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Interview: You Me At Six

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It's hard to believe that it's nearly been ten years since You Me At Six made their debut. A decade of rollicking riffs, emotionally charged lyricism and punching choruses. The Surrey quintet kicked their way into the hearts of many, with roughened up tracks to soundtrack our equally turbulent teenage years.

The secret? Frontman Josh Franceschi wishes he knew. “We'd bottle it up and we'd give it to other bands,” he says, a sense of bafflement and disbelief in his voice, as a guy in his mid-twenties still making music with his teenage mates.

“I'm sure that there's a lot of other bands who would love to have a ten-year career and be lucky enough to have the fan base that we've always had; that grows with us and also trusts us to try new things and have supported us. Not many bands are as fortunate as we are… there's been so many bands that I've seen come and go that have been great friends of ours - who could've and should've and made a lifetime out of it and been successful.”

Describing their run as an “anomaly”, Josh notes the power of You Me At Six. He never expected that not only would fans be falling over themselves for the new records, but still poring over the old.

The classics; thunderous ‘Underdog’, barbed ‘Take Off Your Colours’ and the taunting ‘Loverboy’ are still beloved – “It's just bizarre, well not bizarre, but strange to us still that we are who we are and we're still going.”

Last year, the lads locked themselves away to work on latest record, Night People. “I think just giving ourselves time to be who we wanted to be and write the songs that we wanted to write ultimately just gave us the freedom to try new things,” he reminisces.

The album feels bigger, swelling with passion of the dedicated musicians. It acts as a statement of intent; that this is a band who know what they’re good at, but want to push that to the limits. ‘Brand New’ feels anthemic with a rousing vocal, ‘Make Your Move’ bites with thrashing instrumentals, whilst the title track moves like a slick predator.  

“When you don't have the distractions of the internet or other bands, you can really figure out who you are and what you want to create. With Night People we worked really hard to challenge ourselves.”

It's a step in a new direction; sharper and even more venomous. From slow burning to stadium filling, the album is versatile but truly knows itself. It’s unafraid to expose emotions, and uncage inner thoughts.

Ballsy without being cocky.

You Me At Six have led generations; they’ve been the staple musicians in many lives. “Whether it be the coolest thing in the world or not, we pride ourselves on just trying to be nice guys and be the way that our families raised us,” says Josh, exploring how the band have always focussed on longevity – to be there for the fans.

“In the position of You Me At Six, collectively and individually we try and treat the band as if it were our favourite band because we know that there are people where You Me At Six has been at a point in their life, or are now.”

Acknowledging that there’s a YMAS staple that works, the band have a thrive to evolve and strengthen even after all of these years. With reflection in his voice he says, “Maybe that's why we still appeal, because we're meeting and reaching people at different times in their lives but we're not just trying to regurgitate the same old shit all the time.

“I'd hate the people who invest so much time and love into what we do to have a feeling of being let down, with our behaviour or attitude or even our songs.”

It’s this connection that led Josh to pioneer his own movement last November in tackling ticket touts. Recognising a problem after the band sold out a Dr Martens ‘Stand Up For Something’ tour, the band were “looking online for the fans' reactions and opinions, and seeing an overwhelming load of dissatisfaction. It wasn't because the show sold out but more in the manner in which it sold out.”

Noticing that the tickets to the intimate shows were on secondary sites at extortionate prices, suddenly the tour title became even more real.

“I just came to the conclusion that ultimately in the time that we hadn't been touring that nobody had done anything about it. I just had to put my name on it and stick up for the people that have given me the life, experience and career that I've had.

“It's only been down to fans; record labels take credit, the band takes credit, but that's secondary if the fans aren't coming to the shows or spinning the records, it means fuck all.”

Leading a petition that questions the practices of ticket touts and the bots that they use, the argument was taken to the Culture, Media and Sport Committee in parliament in November.

Starting the conversation, Josh is encouraging people to educate themselves on the difference between primary ticket sites (sites selling tickets at face value) and secondary “shits” (those selling tickets above face value), and not to buy from them.

“...People that buy tickets with the sole intention of selling them on at a hyped up price, I'd encourage them to maybe have a look at themselves and think is that really the way to be looking out for one another?”

For the frontman, the question all lies in moral consciousness and conscience, as “music is one of those rare art forms that we have when in essence it is about togetherness.

“You could be in a room of 15,000 people but ultimately you're all there because you've been touched by the songs. It's like you are there in togetherness already in a mutual understanding and a common ground, so when it comes to buying tickets to sell them off.. think about if you were desperate to go to a show, would you want to pay £200?”

You Me At Six are the relentless leaders that the music world needs; a five piece with their heads screwed on, their hearts in the right place and their music getting better and better.

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