Hannah Van Thompson has a fire raging inside, one that speaks of passion, angst and excitement all at the same time. She speaks passionately about the merits of both the local and national music scene, with a hint of angst when questioned on the recent Brexit vote and pure excitement about recording new songs, playing new places, meeting new people.
“Glasgow is booming with talent at the minute,” she enthuses. “Scotland in general has great emerging talent. Travelling hasn’t been an issue for us, we’re keen to play new places and expand the audiences we play to.”
It’s a solid, positive outlook from one half of the Van Thompson twins that combined make up one half of this Glaswegian four piece. They ply their trade in firebrand 90s alt rock, splattered unashamedly with flecks of surf pop, shoegaze and grunge. The likes of ‘35mm’ and new single ‘Blood Orange’ burn with a seductive desire, very much of its Scottish heritage but also rooted in the classic guitar bands of yesteryear America.
“For me, Cocteau Twins, The Jesus & Mary Chain and Camera Obscura,” states Hannah when quizzed as to her favourite homegrown noisemakers, as TGA nods in approval. The wonder of these groups, it could be argued, came from the sum of their respective parts, of successful songwriting partnerships forged and utilised.
“Two heads are always better than one,” explains Hannah, making reference to her dual songwriting role with twin sister Chloe. “We’ll usually write separately and then come together for an end result, take it to the band and decide whether it’s worth pursuing. We have different musical influences so it creates a uniqueness.”
Whilst in no way what you might refer to as a ‘political band’, The Van T’s nonetheless feel the frustration, disappointment and uncertainty over the UK’s recent decision to leave the European Union that their peers do. The implications for small touring bands are there for all who follow music to see and could threaten to curtail the progress of an emerging group such as The Van T’s.
“Every single person I know, including myself, voted remain,” she states defiantly. “For bands touring the EU, it’s definitely not going to work out in our favour and will make things more complicated.”
Hannah is, however, undeterred. She speaks with enthusiasm about plans for the remainder of 2016, of recording a new single, playing “cool shows” and getting out on the road to bring their gloriously twisted rock sound to the people.
But just as much as a grassroots bands such as theirs should look to the future, in this game of amped up guitars and pounding drums, it’s just as important to be able to look back to inform the way of things.
“As a 90s kid, along with my friends and band mates, everything about that time remains cool to us,” she says with a wistful sense of desire. “I think though, pop, indie and RnB dominate the music industry, so a lot of bands who play 90s grunge or shoegaze for example remain as grassroots bands.”
Whilst her words may speak a lot of truths, it’s heartening to remember that what goes around most certainly comes around, and that there is a tangible resurgence of interest in the dark and twisted guitar music of yesteryear right about now.
As such an exciting young prospect, The Van T’s are primed and ready to ride that particular wave.