Interview: You Me At Six on their new album ‘VI’

YOU ME AT SIX are back with their new album ‘VI’ – a record that switches moods and styles with breathless confidence, from devastatingly defiant rock to joyously uplifting pop. It all but drips with melodies and moods. ‘VI’ is the kind of record a band makes when they are in love with all the possibilities of music. You Me At Six needed something unbelievable to happen with ‘VI’, because by their own admission it didn’t happen with their last album, ‘Night People’, released in February 2017. ‘VI’ has already generated hits in ‘Back Again’, ‘3AM’ and ‘IOU’ – with each track standing its own, partly through the way in which they contrast eachother. The drummer Dan Flint answers our questions about the new release.

AC: You’re now six albums in and it sounds like you have more energy than ever. How have you kept that ambition?

DAN FLINT: Ever since the band started we have constantly set ourselves goals. We have also, like other bands, had our speed bumps along the way which has only made us hungrier. Coupled with the fact that we love what we do.

The album switches styles frequently, with each track standing on its own. Are there any underlying themes that run through the record?

We wanted it to have a high, positive energy throughout. With some songs, like ‘3AM’ and ‘Back Again’, we had the idea of that “Friday night feeling”, whilst with others like ‘IOU’ we wanted sexy, hard-hitting rock.

What is your favourite track on the album?

My personal favourite is Straight to my Head. This also is going to be amazing to play live as it’s already creeping through as a fan favourite.

I really enjoyed your last album ‘Night People’ – how would you describe the progression in your sound on this album? Were there any particular influences from other bands?

We were influenced by a lot of different types of music from hip-hop to electronic dance but no specific artist. The progression came easy as we have been diving into production ourselves. This gave us so some scope to express ourselves. We were able to create the sounds in our heads ourselves rather than relying on others to try and understand what we wanted.

You Me At Six

Why did you decide to get back into the recording studio as quick as you did?

We have been really enjoying writing and creating. We had so many ideas and touring had stopped so we just went straight into it!

You’ve got a new label, new management – how have they helped the band push forward?

They have been great. They understand us, allow us to express ourselves without trying to turn us into something we are not. They are fair, hardworking and honest which is everything you need. I see us having a long career with them.

 

YOU ME AT SIX’S SPOTIFY PLAYLIST

You Me At Six’s new album ‘VI’ is out now via Underdog Records – youmeatsix.co.uk. Their sold out UK headline tour begins this November at the following dates – youmeatsix.co.uk/#tour

PHOTOGRAPHY: JORDAN CURTIS HUGHES

INTERVIEW: ADAM CROOKES

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Video Q&A: Troy Doherty on TNT’s ‘The Last Ship’

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Interview: Joseph J Jones – From Boxing to Singing

JOSEPH J JONES has just released his debut mini-album ‘Built On Broken Bones Vol.1’. You could quite literally say that Joseph has fought his way to stardom – after spending his adolescence as an amateur boxer in his native Hornchurch, Joseph then moved on from fighting to singing in the East End. It wasn’t long before his talent was spotted by a record label and his career as a musician began.

AC: Is boxing still something that enters your mind regularly?

JOSEPH: Yeah but if I’m being honest it’s more in in line with what I am doing creatively. But I still train regularly though if that’s what you mean.

Would you ever consider a return to boxing?

No. You gotta have the correct mentality and fully commit to getting back in the ring. I love a scrap in the ring every now and then though when training.

Is it true that the artwork for your new single ‘Tears & ‘Tequila’ is a homage to your Dad?

The artwork is a photo taken of my mum and dad when they were both 18-30s reps so it fitted well into the story of the song. It’s just a sick pic really.

How influential has your family been on your music?

Very. I come from family of musicians and entertainers so you could say it’s in my blood. My Grandad was a jazz guitarist, Nan a concert pianist, cousins a singer, uncles a drummer and everyone can hold a note.

Growing up, what kind of music were you exposed to?

A lot of Jazz from my Mum’s side, Sinatra, Chet Baker, Sarah Vaughn etc. My dad is a huge late 50s/early 60s Elvis fan. Our house was filled with music all the time.

Tell us about the inspiration for the title of your upcoming album. Is it a reflection on yourself?

Yeah. There was apart of my life that the title reflects upon just before I wrote most of this stuff. I was getting into a lot of trouble. I got jumped, took a kicking and was not in a good way. Gets you down and I was angry and ready to give up making music. I wanted to just fade away I guess but I got a message from the grave from my Grandad Fred to sort my shit out and carry on.

So I did. Built on Broken Bones.

Does this theme continue throughout the album?

I guess so. The album is more about a period of time and a random collection of stories that happened within that period. There’s anger, revenge, regret and hope amongst some other stuff. But main thing for me is all these songs appeared from the moment I got fucked up and decided to correct my life.

Did you write the tracks as a collective?

I write with a pretty small team. I am not into the go work with anyone mentality. I also have to trust the people I write with so that scales it right down!

It’s funny I’ve sort of moved on from these songs a bit and I’m cooking up my next body of work which feels different but this is an honest snapshot of where I was when I was in a bad place so I sadly but happily look back on it

Do you have a writing process?

Not really. I really try to write a song totally differently to the last. I spend a fair bit of time honing stuff but it always starts off like going into therapy!

We’re asking people to give us their five go-to tunes right now, what are yours?

Ghetts – ‘Preach’

Skepta – ‘Shut down’

Bobby Caldwell – ‘What you won’t do for love’

The Streets – ‘Dry your eyes mate’

Frank Sinatra – ‘One For My Baby’

Listen to Joseph’s debut mini-album ‘Built On Broken Bones Vol.1’ here

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Interview: Hozier – Embracing The Power Of Protest

Five years ago, HOZIER released the career-defining single ‘Take Me To Church’ – catapulting him high into the charts, whilst securing a Grammy nomination for Song of the Year. 

Now after an acclaimed self-titled debut album, the Irish songwriter has just released the EP ‘Nina Cried Power’ – consisting of four songs, including a collaboration with gospel singer Mavis Staples on its title track. This remarkable comeback positions Hozier as not just a talented musician – but one who is socially aware of a bubbling climate.

Hozier also recently announced a massive UK and Ireland tour which he will embark on towards the end of the year. But before he begins travelling, we wanted to catch up with Hozier after listening to his new material.

“Every song inhabits its own little world”

AC: Would you describe ‘Nina Cried Power’ as a protest song?

HOZIER: I would describe ‘Nina Cried Power’ as a song about protest songs, and a thank you note to artists who imbued their music with a spirit of protest.

Of all the artists that are mentioned on the song – who would you say has had the most profound influence on you as a songwriter?

As a songwriter I’m not sure – I would draw a lot from a lot of the artists mentioned there. There is a reason why I chose to centre it around Nina Simone – her voice and the fire with which she wrote with and performed with definitely was super central to me as a young teenager and a kid. I listened to her music a lot.

How did you go about approaching Mavis Staples to contribute to the song?

We had a few near misses of working together at a few different junctures, and as this song was taking shape and making more sense to me it was clear I wanted another voice on it. For me, it was very important to ask for Mavis to be involved and we reached out to her, she said yes and we flew over to Chicago and recorded in CRC.

Where these four songs written as a collective?

The four songs on the record is part of a larger body of work which will be released over the next year. The EP is a nice sample of what’s to come.

It features a range of different sounds – which song would you say most-strongly represents what we can expect from your upcoming album?

I would say Nina Cried Power with the choral aspects, the backing vox aspects and the arrangement of it. Every song inhabits its own little world but that one in particular, and maybe ‘NFWMB’ represent the new work best.

How has being in Los Angeles influenced your work?

I can’t say LA has been the center of my musical influences, there are one or two songs that point to somewhat of a “west coast vibe” – but sometimes when you just spend time there in mostly nice weather for work or recording, just being there in the sun certainly helps you chill out.

HOZIER’S SPOTIFY PLAYLIST

Stream Hozier’s EP ‘Nina Cried Power’ here

PHOTOGRAPHY: EDWARD COOKE

INTERVIEW: ADAM CROOKES

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