The Vamps share with NYLON Manila what it’s like going back to the Philippines, being together after ten years in the industry, and more.
To celebrate ten years in any industry is an achievement. But to do so in the music industry is a true feat, especially if you’re a band. The craziness of the industry combined with individual priorities can scramble the calculus for some bands hoping to last long. Given that, you could say then that The Vamps deserve a well-deserved victory lap with how they’ve managed to stay together all while serving global hits. And that’s exactly what they are doing with their GREATEST HITS TOUR this 2023.
The Vamps, aka Brad Simpson, Connor Ball, Tristan Evans, and James McVey decided to come together to form a band and initially uploaded covers on YouTube. From there, the quarter was discovered, and the rest, as they say, is history. In the ten years since, they have gone on to deliver British pop perfection such as Somebody To You, Oh Cecilia (Breaking My Heart), and All Night, and have done so while outlasting some of their contemporaries.
It feels fitting then that their latest tour is bringing them back to the Philippines, a special place in the hearts of the members. It was one of the first countries to show love to the group outside of their native UK. Thousands of their fans would pack their shows whenever they performed in the country and thousands more will do just that with their show at the MOA Arena on February 17.
Ahead of their show, NYLON Manila had the chance to chat with members Connor Ball and Tristan Evans where they let us in on what fans can expect from the show, the secret to staying together after all these years, their new music, and more.
It’s been an eventful year for the group, especially with the tour. Looking back, how was the journey like so far?
It’s been incredible. I mean, what a life. It’s been mad. We didn’t realize this stuff can actually happen. We could travel the world and play music and meet so many awesome people. So, we’re just super grateful to be able to come back to Manila, back to the Mall of Asia arena.
What lesson did you guys learn from your years in industry that really stuck out to you?
I think personally is to enjoy every second of it and try and be like, as present in the moment as possible. Because a lot of the stuff we do, it can only just happen once. So, just enjoy it for everything for what it is because it’s amazing.
If there’s a moment so far in your career that you would love to relive again, what would that be?
I mean, weirdly, I would have said the Philippines and playing like the arena, because that was mad. For Manila, that was always a special one for us, because it was the first place that really showed us support internationally. And we saw it on Twitter before. You know, before we were signed. We went [to the Philippines] and we played an arena for the first time. That stuff doesn’t happen. Kind of going back to that is just, it’s going to be so surreal. And so awesome. I can’t wait.
And then speaking of going back to the Philippines, so this is gonna be your latest trip back to the country. Is there like a new thing even after the show? Like what can fans expect when they see you guys in February?
I think because we haven’t been there for six years, it’ll be so many new songs that the fans would have never seen live because we released like two or three albums. So yeah, we’re excited to bring those bring all the main songs though.
After all these 10 years, you guys have really grown so much as artists and as individuals. So, compared to when you started our back in 2012 to now, has the way you approached your music making changed?
I think so. I think naturally, it probably has. As we’ve learned, we’ve got better production and learned so much about that and our instruments and everything. So I think naturally, it’s definitely changed. And the things we write about will be different, just naturally growing on. So, I think it’s just, it’s an evolution,
Staying together for 10 years, it’s like, not easy, because we all see bands who’ve had similar success, but haven’t like really stayed on the path for that long. So what do you think it’s about you guys that have made you stick together for such a long time already?
I think respect for each other and just know when to give that other person’s space or know when to get involved. And, you know, we love each other. So, it’s like family. It’s very, it’s very, very strange how we get on. I mean, I haven’t really met anyone, like these boys in my life. You know, I’ve had loads of friends that aren’t friends anymore. And that’s a reason. I don’t want them in my life. Every anytime like we’ve just hung out, it’s just so easy and so natural. It’s like we were brothers in the past life. Maybe that was the case.
When you are in the tour, and you play like your hits from 2012, 2013, 2014, do you guys see the song differently now from when you made it then?
I think it’s so important to play what people want to hear. I mean, you know, at the end of the day, it’s less about you as an artist, and more about giving [the fans] the experience that they want to have. There’s nothing more frustrating than turning up, spending a lot of money, and traveling a long way to come see a band that refuse to play their biggest song because they don’t want to. That’s a bit selfish to me.
So, for us, I think, you know, it’s important to play the songs that people want to hear. Fortunately, we don’t mind playing them. You know, we’re not like that. We don’t detest any songs, really. So, yeah, they’re gonna get the full package.
You guys started out on YouTube. And now you’re really doing all over the world. So what message would you give to other young artists or bands out there who are just thinking about it or are just starting out, hoping to make it big?
The main thing is to believe in yourself. If you really truly want to do it, then you’ve got to put in hard work. It is tough, but it’ll be worth it. Try be different but try be yourself in yourself. Meet different people and look at what’s happening in the world, with the social media platforms.
The band isn’t in the thick of making the new album yet. But do you guys have a goal that you’re hoping to achieve with your new album?
I think being like creative in a way we’ve never done before. We don’t want to do the same thing twice. So, always like finding a new direction for us is really exciting. And finding like a new sound is always really fun, because we go into the studio with our instruments and then we kind of just mess about for a bit until something comes out.
Where do you guys see yourselves in the next ten years?
Couple more wrinkles around the eyes. Maybe I reckon I have great chest hair. Maybe some band babies, a couple more albums. Trying to live life you know just go into flow enjoying it. We’ll just kind of like live the dream. You know, go with the flow. That’s what the Vamps are all about going with the flow and positive vibes and sharing love with everyone that we kind of meet.
Presented by Live Nation Philippines, The Vamps GREATEST HITS Tour Manila show is on February 17 (Friday), 2023, at 8 PM, at the Mall Of Asia Arena. You can get tickets here.
The interview has been edited for length and clarity.