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Interview: The Vamps ahead of their UK headline tour

James McVey chats about playing live as they prepare to kick off their huge UK run.

The only thing more difficult than finding success in pop music is sustaining success in pop music. On their upcoming UK tour, their biggest to date,  The Vamps will become the first band in history to headline London’s The O2 arena five years on the bounce.

Sustaining success now seemingly comes easy for the pop four piece, yet it’s a product of years of hard work.

The Vamps first burst onto the scene in 2014 with their hit-filled debut album Meet the Vamps. Since then, Brad, Tristen, James and Connor have toured non-stop, selling out arenas and building a fervent fan base around the globe.

The band are currently putting the finishing touches to a new EP, Missing You, set to come out just before they hit the road on their Four Corners tour this spring. Big fans of collaborating with other artists, the lead single from the EP Right Now features grime heavyweights Krept & Konan.

We caught up with James McVey from the band, who recently finished 5th in the ITV series I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here to talk about the tour, new music and more.


The Four Corners tour kicks off later this month. How much are you looking forward to it? 

It’s gonna be awesome. It’s the longest tour that we’ve ever done in the UK and we like the fact that we’re playing arenas, but we’re also going to some towns that we’ve never been to before. It’s been a while since we last toured, so we’re really looking forward to it.   

What can fans expect from the gigs? 

New tunes! We’re releasing some new music just before the tour starts, so some new tracks and maybe some different versions of some of the older songs.

With four albums under your belt, what’s the process of picking a setlist like?

It’s getting increasing difficult building a set because I guess we have a bunch of songs that people really want us to play, and you have to trade that off with wanting to play the new music as well. We normally write out the singles on a bit of paper and some of the new songs and try and find a balance.


How excited are you about having HRVY and New Hope Club supporting you on this tour? 

We’re really looking forward to having them on the road with us. We toured with HRVY and New Hope Club last time and we enjoyed it so much we asked them if they wanted to do it again. Fortunately, they both said yes!

As the headliner, do you ever pass on advice to them? 

We’re lucky that New Hope Club are signed to our label, so we’ve seen them grow into great artists over the years. With HRVY, it’s still quite early on in his music career but he’s got this real confidence about him that we admire. We’re more about just having a good time and writing songs together. We’re not trying to tell them how to do what they do really well already.

 

This tour is the longest UK tour you’ve ever done, what are the essentials to take on the road with you? 

Laptop, for watching TV. I’ve got this wooden toothbrush that’s amazing, I can’t be dealing with those rubbish little plastic ones. And gym gear I reckon, I like to keep healthy on tour.

When you’re backstage getting ready for a gig, who’s controlling what’s playing on the speakers? 

Brad tends to run a dictatorship with the playlist and speakers.

If they made a biopic about The Vamps who would play you?  

I loved Bohemian Rhapsody. I thought it captured the excitement of being in a band perfectly. I have no idea who would play any of us. It would be an awesome challenge to try and play ourselves I think because you know the stories better than anyone. Maybe we’ll make a documentary instead.

You toured in India last year. How was that experience? 

We’ve been three times now and every time it’s been amazing. We love to go to places that we’ve never been to before. There was a really positive energy in India. We’re lucky we got to collaborate with an Indian duo called Vishal-Shekar a few years ago so that really helped us get on the map there. We’re trying to book another trip to go back as soon as we can.

Is there a country that you haven’t played yet that you’re desperate to go visit? 

I’d love to go to Russia and China.

What’s the plan for the rest of 2019? 

We’ve got this new music coming out just before the tour, and then after the tour, I’m sure we’re gonna be working on the next album.


The Vamps new EP Missing You is due for release on 19 April via Virgin EMI.

Their Four Corners tour, including being the only band to play London’s O2 for five consecutive years, kicks off in April 2019. Here are the dates in full:

27 April 2019 – Pavilions, Plymouth
28 April 2019 – Newport Centre
20 May 2019 – Oasis Leisure Centre, Swindon
1 May 2019 – Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham
3 May 2019 – Arena Birmingham, Birmingham
5 May 2019 – M&S Bank Arena, Liverpool
7 May 2019 –  City Hall, Sheffield
8 May 2019 – City Hall, Newcastle
10 May 2019 – AECC BHGE Arena, Aberdeen
11 May 2019 – The SSE Hydro, Glasgow
13 May 2019 – The Sands Centre, Carlisle
15 May 2019 – Bonus Arena, Hull
17 May 2019 – Harrogate Convention Centre
18 May 2019 – O2 Apollo Manchester
20 May 2019 – De Montford Hall, Leicester
22 May 2019 – Nick Rayns LCR UEA, Norwich
23 May 2019 – Corn Exchange, Cambridge
25 May 2019 – The O2, London
31 May 2019 – Brighton Centre, Brighton
1 June 2019 – Bournemouth International Centre, Bournemouth

Tickets for The Vamps’ Four Corners tour are available now through Ticketmaster.co.uk.

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