YOU ME AT SIX are one of the leading forces in the pop-punk world. Their fifth LP, Night People, is released in January and to promote it, the band headed on an intimate tour around the UK to plug some new hits, which, according to bassist Matt Barnes, have: “Been going down better than some of the old songs. Night People especially.”
“We haven’t been on tour for so long so it is good to be back out on the road. This is what we love,” Barnes says passionately. Alongside Barnes is guitarist Max Heyler. Reinforcing what Barnes said, he chips in with: “It has been nice to be out of the limelight for a little bit, but we are back, we are ready and the reaction has been really good considering we have been away for a year and a half.”
Although You Me At Six (YMAS) have toured the world endless times, they still care for the small things in life. When I first arrive in their dressing room ahead of their show, they are unpacking food from their rider and putting the Cadbury buttons into the fridge. “You can’t have chocolate like this. It has to be solid,” explains Heyler. Their room is cramped, but they don’t see stripping back to the intimate shows a bad thing. “We have come back to smaller venues because what better way to reignite the flame than to go and see some of your favourite bands in tiny venues.
“They are some of the best gigs you will ever go to. You are not watching them on a screen – you are 20 feet away,” Heyler expresses. “I think you can tell that we are having fun on stage as well and that we and the people coming out to see us are having a good time.”
Barnes is adamant, though, that these small shows aren’t an excuse to overload the setlist with material that no one has heard, but it is an opportunity for a first listen of what is to come. “The new songs have been going down better than some of the old ones. Literally is goes bloody mental.” Heyler adds: “We are not here to reminisce and play everything from the past ten years. We have chosen a set that goes with where the band are going right now. There are songs that we haven’t played for five years or maybe ever.”
While on the subject of reminiscing, I mention that YMAS last played in the North East five years ago and it is a show that they remember well. “We can always remember those golden barriers at either side of the stage,” laughs Barnes. “I think we were with Lower Than Atlantis on that show. We got rather boozy and ended up at some after show.” It wouldn’t be a Middlesbrough night out without our signature dish and of course they dabbled with it. “What is that thing you get here. Parmo. Yeah! They are good fun,” he continues, still laughing.
“This is a new start for us,” is preached by Heyler. Rather ironically, though, the band have reverted back to the ’70s by releasing Night People on cassette. “I am a vinyl man myself, but Chris [Miller, guitarist] has an amazing cassette collection. There are classics like Michael Jackson, George Michael and even some [Iron] Maiden.” Other than it transporting us back to 1970, what can we really expect from Night People? “We say you can’t compare it to anything we have done before. We are a more evolved band with the best songs we have ever written.
“There is the heavier side of the record, but there is a sound that people haven’t heard yet,” Heyler describes.
As with any band now, regardless of size, playing shows and selling tickets is an opportunity for touts to exploit real fans. YMAS are taking a stand against it, Barnes moans: “It should be illegal so you can’t buy a ticket to sell for three times the price to a fan who will get the same experience because you were there at 9am. It isn’t fair.” Heyler agrees, saying: “Josh [Franceschi, front-man] is in direct contact with the MP right now. There are people out there being robbed because they want to see their favourite band.
“At the end of the day, we are in a position where we have to speak up and do something about it.” Something has in fact been done about it. A petition has been created by the band which has reached over 50,000 signatures (at time of press), meaning that they are over halfway to it being brought up in Parliament.
What is next for You Me At Six? Well, “Next year is going to be very busy for us. We haven’t announced anything as of yet, but we have stuff in the pipeline,” Heyler excitedly explains. “Obviously there will be festivals and we have to think about America, Australia and Europe. It is going to be busy.!”
Night People is available from January 13th via their official site.
A Review Of…You Me At Six in Middlesbrough is available here.