The camera shutter blinks at him, its muzzle agape and anticipating. Strumming his trusty guitar, the 16-year-old boy sings about lost love and soldiers at war. He translates 480 pixels on a computer screen into sheer emotion with blissful, self-composed music.

One day, James McVey, 20, is recording in the confinement of his bathroom, and the next, the sound of camera shutters are amplified by thousands, and he’s playing in his own band, The Vamps.

The Vamps is a British boy band of the “acoustic-driven indie pop” genre, who debuted 2 years ago, according to their official Twitter. It consists of lead guitarist James, lead vocals Brad Simpson, 19, drummer Tristan Evans, 19, and bass guitarist Connor Ball, 18.


Vamps’ Grand Slam

They garnered a wealth of attention and admiration for their song covers on YouTube from both fans and famed artists alike. On top of featuring Demi Lovato in their fourth single “Somebody to You”, they’ve also performed as opening acts for several pop artists, like Taylor Swift, The Wanted and Selena Gomez.

This autumn, The Vamps are taking the United Kingdom by storm, and headlining their own tour, to the delight of 11 major cities. Despite establishing themselves as a cover band, they’ve progressed to playing original, self-composed songs from their debut album Meet the Vamps.

“We’re very excited, [as] we’ve never toured on our own before. It’s something new to us, and it’s something that for the whole year, [we’ve been] looking forward to very much,” James professes.

Counting down the days till September when the tour officially kicks off, the lead guitarist is living the life he has always dreamt of – “to be able to have best friends, who can travel around the world as a band”.

At the beginning, James scouted high and low for potential band members at various gigs, only to discover his current label – or rather, soul – mates “from [his] house”.


“I literally saw Brad one day on the Internet. It was a video of Ed Sheeran’s cover, ‘Lego House’. He also had his own song called ‘Loaded Gun’ that I thought was really great. As for Tristan, it was a video of him drumming in a competition [that won me over],” he shares.

Although youngest member Connor met the rest “through a mutual friend” according to Yahoo Celebrity UK, the entirety of The Vamps aren’t strangers to independent musical production on their respective YouTube channels. reported on Mar 11, 2013, that fellow performers, “like Justin Bieber, Austin Mahone and Cody Simpson, to name a few”, also used YouTube as a virtual stage to make a name for themselves.

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Mad for The Lads

However, the surge of online rivalry doesn’t hinder the boys’ collective ascent. “We’re just doing our thing, we’re just writing music. We don’t think about the competition too much, because we want to make friends with as many people as we can. We hope that people will enjoy our music for who we are, and like us,” James explains.


These days, the search for individuality among British boy bands is a long and tedious process, especially with ceaseless comparisons, like with popular English-Irish pop group One Direction. Strangely enough, despite all the chatter about being “the new One Direction”, wrote about in a Metro News article published on Apr 11, James clarifies that they “have never met before”, though they’re a “big fan of the guys”.

One thing for sure is that the ‘fan girl culture’ is part and parcel of every thriving boy band. “We’re very lucky that a lot of fans follow us around and stuff, and it’s quite crazy how fans jump on our van. If we’re driving down the road, there are people running down the road,” the Dorset-born gentleman divulges.

The social media enthusiast is also, surprisingly, a romantic at heart, where the fans are concerned. “When we’re given notes that people have written or made, or when they’re spending a lot of time creating things – that’s my favorite thing.”

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Beloved Singapore Vamily

The wild ride of stardom perseveres, and time and tide wait for no man. The Vamps are working on their second album as we speak, and they’re also in talks for a world tour – which most importantly, includes Singapore – thanks to, once again, “the Internet”.

“It’s great, because it shows us that on the other side of the world, in places like Southeast Asia – Singapore, and even Indonesia – we’ve a lot of fans out there, which is crazy, so it’s something that we’re really trying to do [and] plan,” James expresses.


Well, boys, you can count on UrbanWire to cheer you on when the time comes, because even 1080 pixels can’t satiate us.

All photos courtesy of Universal Music Singapore 

Additional information: A Boy Band Dreamland

Boy bands are materializing faster than you can say “Backstreet Boys”. Along with this surge in boy bands come the negative connotations associated with the term; they are arguably often subjects of mere entertainment without any artistic substance to offer. But with the employment of YouTube and some handy built-in cameras, there are some up-and-coming boy bands that take up the challenge of debunking these cutting remarks.

1. The Vamps


2. Rixton 



The Vamps told Sugarscape on Apr 2 that they are the “Rixton’s number one fans” – and well deservedly so, it seems. While pool party music videos have been flogged to death, this four-member Pop/R&B English band put a “hilarious” spin on them in their “Make Out” music video, where they parody famous acts like Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga and Miley Cyrus. If you like to see the spectacular sight of full-grown men swaying to the beat in pink tutus, or swinging nude on wrecking balls, Rixton approves your idea of a good time.

3. 5 Seconds of Summer 

5 Seconds of Summer is seen leaving the 'NRJ' radio stationPhoto: Splash News

Just 2 years ago, these 4 Aussie boys were huddled before the camera performing song covers and goofing around with modest percussion shakers on their YouTube channel. Now, 5 Seconds of Summer can proudly say that they were the opening act of One Direction’s Take Me Home tour last year, that all their headlining tours in United States, United Kingdom and Australia sold out within minutes, and that you probably have had their pop-punk single “She Looks So Perfect” stuck in your head at least once.

4. Union J 



If you are already tired of One Direction comparisons, this one will probably rouse you from your hibernations. The members secured fourth place on British television music competition The X Factor. Louis Walsh, one of the judges of the show and currently Union J’s manager, has said that fellow judge and One Direction’s founder Simon Cowell “knows Union J are a threat to One Direction”, according to Mail Online. In the midst of all the pressure placed on them to rise up to their British counterparts, these boys are a household name of their own decree – from making a cameo on comedy film Kick-Ass 2, to publishing autobiographies, to releasing their second album this fall.