Interview: You Me At Six
British rockers You Me At Six have been very steadily making a name for themselves over the past few years as one of the brightest and hardest working lads in their genre. With 3 hugely successful records already under their belts along with the string of hit singles that emerged from each of them, the 5-piece have made quite an impression with fans the world over since their 2008 Take Off Your Colours debut.
With the recent release of the bands 4th studio album, Cavalier Youth, You Me At Six have been spent a lot of time in the U.S, recording, writing and gathering quite a large American fanbase. The hard work has certainly paid off as September sees the band head off around the U.S on a tour that has grown beyond their wildest expectations due to the phenomenal demand from fans to see the band on stage.
As You Me At Six wrap up their performances throughout Europe, we caught up with the band to talk about the new record and their upcoming dates in the U.S. Here is what they had to tell us….
Brendon Veevers: How is the band doing today and where does our interview find you?
You Me At Six: The band is doing good and currently I’m in a studio space in North London doing some work.
BV: You recently released Cavalier Youth which serves as album number 4 for the band. Can you tell us a little about the record, for those who may not have heard it yet – how would you describe the style of the record and what are the themes that you touch on within the album?
YMAS: Cavalier Youth was a very important record for us. We were at a point where we’d just signed to a new label and a new management company and we had a real injection of new life into our band. The record is a positive record about all the changes that come in life with growing up. I would describe this album as a great modern rock record which people need to hear. We are carrying the flag for British rock music. None of this boy band with guitar rubbish.
BV: Are there any particular songs on the new record that stand out more than others for the band and why are they regarded as stand outs?
YMAS: I would say songs like Room To Breathe, Cold Night and Wild Ones as they are the most ambitious songs on the record. Room To Breathe is a big rock sound with big crunchy guitars and the flip side you have a song like Wild Ones which shows our more progressive and delicate side musically.
BV: Musically and creatively, what do you think if the biggest difference between Cavalier Youth and your previous records?
YMAS: Sonically, I think Cavalier Youth is our best sounding record and we have Neal Avron and his team to thank for that.
I think Cavalier Youth is a band really finding their sound and being comfortable with who they are. Our earlier record was a teething process done in public because we found success on our first record. I’m proud of all of our records and I think each one made ultimately shapes the next.
BV: When you set out to create a new album are there specific roles that each band member takes on in order for things to get done or is it pretty much a dive in and share the workload type of process?
YMAS: We’re very collaborative band. We work alongside each other. There is no one main song writer. Someone might write a great riff but they can’t play the drums, and in turn the singer and lyricist might have a great set of lyrics and melodies but is ultimately nothing without the music behind him. I’m glad I’m in a band like that. Like the good old days, no writers or producers writing for the bands, band doing it for themselves.
BV: Having produced 4 studio albums, where would you say the band are right now in terms of long term career goals – are you comfortable where you are or is there still some distance to go?
YMAS: I’m happy and proud of what we’ve achieved, but at the start of every album cycle we set ourselves new goals and milestones we want to achieve and that keeps our head in the game. I never want to be complacent. We’ve been a band for almost ten years and our oldest members are 25. We still have a lot of work to do to leave the legacy we strive to leave behind.
BV: You have been spending quite a lot of time in the U.S around the release of Cavalier Youth and also with previous releases. Do you find the U.S to be a creative environment for the band and how do you think working in the U.S has helped with the new collection of songs?
YMAS: We have spent a lot of time in the US. We’ve made two records in California now, and I’d absolutely say that the US is an incredibly inspiring and creative environment for this band. I don’t see how you walk down sunset strip and not be inspired. All the greats honed their craft at places like the Roxy and such.
We wouldn’t have met and made a record in America again if it hadn’t been for Neal Avron convincing us to do it again. We hated recording Sinners Never Sleep (our third record) in Los Angeles and we vowed to never do it again, but Neal changed that all.
BV: You recently ended the European leg of your tour for the album. How have the shows been received so far and how have fans reacted to the new music?
YMAS: It was incredible, 23/25 of the shows in mainland Europe were sold out and then we went onto the UK leg of the tour and finished it at Ally Pally (Alexandra Palace), 10,500 in London. It was a special, special night. Our music is really growing across Europe now and that’s really exciting to see thousands of people coming out to our shows.
BV: You are hitting the road in the U.S to promote Cavalier Youth in September. What might American fans be able to expect with the new shows – any highlights, pyrotechnics, surprise songs to be performed?
YMAS: Our fans in America can certainly expect a high energy show from us. We’ll be playing songs from all 4 of our records. There might be a few surprises in there.
BV: You recently had 20 extra dates added to the tour, racking it up to 37 headlining shows, purely because of fan demand to see you guys live. How does it feel to have such a huge U.S fanbase and to be approaching such a big tour of the U.S?
YMAS: We’ve very excited to be embarking on this tour and cannot wait to play all those shows. It’s encouraging to see this growth in the states.
BV: What do you enjoy the most about touring?
YMAS: Playing live music, is there a better source of therapy?
BV: Do you have any crazy stories that you can share with us from your time on the road? Any bizarre situations or crazy fan experiences?
YMAS: Plenty, but they are so crazy I don’t think your readers would be able to handle it.
BV: Are there any venues or cities that you are particularly keen to play during the upcoming U.S tour and if so, why are you excited to play them?
YMAS: I love the east coast. Cities like Philly, NJ, NYC. I just love the vibe there. I had an incredible time last time in Oregon, just walking around the city. It felt like a piece of home, lots of trees and suburbia.
BV: What do you think it takes for a band like You Me At Six to remain successful and relevant to music fans these days? What is the secret to the success of You Me At Six?
YMAS: You’ve got to evolve. You’ve got to stay honest to your fans but most importantly yourselves. Don’t put out music that you know your fans wouldn’t like, respect your foundations and what you’ve built.
BV: Aside from promoting Cavalier Youth and the upcoming U.S tour, what else is in the pipeline for You Me At Six that you can share with us?
YMAS: We have a few more massive European festivals, a trip to Asia and Australia on the cards. All very exciting!
BV: Thanks for your time guys – appreciate it!
You Me At Six’s brand new album Cavalier Youth is out now. For a full list of U.S tour dates, www.youmeatsix.co.uk.