You Me At Six

Interview – In depth with You Me At Six about their new album, TRUTH DECAY

We’ve met with Max and Chris, both guitarists from You Me At Six, during a promo day, talking about the new album coming out next week as well as life on tour, and their special relationship with France.

Sound of Brit: How are you doing? You just finished a US tour. How was it?  

Max: It was nice. It was the longest tour we’ve done since the pandemic and covid. We were away for about five weeks, and it’s nice to be out touring internationally again. We’ve been able to play some shows in the UK on and off a little bit, since COVID, but it was the first time internationally. It was great and we got to play some new songs. 

For your new album, TRUTH DECAY, you said that you wanted to come back to the first sounds of your first albums. Where did this idea come from? Is it a specific intentions or did it happen naturally in the studio?

Chris: It was quite an actual thing at first, I think. We went in the studio with the intention to just be fresh and just do something new, as we always do. With the resurgence of pop punk music, emo music, rock music, we were also in that headspace and we had loads of ideas lying around. So we indulged in that. We were taking a lot of inspiration and things from the first albums eras through the pandemic. We were also looking back at our music and listening to it and also finding fond memories in that. I think it was a very natural thing for us. 

Do you write new songs with the live version in mind already or do you first write a song and then intentionally arrange it for the shows? Did touring change the way you compose and write music?

Max: I think inspiration can come at any point possible. Yes, it can happen in your sleep and then you can have something in your mind or you might have some spurge: I need to write this down or a voice recorded. So I think you just got to be prepared whenever something comes to not block it, you know, so yes it can be from touring great moments. It’s walk in and see something visually or, you know, hearing something when you’re awake or it might be like, you know, you can watch a film. Inspiration, can come from many places. I think it’s about just utilizing the time that it does happen. This is the best way to describe this: it’s like a tap. We haven’t used a tap for a long time, it is rusty. It’s not so easy to kind of get into it, but if you can use the tap, it becomes easier. So I think, you know, for us, if creation it’s just picking up a guitar on a day, they just noodling and playing. Yeah, something might come along and you just got to be ready to capture it. 

Chris: At other times, we’ll be writing a song like asking ourselves « Is it a bit too slow? » « Can you jump up and down to it? » For a crowd, you know. So sometimes we are also manufacturing it.  

This new album is a bit more centered about mental health and this is quite a recurrent topic right now in the music industry. Personally, how do you stay sane while touring? You have quite an extensive programme when you tour, with lots of dates.

Chris: It’s it’s always something that’s been important to us and when you are away from home for a long time, everyone’s wellbeing is very important. Whether you’re going through something at home, something’s bothering you, when you’re away, you’re homesick and a lot of things like that. And so it’s always been something very important to us to look out for each other in the band. We want to spread that message that it’s okay to do that and it’s okay to talk and it’s okay to reach out and help your friends and just look after everyone.

Max: It also stems from the pandemic. We’re so used to this, go in, and doing all these concerts and then everybody has to stop, you’re not allowed out and then you’re not allowed to do what you would normally do. We have been doing that at that point for 15 years. So I think it definitely gave people time to reflect and take a look at maybe how to take care of themselves a bit better. I’ll say communicate, communicating with friends, you know/ I can talk on behalf of myself, but I came back from the pandemic and we started playing shows where before I used to drink wine before going on stage. Over the pandemic, it made me realize « wow, I’m not doing the best I can for the people that are coming. We’re here to entertain people. if I’m going out there and not treating it as well as I should do, then I’m not giving back the best I can do. » So it made me re-evaluate how I could be better moving forward. And I think, you know, through a negative time there has to be positivity that comes from as well. To me, it was a nice little building blocks. I’ve spent a long amount of time to doing something, it is easy to fall into bad habits and you can pick up things that are not good. It’s like when people say about going to the gym, the hardest part about going to the gym is actually going. It’s like trying to use that mentality and that ethos through a difficult time. Think about the famous expression « Rome was not built in the day ». As long as you making small steps to get there, it’s okay. You’re improving. 

The way music is consumed has changed: people are more keen of singles, less of complete albums. Is it also influencing your way of composing or putting new music out?

Chris: It doesn’t necessarily affect the way we write music. The strategy of releasing an album may change a little bit. Often in the past, you might only put out two singles and then release the album, whereas now you have a lot longer time. So we might do four or five songs before the album, and I think we’ve just adapted. With this one, it’s one of the longest tracklist list we’ve done in a long time. We’ve often found ourself guilty in the past where we had to release like four before the album, and then you only had to get five or six extras. Whereas now if we do four now, you still get ten when the album comes out. So, you know, it’s just adapting and just dealing with things in different ways, but it’s not so much a problem for us. When we’re on tour, we’re writing anyway. I’ve always got songs in the run, so we never stop.

How did the common track with Enter Shikari come together? How did you meet them, Rou Reynolds more specifically?  

Max: Well, we’ve we’ve known the guys Enter Shikari for a long time when when we first started as a band. 2005-2006, Enter Shikari were rising in the UK. For us, at that time, we played a few shows in small club venues like 100, 200 people. We’ve just kind of always crossed paths along festival seasons maintained the friendship whenever we see each other. We like to have fun, we have a couple of drinks, enjoy ourselves, we chat and have a talk life.

About the song, we were in the studio and got all the sounds, the lyrical content behind the song was a bit of angsty. The collaboration with Rou came through because Josh said « I’d really like to present this to Rou because I think he’d really enhances the song ». It’s not, asking him just to have Rou from Enter Shikari in the song, but for the purpose of the song. He really helped by adding a bit of additional production in the Enter Shikari way, which I think is really cool in terms of the collaboration. I think it’s been something in the works for a long time. On our first few records we had collaborations and it’s the first time we’ve done it since that. 

About your relationship with France and the French fans, how do you find playing in France?  

Chris: The French fans are always crazy. The crowd is… I know everyone always says this. It is actually like this in Paris. The crowd is always going crazy. 

Max: There’s was a lot of crowd surfing that night I recall [La Maroquinerie, 2019] . It felt like a celebration. They felt like they were having a good time, that’s why that’s why we do what we do. It’s meant to be a release. It’s meant to be escapism from what’s going on in the outside world, from all the noise and all the negativity. That’s part of what naturally is a place to be safe and have fun and meet new people and make new friendships and be in a room singing the songs that you love, you know? I know that a lot of my time spent at gigs has been like that. I think that’s definitely a very sacred spot with the French fans, especially with Paris as well, because it was our first ever international show with Fall Out Boy, at La Cigale. We have very fond memories of Paris, you know, in regards of that. We’re not the biggest band in the world, but the fans we have here, they’re sacred to us. And it’s nice to see people grow up with us as well over time. 

At Sound of Brit, we love discovering new small artistes, do you have any recommendation, about new bands that we should listen to?

Max: I heard of this band called October Drift

Oh, it’s amazing, right. The first album. 

Max: Yeah, it’s amazing. I’ve only just come on to that recently, but it’s kind of got traits of early grunge bits like Biffy Clyro. I really enjoyed that. 

ChrisKid Kapichi

Yeah, they opened for Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes in France!

Max: I’d mention Cody Frost as well. You know, Cody, who we’ve done a collaboration with on the last song of the album. She’s definitely at the early stages of her career, but I feel like she’s somebody to keep an eye on. I think she’s an amazing artist and she’s got a great voice, she’s just got a lot to say. Obvisouly, Cassyette as well, she’s been on tour with Simple Plan and Sum 41. She’s a friend of ours. We’ve known her for a little bit and it feels like her moments just about to come, so. People don’t know her. Check her out now before she’s too big. 

Bonus question: Do you listen to French artists?

Max: I recently, and I don’t know if this is because of Arctic Monkeys, but I was watching interview with them where they’re talking about a certain playlist and it feels like there got a lot of French music on this playlist that I’ve really enjoyed. Then I’ve gone back and listened, especially to the new Arctic Monkeys record, and I can hear a lot of that sound. Of like French Cafe kind of bar sound which is really interesting. I was listening to Gotan Project as well, that is French I do believe.

TRUTH DECAY is out on the 10th of February 2023
Interview by Claire D.
Modified for clarity

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