WORDS: ADAM HOPKIN, EVE SALES
“We don’t really care anymore,” reveals long time bassist for You Me At Six, Matt Barnes through a light-hearted chuckle that is as absent of care for prejudice, as it is honest; “If we like it we will put it out,” he continues. “We were expecting people to complain but you will always get those people online that will say, ‘why can’t you sound like your first album.” Recent single ‘What’s It Like’ has so far been well received but many have noted the drastic changes from earlier releases, with a heavy build up and drop and dark urban dance feel. When asked the reason behind the new feel, drummer Dan Flint explains, “because that was 11 years ago”.
“It doesn’t bother us if people say good or bad, we are doing something right,” interjects lead guitarist Chris Miller in reference to the bands monumental development since their time catering for the hordes of angsty pop punk teens. “Music changes and peoples taste changes and if they are still listening to pop punk all these years later then so be it, but we’re not. It’s a mash up of all the genres that our band really likes and what inspires us when we’re writing.”
Speaking at Leeds festival, the boys had already seen how the crowd were likely to take the new direction as Reading festival were lucky enough to be some of the first recipients. “We played it live and it was probably one of the best reactions we have had for a song in our whole career,” reveals Dan with clear elation for the reception the bands new music has received. “Considering it’s only been out a week and it’s the third time we have played it. Usually it takes people six months to get into it, but I think this one is really easy to grasp hold of and its fun.”
“If we like it we will put it out”
Recently returning from a huge run of dates commemorating the bands roots, the “Take Off Your Colours 10 year anniversary tour”, saw the Surrey five piece celebrate their breakout release in a spectacular wave of nostalgic performances, performing the fan favourite 13 track debut alongside close friends Marmozets and The Xcerts. Chris explains that this can make all the difference when touring. “If there are twenty people that you get on with, you can have a great time, rather than sitting in a dressing room ignoring each other.” Their material was combined into two shows in each city, with one night showcasing Take Off Your Colours in full, and the other playing a more regular mixed setlist, in relation to their most recent full-length release, 2018’s VI.
“It was good paying homage to it,” recalls Chris, “We like to embrace the fact that we did used to sound like that. Maybe some bands would be scared for going back, maybe it’s a little too nostalgic but, we just thought why not.”
There was notable differences to their usual arena shows, which they have become used to over the span of their eleven year career. At the special Take Off Your Colour shows, there was an older crowd that came for the nostalgia of an album that may have shaped an important part of their lives. “It was the fans that mainly made us want to do it, they wanted it so badly and kept making it clear to us. With the ten year anniversary, we just thought that we couldn’t not do it,” shares Matt. Chris agrees, “it’s a bit of a nod to them, to thank them for sticking around for so long and being part of this journey with us.” The group certainly owes a lot to their legions of fans as they continue to change and adapt to what the music industry throws at them. VI was welcome relief to both ‘sixers’ and the band themselves after previous album Night People failed to impress.
“I don’t regret anything we’ve done.”
“We got heavily into production ourselves in terms of the instrumentation and with VI we could delve even deeper into that” explains Dan. “We could take back creative control of the band, as we had other people playing keyboards and synths, but they didn’t know what we wanted.” Reception to VI in comparison to Night People could not have been more different and Chris believes this was because “we were energised and everyone was in a great place, I think the fans could tell that with the record, and that’s why it was received really well.” When asked about possible regrets, Matt claims, ‘I don’t regret anything we’ve done, we get really nervous as a band before big shows, especially playing Reading and Leeds, but other than that we’re normally fine.”
Coming to the end of festival season, the boys have just one remaining; the all new Gunnersville, where they are sharing the stage with some of the biggest names in pop rock. “We’re playing with Jimmy Eat World, who are one of my all time favourite bands so I’m pretty sure it’s going to be amazing,” Dan explains. The line up is completed with fellow British rockers Deaf Havana and Sundara Karma, along with emo heroes The Maine. They are doing this a bit differently with their longest ever setlist, a two-hour, chronological journey through every single they have released. “It’s called through the ages of You Me At Six,” Matt laughs. “We are turning it into a West End musical towards the end and have a costume change half way through.”
As soon as this memorable event is complete, the band are straight back into the studio to follow up with a new album next year, hopefully continuing the positive impact that ‘What’s It Like’ has created.
You Me At Six are playing at Gunnersville this Sunday 8th September. Tickets are available here.