YOU ME AT SIX
The Brits are heading back Down Under and this time they’re playing to win.
I’D RATHER WE GOT SOME KIND OF REACTION – EVEN A NEGATIVE ONE – FROM SOMEONE, THAN THAT PERSON JUST SIT ON THE FENCE AND NOT BE FUSSED EITHER WAY.” CHRIS MILLER
When caught up with Chris Miller, Dan Flint and Josh Franceschi – who of course make up three- fifths of the UK’s reigning pop- rock titans, You Me At Six – the lads were in the midst of what has become their most high- profile European summer yet, and while each of them has their own unique take on what the group’s ongoing success actually means, there’s a shared sentiment amongst the trio that’s both genuine and still, after a decade in the game, youthfully enthusiastic. Kind enough to spare some of his rare downtime on a self- described “cheeky day off between festivals”, Flint is pleased to report that the grind of the touring circuit is still able to throw the odd surprise their way.
“This year has been great for us,” begins the drummer, “you expect that the German festivals are going to be good, but then we get to play all these small events that we’d never heard of, in these places that we hadn’t ever contemplated going and they’ve been incredible as well, so really, it’s just been a nice time all round.”
As humble and impeccably mannered as his band mate, frontman Josh Franceschi is understandably proud of what they have achieved in 2014.
“You know, just being out here and seeing how far we’ve come, it’s like the Holy Grail of touring, man. When we were on our first or second record I’d look around and a lot of the bands that we were playing with in the early days were already calling it a day and dropping off, it’s just the way it is,” he muses. “Not every band gets to a third or fourth record, so the fact that we’ve managed to get to that place is an achievement in itself and it validates what we’ve been doing. Doing these kinds of festivals with all these amazing bands is something that I can look back on and be incredibly proud of.”
The reason You Me At Six are currently sitting at an elevated position in the global rock’n’roll pecking order is the wild commercial success of Cavalier Youth, their fourth and most well- rounded record to date. Rocketing to number one in their homeland, the disc was, rather surprisingly, met with a divided response from the quintet’s fiercely loyal fan base.
“When it comes to a new album, there’s always going to be people that are quick to judge a band’s new music because they expect a particular thing or sound or style, as much as that shouldn’t be the case,” Miller chuckles. “You can take a chance and do something different and you’ll get shot down, or you can release something that’s incredibly similar to the album before it and people will still criticise it, but those people who second- guessed Cavalier Youth at the start seem to have come around, because the new songs are getting a great reaction when we play live.”
So you’re not overly concerned with the proverbial shit slinging that Cavalier Youth copped upon its release?
“Not at all,” laughs Miller, “extreme opinions are great, because that way people are still talking about us. I’d rather we got some kind of reaction – even a negative one – from someone, than that person just sit on the fence and not be fussed either way.”
You Me At Six don’t have that prima donna reputation that’s been associated with so many of their peers, however the creation of Cavalier Youth has resulted in an even more relaxed and gracious attitude filtering throughout the band’s various members, which is no doubt influenced by their time spent with producer Neal Avron.
Having worked with Linkin Park, Yellowcard, Fall Out Boy and New Found Glory ( to name a select few), it’s easy to assume that Avron would rule his studio with an iron fist and spend his days regaling his clients with tales of chart- topping successes and Sunset Strip excesses. If you’re after that kind of read, you’d best pick up a copy of Mötley Crüe’s The Dirt then, as the men of You Me At Six would heap praise on Avron for hours at a time, if you’d let them.
“Neal is literally the Holy Grail of producers; he’s the nicest bloke you’ll ever meet and he’s so much fun to work with,” exclaims Flint. “On our last record we didn’t really gel with Garth Richardson but with Neal it was a completely different story. He makes you want to be a better musician but it’s the way he does it. He’s so calm and thoughtful and he somehow makes you want strive to be better. For a man that’s worked with some absolutely huge artists he’s the single most humble man you’ll ever meet in your life.”
Now laughing to himself, Flint recalls a particularly groundbreaking night during their stay at casa del Avron.
“We used to do this thing on Friday nights where we’d have cocktails and hang out with Neal and his family – which is what it’s all about for him, just doing something fun for a couple of months at a time – and we managed to persuade his wife to sneak us into his ego room to check out all those gold and platinum records and he was almost like, not embarrassed, but very humble and shy about it. He didn’t want us to think he was showing off, whereas we just wanted to see the history of what he’s done. That sums up Neal, really.”