If you haven’t seen The Vanns live yet, you haven’t been trying hard enough.
The New South Wales indie rockers are absolute staples of the Australian festival circuit, playing everything from Splendour In The Grass to Yours and Owls to New Years On The Hill, and when they aren’t donning the main stage of your favourite events, it’s normally because they’re on the road for a headliner tour.
So it seemed pretty fitting that when we finally managed to get the group’s drummer Andrew ‘Banjo’ Banovich on the phone, he was feeling “a bit dusty” from playing a festival the night before.
“It’s pretty constant,” laughed Banjo when the group’s rigorous touring schedule was mentioned, “It’s nice in some regards, but other times it’s good to have a Saturday where I can actually have a Saturday,” he continued.
“But, it’s also really exciting and super rewarding. After every show we walk off the stage going ‘Man, we’re doing something right’, which is sick, because it really keeps our spirits going and makes us even keener on the next shows. It keeps us hungry, which is good.”
Although getting out on the road, discovering new cities and finding new fans doesn’t just keep the group hungry, it also served as a primary motivation for The Vanns long-awaited second studio album, Last Of Your Kind, which sees the group pour their experiences and lessons learned on the road into a collection of musical anecdotes.
“Because we all wrote the album in one room together, it’s kind of funny when we look back on the songs and talk about the album, because it’s almost like every song on the album speaks to our personal experiences,” states Banjo.
“It’s mainly about our trials and tribulations being on the road, and how being on the road can affect relationships and things like that.”
“I guess at its core, it’s just about the four of us and our growth. We’re just trying to tell our story and hopefully people can take that and use it as anecdotes to their own lives and stories.”
It’s a process made all the more easy thanks to the help of Chris Collins (Skeggs, Middle Kids, Tyne-James Organ), who worked as the albums producer and primary mediator as the four-piece collated differing ideas and recollections on events.
“Chris was the producer, but he was also the spare guy in the room who was there when we got to the standard head-butting moments of recording. It was as if he was another member of the band and he largely became the voice of reason for a lot of decisions.
“Sometimes it can be hard getting away from your instruments, like when I’m talking from the point of view of a drummer, it can be hard to translate ideas that’ll work for Cam as a guitarist. So Chris was kind of like a neutral fifth member who helped clear up those lines and reign it in enough that it didn’t become some crazy avant-garde rock album.”
When asked about the head-butt moments the group faced while recording Last Of Your Kind, Banjo laughed and clarified, “there’s always going to be a little bit of friction, but it’s nothing like the stories you’ve heard about Fleetwood Mac or Oasis. I’d more so call them brotherly hustles, because it’s never anything too crazy.”
“But that’s healthy. It helps to push our views and not let them linger for too long, meaning we can start thinking about what’s coming next instead of being stuck on the past.”
Which is exactly what The Vanns have done, with the release of Last of Your Kind allowing the group to set their sights on their next goal, their biggest headliner tour to date.
“It’s pretty nerve-wracking,” admits Banjo. “Like, these are really big rooms, but at the same time it’s very intimate because the people coming along are coming to see the stuff that we’re making and to connect with us, which is a huge challenge to pull off.
“You know, those people are there to see you and you don’t want to let them down. Which is something that’s really rewarding and grounding at the same time.”
“So we’re scaling up the production and adding extra visual components. Musically, nothing’s really changed– we’re just playing our songs, and keeping it live and authentic, but we’re really trying to make this tour feel like more than just a gig. We want to really distinguish it as a show, not just your standard gig, and I think that’ll feel evident for the fans that come along.”
The Vanns will kick off their large-scale tour this November at the revered venue The Forum, before making their way through the rest of Australia alongside their mates in Shag Rock, and if Banjo’s words are anything to go by, it won’t be one that you want to miss.
Grab tickets here.