YOU ME AT SIX
ROCK’S LOVE AFFAIR WITH ROMAN NUMERALS: A NEW CHAPTER
osh Franceschi has mixed feelings about You Me At Six’s fifth album, Night People. Both creatively and commercially, he feels it missed its mark. The frontman brings up the shortcomings of his band’s last album a lot while discussing You Me At Six’s next chapter – not to put a downer on things, but more because pinpointing where record five fell short for the band has helped inspire number six. It gave them a wake-up call.
It’s for this reason that the Surrey group locked themselves away at Alcester’s Vada Studios with producer Dan Austin to work on new music. The residential nature of the studio meant that there were no distractions for the band, giving inspiration a chance to strike in late-night hours – something that Josh believes was missing from the Night People process.
Last week the band unveiled two new tracks from the resultant record, VI. Fast Forward is a snarling call to arms, while 3AM is a jam with some serious groove. More importantly, though, both songs hold the zeal on which You Me At Six made their name. Kerrang! caught up with Josh to tell us more about this forthcoming record – due out on October 5 via the band’s new AWAL imprint, Underdog Records – and their return-to-form era… How would you describe You Me At Six’s just-released new songs, Josh? “Fast Forward feels like a big punch in the face, and 3AM feels like a nice, tender spoon after a long night of partying. I think they both show the different sides to the record. When we self-assessed Night People, our main criticism of it and ourselves was that it was quite linear, and that it didn’t really challenge the listener in the way that we would have liked to – in the way that we usually do. If you look at a record like Sinners [Never Sleep, 2011], which is so across the board, it really takes you to different places, to different moods at different times.” The songs are taken from new album VI. What can you say about the sound of the record as a whole? “There are more elements of hip-hop and R’N’B on this record, which we’ve been searching for in the past few records and haven’t really been able to execute – and I think we’ve done that on this one. I think there are no two songs that feel or sound the same on the record.
“You can tell that this is a band on this record who were doing 14-hour days [in the studio], and we were just living and breathing every single thing we did. I hope people enjoy it in the same way that we enjoyed making it.” Where did you record the album? “With a guy called Dan Austin, and we did it at Vada Studios. We actually made [2012 single] The Swarm with Dan a few years ago – he was Gil Norton’s [Foo Fighters, Jimmy Eat World, Twin Atlantic] engineer. The first song we did with him was Fast Forward, and I just remember turning round to him and being like, ‘If you can take this record as personally and want to own it as much as we do, then I feel like we’re going to do some serious damage working together.’” Did you feel that you had more control over the recording process this time out, compared to Night People? “Totally. I would say that, as a band, we basically co-produced this record.
“Basically the main piece of advice that we were given was: everything good about a record – and this might sound dumb, but it’s something that you can lose sight of when you’ve made a few – has to come from the artist. And I think maybe on Night People we were relying on other people to bring [the songs] to life. Whereas with every song on this record we knew exactly what we wanted
“WE KNEW EXACTLY WHAT WE WANTED TO ACHIEVE ON THIS RECORD…” JOSH FRANCESCHI
to achieve when we were making it, rather than just fucking pissing in the wind.” What did you learn from making Night People that helped when making VI? “Night People feels like the handbrake was always on. Whereas with this record, we’ve really spent a lot of time understanding what we like and what we’re good at doing and embracing that, and not being focused on things that are redundant. I think one of the biggest things that anybody who’s created music needs to be able to do is self-motivate to get the best out of yourself. I think there’s a bit of complacency, a little bit of laziness attached to our last record. But that was also very much instilled in us by those that were either working it or making it. That’s not a blame game, I take full responsibility for us underachieving in the way that… I don’t look at that record and go, ‘Oh, I fucking hate that record. It’s crap.’ But what I do know is that it’s nowhere near the level which we can, as musicians and as a band, get to.
“I’ve been saying for a while that we’re in overtime here – if the music industry for You Me At Six was a computer game, we’ve completed it. We’ve done everything we wanted to do. You can always do more. But we’ve done everything that we set out to do and what we wanted to do. So for Night People we didn’t necessarily have the hunger to deliver, but we have the hunger to deliver on this record and I think you’re gonna hear that in the songs. I genuinely stand by the fact that people are going to look at this record as a really important record, not only for You Me At Six, but maybe across the board in terms of guitar music right now.” You’ve just announced a UK tour. What do you hope these new tracks will bring to your live show? “I think they’ll bring a freshness. I can see Fast Forward further down the line that that’s going to be a song that people are going to fucking go hard for. And 3AM will be the song where they’ll be singing along off their nut; there’s a feel-good vibe about it.” The record is being released on your own label imprint, Underdog Records. What motivated that? “There’s no better way to back yourself than by setting up your own record label to do it. So, yes, it’s coming out on Kobalt/ AWAL, but the main incentive of the imprint is so that in the future we will have the opportunity and the set-up to sign other artists of all genres – not just rock music and pop-punk music, we just want to make it the home of good songwriting, really.
“Whenever I think of the British rock scene and what it’s done for us… I like to think that over the years we’ve looked after other bands that have come through, but this is just another thing that we can do to stimulate the home that we came from even more. Hopefully, in years to come, if this release of our own record goes well, we’ll be in a position to advise and help bring to fruition younger generations of musicians and their desire and their passion and their visions, and for it to not be compromised.” Finally, what do you hope this new record achieves? “I think people in months to come, maybe years to come, when this record comes out, they’ll look at this record as being the best You Me At Six record across our whole back catalogue. I’m really confident of that.
“I think Fast Forward is a statement of intent with what we’re doing. If you liked our band in the past, and you maybe left the party on Night People, you’re definitely coming back in.”
YOU ME AT SIX’S NEW ALBUM VI IS OUT ON OCTOBER 5 via Underdog Records/awal. the band tour the uk in october – see the gig guide for more information
You Me At Six: “We have the hunger to deliver on this record…”