HIS band has been listened to more than four billion times, played sold-out concerts around the world, and is fresh from celebrating a second number one album.
So, naturally, when Vamps bassist Connor Ball appears on the other end of the line there’s only one thing on his mind: rain.
Not just any rain, of course, and as a Scots lad south of the border he knows all too well just how grey it can be in the skies above Glasgow.
“It’s vile but I am used to it,” he laughs, his days in Aberdeen a not so distant memory. “Any sun is like a miracle.”
The surprise here isn’t that rain is on his mind – especially given that he’s speaking just days after the release of the Vamps’ fifth studio album Cherry Blossom – but that he’s eager talk away from the music and his experiences back home.
Born to an Aberdeenshire dad and having spent most of his life in England, he audibly perks up at mention of home comforts, even admitting to always taking a slice of Scotland with him wherever he goes.
“I was probably up last year in Aberdeen to see my grandparents,” he says of his last visit to the country. “I try and take hints of Scotland home with me and on nights out I actually have a Vodka Irn-Bru! That’s my go to.”
When I point out that I won’t hold his choice of city against him, he laughs and quickly moves to put things right, recalling past trips to Glasgow and Bath Street’s Lola’s Nightclub.
“Glasgow is genuinely one of the best shows on tour, if not the best,” the 24-year-old points out. “I might be biased, but the fans are amazing and the atmosphere is always unbelievable in the city. I think people like to express themselves.
“It always feels very loud and everyone is up for a good time in Glasgow.
“We like going out in Glasgow, it’s always a fun one.
“We actually usually go to Lola’s and have had some cool times
“We stayed in a cool place last time and my grandparents came to see us. That’s always a highlight for me as it becomes a bit like a family show.
“The people of Glasgow are just wicked.”
Life in 2020, of course, has been bereft of Vodka Irn-Brus for Ball and the band – also made up of Tristan Evans, James McVey, and Brad Simpson – but the group used it as a chance to put the finishing touches on Cherry Blossom.
The day-to-day work was a “relief” for the musicians, bringing a sense of normality to difficult times.
It helps the group is arguably one of the first to shoot to stardom in the digital age, meeting one another on social media, building a dedicated legion of fans by sharing their clips online, and already used to sending one another samples and recordings.
The formula has worked. Their first album Meet the Vamps reached number two while Night & Day, a 2017 release, secured them a number one. Cheery Blossoms built on their success, securing top spot in the UK charts.
“We put a lot of focus and energy in lockdown into finishing the album,” he says. “So, we had a focus. It’s been an odd time.
“For everyone’s mental health if you can have something to focus on, it does you a world of good.
“It’s a weird way of doing it. But, even before lockdown we would record our parts at home and send them across to each other.
“We’ve produced from our own homes a lot of the time as well.
“We’ve done that a lot in the past but this time we had no other choice to do it and put all of our efforts into it.
“It’s not been that bad for us in terms of producing the album as we are all on the same page with Zoom and Facetime.”
When asked if their experiences of lockdown have affected the sound of the album, he responds: “100%. We have all been writing and working and I am guessing there will be songs that will come from us that will be about this time and this year.
“Some of the songs on the new album, like Glory Days, weren’t even written and it takes on a whole new meaning coming on out of lockdown.
“When this all ends, you can interpret it in different ways and that’s what we have been doing.
“Any little win and any little positivity you can take is way bigger at the moment.”
Suffice to say, Ball and the band had a big win to celebrate just days after our chat when Cherry Blossom became their second consecutive number one album in the UK.
Less positively, with rising Covid-19 cases and deaths England was placed into lockdown putting their plans for a UK-wide tour in jeopardy.
Glasgow and a return to the Hydro are pencilled in for May 2, 2021, and although he has no doubt the picture is ever-changing, Ball remains hopeful the show will go ahead with a full crowd.
If not, well, much like all they’ve done before, he’d rather wait until the time is right.
“We’re absolutely buzzing for the tour, if it can happen and especially myself coming up to Glasgow,” he says. “I’ve missed it so much and as soon I can get back up I will.
“We are taking it day-by-day and listening to the advice.
“Hopefully by then we will be able to play a show but I don’t think we’d want to do it half-heartedly.
“If we have to reschedule and do it at another time then we would probably do that.”
You can buy and stream the album Cherry Blossoms, released last month, on the usual online channels.