MUSIC INTERVIEW: You Me At Six
It’s no secret that You Me At Six have been busy boys recently. Frontman Josh Franchesci has been in the media spotlight as the face and voice of his fans who have been subject to overpriced gig tickets – caused by scout bots from second hand distribution sites – from campaigning at the House of Commons to taking direct action by personally selling tickets to fans for their London Dr Martens Stand For Something show.
As well as being the music industry’s good Samaritans, the band have also been nominated for two NME Awards – Best Live Band and Best Single with album title-track Night People. We were lucky enough to sit down with the band to chat about their new album, fighting the Fan Fair Alliance cause, the potential demise of the music industry and more.
Your new album is dropping on the 6th January and we’re super excited! Most of your albums have been recorded in LA, but this one was recorded in Nashville, a State known for its country and blues. Did you find that it gave you any creative influence?
Max: Obviously when you think about Nashville, you associate it with country and folk music. So when we sat down to write this record we didn’t sit there and intentionally go “we’re going to write a country record” like Chris Stapleton did. We were just in Dan’s studio (which he built in his house), the hub where this album started. We finally had a place we could call home and go and write and record music whenever we felt like it. That was an amazing blessing that Dan blessed us all with, the God like human he is.
M: We didn’t intend for the songs that we were recording to end up like that, it was just the environment that we were in. When you go down Broadway and you’re watching amazing artists play and you’re in Nashville’s most prolific studios, Black Bird, somehow a little bit is going to seep in without you realising.
D: It rubs off on you. Working with someone like Jacquire King, he doesn’t make sceney rock records. He can do a James Bay record one week and be with Lionel Richie the next. He really captures the essence of what your band is about and that’s just how it naturally came out.
M: This record [for the first time in our band’s career] we recorded some of it live. We were all in the room at the same time, feeding off everyones energy. For our band, we’ve always been told live is an experience and we sound better than we do in record. Jacquire has captured naturally who we are as musicans. You can really feel that when you listen to the record, this sense of energy between five people playing all at once rather than separated and playing individually. Even little mistakes, like me dropping a pick, come through the record. It wasn’t robotic it was a real process.
Nashville is a great setting for live music so it’s good that you got to utilise that and feed it into the record. Speaking of the new record, it’s called Night People. In theme with the name, what’s the weirdest thing that has happened to you guys on a night out?
D: I was once on a night out in LA where this woman, in the middle of Hollywood Boulevard, was just randomly shouting. This happens in LA. Then she stopped outside this bar, looked at us all, hands on hips and just decides to piss in the middle of the street, out of nowhere. Jaw on the floor.
[All laugh hysterically]
J: That’s quite hard to top actually!
Yeah that’s pretty crazy stuff! So can you give our readers a little clue as to what the album will be like, or the essence of the album, in 3 words?
M: Rock and Roll.
J: That’s a tough one.
Ok we will be nice and give you a sentence…
J: I feel like we’ve made the only record we could have made in this period of time. It’s a representation of where You Me At Six are at right now.
Josh you have been the face and voice of not only your fans, but live music fans in the UK that have been subject to paying above the odds for gig tickets because of tout bots bulk buying primary tickets and re-selling at stupid rates. You’ve been apart of the Fan Fair Alliance and took a stand against the issue at The House Of Commons, even selling tickets direct to your fans, this is clearly an issue close to your heart and we totally back you!
J: Thanks that means a lot.
You seem to be the only artist that’s publicly put yourself out there. You called out on the The Daily Politics Show for more artists to be involved, why do you think there is a lack of them speaking out?
J: I think it would unfair to say that other artists aren’t doing anything about it or aren’t engaged with it. I think at the time I said something because it was after our Dr Martens Stand For Something show, and I could see the anger and frustration of the fans that this was going on and no one was saying anything about it. I felt compelled to do something about it and it snowballed from there.
How have you found the whole experience? Any backlash?
J: It’s been great. On behalf of You Me At Six, with these guys coming with me to Parliament, we are trying to do something to at least try to make change. Other artists have been asked “are you worried about the repercussions with other people in the industry?” I think You Me At Six are in a position of some power and strength in the sense that if a promoter or company don’t want to work with us because we are calling them out on some things they are doing that are morally and ethically wrong, then I don’t want to work with them anyway.
Why did you feel compelled to speak out for your fans?
J: We have a fan base that’s given us so much over the last 10 years and shaped the lives we lead now, I feel that I have a moral obligation to stand up for them.
D: They deserve some respect.
J: They’re not just a figure on a sheet, they are individual people who are working their asses off to be able to afford the luxury of going to live music. The industry as a whole is draining them of their money and they’re not thinking about what that means for the future. How many times as a consumer are you going to get ripped off, until you become disengaged by it?
D: You don’t want people to start resenting that thing they do for enjoyment. There’s always going to be someone like Josh who is the front runner, leading the team, trying to make a change. Adele has spoken out, JK Rowling has got involved because it’s happening in theatre. The more people that make noise about it the better but it will always take someone like Josh for it to hit home.
People are questioning just how detrimental this issue is to the industry, how would you say this is this going to effect the industry if it doesn’t change?
M: Anything worth fighting for isn’t easily going to happen. It’s a hard battle but we’ve all seen how much the music industry has changed over the last ten years. I used to go to two to three shows a week when I was younger, now if people are only going to one when four of their favourite bands are in town, they’re missing out on some valuable life experiences! It’s not going to be an easy process but it’s worth fighting for because it’s what’s fair. We’re coming from a place where we’ve been those fans wanting to go to five shows a week.
J: It’s about respecting the process and fans as human beings. The secondary ticket industry is a £1billion industry. If you think about all that money leaving the music industry and lining other people’s pockets. That money isn’t being pumped back in to the local music scene for young bands/musicians.
D: Or existing artists. Someone’s making a hell of a lot of money and it’s not even the artists that are creating the music for the fans and it’s the fans that are getting ripped off too.
M: The saddest thing is that what happens if fans don’t go to shows anymore? It’s a domino effect. If no one goes to live shows, musicians will give up on doing what they love because as a musician you live and breathe playing live shows and having that high buzz on stage. If musicians don’t stand up for it right now then is it going to be a spiral effect that music is going to be worthless? What if no one went to major artists’ shows like Adele, The Rolling Stones, to Muse and these big artists stopped wanting to make music!
J: That’s the worst case scenario though and the point of doing this now.
How do you think it’s affecting live shows and the artists involved directly?
J: The arguments we have been facing are that “it’s a supply and demand industry and also it’s not affecting the big artists so why should we care?” Well we went to a few stadium shows this summer and I’m telling you people’s “sold out ” shows, were far from sold out. There were 20/30k seats empty and it’s because of this exact thing, ticket bots and mass touting selling tickets for £2k each!
M: You can tell at that show that that negatively impacted her performance. All we can do as musicians and fans of music is stand up for the right causes.
How can people who aren’t artists and don’t have the influence you have, us average Joe’s, help the cause?
J: It’s been taken to Parliament now and is in the amendment stage of legislation. I would encourage any person that wants to help make a change is; a) educate yourself on where not to buy tickets from. If you type in “YMAS live show”, the first 4four to five ticket links are secondary ticket sites. Go to the primary ticket websites; b) if you do get ripped off by the people that do this, report it. If they refuse to take action, report it to the police because it is illegal! Suffering in silence is the ultimate sin. You need to take a stand and have faith that other people will recognise what you’re saying and support you in making a change.
Paying above the odds for a show is sometimes just unavoidable sadly. Who is a band that you would spend any amount of money to see (dead or alive)?
M: For me right now, it would be an artist like The Rolling Stones that leave a legacy of music that have impacted the world. Like The Beatles, who have been going since the ‘60s and whose music lives on to this day across the globe, still making a difference. It’s artists like that where people have shared favourite songs with loved ones etc. I would pay any money to embrace the good times with them.
Let’s liven things up and bring our fun box to the You Me At Six party!
These are all random and crazy questions, so if you dare, dive in!
[All pick one]
D: [laughs] “Who is a band you would hate to tour with?”
J: That’s a tough one. We’ll definitely mug some people off but you can’t exactly not want to talk to someone because of how bad their music is, ’cause they might be the safest guys of all time. Or a band might be amazing, but they’re awful to be around.
D: I honestly don’t know.
J: What about that geezer on the plane who was being the biggest mug of all time?
M: Hellyeah, the band, it was the drummer from Pantera.
J: Going on tour with him would be a nightmare. Racial slurring, homophobic bullshit for an hour and a half, drunk on the flight.
D: They nearly had to land us.
J: They almost had to turn the whole plane around because of one person’s actions and we would have missed the show we were going to!
D: We’ve been pretty lucky besides that.
J: Legends only attract legends though. If we deserved to be around mugs then we would be.
M: I’ve got a great one here! [Reads aloud] “If you could punch a celebrity in the face and get away with it, who would it be?” Katie Hopkins.
J: Yeah, sick!
D: [picks another and reads aloud] “What’s your favourite vice?” Wait, is that rice or vice? Favourite rice, basmati or mushroom.
Great choices, but we think it was vice!
D: What does that mean though?
J: Like bad habits.
D: All my bad habits are immaculate [laughs]
J: [reads his aloud] “What’s the most rock and roll thing you have done?” What I’m doing right now is pretty rock and a roll. Putting my middle finger up to the establishment saying that I don’t care what you think about this that and the other.
We agree, you’re pretty badass right now and so is the new album, it’s solid stuff! Well thanks for making time in your hectic schedule to have a chat and we can’t wait for everybody to hear the new record on the 6th January.
Interview By: Charly Phillips