The Vamps’ James McVey showed his caring side, when he joined fellow stars and furry friends for The Mayhew Animal Home’s annual Christmas Fundraiser Tinsel and Tails.
Despite confessing to more nerves than when he played before 70,000 fans at Wembley Stadium, James made a passionate speech praising the work of The Mayhew, which helps to treat and find homes for abandoned and abused animals.
The 21-year-old guitarist also read a moving story about a cat called Antonio, who donated blood to help care for his feline pals, and said he hoped it would be the start of a long relationship with the NW London-based home, which relies on donations to survive.
In between posing on the red carpet and being virtually licked to death by four-legged fans like TheraPaws dog Dudley (above), James found time to tell Matt Catchpole about his love of animals and his hopes for the band’s new album and upcoming tour.
So James you must be inundated with requests for support, why did you choose to help The Mayhew?
I think it’s really important for me to try and raise awareness among people my age. The Mayhew does amazing things and they shouldn’t go unrecognised.
I believe you’re planning to adopt a rescue cat is that right?
Yes definitely, as soon as I have my own house and some stability, I intend to adopt a cat from The Mayhew! I’d like to adopt an adult cat, because they are very loving and often get overlooked because people go for the kittens.
You’re clearly very passionate about The Mayhew and animals in general. Have they always played an important part in your life?
Definitely, growing up in Dorset, I have always been around a variety of animals. From cows to cats, I have loved animals from my early childhood.
The Vamps are back with a bang with new single and album Wake Up, just remind us how you met up in the first place?
We put ourselves together using social media platforms, such as Twitter, YouTube and Facebook. I found Brad (Simpson – vocals and guitar) in 2011 singing covers on YouTube and thought he was great. We then found Tristan (Evans – drums and vocals) and Connor (Ball – bass and vocals) the same way!
How do you think Wake Up differs from your debut Meet The Vamps?
Our new album differs from the last in the sense that we have been influenced by different bands and acts this year. We have been listening to more ’80s influenced music such as Taylor Swift‘s recent album 1989, as well as MGMT
Have you been fully involved with the recording process?
The Vamps always pride ourselves on being completely hands-on with writing, recording and producing our music. This album was no different in that sense and we hope to never change that!
Was it difficult to decide which songs to put on the album? Did you have any ‘difficult second album’ nerves?
We always have a bit of nerves before releasing any music, because we aren’t sure how people are going to receive it. Luckily this album appears to have been received positively by our fans and the public, so we’re really happy about that. We wrote about 40 songs for this album, so it was really hard to narrow it down to 18. However, I think we’ve picked the strongest songs and hope people enjoy listening to the tracks we chose.
How would you describe the new album? Do you have a favourite song from it?
Hopefully people will see our new album as ‘Anthemic’. We have had a great time experimenting with new instruments, such as synths and we feel that contributes to a ‘thicker’ sound. My favourite is Cheater because it’s great to play live.
You’ve been unhappy at being tagged as a ‘boy band’ in the past. Do you think you’ll finally put that one to bed with this album?
We’re not exactly angry about people calling us a boy band, however, we hope people recognise that we write our own music and play our instruments. ‘Boy Bands’ typically consist of a vocal group and we simply aren’t that. That said, we’re happy if people enjoy our music – if that’s the case they can call us whatever they want.
You’re off on tour in the New Year and you’ve made a commitment to keep prices low. Is that important to the band?
Definitely. It’s really important to us that as many of our fans can afford to come as possible.
What do you like most and least about touring? Is there anywhere you’re looking forward to visiting?
The best thing about touring is being able to travel to new places and play to people that have never seen us live before – I can’t wait to go to South America! The worst thing is being away from family and friends…. and of course our pets!
The Vamps’ world tour kicks off in Sydney on 23 January 2016. The UK leg starts in Birmingham on 25 March and climaxes with a show at Manchester Arena on 16 April – 40,000 tickets for the shows will be available for £9.50. Full details from http://www.thevamps.net.
For more information about The Mayhew Animal Home visit https://themayhew.org . If you would like to adopt a pet please call 020 8962 8009.