Wonderland.

10 YEARS OF YOU ME AT SIX

The Surrey rock band on new beginnings, longevity and to another 10 years…

You Me At Six projector two

(LEFT and RIGHT) Chris: Blazer & trousers COS, t-shirt ALLSAINTS, shoes JOHN LAWRENCE SULLIVAN Matt: Blazer & trousers TAILOR MADE LONDON, shirt PS PAUL SMITH, shoes ALLSAINTS, watch OWN Max: Shirt and trousers MAI-GIDAH, shoes COS, sunglasses SAINT LAURENT Josh: Coat DSQUARED, t-shirt ALLSAINTS, trousers TOPMAN, shoes JOHN LAWRENCE SULLIVAN, jewellery OWN Dan: Top JOHN SMEDLEY, trousers and shoes COS

You Me At Six projector two
Chris: Blazer & trousers COS, t-shirt ALLSAINTS, shoes JOHN LAWRENCE SULLIVAN Matt: Blazer & trousers TAILOR MADE LONDON, shirt PS PAUL SMITH, shoes ALLSAINTS, watch OWN Max: Shirt and trousers MAI-GIDAH, shoes COS, sunglasses SAINT LAURENT Josh: Coat DSQUARED, t-shirt ALLSAINTS, trousers TOPMAN, shoes JOHN LAWRENCE SULLIVAN, jewellery OWN Dan: Top JOHN SMEDLEY, trousers and shoes COS

Ten years ago, an unassuming band from Surrey released their debut album, Take Off Your Colours – and the world was collectively captivated. High-energy, catchy and dance-spurring, with endlessly replayable bangers such as “Save It For The Bedroom” and “The Rumour”, You Me at Six swiftly filled an emo-pop gap in all our playlists – and oh, we were sold.

It’s now been a decade, and the band – made up of Josh Franceschi (lead vocals), Max Helyer (guitars), Chris Miller (lead guitar), Matt Barnes (bass guitar) and Dan Flint (drums) – are still going strong, with six albums tucked firmly under their belts.

You Me At Six smile

(LEFT and RIGHT) Max: Jacket PRONOUNCE, t-shirt ALLSAINTS, trousers MAI-GIDAH Matt: Coat 3.1 PHILLIP LIM AT LAYERS LONDON, t-shirt OWN, trousers COS Josh: Jacket DSQUARED, trousers TOPMAN, jewellery OWN
Dan: Jacket BLOOD BROTHER, t-shirt ALLSAINTS, trousers TOPMAN Chris: Top ARCHIVIO J.M. RIBOT AT LAYERS LONDON, trousers PREVU

You Me At Six smile
Max: Jacket PRONOUNCE, t-shirt ALLSAINTS, trousers MAI-GIDAH Matt: Coat 3.1 PHILLIP LIM AT LAYERS LONDON, t-shirt OWN, trousers COS Josh: Jacket DSQUARED, trousers TOPMAN, jewellery OWN

But there’s been a distinctive shift, and we’re not just talking aesthetically. Yes, the band’s signature sweeping mops of hair are gone (I mean, we all lived through the noughties), and they’ve swapped neon graphic tees for sharper, cleaner garms. But they are no longer bound by genre, now instead subtly reformed with a grown-up, nuanced sound – confidently exploring the boundaries of their brand of rock, with tighter compositions. But that high-energy good-times vibe is still very much there, and their fans have gone absolutely nowhere.

With the 10-year anniversary of their debut album, plus today’s release of their sixth album, VI, as well as a sold-out November/December tour (which will appease fans with their heavily-requested first album material), we sat down with drummer Dan Flint to chat about beginnings, longevity and to another 10 years…

It’s been 10 years since the release of your debut album, and here you are at your sixth album – how does it feel?
It doesn’t feel like it’s been a decade at all. We’ve had a lot of fun. We never set out to start a band or release our first record, so we didn’t even presume we’d get to six albums. It’s amazing we get to do this as a job: travel round the world, meet lots of new people, play shows and make music for a living. Longevity has always been the thing that’s been most important to us. So to be here 10 years later and on the 6th record is incredible. Couldn’t be happier.

10 years means you guys are doing something right – what do you think is the secret?
I think most importantly, we started out not to make money, but because we wanted to play music. As long you’re having fun at the start that’s all that really matters and that’s an ethos we’ve kept throughout the whole entire campaign and our careers. We have to enjoy ourselves or else why would we want to do it? It’s a lot of time that you spend away from your friends and family, so having fun and enjoying yourselves is the most important thing. You’ve also got to be keen to evolve and learn, and remember that you’re never a master of your craft. You’ve always got to be open to what else is going on around you and what you could be influenced by, and other types of music. I don’t think you can ever be narrow-minded, like we’re a rock band let’s write rock music – we just want to be good songwriters. I don’t want to be Dan the drummer, I want to be Dan the songwriter, Dan the musician. That’s what we’ve kind of learnt over the years.

You Me At Six colour
You Me At Six group black and white

(LEFT and RIGHT) Chris: Top ARCHIVIO J.M. RIBOT AT LAYERS LONDON, trousers PREVU Matt: Blazer & trousers TAILOR MADE LONDON, shirt PS PAUL SMITH, shoes ALLSAINTS, watch OWN Josh: Coat DSQUARED, t-shirt ALLSAINTS, trousers TOPMAN, shoes JOHN LAWRENCE SULLIVAN, jewellery OWN Max: Shirt and trousers MAI-GIDAH, shoes COS, sunglasses SAINT LAURENT Dan: Top JOHN SMEDLEY, trousers and shoes COS

You Me At Six colour
Chris: Top ARCHIVIO J.M. RIBOT AT LAYERS LONDON, trousers PREVU Matt: Blazer & trousers TAILOR MADE LONDON, shirt PS PAUL SMITH, shoes ALLSAINTS, watch OWN Josh: Coat DSQUARED, t-shirt ALLSAINTS, trousers TOPMAN, shoes JOHN LAWRENCE SULLIVAN, jewellery OWN Max: Shirt and trousers MAI-GIDAH, shoes COS, sunglasses SAINT LAURENT Dan: Top JOHN SMEDLEY, trousers and shoes COS
You Me At Six group black and white

You’ve sold out your Nov/Dec tour – do you guys still love the buzz of touring?
Things obviously change as you get older, like more comforts now, but it’s pretty similar to how we used to tour. When we were first starting out 10 years ago, we didn’t have buses, so we were going round in a van, sleeping in the van and sleeping at fans houses after shows. At the end of shows, we’d be in the middle of nowhere and couldn’t afford a hotel, so we’d ask ‘is there anyone that can put us up for the night?’ We’d kip on the sofa, use the shower and leave in the morning. Now we’ve got hotels and tour buses and things like that. We fully appreciate so much how the fans have stuck by us and how we’ve filled up a UK tour so far in advance. They’re not only excited to hear the new album and but also hear us play an album that’s 10 years old. It’s something that they wanted so we gave it to them really.

And it’s to celebrate your first album, do you think you’ll find it weird to go back to that and perform all your old songs?
Definitely in terms of touring in the last couple of years we wanted to focus on moving forward, and didn’t want to look back too much. You can always end up staying in those kind of stagnant places if you always keep looking back and relying on old music, but you also have to pay homage to it as well. But as I said, this was something that the fans really wanted to hear and I don’t think they would have allowed us to not do it. We’re enjoying the nostalgia and it takes you back to moments in your life that you’ve previously forgotten, but it’s definitely a different style of playing. I sat down yesterday and played drums to it and thought oh god it’s so different to how I actually play now, it’s like relearning something I don’t really do anymore. It will be a good talking point, and people will get it out of their systems. And we’ll move on from there and look forward to the future.

Going on to the new album, what do you think the biggest changes in your sound have been?
I think every single one of our albums are quite different. When I go back and listen to them, they’re almost representative of what we’re listening to, what we were doing and how we were feeling at the time. We struggled with our last album, Night People, just at the business end of it, and if anything it brought us five closer together as a pack of friends. This time, our our main focus was to write something that was positive, something that almost gave you a Friday night feeling, real good high energy, that people would want to get up and dance to, or sing along to. And that’s where we got “Back Again” and “3AM” from – they’re Friday-night-feeling songs. And even “Fast Forward” – although it’s a bit more angsty, it’s still got a positive message to it, it’s saying even when we’re down we light it up again and throw some gasoline on it and pick ourselves up. Don’t wallow in self-pity.

For the first time, the album is co-produced by you guys – what made this decision come about?
I would never want to take the credit away from [producer] Dan Austin. He is unbelievable to work with, I’ve never met anyone so hard-working and the pure sonics are unbelievable. This is the first time we’ve had extra instrumentation come in, we’ve even got a couple of songs in there that feel a bit hip hop, dance and have a kind of euphoria feeling to it. It’s something that we ourselves built, so the production elements to the track have come from us. In the past when we had an idea, we would tell someone else \we want it to sound a little bit like this’, but this time it was more I would go into the studio and actually be finding these sounds, giving them to the producer. We were so much involved in the production and in the producing side of it.

You Me At Six long shot

(LEFT and RIGHT) Matt: Coat 3.1 PHILLIP LIM AT LAYERS LONDON, t-shirt OWN, trousers COS Chris: Top ARCHIVIO J.M. RIBOT AT LAYERS LONDON, trousers PREVU Josh: Jacket DSQUARED, trousers TOPMAN, jewellery OWN Dan: Jacket BLOOD BROTHER, t-shirt ALLSAINTS, trousers TOPMAN Max: Jacket PRONOUNCE, t-shirt ALLSAINTS, trousers MAI-GIDAH

You Me At Six long shot
Matt: Coat 3.1 PHILLIP LIM AT LAYERS LONDON, t-shirt OWN, trousers COS Chris: Top ARCHIVIO J.M. RIBOT AT LAYERS LONDON, trousers PREVU Josh: Jacket DSQUARED, trousers TOPMAN, jewellery OWN Dan: Jacket BLOOD BROTHER, t-shirt ALLSAINTS, trousers TOPMAN Max: Jacket PRONOUNCE, t-shirt ALLSAINTS, trousers MAI-GIDAH

It sounds like the album is something you’re all very proud of…
Yeah definitely, this is the longest time we’d be spending in the studio, all five of us, from 8 till 12pm or 2 in the morning sometimes. We would be in there working at it and knowing every single detail about the record. Often you might turn up, do you bits and leave the studio, but this is something that we really jumped headfirst into. And we didn’t leave any stone unturned really…

What feedback have you had from friend’s and family so far?
People have really enjoyed it! They can tell we’re more involved with what’s going on. And people complimenting on not only the sonics, but also that our songwriting seems to be improving hell of a lot. So there’s ben nothing but positive feedback so far and we’re excited for everyone out there to wrap their ears around it.

You Me At Six lineup

(LEFT and RIGHT) Chris: Top ARCHIVIO J.M. RIBOT AT LAYERS LONDON, trousers PREVU Matt: Blazer & trousers TAILOR MADE LONDON, shirt PS PAUL SMITH, shoes ALLSAINTS, watch OWN Josh: Coat DSQUARED, t-shirt ALLSAINTS, trousers TOPMAN, shoes JOHN LAWRENCE SULLIVAN, jewellery OWN Max: Shirt and trousers MAI-GIDAH, shoes COS, sunglasses SAINT LAURENT Dan: Top JOHN SMEDLEY, trousers and shoes COS

You Me At Six lineup
Chris: Top ARCHIVIO J.M. RIBOT AT LAYERS LONDON, trousers PREVU Matt: Blazer & trousers TAILOR MADE LONDON, shirt PS PAUL SMITH, shoes ALLSAINTS, watch OWN Josh: Coat DSQUARED, t-shirt ALLSAINTS, trousers TOPMAN, shoes JOHN LAWRENCE SULLIVAN, jewellery OWN Max: Shirt and trousers MAI-GIDAH, shoes COS, sunglasses SAINT LAURENT Dan: Top JOHN SMEDLEY, trousers and shoes COS

How do you think the public’s perception of rock music has changed from when you guys were first starting out?
Rock music seems to be about 10 years behind. A lot of bands still want to do an album cycle and then go away for a couple of years and write a record. That doesn’t really work nowadays, the whole concept of an album is kind of dead. The way that people are consuming music is track by track and it might be little EPs or even if it’s little and often it’s better than coming out with an album every three or four years – it would be list. There probably are bands that can get away with that, but for the majority of us that needs to change, reacting the things around us. I mean look at Drake one of the biggest artists in the world, I mean he has a song out every 5 minutes of the day. You’re never given a chance to forget about him. He’s on everything. I think that’s what’s been left behind.

10 years down. Do you see another 10 on the horizon?
As long as we’re still having fun doing it, I don’t see why not. We’re just getting into our stride in terms of songwriting and production, and we’ve got more crazy ideas and other directions we want to go in. We don’t want to be boring or do anything safe, we realised we really can take a risk and do whatever we feel like doing. I imagine it’s going to start becoming even more intense. Who knows, we might even put some dub step out or some drum and bass. Who knows? We’ll do whatever feels good to us, I think that’s what will make it not only exciting to us but also the fans and then hopefully we’ll be around for another 10 years. We’ll certainly give it a go because we enjoy doing it.

Photography
Lewis Vorn
Stylist
Mekel Bailey & Joseph Crone
Grooming
Sophie King using Laura Mercier, Bumble and Bumble
Grooming assistant
Lucy Matthews
Words
Maybelle Morgan
10 YEARS OF YOU ME AT SIX

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