Four-piece Brit pop-rockers The Vamps have been on the scene for 5 years – since the oldest member was only 17 – and have yet to make it to our little island, but the loyal fans of New Zealand (the only kind we know how to produce) are finally being rewarded for their patience. In September, The Vamps are finally heading our way for the very first time, set to play Auckland’s Powerstation for their Middle of the Night tour. In lieu of their trip over here, we caught up with drummer Tristan Evans who dished some dirt on touring and their upcoming two-parter album Night & Day.
After selling out the 20,000 capacity O2 Arena 5 times over the course of their career, an opportunity that they’d be mental not to absolutely cherish, the band finds that stripping it back is a novelty that forces the show to be all about the music, and less about the fancy backing screens and the crazy fireworks. While they do love playing the bigger venues, it makes a nice change to visit these far-away lands because they can “really showcase the music”, and while sometimes we might watch YouTube videos of giant productions such as their set at the Jingle Bell Ball with envy, Tristan is right in that the music is the reason we love this band, and for us to experience something so intimate with a band that are now so huge, is very special indeed. In terms of what each experience feels like to the band, though, as long as the fans are enjoying themselves, they’re happy
“To be honest, it’s all the same feeling, it’s the excitement of like fans enjoying themselves, and kind of um, just having a good time. That’s the kind of really cool thing about it, just seeing faces glow up and people singing back to your music.”
The band’s visit to New Zealand comes just two years after Demi Lovato’s debut trip to our country, and considering that their popularity in this country can be somewhat attributed to their duet with her on 2014’s Somebody to You, it’s a huge achievement to be now able to come over and headline a show here. While Tristan will maintain that he’s “very, very lucky” to be able to travel the world and play their music with his three best friends, he also acknowledges the hard work that has gone into it. For the band, it’s opportunities such as this – where they are able to play to fans on the other side of the world – that they do it. Despite their best efforts, with such a busy touring schedule, the band often misses out on the chance to explore the new places that they visit, but they continue to do it, making it plain to see that they absolutely love what they do.
This love translates well into their live show, as they bring a limitless energy that has become somewhat iconic, as pretty much every review mentions it in some capacity. As for why, it again comes down to their fans.
“I just think we’re very like, a couple of us are very hyperactive, and we just love kind of playing shows and there’s nothing worse than going to a show and seeing, like, people just stand still, it’s so boring. So we, you know, we love to kind of give the audience what they deserve.”
Touring isn’t all sunshine and roses though, and with all of the leaping and bounding around the stage (for the other three members, anyway) there’s always bound to be an incident or two every now and then. Among a number of trips and falls, there’s one occasion that stands out to Tristan as being particularly gnarly: the time lead singer Brad Simpson broke his nose after bumping into James McVey’s shoulder. Despite there being blood everywhere, Brad soldiered on, even going on to venture into to the crowd following the collision. I think it’s fair to suggest that you steer clear of wearing your best threads come September. Just in case.
Aside from explicitly claiming that the four band members are “the bestest of friends”, it’s clear in the way Tristan talks about his band mates that there is a lot of mutual respect (“Yeah he did [carry on]! He’s a trooper, he went into the crowd! He was great. He’s always good at that”) and that their experiences together has brought them together in ways that only ~5 years of being in a band can do. This unbreakable closeness may have started with their pre-show ritual, during which they rub chins together, something that they have no particular reason for, and the origins of which Tristan doesn’t remember, due to them doing it from the very start of their touring career.
So when September 23rd comes, and you’re standing in the venue, screaming wildly as the lights go out to indicate the imminent start of the main event – just know that your faves are probably at that very moment rubbing their chins together.
As for what we can expect for the show itself, The Vamps continue to make an effort to play music from right across their discography, and so while many artists will come here after 10 years of existing and not play the very single that had us fall in love with them in the first place, that is something we simply do not need to worry about with The Vamps. Despite promoting a new album, they’ll always hit us with the classics.
“We always play the old songs like from the first album and stuff so there’ll be a lot of things that, if you’ve heard of The Vamps, we will definitely play it, for sure”
Even with our nostalgic love for the oldies, new music is always crazy exciting, and The Vamps had so much new material that they didn’t want to go to waste that they decided they would split the one album – Night & Day – into two editions. That way, the fans feel like they’re getting two new full-length albums in one year, and the band gets to sneakily share 20 fab new songs in a very short space of time without totally overwhelming us. The first part Night, which comes out on July 14th, contains singles All Night and Middle of the Night – a totally unplanned occurrence that, thematically, has worked out perfectly.
The band’s sound has subtly matured over the years since their debut album Meet the Vamps, and Middle of the Night definitely brings something new that we haven’t heard before, as well as beautifully promoting accessibility in the music industry by using the music video to conveying some of the lyrics through sign language (below). They may sometimes find themselves chucked into the ‘boyband’ category, but the way they are using their platform as something other than a career booster shows that they are so much more than that. Sonically, it sounds as though the rest of the album will follow suit in terms of maturity, and (thankfully) will not be heavy metal as Tristan initially suggested.
“It’s gonna like, still keep fresh and Vampy and uh, Brad’s lovely vocals on it. And uh, yeah it’s just exciting where the music’s going these days. You know, just in general, so we’ll keep up with the flow and we’ll try to create something that’s different”
It’s already sounding amazing, but apparently the best is yet to come with a song called Same to You that we will be hearing very shortly on the new record (yay!). By the sounds of it, the track goes back to what Tristan was saying about stripping things down and appreciating the music for what it is without the pyrotechnics, the confetti, and the dry ice. He “really like[s] the lyrics”, and let’s be honest, we’re all suckers for something sweet or sad, which is hopefully what this secret song will manifest itself as. Tristan is desperate to play it live, so we should know soon enough how wonderful it really is.
If the guys do get any time off during their time over here, we’ve promised to try and make their dreams come true by helping them train with the All Blacks and learn the Haka, a dream which shows their willingness to embrace our culture – much like we should be embracing them.
Tickets to The Middle of the Night World Tour are on sale now, and you can buy your tickets here.