BestFan blogger Sharon Bhella got to catch up with Josh Franceschi of the British band You Me At Six before their Toronto show. Read the interview here!
Sharon: Thanks so much for meeting with me today Josh!
Josh: No worries.
Sharon: So you guys are on your Canadian/US tour right now and played a sold out show in Vancouver. What was that like?
Josh: Its been wicked. Yeah this has been our second US and Canada tour but it’s the most Canadian tour dates we’ve done, so that’s been cool. In Vancouver, it was kinda weird cause it was like a movie theatre where we played, it wasn’t like an actual venue it was like a cinema with the seats in there as well so that was strange but yeah it was cool. I was surprised that it sold out and it was really nice to be sort of on stage and playing some great shows over here.
Sharon: Do you have any favourite spots in Toronto, have you guys had a chance to walk around and explore?
Josh: We’ve been a few times to this place called Sneaky Dees, which I think everybody goes to at some point. We went for some food there just yesterday, which was lovely. And to be honest, we’ve been busy with band stuff, we haven’t really had any time to just chill out or go anywhere.
Sharon: Yeah, that’s cool you guys got to go to Sneaky Dees! So Cavalier Youth came out in January of this year, and it’s your fourth full-length album. What would you say you guys are the most proud of for this album? And what do you want your fans to take away from that album?
Josh: I guess professionally were probably the most proud that it went to number one in England. That was a goal that we thought was kind of realistic we wanted to make the record, it was only after we made the record that everybody on the team was like “we have to make this go to number one” basically. But it wasn’t until it actually went to number one that we were like “oh wow we’ve actually achieved what we wanted to achieve with this”. And in terms of what I hope that people take away from it, it would be that if it’s not their favourite UMusic’s record, it will become that soon. I think that it’s the best record we’ve put out, mainly because I feel that its us sort of really finding our identity and our sound within our band and that does take time. For us because we put out our first record when we were so young, like 17-18, and in England we were already playing for around 3500 people a night, we were sort of like “alright do we know what we are doing? No? Lets go with it anyway.” And so we were making records off of that with people already having an opinion rather than being able to find our sound and then put out our first record.
Sharon: Yeah and you guys have been together in a band for almost 10 years now?
Josh: Yes, it’s 10 years next October.
Sharon: That’s crazy! How have you found that your musical influences and goals as a band have changed over the years?
Josh: Umm. Goals have always changed honestly by monthly basis depending on what we’ve just achieved or what we haven’t achieved will then determine our next milestone that we want to get. And, you know we’ve always been very ambitious. It’s not really a thing of measuring success in how famous you get or how many records you sell. It’s about things that meant something to us to do. So for example, to play a night time slot on the main stage of Reading and Leeds has always been one of our things. And this past year we got close to doing that by playing third from top. So it was sunset, not dark. So next time we play it we want to be second from top on the main stage, or headline it or else we won’t do it basically. Were trying to piece all the things together to see how we’ll get there. You know, before we headlined Wembley Arena, it was all about “Can we get to an arena? Can we headline Wembley Arena?” It was the place where we went and saw all our first shows, and that meant a lot to us so to do that was again something that had been planned out for a while and it meant a lot for us to do. Now I can’t figure out what was the second half of your question. Sorry what was it again?
Sharon: That’s okay! It was musical influences…how have they changed?
Josh: Musical influences that was it, sorry! Umm, musical influences have changed since we were younger because it was all about emulating most of the sounds of our favourite bands. Or at least with the first record definitely, second record not so much. And those influences have changed massively now because those people at the time that we looked up to are either our friends now or bands that were in the same sort of circle with. And you don’t want to make the same record that Fall Out Boy just made because Fall Out Boy just made that record and they’ve already smashed it. So why would you want to go and make that same record? And same with Paramore, same with Blink, same with Foo Fighters, whatever. So our influences now are very much like different genres of music. And we’ve always had a pretty eclectic taste in music.
But for me, I listen to a lot of hip hop. I listen to a lot of sort of old school music like The Police and Fleetwood Mac. And I’ve finally this year, well last year, fell in love with Arctic Monkeys. I never really cared for them that much and I heard AM and I was like, “Wow this is a band I need to know about”. And its only after falling in love with that record that I fell in love with the whole back catalog. So everybody else has been enjoying them for the last 7-8 years, and I’ve just been like whatever and now I’m like “oh sweet, that’s why they should have been my favourite band.” Umm yeah that’s probably something that I listen to quite a lot.
Sharon: Haha cool. Now if you could go on tour with any band or artist, who would it be?
Josh: Umm. Probably go for Bob Marley, The Beatles, with all four of them kicking about, and The Police.
Sharon: And youre going on tour with All Time Low coming up. Are you guys excited about that?
Josh: Yeah, we’re doing a co-headling in England. It’s the first time that either one of our bands is doing like a more than a one off date in an arena in England so it’s a big thing. They’re very good friends of ours and they took us out on the Spring Fever tour with Pierce the Veil in America. That was a really great tour, and we’ve been friends with them ever since really. Im really looking forward to that tour. To be honest, I think especially in England because I don’t believe that the fans in England actually get the same sort of tours that they get in America or Canada. I find that you very rarely get two big bands joining forces for a tour and I thought, its when I saw the Fall Out Boy and Paramore tour that I remember talking to Alex about it and being like, “Dude, if Fall Out Boy and Paramore can make it work logistically, financially and all those other things that might deter bands from making it happen then You Me At Six and All Time Low can make it happen. And it will be the tour of the year.”
People who like that music and have grown up listening to those bands are gonna flip out and sell 35 000 tickets in the first day. So people were pumped, and it will be great. And I’m really glad because I remember when I was growing up I’d always be looking around online at bands I liked at the time like The Early November, Hidden in Plain View, The Starting Line all doing the Drive Thru Records tour together and I’d be like “why is that not coming to England?” and then when the English one would come over it would be bands like Allister, The Movielife, Fenix TX. Then I’d be like “their okay but they’re not those guys.” So I’m glad that we’ve done it. I think its actually really something for our fans to really get their teeth into.
Sharon: That’s true, it sounds exciting! Do you guys still get nervous at all when you play these big tours? Is there like a ritual you guys have to kind of keep calm before you go on stage?
Josh: To be honest I personally don’t get nervous anymore. Mainly because I realized that it was just me creating another hurdle for myself to actually perform the way I want to perform. So if you can eliminate that, then you can actually give your best. Sometimes nerves can be good I suppose but you’ve got to be able to enjoy it, and I don’t know how you can enjoy something if you’re worried about it the whole time you’re doing it. So I don’t get nervous, but I do get these sort of good vibrations, like I get a good buzz from doing it. And you know the stage, and being in the band is what we’ve always wanted to do so we’re lucky that we get to do it.
Sharon: Do you have any advice for other young artists that are starting out in a band?
Josh: Yeah. Actually my advice might sound quite cynical but I would keep it really basic. Do what all of your favourite bands have grown up doing. I think the problem we’ve got now is there’s a generation of bands coming through now where its all about how many Instagram followers and Twitter followers can we have before we’ve written our first song. How much money can we get to pay for our in-ear racks and ego rising stage before they’ve even written a song. And they’re worried about their photoshoot before they’ve written a song. There’s something that Dave Grohl said which I think remains sort of poignant and that’s – you’re meant to suck for a long time. You’re meant to make a lot of loud, out of tune, bad noises in a rehearsal space or garage or your bedroom before the world hears what you should be doing. I know there’s the platform of youtube and that’s great but first and foremost it should be about having fun with your mates. I worry for a lot of bands that I meet. I meet a lot of great kids who give me their CD’s and I listen to them and their demos. For the most part, I can see what they’re trying to do and where they’re trying to go with it, but I feel worried that there’s a generation of bands coming through that I don’t think really even know why they want to be in a band to be honest. It’s certainly not because they like music, that’s for sure, because the music they’re making is dreadful. So it can’t be that they like listening to their own music.
So my advice would be to keep it simple, have fun with it, and let it be something organic. If you’re band is meant to be the next Foo Fighters, you will be the next Foo Fighters. But first of all enjoy that stage of really being shit, and just having fun with your friends. Because at some point in your life it’s not gonna be acceptable anymore, being shit won’t be acceptable. And you’ll have to be really good and you will be on in ears and you will be playing with all this pressure on you. Then that’s when you take it a little bit more seriously. But until then it should be about having fun, and a form of expression. I hope that doesn’t get lost in all the wishy washy bullshit that happens these days. So that would be my advice to them.
Sharon: Okay my last question for you is kind of our traditional BestFan question and that is, what are you a best fan of?
Josh: Probably Arsenal Football Club is my main passion other than my friends, family and girlfriend. My dad’s a season ticket holder, and when I’m at home, I go to every home game. I’ve only been to one away game when I was younger and we lost 6 to 1, so that maybe scarred me for life. When I was eleven I saw that and I think it was like a nine or ten hour round trip to Manchester, to watch the team get smashed, so that wasn’t really the dream. I think of most people in life will be a fan of music or sports or art and yeah for me football was that other thing that really fills my time. Its something that maybe I take a bit too seriously but I think if you’re gonna do something you might aswell do it whole heartedly. So I jumped right in on the football.
Sharon: Haha awesome! Well thanks so much for meeting with me and I’ll be seeing your show tonight!
Josh: Pleasure. Thanks a lot for your time!
Check out the bands video for “Room To Breathe” below!