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Call The Vamps anything you want – just don’t compare them to One Direction.
“We don’t really care about the comparisons, but our music is very different,” says singer James McVey, whose band kick-start this year’s Castle Concerts series, taking to the famous Esplanade on Saturday, 18 July. “We play instruments and write. However, they are probably the most successful band in the world, so we wouldn’t say no to their success.
Nor, it seems, would they say no to offering a place in their line-up to their chart rivals’ recently-departed member, a certain Mr Zayn Malik.
“He can join us if he wants,” says lead vocalist Brad Simpson.
The Vamps, however, don’t want Malik as a lead singer.
“He’d have to do backing vocals or something like that, because we already have a lead singer,” says McVey. “I mean, does he play an instrument? If so, then maybe we have a vacancy for him, but if not then there’s not actually any room.”
The four-piece may not be anywhere near as big as 1D yet, but they’ve come a long way in the three short years since they burst onto the scene with their breakthrough single, Can We Dance.
Today, they have sold over two million records and had five Top 10 hits in the UK charts.They have more than 2.5 million Twitter followers, more than 260 million YouTube views, and over 4.6 million likes on Facebook.
It’s a far cry from their humble beginnings as teen idol wannabes when they’d post videos of themselves performing covers on the internet.
“It’s been life changing… incredible,” says bassist and singer Connor Ball of the band’s rollercoaster ride to superstardom. “We miss our families when we’re away all the time, but we can’t complain. We are just so, so fortunate.”
Often making a splash in the pop world comes down to just one thing – luck. But The Vamps don’t think their success stemmed from them being in the right place at the right time and reckon they’d have made it big anyway.
“We’ve worked constantly to make this happen,” continues Ball. “If you do that, if you’re totally focussed on your career, it’s not a question of luck.”
Somewhat surprisingly given their young fanbase, The Vamps don’t even consider themselves a boyband.
“When you think of a boyband, you think of vocalists,” explains Simpson. “We are not just vocalists – we play instruments as well.
“We prefer to be compared to groups like Nirvana rather than One Direction.”
Granted, It would be stretching it a bit to think anyone over the age of 13 would mention them in the same breath as the late Kurt Cobain’s era-defining rock band, but still, there’s no denying that The Vamps are a lot more talented than your usual teenage pop purveyors.
“We don’t mind being called a boyband – but we are a band,” says Simpson. “If you come and see us, you’ll be proven wrong – but we honestly don’t mind.”
The Vamps, Castle Esplanade, Sat, 18 July, £20-40, 0844-844 0444