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The Van T’s: Glasgow grunge

The Van T’s: Glasgow grunge

By: Disorder Magazine

Named for guitar-wielding originators and twins Hannah and Chloe Van Thompson (and not a certain brand of skate shirts), The Van T’s make lyrical grunge that will twist your spleen. In an exclusive SoundCheck session, the Scottish foursome – featuring bassist Joanne Forbes and Shaun Hood on drums – emphasise charm and thunder, before chatting gigs, surf-rock and bathing in (fake) blood. Photography by Marieke Macklon.

 

DISORDER: You’ve just been on tour with The Jesus & Mary Chain and Wolf Alice. What was that like?

CHLOE: We had lots of fun, made new friends. It was good to meet different crowds as well. The Jesus & Mary Chain have got a great set-up instruments-wise.

HANNAH: They're big influences of ours. Especially Wolf Alice. They’re really, really lovely people who work really hard.

 

What artists inspire you?

C: We like a lot of grunge. Especially My Bloody Valentine. Alice in Chains. A lot of West Coast American bands like Ty Segall, The Waves, Best Coast, Bleached.

J: Smashing Pumpkins.

H: I like Kate Bush. She's cool. I draw a lot of inspiration from her; she's awesome. Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs are another good example. Their songs are great and [lead singer] Karen O is a legend. There's so many we could list, we could be here on end. But we're not going to do that to ya.

 

THE VAN T'S - BLOOD ORANGE

 

Whose idea was the video for Fresh Meat?

H: [Director] Tim Courtney. He wanted fake blood and milk and all the gory bits in the video. It was clever, but it was a long, painstaking thing.

 

You got him vetted beforehand, right?

C: We knew the fake blood was coming, but not to the extent.

J: How long were you guys [Chloe and Hannah] in the bath – like 11 hours or something?

C: On and off, yeah. It tasted of sugar syrup. Which was nicer than, y’know, actual, blood. But it got stuck to all my clothes, my hair, my nails… Got a few stained things that I still wear. 

H: I had to go straight to work after. So that was fun.

J: We [points to Shaun] had a shower scene together. Which was fun.

C: It's not as hot as it sounds.

H: No, it's not raunchy at all.

J: We had, like, fake blood totally tipped over us. And then we did a DJ set afterwards. And Shaun... what was your story?

S: I looked like a tomato farmer.

 

We can just imagine going up to a group of girls and saying, we've got this great idea for a video that involves you getting naked in a bath…

H&C: Half naked!

C: It was character building. A lot of people found it quite disturbing but we enjoyed it.

J: My grandma didn't like it. She was a bit shocked at the blood.

 

From left to right: Shaun, Joanne, Hannah, Chloe.

 

What's been the biggest surprise along the way?

H: [When] our manager, Sharon, who’s worked with us closely for a couple of years, says things that we're doing – like the Jesus & Mary Chain tour. We're just like, “Oh wow, didn't expect that.”

J: That was a big one. We didn't believe it to start with.

H: She texted us: “Do you want to support them?” and we were like, “…Yes, of course!!” Haha. The first show we played [with them] was in Amsterdam in the Paradiso, which is quite a prestigious venue. So that was cool.

 

What talent do you wish the others had?

S: No comment on that one. That seems like a bad question haha.

H: [Chloe's] on-the-spot writing. [She] comes up with really clever guitar riffs and melodies. I want to praise [her] for that, because I find it very difficult… Did I answer that right?

J: You're trying to be mean, and we're just like we love each other.

 

We wouldn’t dream of it. But okay – what talent do you wish you had?

S: I wish I could juggle. Or tap dance.

J: Haha. The way you guys write is amazing. I wish I could write songs the way you do.

H: My ego's, like, turning my stomach right now. Biggg. Ego. Monster.

C: I wish on a night out we could all be in the same mental state.

H: Yeah, one of us is always really drunk, one of us goes missing....

J: One of us is picking up the pieces...

H: We can't always be in the same room when we're at a party.

 

THE VAN T'S - BITTERSWEET

 

Tell us about your latest single Bittersweet.

H: At the time we'd had a really rough year; personal stuff, as well as stuff going really well with the band. It was trying to take those two on board and working out how to tackle them. I guess writing a song about it was the most clever output at the time.

 

What would you be doing if you weren't doing this?

H: It's quite funny cos we all have proper jobs. Chloe's a nurse. Joanne's a Lush supervisor. Shaun’s a data coordinator–

S: –Data analyst.

H: I work in a bar and do PR and media stuff.

C: So we don't get any pressure from our parents at all.

H: They're proud as punch. We're quite lucky in that sense; we've got supportive folks.

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