Oh, how times change. The Vamps released their first album, Meet The Vamps, in 2014. Since then, fans have been put through the ringer with major upheavals as seen in One Direction and Fifth Harmony. In 2017 — a world where Zayn Malik and Camila Cabello both broke their recording contracts to leave the groups that made them famous — there are no promises that bands will stay together or that members won't leave. And yet, The Vamps are still doing their thing.
While talking with Brad Simpson, James McVey, and Tristan Evans before the release of their third studio album Night & Day (Connor Ball didn't make it on their press trip to NYC), the guys opened up about how they "keep it fresh" as bandmates and friends. Tristan explained that, among other things, their manager Joe O'Neill plans outings for the group on days off.
"We do keep it fresh, don’t we? We have barbecues and we go on day outs," Tristan told J-14. "There’s this thing called Joe Tours and whenever we have a day off, Joe organizes a day out for us, and I think that’s a lovely time to kind of reminisce on past experiences as The Vamps. Just appreciate what we have. So I think that’s really important."
During an interview with LBC earlier this year, James admitted that he almost quit the band before having a heart-to-heart with Brad. While that revelation came as a total shock to the fandom, it made us believe their friendship is stronger than ever. They rely on each other when times get tough, spend time hanging out apart from the daily grind, keep the channels of communication clear and open, and let their own unique personalities shine. That even extends to their music.
Night & Day showcases their commitment to evolving sonically within the band and as individual artists. Their new album isn't like a typical record. Instead, there are multiple versions, with each member contributing two songs they spearheaded.
"The main album is like a two-part album. We did it on the first album [Meet The Vamps], actually. We did different versions, but it was only based around our work on the first album. Whereas this one, we thought we’d give individual albums to each member with different artwork. And then the eight songs off the album will [have] the same songs as the main version, and the last two will be different depending on each member," Brad explained to us.
"So Tristan recorded two different ones. James has, Connor has. And it’s really cool because there are features on each different one. James got a feature from the guitarist from Rascal Flatts. Tristan’s got a really cool UK-based artist named Will Simms who’s on it. I got a guy called Taylor Jardine, who used to be in a band called We Are the In Crowd. It’s just nice to have the different outlets and let the public hear the different musical styles and tastes the band has."
While the band's music is always collaborative, veering into different genres of music based on their own unique tastes was a nice change of pace.
"We always write a lot of songs for each album, and it’s a shame for us that for the past two, a lot of songs haven’t been used. We all come together when we write songs from different musical backgrounds, but it’s nice this time to kind of [have individual songs]," James told us.
"My song’s like a country sort of thing and Connor’s is pop-punk. And Tristan’s is...whatever Tristan likes to listen to. (Editor's note: Tristan laughed at this.) And Brad's songs [are] cool. One of his songs is quite Spanish-sounding, very Latino, which is what Brad listens to in his spare time. So it’s nice to dip our toes into different genres."
One of the best parts about watching the guys live is seeing them do their own thing. Brad, James, Connor, and Tristan all get their solo moments on stage, and it's 100% refreshing. The Vamps are taking that attitude to their new music as well, and it looks like it's paying off in the health of the band and their creative progression. And for that, bless. We couldn't deal with another heartbreak — on their end or ours.
Additional reporting: Jennifer Maldonado