The Vamps strike a chord about sexual fluidity and how “there shouldn’t be any boundaries” when it comes to attraction.
In an interview in the Attitude December issue, out now to download and to order globally, the chart-topping band open up about how their minds have been broadened, as they ‘Wake Up’ to the ever-shifting nuances of sexuality.
James McVey begins: “Where I grew up in Dorset is, sort of, five years or maybe even 10 years behind on elements of racism, sexism and homophobia… Growing up in that environment, you almost felt pressurised to be pigeonholed into something that was very conventional: ‘I am man, I love women, I play rugby.’
The Vamps for the Attitude December issue (Photography: Markus Bidaux)
"Moving to London, touring with the band, and doing many things, I think it’s really opened all of our eyes up.”
The 27-year-old guitarist, who is due to wed his fiancé Kirstie next October, adds that he often finds men attractive.
“I’ve realised in the past few years that I’m attracted to personalities" - James McVey (Photography: Markus Bidaux)
“I’ve realised in the past few years that I’m attracted to personalities," he explains. "Obviously, I’m marrying Kirstie and it’s brilliant, but, you know, I do think everyone at some point in life – regardless of if they’d admit it or not – [is] attracted to different genders all the time. There are elements of things, it might not always be a sexual thing.”
James continues: “I do see, you know, men often and I’m like, 'He’s really, really attractive,' and I’m like drawn to them in a certain way, but it doesn’t necessarily mean I want to marry that person or sleep with that person, but you do have tendencies and desires to do that. I think that’s a really good thing.
(Photography: Markus Bidaux)
"For years and years and years, we were [persuaded against] feeling those impulses through societal pressures, but definitely for me, personally, I think I’ve changed in that way over the past few years.”
Lead singer Brad Simpson, 25, agrees: “Everyone, like James says, has different urges and has different impulses, but no one should be feeling like, 'Oh my god, I’ve got to dispel that', especially amongst men. It’s about going, OK, that’s just a natural part of being a human being…
"No one should be feeling like, 'Oh my god, I’ve got to dispel [those impulses]', especially amongst men" - Brad Simpson (Photography: Markus Bidaux)
"I think the rigidness is where the danger lies, of being like, you have to fall in a certain category.”
Drummer Tristan Evans, 26, chips in: “There shouldn’t be any boundaries.”
Reaching the top of the UK music charts last month (October) with their new album Cherry Blossom, the group – completed by bassist Connor Ball, 24 – reflect on their roles as LGBTQ allies.
Connor Ball (Photography: Markus Bidaux)
“We’ve had amazing moments with fans over the years, who have spoken to us in meet-and-greets. I remember one in particular, where they came up and were like, ‘Your music really helped us to gain the confidence to come out,” Brad recalls.
Tristan’s story, meanwhile, hits much closer to home.
“One of the most beautiful moments in my life, one hundred per cent, is when my brother came out. He came out quite late – I think he was 27 – and I was one of the last people he told", he sighs.
“One of the most beautiful moments in my life, one hundred per cent, is when my brother came out" - Tristan Evans (Photography: Markus Bidaux)
"He said, ‘I was more worried about what the people close to me would think,” and I thought that was crazy.
“We live in 2020 and everyone, whatever they are, wherever they come from, whatever they look like, should be accepted… He [my brother] is much more himself today because he came out, and I’m just so proud of him.”
Of his own attitude to sex and sexuality, Tristan says: "Personally, yeah. I think I’m extremely open — open-minded to try anything and very experimental, sexually, and when it comes to relationships. I’ve always been firm with what I am."