Local band Vanattica returns home

It’s been a good mix of talent, dedication to fans and a lot of luck that got Vanattica out of CU and onto the Warped Tour stage.
When the hard rock band formed in 2004, the college freshmen decided to put some music together and recorded their first album in a basement in 2005. Little did they know that four years later, the group that was once dreaming big would be living big — performing on the same stage as some of their role models had for the past several years.
“When we started the whole project, we weren’t one in a million, we were one in a thousand,” said frontman Travis Leonard. “We had no chance but a better chance than most.”
Leonard admits that their growth and success is largely due to networking and good luck. The band got their first break when a producer put a little faith and money in the boys who showed him that they were serious about getting into the business.
“It came out of nowhere,” Leonard said. “It’s a lot of persistence and getting your name out there and shameless self-promotion.”
Currently making the transition from local band to gaining national recognition, the boys hail from the CU area, having attended Mahomet-Seymour and Unity High Schools.
“We’ll always claim we’re from Illinois because everyone’s been pretty good to us here,” Leonard said. “Local venues gave us breaks, and we owe them a lot. We’ll always come back.”
Leonard, guitarist and vocalist for Vanattica, has wanted to be in a band since the mid-90s when one of his favorite soundtracks was released.
“I knew I wanted to play music when the Batman Forever soundtrack came out,” he said. “I used to play it forever and lock myself in my room and sing every song.”
One thing that the band really feels strongly about is its devotion to the fans. Having been in the same position as many of their supporters, they make sure they get back to everyone who tries to contact them.
“I think it’s really important to have a base with your fans,” Leonard said. “We were in the same boat, and they never got back to us, and that was so irritating.”
Leonard is working hard to perfect the art of time management. Not only does he front an up-and-coming band but he also throws discus for the University track and field team, all while working on his master’s degree.
“I’m really good at time management. School in the morning, track in the afternoon to night and then basically practice two to three times a week at night,” he said. “It doesn’t leave a whole lot of room for a killer social life.”
Their goal for this year is to really work with the production company to try to get signed. Currently with a two-song demo, Vanattica wants to get a record deal to cut their first full-length album.
“We aim to inspire — it’s our motto basically,” Leonard said. “Inspire people to have a good time and do good things.”

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