Interview: You Me At Six’s Josh Franceschi on conquering America, moving beyond pop-punk

January 22, 2012 by Tom Goodwyn

Interview: You Me At Six’s Josh Franceschi on conquering America, moving beyond pop-punk

You Me At Six begin their co-headlining run with the Swellers this  Tuesday, January 24, in Cleveland, after an outstanding three months in their U.K. homeland. Their third album Sinners Never Sleep, which they recorded in Los Angeles with Garth Richardson, preceded a sold-out tour and narrowly missed out on the No. 1 spot on the U.K. album chart. Coincidentally, Sinners Never Sleep drops on January 24 in the U.S.—and, to celebrate, You Me At Six have brought two of the U.K.'s fast-rising rock bands, Twin Atlantic and We Are The Ocean, to keep them and the Swellers company. Frontman Josh Franceschi spoke from his home in London and told AP about the band's hopes for the tour, leaving their pop-punk roots behind and how he'd love to make his own version of Brand New's The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me  the next time around.

The tour is You Me At Six, the Swellers, Twin Atlantic and We Are The Ocean, so it's kind of a British invasion, aside from the Swellers.
Yeah definitely. That was a completely conscious decision. We went through the tour submissions from other bands, but we decided that we wanted to tour with our friends. I'm a huge fan of Twin Atlantic, I can't wait to play live with them, and we've toured with We Are The Ocean a few times, it's going to be great to go over with them.

Your new album, Sinners Never Sleep, is out this Tuesday in the U.S. whereas it's already out in Europe. Did the decision to stagger the release come from you or the label?
It's quite commonplace, really. There aren't many bands who do a simultaneous worldwide release. We figured it out with our label, and they wanted more time to set up the record and said that meant that they could do it more justice.

Have you been pleased with the response to the record in the U.K.?
We toured almost straight away after the record came out and we didn't play too many new songs. We haven't even let our U.K. fans warm to the songs really, but even the response on that tour to the new ones was absolutely ridiculous, so we definitely feel good about playing the new songs live.

Is the set an even split between that and the older ones now?

We're playing a healthy amount of both. Roughly even between Hold Me Down and Sinners Never Sleep and then maybe one or two from Take Off Your Colours.

Sinners Never Sleep is much more of a rock record than your others. Do you think it's opened you up to a whole new fan base?
With Sinners, we deliberately put the heavier songs on the record as the focal point. We wanted to put out “Bite My Tongue,” partly because of the documentary, but also it's one of our favorite songs on the record. I don't think it's a drastically rockier record—I mean, you've got “Crash” and “Nobody Does It Better,” which are pretty chilled-out and more in the vein of bands like Snow Patrol and Coldplay. But with tracks like “Bite My Tongue” I think we've definitely appealed to a heavier crowd, and I think that will definitely help to expand our fanbase, which we really wanted to do with this record.

Traditionally, you've more been seen as a pop-punk band, and you've certainly spent your early years touring with pop-punk bands. Is that a world you still feel part of?
I feel like pop-punk was our first love; it's what we all loved growing up and it'll always have a place within us. But I don't really feel like it's our territory anymore, I feel like we've stepped away from that. We're trying different things, trying to move forward. It's not that we don't be part of it, I just don't think we belong with the U.K.'s pop punk scene.

You've talked in the past about how much respect you've got for the way Bring Me The Horizon have gone about breaking America. Are you looking to emulate that?
Of course. I've also got a lot of respect for Asking Alexandria and what they've done, for a British band to decide that they want to crack America before anywhere was a huge thing to do. Regardless of whether you like a band or not—and Asking Alexandria rub people up the wrong way sometimes—if someone's done something unprecedented like they have, you've got to respect it. Them and Horizon are the two U.K. bands we look at and say, “If they can do it, maybe we can.” Saying that, we're not working ourselves up too much. We're in a good place everywhere in the world; we can play anywhere and get a few hundred kids to come out. We don't want to sound greedy and say that we want more and more, but there's a streak within our band that just wants to keep achieving while we can. We're satisfied, but never completely satisfied.

With all your touring plans, is new material the last thing on your minds?
I wouldn't say it was the last thing, but Sinners Never Sleep is still so fresh for us, we feel like we want to do at least another year on this record; we don't really want to be writing. This time next year, we'll mostly likely be sitting down to plan where we want to take the band next.

Do you and Max [Heyler, guitarist] write on tour?
Me and Max have been doing some writing, and it's interesting stuff. But whether it's similar for You Me At Six, I'm not sure. It's something we need to discuss, plus we need to be focused on Sinners Never Sleep. Although there have been some developments in the last few weeks that could see us in the studio soon, but things may not work out with that.

Can you say any more about that?
Not at the moment, no, sorry.

You're shooting a video when you get to the States. What's that going to be for?
I'm not sure. I'm not being coy, I actually missed the meeting where that got discussed. I think we're all on the same page, the director who did our last video has written two or three treatments for songs from the album. I think, having done two heavier songs, I think we need to show a different light to Sinners Never Sleep and release one of the more chilled out ones. I'm thinking it'll be “Nobody Does It Better” or “Crash,” but we'll have to see.

Finally, who would you most love to tour with?
Everyone in You Me At Six would to tour with Jimmy Eat World, Brand New or Foo Fighters, but I can't see any of that happening right now. Brand New was the soundtrack to my adolescence. As that band's grown, so has my taste in music, so that'd be really cool. I've heard a few people say that Sinners Never Sleep is their favorite record of ours. That they really liked Take Off Your Colours because it was really pop-punky and tongue-in-cheek and that was what they liked then—and then they got older and into Hold Me Down, and then they got older and they can relate to Sinners Never Sleep. That's the best bit about music for me.

Well, if you're going to follow Brand New's curve, you need to make a very heavy and bleak fourth album.
I don't know. I still think we need to do our attempt at The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me; I don't think we've got our music to that level yet. That's by far my favorite record by them, I'd love to do a really chilled-out record like that. alt

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tour dates interview you me at six the swellers josh franceschi

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