VIDEO: Meet the teen band tipped for the top
You can be forgiven if you haven't heard of The Vamps yet, but come Sunday this teenage quartet – already leaving trails of screaming girls in their wake – could well be topping the charts with their debut single on what seems destined to be a fast-track romp to global pop ubiquity.
Boasting the mighty drumming skills of Devon's Tristan Evans, the fresh-faced, floppy-locked band are the hottest new things on Virgin EMI's roster right now.
"It's crazy. It's all happened so fast that you don't quite take it in. We are all very nervous and hoping for the best," confesses Tristan. "It's the first thing we've released and you don't get a second chance at that. It matters a lot to us."
The catchy, harmony-rich "boy-wants-girl" single Can We Dance, which they wrote themselves, was produced in New York City by Espionage (notable for his work with Beyonce and Ne-Yo).
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The accompanying video premiered online and has already notched up more than two million views... yes, that's two million. Its setting is the aftermath of a raucous teen house party and features, among other things, Tristan, 18, playing his kit covered in silly string and squirty cream. He and singer Bradley Will Simpson, guitarist James McVey and bassist Connor Ball write their own material, as well as bolstering their set with covers.
They have already had a taste of the big time as the supporting act on a massive stadium tour with McFly – who start to look positively middle-aged by comparison – and they've already graced the sofas of mainstream daytime TV shows and have a weighty advertising campaign behind them.
But it's direct connection with their fans, through social media, including regular Twitter-cam parties online and personal meet and greet sessions, that has underpinned their meteoric rise. That seems appropriate considering the guys met via the YouTube video-sharing channel, where they have now amassed 17 million hits. In the old days musicians used to link up through the classified pages of Melody Maker; nowadays they suss each other out online, rather like internet dating.
"We had no lives," laughs Tristan. "Before the band we just spent all our time on the computer."
It's heartening to hear that the group's rise has been partly nurtured at his family's home in the countryside near Exeter, where he lives with father Adrian, an independent financial adviser, mother Carolyn, little sister, Millie, eight, and older brother James, 21, who is away at Loughborough University.
"My parents and grandparents are super supportive," says Tristan, who went to Blundell's School in Tiverton. "They always have been. They love coming along to shows.
"The guys spent at least six months down at my house rehearsing for the tour and recording in the attic; I produce and we all write," he adds.
"I love Devon. It's a lovely place. We are living in hotel rooms at the moment; after we have been in the city for a couple of months it's great to come home, see the fields and chill out with the cows."
Tristan started playing drums in a marching corps when he was seven and the family lived in Somerset.
"I was a hyperactive child and always getting in trouble. I was asked to leave my primary school," he admits. "My parents wanted to find a way for me to channel my energy. At nine I got my first small kit and started having lessons."
He cut his teeth in various school bands and at 15 he was a finalist in the Young Drummer of the Year competition, inspired by his heroes, Blink 182 and Green Day.
Next stop for the band is Los Angeles where they are heading next week to record a new video and meet some of their burgeoning US fanbase. Watch this space.