Interview: You Me At Six’s Josh Franceschi
You Me At Six front man Josh Franceschi talks Gunnersville, that singles set list, new music and more.
You Me At Six are set to play their biggest headline show to date at Gunnersville on Sunday 8th September in Gunnersbury Park.
It’s going to be an epic day as YMA6 will be performing an exclusive two hour set playing their singles in chronological order. That’s not all as the band have also curated an incredible line up, featuring: Jimmy Eat World, Deaf Havana, Sundara Karma, The Maine, As It Is and Milk Teeth.
We caught up with front man Josh Franceschi to talk about how it feels to be playing Gunnersville, when you can expect to hear new music from the band and why you won’t be seeing him rapping the verses in ‘Rescue Me’ anytime soon.
How does it feel to be headlining the first Gunnersville in September?
Very exciting. When the original conversations came into play we were trying to figure out what we could do to bring something different to what all the other festivals were doing around the UK. We wanted to make sure we could put on a slightly different show… that’s where the singles being played in order came from.
We were trying to think of a different narrative that would make it special for our fans. It’s one of those ideas that got a little bit out of hand and actually happened, in the best way possible. I’m really looking forward to being part of it and to be sharing a stage with a band like Jimmy Eat World.
As you said you’re playing your singles in chronological order at Gunnersville. Looking back on your career, what’s your favourite single?
The ones that have had the biggest impact on our fanbase have usually been my favourites. A song like ‘Underdog’, I remember when that song came out and feeling like we’d gone from being this band that had a feeling and a shelf life and it’s going to be a one record, pop punk mistake, and when we put out that song everything flipped. It was our first top 40 single and stuff that wasn’t meant to happen to the band.I remember playing it for the first time live, it had only been out for a few weeks, it was just chaos
The reason why that song is one of my favourites is because it’s become one of our anthems. It doesn’t matter where we are in the world or how the show is going, we pull that one out and we know it’s going to be a good show.
When you shared the set list on Twitter some fans noticed ‘Rescue Me’ and ‘The Swarm’ were missing. Why were those songs left out?
We’ve spoken about this, ‘Rescue Me’ wasn’t really our song but it was at the same time. It was a collab we did with Chiddy Bang and we’ve never played it live and I don’t know if we’d know how to play it live. Unless somebody has a contact to get hold of Chiddy, I don’t know how we’d do it as I can’t be rapping his verses…that would be pretty tragic. I have the ability to be tragic as it is already on stage and I don’t need to add to that [laughs].
‘The Swarm’, I have brought that up a few times and everyone was like, ‘it wasn’t a single’ and I was like, ‘what do you mean it wasn’t a single?’. And, they said: ‘Well, we didn’t take it to radio, we didn’t make a music video for it, it wasn’t part of an album cycle, it was a song that we put out for Thorpe Park’. I kind of felt that as well, but the list is meant to be compiled of songs that have been released as a single…
You curated the line up for the day and have Jimmy Eat World, Deaf Havana, Sundara Karma, The Maine, As It Is, and Milk Teeth playing with you. Which band are you most looking forward to seeing on the day?
I’ve had more friends hit me up about this show than I have in a long time! It’s been, “aah, mate. Can’t believe Jimmy Eat World are playing, definitely gonna come down to this one”… Jimmy Eat World were a band that when we were in secondary school – along with the likes of Incubus, Brand New and Taking Back Sunday and stuff like that – they were a band we all just got and fell in love with and grew with them as the years went on…For them to be part of this is very exciting and I think we’re all looking forward to seeing them play.
We’re very good friends with Deaf Havana and we like The Maine – we like all the bands on the bill, obviously. As soon as we realised [the show] was happening it was like, ‘how can we have value for money and how can we do something where you’ve got on that bill the first top five bands could all play Brixton and above’. To get that for £35 is really cheap and it’s a nice end to festival season on a Sunday evening, rain or shine, it doesn’t matter as we’ve got the tent – I don’t see why people wouldn’t come down for it.
It’s going to be your biggest headline show to date, how does that feel?
We’ve done stuff like Wembley, the O2 and Ally Pally and that’s always been a trip, but there’s something about playing outside at nighttime. There’s something magical about it, we’re looking forward to it as it’s a different kind of atmosphere.
The challenge is going onstage after Jimmy Eat World and having to open our set with ‘Save It For The Bedroom’. It wouldn’t be the way I’d necessarily want to start the show, but we’ve got to show people why we’re headlining the festival.
What are your favourite memories from around the time of Take Of Your Colours?
Everything was constantly at a hundred miles an hour. If you hear the recording of the songs, it sounds like a band that were having to make a record in two weeks in a studio in Reading – it was a very quick affair…We were kids and we didn’t really know what we were doing, all we knew is that we wanted to not have to go to college or uni…It was an amazing time, recording it was great, and it set up an amazing relationship we had with Matt O’Grady and John Mitchell for ‘Hold Me Down’…
I only have fond memories of all of that…I think sometimes to know where it is you’re going to, you have to know where you’ve come from and what it all means and what relevance that plays. It was an interesting coincidence that our sixth record came out 10 years, pretty much to the day, since our first album came out – it felt like this weird full circle.
After releasing your fifth album, ‘Night People’, you were open in saying you were unhappy with the record. Now nearly a year on from releasing your last record ‘VI’, how do you feel about the record now?
On reflection there were a lot of cooks in the kitchen when it came to trying to put that record together. We’d never been A&R’ed before and we didn’t like it at all. At least we learnt a lesson from it which was, ‘there’s some cool songs on here, but moving forward we are just going to tell everyone to ‘go away’ politely and go back to what we’re good at doing, which is us five and a producer making a record and going, ‘here’s the album, take it or leave it’’.
That’s exactly what ‘VI’ was, reconnecting with joy, rediscovering the confidence and self-preservation that had left the building a little bit. It’s a very invigorating and important record…It’s a soundbite of where we were all at in our lives: life was good, the record was good and we had a great experience doing it.
Some songs on ‘VI’ I think have now positioned us so that, I’m not sure if people will actually know what sort of record they’ll get from You Me At Six this time around. That for us means we can be excited about the stuff we’re making, which is very different and feel like we can go off and do anything within reason.
You recently described the new music you’re working on as “emo as f**k”. What else can you say about the new music you’re working on? When can we expect a new album?
Album, I don’t know. I would like to think new music will be out a lot sooner than people think. Explain the ‘emo as f**k thing’, we’re collectively all going through a similar emotion in life. I think there’s no way it can be a positive record, when everyone’s feeling the way they are about the things they’ve got going on.
I’ve come to the conclusion that I like writing sad songs that are positive, if that makes sense, so I think that’s what we’ll be trying to achieve. Some songs are already written, they’re just floorfillers and are just crazy. We feel good about it, the problem we have in our band is that there’s five people who really like completely different music. That’s going to come across and we’re trying to mould it so it doesn’t sound like a car crash of genres.
This will probably be the record that will have the biggest jump in terms of songwriting and sonically, but at the same time from a selfish standpoint we have to do things that keep it interesting for us as musicians. You know when you watch a band onstage and you can tell they don’t care about being there? I never want to be in that situation. We’ve all made a deal that the moment we’re just going through the motions of making music and putting out records, because we have to for the sake of it, then we’re not doing it.
We shared a list of the Top 6 You Me At Six Videos. But, what’s your top You Me At Six video?
I can tell you the one that sucked the most was ‘Bite My Tongue’, because we were hanging upside down on these extended rope things for literally hours. If you went to the toilet, it was like a 20 minute procedure to take it all off and to tie you back in. It’s funny and looks really cool, so I’m maybe not too heartbroken about it.
It sounds really bad, the videos we used to enjoy the most would be the ones we did the less amount of work in it. And, then I really enjoyed the video for ‘3AM’ because that was unchartered waters for me. I’d never done any, I wouldn’t call it acting, but playing a role in a music video that wasn’t just singing into a microphone or performing.
I’d probably say ‘3AM’ and ‘Back Again’ was a lot of fun to do as well. ‘IOU’ isn’t a music video but it kind of is at the same time and that was cool. Every video on this last cycle was us doing something different that we haven’t done before – it’s good fun, it’s been a good time putting it all together…We like doing fun videos, because it’s basically us just pissing about for a few hours.
We’re serving Street Food at Gunnersville. You’re vegan, do you have a go to vegan dish?
If I was making it I would make my vegan spag bol and ain’t nobody touching it, it’s on another level.
What are your plans for the rest of the year?
We know we have to make a record, that’s the only thing, record somewhere at some point.