The Vamps: "We’ve fallen in love with the constant reinvention, which is part of why we have got to 10 years.”
Alice Gee | 21/09/2022
Ten years of pivotal moments, I exclaim to The vamps as we chat at Universal Records headquarters in London.
Formed in 2012, The Vamps have become a worldwide sensation, taking the industry by storm since their first release with dedicated fans all around the globe. With ‘Can We Dance’ amassing over one million views in its first two weeks of release, The Vamps have seen hits champion the UK charts over the past ten years. With notable features including Demi Lovato and Shawn Mendes, there’s no mistaking the success they have reached. Looking back at their achievements, including being the first band to break the record of headlining London’s O2,, there’s no denying the ever-long list of monumental moments. As I explore these moments with the boys, they appear just as excited about them ten years on.
“I think when you have moments like that, they’re quite hard to take in at the time. We were speaking about this earlier: how we instantly think about the next thing or how we often play these moments down. Maybe it’s a British thing. That said, we’ve tried to get better at taking the time to celebrate and acknowledge what we’ve done as a band. It’s funny as last year was the first time that we’ve ever really like gone on holiday and taken that time off. So we are following suit this year; we’ve just planned a holiday, four to five days away, to enjoy and celebrate what we’ve done. We’ve noticed that it’s essential to take a moment to admire what we’ve achieved. Essentially you’re instilling positivity into your life, and I think everyone should do that. Remember if you’ve had a great achievement because it’s the best kind of positive reinforcement.”
People often find it hard to be content in the moment I respond, something I can only imagine is made harder with the pace of their career moves. Yet having started so young with their first single, I can only assume the expectations they may have felt.
“For me,” Tristan explains, “the process of constant comparisons has started to level out. When we left school, we went into an extremely competitive world. You get thrust into this world, which is intense. At the time you’re always comparing yourself to the best. I remember the process of us releasing a new song and instantly wanting to beat the success and recognition we got from it. It can get out of control; I remember we were pissed off when we didn’t get number one (we got number two) with ‘Counting Stars’ and ‘Can We Dance. It’s straightforward to get caught up in numbers and become unhappy. So it’s a leveling out of expectations for the vision of where you want to be. Always aim to be there, but it doesn’t matter if you don’t completely get there. The pressure people put on themselves, the timeframes, it almost becomes impossible.”
It’s not entirely a surprise to hear about the pressures from an industry that is so competitive, but the evolution the band has seen in the past ten years is something worth celebrating. Their sound has seen new influences and inspiration over each of the five albums, which have seen critically renowned praise from fans and industry critics. Their most recent album Cherry Blossom embraces a shift in direction with a grittier and more vibrant sound; I sing the album’s praises asking how their sound naturally evolved from their first album.
“I think it’s been a natural evolvement. It’s funny because you live with an album for double the time fans do.” Connor explains, “So by the time you get to the end of one cycle, you’re like, I want to do something completely different, which is what happened. We’ve always been very open-minded as a band. We’ve been lucky that each kind of reinvention/new style has felt good and sat really well within the band. Of course, we’ve changed little bits on the third album; we went into a dance mindset, collaborating with DJs, which was amazing. But originally, I don’t know if we would have been able to say the direction we were moving toward sound-wise, especially Cherry Blossom. Still, it is our favourite thing that we’ve ever done. It opens this new world to us, meaning our approaches as a live band are completely different. I think we’ve fallen in love with the constant reinvention, which is part of why we have got to 10 years.”
Having touched upon contentment, it feels slightly odd to ask about their upcoming tour and what their hopes are, incase I to ruin the moment.
“We’ve always enjoyed what we’ve done. But in contemplation, it has taken us time to truly understand the magnitude of what we’ve achieved and how privileged we are to be in this position where we can do this for a career. I (Brad) think it’s for me, and it’s taken ten years to figure out myself and the experiences a bit more. If we can carry on with the feeling that the four of us are going into this for another ten years, then that’d be good. But in terms of where we go from here, I think we want to be able to live more at the moment, we’re in a perfect place, so it’d be nice to enjoy the ride.”
What an incredible ride it will be for both them and their fans, with headline shows set across two months in some of the UK’s largest arenas. As we talk about their upcoming tour, Connor breaks down what fans can expect from their setlist. “It’s the first time, and it’s not specifically aligned with a particular album. So the setlist will be a cover of 10 years which I think will be fun. Hopefully, fans will feel a sense of going on a journey with us. It won’t be chronological, but you’ll get a sense of that coming to the show and moments of reflection from the songs. We’ve got the bones of the setlist ready, so it’s now filling in the gaps.”
And as for what goes on behind closed doors on tour, I wonder about the tour antics that secretly go on…
“We used to have a warm-up before we went on stage in the theme of Fruit Ninja. It was quite dangerous looking back on it now, and I’m pretty sure we had the knife taken off of us...”
As a road trip lover myself, I can’t help but imagine how special it must be to share these incredible moments with each other, it’s something I suppose makes the extended amount of time away from home a little easier, being able to rely on and support each other emotionally as a brotherhood.
“I think what you said about having each other is so important. It does get hard when you look at it, and we’ve all had our ups and downs.” Brad tells me. “But I think doing it together has been our saving grace. It just highlights the importance of having people around you.” continuing “No matter what you’re going through, loneliness is a tough thing. A lot of people suffer from loneliness. Having the guys who can pull you out of that lonely place can be just what we as humans need. At times as much as it may be your instinct to push people away and suppress things, it’s essential to remember you don’t have to do it by yourself. There will always be people and places to help you.”
It’s nice to see all four smile and warmly look at each other as Brad consolidates how meaningful their relationships are to each other. Having journeyed across the world for ten years together doing what they love, hit after hit, it’s nice to see them take a moment to enjoy the success they’ve had. But remains of our conversation is that they are and will remain a brotherhood, one they can always rely on.
Words: Alice Gee