You Me At Six have just released their eighth album Truth Decay, a record the chart-topping group hope will inject new life into UK rock. So far, it's off to a strong start, placing at No.2 in the first round of midweek sales numbers. Here, lead singer Josh Franceschi talks about his lessons learned in the music business, the importance of emerging talent and the industry’s unquenchable thirst for content…
Let’s start with the sound of the new record, which is very much a return to emo-rock anthems. What was the thinking behind that?
“This album was about reclaiming our space and reclaiming our throne as being the best British emo-rock band there is. There shouldn’t be any debate after this. This is what we do. The fans that we’ve had for the last 17 years seem to agree with that sentiment because they keep supporting us, even when we’ve taken some left turns. All I wanted on this record was for our fans to feel like they got their favourite band back. If we achieve that, then it’s 1-0.”
Eight albums in, what’s the hardest lesson you’ve learned so far?
“We’ve worked alongside some people that have treated us very poorly, but at the same time that has given us really valuable lessons in how not to be and also how to be resilient without being unkind. One of the toughest lessons I’ve learned was how to show backbone but not show your fist. We’ve been lucky enough to work with people like [CAA’s] Emma Banks and Mike Greek, and they taught me a lot about how to truly be top of your game but also still exhibit crucial characteristics of how you can be successful and be liked. It’s the same with Craig Jennings and Matt Ash at Raw Power, they’ve shown me what it is to be a serial winner and serially successful without compromising who you are.”
What has been the biggest improvement in the industry since you started?
“One thing I think is better is the ability to be discovered in real time and the opportunity to instantly connect with fans and potential fans internationally, I think that is incredible. Technology has really opened doors for any and every artist to have a chance of building fanbases all over the world.”
There’s so much outside pressure on artists now
And what is the one thing about the business that has gone the other way and got worse?
“The demand for content and the expectation around it. Some of the younger, newer, more fresh-faced artists that are being asked to worry about so much so early on, as opposed to [how it was for us]. It was, ‘Hey, what’s your story? Can you play your instrument? You can’t? Okay, can you surround yourself with other like-minded people that can play? Great. Go and play in front of people.’ If you drop these people in high pressure environments too early on, you kill them before they’ve even had a chance to flourish. There’s so much outside pressure on artists now.”
Finally, how do you see the state of rock music in the UK at the moment?
“I don’t feel that there’s enough really happening. I’m looking out there trying to see where the next [artists] are and asking where are their songs at, because I feel like we’re moving into this moment that is more about algorithm-based stuff and the pressures of the content. People are forgetting that the crux of it all is a fucking great song – don’t just churn them out for the sake of it, put out stuff that really matters.”
INTERVIEW: NIALL DOHERTY