Learn all about The Vamps before they takes the stage at 99.7 [NOW!] Summer Splash 2015.
The Vamps Around The Web:
The Vamps Members:
Bradley Will Simpson – Lead Vocals, Guitar
James McVey – Guitar, Vocals
Connor Ball – Bass, Vocals
Tristan Evans – Drums, Vocals
The Vamps Biography:
The Vamps are already a sensation in the U.K., with three Top 3 singles, over 80 million views on their YouTube/VEVO channel, slots opening for Taylor Swift, McFly, Selena Gomez and The Wanted, and a Nickelodeon Kids Choice Award for UK Favourite Breakthrough. Now the British four-piece, who were nominated this year for a Radio Disney Music Award for “The Freshest-Best New Artist,” are gearing up for Stateside chart domination with their irresistibly catchy pop-rock songs. The band, which sold out their February show at New York City’s Gramercy Theatre in 10 minutes flat, has just released their first U.S. single, the lyrically heartfelt, chanty sing-along “Somebody To You,” featuring Demi Lovato, from their debut EP due from Island Records in August.
The Vamps’ acoustic-guitar driven pop sound came about naturally. “We’re all songwriters and musicians who have played our instruments for eight years or more,” says singer Brad Simpson. “We take a lot of pride in that,” adds bassist Connor Ball. “I think the ultimate goal for us as musicians is that when people listen to our music they realize that it’s all us. Not only that, but we would love people to be happy when they listen to our music and to be able to connect with it in any way they can.”
With their strummy, feel-good vibes, songs like “Wild Heart” and “Move My Way” are summery and uplifting, while “Can We Dance” (a No. 2 hit in the U.K.) is a bit more edgy. “We don’t want to write the typical, ‘I really like this girl, let’s go party and dance,’ type of song,” guitarist James McVey says. “We like being a bit naughty. Some of the songs are a bit provocative. To me, the music has an indie twist. Brad’s voice is not a typical pop voice. And I think that’s what’s exciting about The Vamps. It’s important to us that people know our music has substance.”
Hailing from different parts of the U.K., the members of The Vamps met through social media in 2012. James had been making acoustic guitar pop on his own when, inspired by such bands as Arctic Monkeys and Good Charlotte, he decided it’d be more fun to be in a group. He scoured YouTube searching for potential bandmates, which yielded a series of cover videos that Brad had posted of songs by Ed Sheeran, Mumford & Sons, and James Morrison, to name a few. “Brad had also written an original song called ‘Loaded Gun’ that I thought was really good because he was only 16,” James says. “His voice was very different from other people I’d been looking at.”
For his part, Brad says, “I think it’s very lonely being a solo artist. You don’t have the camaraderie of having your best friends with you, so I always wanted to be in a band,” he says, adding that he grew up listening to classic rock bands like AC/DC and Led Zeppelin, as well as Foo Fighters and Arctic Monkeys.
A Facebook friend request that drummer Tristan Evans sent to James resulted in his joining the group. “We did a bit of research and found out that he was one of the top three drummers in the U.K. in his age group,” James says. “Plus we saw loads of videos of him playing and he was really, really good.” “I first became interested in music when I was seven,” Tristan says. “I was an extremely hyperactive child and drumming was a way I channeled my energy. I’ve been playing music ever since.” The final piece of the puzzle was Scottish-born Connor Ball, a singer and guitarist who cites Green Day’s American Idiot as his inspiration for picking up an electric guitar at age 12. “What struck us all is how talented he is at playing so many instruments,” James says. “He learned to play bass for the band. That’s how good he is.”
Of the band’s chemistry, James says, “It’s a really good blend of personalities. Brad is very chilled out. He doesn’t need to try to be cool, he just is cool. Connor is like Yoda. He’s kind of quiet, but what he says is wise. Tristan is very energetic and positive. If there’s ever a low moment, he will always make us laugh.” “He’s a little crazy,” Brad adds. “You always need a drummer who’s a little mental.”
To get themselves noticed, The Vamps recorded a string of covers (One Direction’s “Little Things,” Taylor Swift’s “We Are Never Getting Back Together,” and Bruno Mars’ “When I Was Your Man”) and began posting them to YouTube, earning themselves a legion of fans. After being signed to Virgin EMI in the U.K., The Vamps spent two weeks in New York City and two weeks in Los Angeles recording with various songwriters and producers, including Savan Kotecha (Maroon 5, Ariana Grande), Espionage (Beyoncé, Train), and Jamie Scott (One Direction, Graffiti6). “It’s been a great experience to work with different writers and producers, mainly because we want to learn and get better at what we do,” Tristan says. “James and Brad are more of the writers and I’m more of the producer. I’m soaking up what the producers are doing and it’s been great getting different perspectives.”
Now The Vamps are looking forward to releasing their US debut EP and hitting the road in July for a summer tour with Austin Mahone and Fifth Harmony before heading back to the U.K. for a fall headlining tour. “The message of The Vamps is to show people that we are four young musicians who started in a garage and are now having this amazing adventure,” says Connor. “We want everyone who comes to our shows to leave feeling like they had an awesome time!”