The Vamps
In It Together Festival

The Vamps

Thanks to their continually evolving sound and hands-on musicality, Britain’s the Vamps distinguished themselves from the swell of boy bands that arrived in the wake of One Direction’s success. After emerging in 2012 with popular cover song videos, the group soon began issuing their own hit albums and singles. Buoyed by hit singles including “Can We Dance” and “Last Night,” 2014’s platinum-selling Meet the Vamps reached number two in the U.K. The bright, acoustic-leaning pop of this album and 2015’s Wake Up gave way to the EDM-infused sound of 2017’s Night & Day. On 2020’s Cherry Blossom, the Vamps balanced both of these styles with a maturity reflecting their lives as twentysomethings.

In 2012, guitarist James McVey decided to take the rather unusual route of searching for talent on YouTube when he wanted to start a band. First he approached singer/songwriter Bradley Simpson via his own YouTube channel, and after writing a few songs together, the pair recruited drummer Tristan Evans and bassist Connor Ball to complete the lineup. Uploading cover versions to their YouTube channel, the four-piece quickly gained a following, and at the end of 2012 they signed a deal with Mercury Records. Earning a support slot with pop outfit McFly — a band with whom the Vamps share a similar sound — on McFly’s 2013 Memory Lane tour, the Vamps’ fan base quickly swelled and the release of their first self-penned material followed.

Their debut single, “Can We Dance,” was first aired via the group’s spiritual home, YouTube, and notched over a million views within its first two weeks. Officially released in October 2013, “Can We Dance” debuted at number two on the official U.K. singles chart. In April 2014, the Vamps released their debut album, Meet the Vamps, amid a whirlwind of press engagements. The single “Last Night” — released just a week prior — scored the outfit their third consecutive U.K. Top Ten single, entering the charts at number two.

The following year, they delivered their sophomore album, Wake Up, featuring production from Steve Mac, Rami Yacoub, Carl Falk, and others. The album peaked at number ten in the U.K. and produced three singles: “Wake Up,” “Rest Your Love,” and “I Found a Girl.” Following the album’s release, in January 2016 the Vamps embarked on their Wake Up World Tour. Also that year, they contributed a cover of Carl Douglas’ classic “Kung Fu Fighting” to the soundtrack of the animated film Kung Fu Panda 3.

In October 2016, the Vamps paired with Norwegian DJ Matoma for the single “All Night,” which heralded the band’s third full-length album. Split into two separate releases, Night & Day appeared first in July 2017 as the Night Edition. The album debuted at number one in the U.K., and featured the single “Middle of the Night,” which saw them team up with Danish EDM producer Martin Jensen. Arriving one year later, the Day Edition featured collaborations with Machine Gun Kelly and Kriss Kross Amsterdam. While touring in support of the record, the group issued April 2019’s Missing You EP.

To make their next album, the Vamps took a more relaxed and spontaneous approach, working with a small team of collaborators that included Jack & Coke, Lostboy, and JHart, with Simpson overseeing most of the production. The band continued to work on songs even as the COVID-19 global pandemic hit, during which time they wrote the July 2020 single “Married in Vegas.” The track provided the first taste of Cherry Blossom, an eclectic set that arrived in October.