How’s the tour going?
It’s going really well, it feels good to go and play shows again because its been 18 months since we properly toured. The arena tour with All Time Low in February was our last proper tour so its been a while since we’ve been out and played shows. It’s been really good fun.
What have you been doing in your eighteen month break?
We’d had ten years of the band and then we all started moving out of home as we were 26ish and thought we would take our time and not rush back into it. After 10 years it wasn’t like we had fallen out of love with it but we needed to find the fire in our bellies again so we went away. I built a studio at my house (it’s sick) so we wrote at mine. Three or four times a week we would write, it would be so relaxed and we’d have BBQs in the Summer. We were writing 40, 50, 60 songs – some of them didn’t even sound like YMAS obviously but we might use them for something else. We took our time to do it really.
Then we went up to Blackburn studios in Nashville with Jacquire King to record the album, we did that in two stints. We spent a good 3 months in Nashville and recorded it all, it got mixed and mastered and now we are here!
How do you feel looking back on the 10 years you’ve been a band and all you have achieved?
It’s been a blur! We grew up doing it, we were 16 or 17- we went through all of our adolescent period getting really into it, into our early twenties where you are figuring out who you are as a person on the road, all together in each other’s pockets. Its been a crazy crazy time but what a ride. We’ve headlined some of the biggest venues in the UK and travelled around the world multiple times. Its been absolutely incredible.
You’ve been to Sheffield quite a few times over the years.
We’ve done this venue [o2 Academy] before. We’ve supported another band here and then done it ourselves. We’ve done the Leadmill and the smaller ones as well. We’ve climbed our way through the ranks.
The Leadmill is one venue you’ve got to do in Sheffield!
Yeah we wanted to tick that off the list! Then we did give it a name when it was on about nine years ago at the Sheffield arena we didn’t even have an album out, we just had a couple of songs on Myspace that’s how long we’ve been coming to Sheffield for!
You Me At Six must have done the majority of UK festivals by now?
We’ve done the majority! We haven’t done Glastonbury but that’s one we would like to do! We played Isle of Wight and that was probably the best festival we’ve done because we weren’t expecting to have a good show, I don’t know why. Reading is the one we grew up going to…
You’re like regulars there aren’t you?!
Yeah we are like regulars, we love it! That feels like we are coming home so its always amazing. But we were blown away by Isle of Wight we were playing with bands like the Black Keys and the Prodigy and things like that so we were thinking, ah we don’t know how well we are going to go down here. And the day after us Pharrell Williams had our slot so we were like, crap we’ve got big shoes here, but we were blown away by the crowd. It was pouring down with rain but everyone just went nuts! Our families stayed for the whole weekend and got to watch Fleetwood Mac. The whole experience of the whole weekend was just so incredible.
Isle of Wight is more of a mixed crowd. Do you find a student city easier to play?
You know a little bit more what to expect from that crowd. When we played Leeds the other night it was crazy, and that’s because you know all the people have gone back to uni and thought ‘right, let’s have a good night tonight’ and you can feel that in the air when you hit those kind of towns, and I’m probably feeling it’ll be the same tonight!
Leeds was up there. Leeds and Nottingham have been the best shows so far. With Nottingham, you’ve got the massive universities there. So when you go to the university towns they just kill it.
Is there a difference between playing in the North and the South?
Definitely different to play. The northerners are way more mental usually. Sometimes the southerners are abit more reserved and cooler. Especially in London they’re like ‘yeah we get loads of shows in London’ whereas everyone just seems to throw everything at it when you’re up north. No inhibitions, let’s just go for it!
There’s a lot of smaller, local festivals now which have become quite popular. Do you think You Me At Six would ever play any of those?
We were talking to our agent before and there’s all these smaller festivals that really big artists are doing now like Catfish and Dizzee, so that could be our next summer hopefully.
It would be great to see you in Sheffield!
Yeah that would be cool!
Your new album is out in January, which you recorded in Nashville. Did you do a lot of stuff over there?
It was because of the producer Jacquire King, he’s the one of did the record ‘Sex on Fire’ on Only By The Night by Kings of Leon. To be able to go to the same place where all these artists have been… Pharell was in there the week before us and Stevie Wonder was coming in the week after, Lionel Richie has been there, all of the biggest country artists. It’s probably in the top 5 best studios in the world and the equipment they’ve got – some of their drum kits are like old Beatles kits from the 60s and things like that, it was just ridiculous! The coolest gear, the coolest rooms, the best sound and then you get to work with one of the best producers in the world. That’s why we were like ‘let’s go to Nashville. He works out there, he wants to do it there – let’s go to Nashville’.
Plus, if you were to do a record in the UK, people would always be popping home for friends’ birthdays whereas if you go to Nashville you get engrossed in the whole music scene and you’re like ‘we’re here to make this record’ and that’s what you do.
The sound of it is ridiculous, it’s really good. Everyone’s always going to say that about their album to be fair but it is!
What did you use as your inspiration after the break you took?
We used some new music but mostly old. To be fair we were listening to the new Arctic Monkeys stuff anyway – I honestly think AM is the best record of the last 10 years, maybe longer. I honestly think it’s that good. I think it’s genius – lyrically, melodically, everything. It’s just incredible! Obviously things like that do have an effect on us. We were actually listening to quite a lot of older stuff like Black Sabbath, and things like that.
We wanted to bring a rock and roll, grunge element to our band but then almost bring it up to date and have the YMAS effect on it, that was where the whole Night People thing comes from- you’ve got the riff a bit slower and sludgier and head-boppy. But mostly we listen to hip hop as well so that’s why there’s sample drums in there and you’ve got the tempo, beat and groove. We tried not to focus too much on other bands and genres and what other people were doing but naturally at the time we were listening to old school rock and hip hop so that’s where that came from.
How about your fans? What kind of gifts do they give you? All Time Low have bras thrown at them. Does anything like that happen to you?
I remember the first time we toured with them and there were hundreds of bras thrown at them and I’m like ‘aren’t you guys like thirty years old now?’ We used to get a lot of gifts, people like to bake you cakes with your face on and stuff, especially if its someone’s birthday you get treated really well but we haven’t really had anything on this tour yet.
Where we took 2 years out to write we’ve noticed that we’ve come back and it seems like everyone has grown up. We look into the crowd and we’re like, ‘this isn’t the YMAS crowd!’ It’s the same people but they’re just slightly older now and obviously don’t want to make us cakes anymore!!
What about crazy fan girls? There are already some people queueing outside for tonight!
People like to be at the front, I don’t like to call them crazy but they are definitely excited and dedicated!
And how does that make you feel?
Amazing, like a god! Someone asked me what does it feel like to play a show where you’re sat at the drums and I said I feel like the captain of the ship. I’ve got this big raised platform and I don’t actually have to move around I can be like ‘yes all you minions, man the deck!’
Do you always try to put YMAS from first 4 albums onto your music?
You know what? We don’t. When us 5 play together it just happens naturally. When you’ve been playing for 10 years and written as many songs as we have together it just happens. I know what each of them are going to do. The same 5 people always playing their instruments together is always going to sound like YMAS.
Has that always been the approach you’ve taken as a band?
We just jam, sometimes we just have no idea and we just play until someone goes ‘oh that was really cool play that riff’ or someone might come in and have written something at home and we go from there.
To be honest the first 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, songs we are just like ‘no’ but we are getting into it, into a routine of starting to write and feel. And then there’ll be one song that comes out, and that was Night People, and we are like ‘okay this is the direction we are like, ‘let’s evolve this sound and this feeling’.
Good luck with your show tonight!
Cheers, can’t wait to play the Steel City again!