Probably more so than any other artist, British pop band The Vamps owe their success to social media. Guitarist James McVey found lead vocalist Brad Simpson through YouTube, the pair found drummer Tristan Evans through Facebook, and fans helped the trio pick Connor Ball to be their bassist.
In mid-2012, the group began uploading covers of popular pop songs on YouTube and developed a solid fan base, which helped them secure a major label deal before the year ended. Their first singles Wild Heart and Can We Dance went viral within days, and their debut album, Meet the Vamps, churned out a total of four UK top-five singles.
The boys have been keeping themselves busy. Last year, they did three tours in various parts of the world and dropped their sophomore album, Wake Up. Soon, their music will be heard in cinemas around the world: they covered iconic 70s dance track Kung Fu Fighting for the soundtrack of the upcoming Kung Fu Panda 3.
Young Post caught up with 19-year-old Ball ahead of the quartet's concert in Hong Kong.
Congratulations on your new album Wake Up! From 1 to 10, how happy are you with it?
10, absolutely. We're so happy to release new music at last and be able to play new music as well. Hopefully fans will love it! We were playing Oh Cecilia for about three years and it kind of got repetitive after a while.
Which song are you most proud of?
For me, it's Written Off, which is the last song on the album. It's quite personal and I produced it as well. I recorded it and mixed it, so that's the one I'm most proud of personally. It's about just being with your friends and kind of having a great time but when I'm on tour it's hard to be with your friends most of the year.
We heard your year-old cover of Fall Out Boy's Young Volcanoes. Will you be doing more solo vocal work?
Thanks for listening! Actually, for Written Off, I got to sing about half the song. That was pretty cool. It's a personal song so the guys were like, you should sing a little bit on it and get that across. For the song Wake Up I also sang the second verse. We didn't even plan for that to happen. I just went to the studio, and usually I sing a double of Brad's to sit under his vocals. But when we got the song back, they just chose to put me on the second verse for something a little different. So it can work like that.
Your bass has a really cool yin yang design - where did that come from?
I guess yin yang is like a balance, and it says health and well-being and all that stuff. And it's just a cool design. I got it sent away and told the guy that does my basses what I'd like to get and he came back with that and it looks amazing. People should take life at a balance. Too much of anything is not good for you. Playing Playstation is a big one [for me]. When I'm at home, I just sit on the sofa and play for hours when I should just be writing music.
What is your favourite band memory of 2015?
There's so many. Playing in The O2 in London was great. It was like a dream come true, so that is probably our highlight so far.
Tell us one lesson you learnt from being on the road.
You meet a lot of people and you just have to be kind to everyone because people remember how you are when you first meet them. Even if you're having a bad day. It is more pressure when you're in the public eye and people expect a certain level of how you are every day.
What's the dynamic between the four of you? Is there a leader? A clown?
We're all pretty clowny. We're all a bit weird. But no, it's a great dynamic. It's very light-hearted with everything we do. We enjoy everything and appreciate it all. We're just all quite relaxed and chilled guys.
Do you guys get carried away being goofy when you're supposed to be writing music?
Yeah a lot, we always do. Our manager gets very annoyed.
Tell us about a weird habit you know of the other band members?
James eats very healthy. He eats very, very well all the time. And we're awful with eating, we just eat whatever. We should probably eat healthier.
The Vamps will perform at the AsiaWorld Expo on January 28.