In the current alternative music scene, to make any sort of headway is a remarkable achievement for a young British band. In five years, You Me At Six have gone from using public buses to get around the country travelling to all corners of the world on sold out headline tours. With a third album ‘Sinners Never Sleep’ and subsequent tour due for October, SCAN caught up with guitarist Chris Miller to find out how things were coming along.
How’s the production of the new album going? Is it different from your last two albums?
The new album is all wrapped up so we’re just waiting to put it into production to get everyone to hear it. It’s sort of a natural progression of the two previous albums, I think we’ve kind of all grown up a bit more and the songs are a bit more mature and we’ve got some very exciting stuff on it. I mean, it’s a fairly natural progression and nothing that’s going to scare anyone, but we’ve still moved forward as any good band would so I think it sounds great.
You have got Ollie Sykes [Bring Me The Horizon] and Winston McCall [Parkway Drive] guesting on the album. How do you go about deciding who you want to work with?
We had two heavier songs on the album and we’ve never really ventured into the realm of being that, well, aggressive before. We are good friends with ‘Bring Me The Horizon’ and ‘Parkway Drive’, so it was a kind of no brainer of who to ask to do the heavier parts of the songs. We asked them and they were up for it and so we got it recorded and it sounds great. It would be harder if it was someone we didn’t know but as we are friends it was quite an easy process, really.
You’ve been named as ambassadors for the ‘Future Flames’ initiative by Coca-Cola. What do you have to do for this?
It’s basically a program that was offered to us and with the Olympics coming to the UK it’s a massive deal, something we are probably never going to see in our lifetime again, so having the opportunity to get involved and do stuff for it was really exciting and we took it up instantly. Since we’re quite a young band and having fans about the same ages as us we fit in quite well. The programme invovles nominating people in your community who you think deserve to run with the Olympic torch and get involved with the Olympics. The youth of today are often overlooked as being a bunch of chavs who don’t give anything to society, when in fact there are a lot who do great things for society and it’s good to shed light on that. So we get to give people the opportunity and to do special events – it’s good on all sides.
As a young British band who have found international success, what advice would you give to band starting out?
You’ve just got to get your name out there, and the best way to do that is to tour much as you possibly can. I mean, it’s quite a hard thing to break into but once you’ve got a nice little fan base going and more and more people start coming to your shows, it really starts to kick off. Having some bloody good songs doesn’t hurt either! Just play as hard and as much as you can when you’re out there though, you have to show the audience what you have got. From the age of 15 or 16 we were out there playing shows throughout the country and just travelling around. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication before someone finally notices you.
All of that touring must take its toll?
It does! The hardest part is being away from home so much, missing family and friends. There’s often a lot of things that you can’t be there for because you’re on the other side of the world. It’s an unpredictable lifestyle. One minute you think you have a month at home, the next day you get a call saying that you have been offered a tour you’ll be on the road for two months. But it’s what I’ve always wanted to do, so it’s worth it in the end, especially when you think of the bright-side. Playing big shows in places like Australia and Japan, all the way over the other side of the world is definitely one of the highlights. You never think, coming from a little town in the UK, that you will be able to go over the other side of the world and people will know who you are and the words to your music!
So what would you say was your favourite ever gig?
I’ve had lots of favourites, including those in Australia and Japan, but I think playing the Reading [Festival] main stage last year was an absolute sweet show and a great achievement for the band. We’ve always gone to Reading whether playing or as punters, the main stage always looked so big and the sheer amount of people you play to. After seeing it on TV and the internet it was always something we wanted to do. It was amazing to step out in front of that many people and getting such a good response.
For your upcoming tour you’ve picked places that you don’t normally go to and missed out some of the bigger cities. Is there any reason for that?
We felt like on every tour we have done in the past we’ve just hit the major places. We thought it would be interesting to go to some new, kind of out there, towns and cities. But really, it doesn’t matter where we tour, because we want to come back bigger and better than ever with a new set of songs to play. It’s quite a nice, yet strange, feeling for us to go and play the new songs for the first time in some places we’ve never been.
One of your biggest opportunities to date has come in the form of supporting Blink 182. Was there disappointment about not being able to go out with them when that tour was postponed?
We were absolutely gutted. For all of us ‘Blink 182’ were kind of a band that really got us into music and we grew up loving them. We were super excited about the tour and one day while in America our manager came in and broke the news to us and we were all gutted for days. But it’s kind of since worked out. We made other plans and have been doing festivals and things like that, as well as giving us chance to finish the CD properly, so kind of a blessing in disguise. We all would have loved to have done it and it’s a shame we can’t but we just have to move on and think positive.
So what’s still to come from the band and what are the aims for the future?
Our main goal has always just been to be a band for as long as we possibly can and to keep making albums and CD’s as that’s what we enjoy doing, writing songs and sharing it with people. I think our aim is to last for as long as we can and go to new places and get bigger all around the world, really. It’s the normal aims of a band our size and age, but I think we’ve got a really good and realistic chance of doing what we want. We’ve been lucky so far, hopefully that will continue and we get to do what we have always dreamed about.
Finally, for people who haven’t heard ‘You Me At Six’ before at Lancaster University, could you pick one of your songs for them to listen to that sums you up?
I’d probably say a track from the ‘Hold Me Down’ album, probably ‘Stay With Me’ or ‘Underdog’ as I think they’re the tracks that are easy to listen to. They’re catchy and they really shows what we are all about musically. They are also some of our previous singles and they both have nice big sing-a-long parts, always good for a first impression!
You Me At Six’s new album, Sinners Never Sleep, is released on October 3rd on Virgin Records. They’re playing at 53Degrees in Preston (only 10 minutes on the train from Lancaster) on the 8th of October.