with your tour are you excited for any places or to go back to certain places?
Cam: Probably excited for the whole thing its all really nice. Like Brisbane is really cool and always fun in Byron as well.
Jimmy: And Melbourne. I love Melbourne, I love the people there. Melbourne is fun and yeah, we have always have a fun show in Melbourne.

What has been your most rowdy crowd?
Jimmy: Probs Melbourne. We had a show once with Ocean Alley cause we were touring with them.
Cam: I think they had like twice over the capacity. There were people hanging of the rafters. They  napped the front barrier. I don’t think they understood how big Ocean Alley were. *laughs* that was  retty rowdy. The security had no chance. It was a pretty wild night, that one.

How do you go about choosing your supports?
Jimmy: Anyone who is just doing something cool, something different and interesting and fun… I guess just something fresh.
Cam: Lachie is good for that too. He always has his eye on the ball and like looking for new acts and stuff and said “oh we should bring them on tour, check out this song” and I’m like “yeah alright lets do it.” We have Wing Defence coming on this tour. They are cool, they are named after a netball position and yeah they are really good.

Final question, where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Jimmy: Still playing, still writing cool music. Goal is to go to Europe!! Love to just be based there really. We’d love to get overseas as soon as possible!!! But we will always come back to Australia.

Interview – Sophia Downes

Join The VANNS on their How Was I Supposed To Know tour:
Fri 5th Oct Black Bear Lodge – Fortitude Valley, QLD
Sat 6th Oct The Northern – Byron Bay, NSW
Sat 13th Oct The Lansdowne – Sydney, NSW
Fri 19th Oct Rocket Bar – Adelaide, SA
Sat 20th Oct Northcote Social Club – Melbourne, VIC