Josh Franceschi of You Me at Six Talks Shooting in Texas and Being the Best Band in Britain
Since You Me at Six is already a major success in their home country of England, Josh Franceschi and crew have now set their sights on conquering America.
To that end, the pop-punk five-piece recently released Sinners Never Sleep, their most mature effort to date. Featuring intense numbers like "Bite My Tongue" and "Time is Money," Sinners succeeds in distancing the band from such obvious influences as Blink 182 and Incubus. Speaking from a London pub just a few days before leaving on tour and in anticipation of tonight's gig at The Door, Franceschi was kind enough to talk about this tour being his band's first headlining trip through America.
Does the name of your band sound like the title of a chick movie?
[Laughs] No, not really. At the time we thought up the name, we thought we were being clever and ahead of our time. The name is about meeting up with your mates. We didn't want a name that mentioned death or pianos or something fucking stupid. We wanted a name where you couldn't guess the genre.
The band has been very successful in your home country of England. How do you translate that success to the United States?
Well, I don't know really. Like you said, we've had a lot of success in England and we have been grinding away in the touring circle in England. So, it's taken us a long time to get where we are and it was a lot of hard work. We still have a lot of time and a lot of touring to do before we make it in America. This is our first headlining tour of the states. This tour with the Swellers has a really cool, organic vibe.
Have you been to Texas before?
Yes, we made it there back in 2009, but this is our first time as a headliner so it's pretty exciting.
Was Texas what you thought it would be?
Well, we did get to shoot guns for the first time. That was pretty fun. There is a nice vibe from the people in Texas. It was so big. The drive was so long, but it was worth it.
What's the worst stereotype Americans have about people in England?
That we all know the Queen and that we all drink tea and that we all know Harry Potter or that we all have been in a Harry Potter movie. But it's all good-natured. I don't mind those stereotypes.
You have been nominated for Best British Band at the 2008, 2009 and 2010 Kerrang! Awards, but lost out each time to Bullet for My Valentine. Do you hate those guys?
We finally won that award this time. We beat those guys. It was a great feeling to finally win that award. We didn't expect it, but we were very excited to win it. We felt like we deserved it.
Do you write all the songs or is it a collaborative process with the other members?
We all write the songs. We all write together. I write all the lyrics and melodies and everybody writes their own parts. We've never done writing with outsiders or producers. We want to write our own stuff.
How has the writing process changed from your debut, Take Off Your Colours, to your most recent effort, Sinners Never Sleep?
That's a good question. I think the writing really has changed. I was writing the songs for the first album when I was 16. I've had a lot of life changes and that can't help but affect the songs. When I was younger, it was all about going to parties. And then you get older, you start to focus on what's important in your life: family, loved ones and friends.
You've said in the past that you wanted Sinners to be a heavier record. Was the band successful?
We wanted to make a more guitar-driven record and I think it's the best thing we've ever done.
How did you end up working with [American rap duo] Chiddy Bang?
We had a bit of time off and we were contacted by this rap producer. We had these ideas of adding some raps to some of our songs. We all liked what Chiddy Bang was about, how they loved skateboarding. We came up with the song and the label decided to release it in the U.K. We don't play the song live. I know it's a selfish thing.
Whose idea was it to cover Lady Gaga's "Pokerface"?
With have this program on Radio One called The Live Lounge and they asked us to cover that song. At the time we did that, Lady Gaga was on the radio all the time. We just wanted to make her song our own.
Do you play the song live?
No, we used to want to try it, but not anymore.
You also have a clothing line. Does that take up a lot of your time?
Yes, but the typical day is handled by my dad and my best friend. I can use email if I get an idea. It's a lovely relationship. It's a very rewarding thing. People have taken a notice to what we are doing. It's fun.