top of page
Search
  • Vasili Papathanasopoulos

SPOTLIGHT ON YOU ME AT SIX

Truth Decay is out now!

Image: Freddie Stisted.


UK rock royalty You Me At Six have returned with their highly-anticipated eighth studio album, Truth Decay. We caught up with frontman Josh Franceschi to unpack the release, returning to their emo roots, the resurgence of the scene and so much more!



Before we get into your new album Truth Decay, You Me At Six have been releasing music since 2008 and formed 2004. As I said that I realised that's almost twenty years, which is pretty crazy. How do you think like your artistry has continued to evolve from those early days to what we hear on this eighth studio album?


I think what's interesting about about that as a concept is that we've actually kind of reverted, like on our eight album reverted back to like a sound that we did when we first started, like our first three records. So that's been really cool. It was like a conscious decision, we wanted to lean back into that period of our career and kind of make a fan driven record, if you like. It was all about doing something we thought they would like. Last kind of records have been very kind of, I don't wanna say selfish, but I guess it was sort of like, ;we'll make it, if you like it, great. If you don't, it's whatever.' We're not in the market to prove anything because we've already proved way too much to ourselves in terms of like, you know, moreover and more importantly the value of owning your convictions. And if you are like, 'I wanna do this,' you've gotta do it unapologetically and you've gotta do it with stoicism where it's like, 'yeah, fuck it, whatever, doesn't matter.' Like if you own that, then more often than not people, even if it's different or not what they wanted necessarily or what they expected, they're more likely to accept it as fair play. You've done what you want to do there. So with this one, it was kind of like we had that spirit of 'fuck it', but it also just fell in line with, I think people are gonna like this because it's like old school quintessential You Me At Six, but just pulled into 2023 and kind of refined a little bit. I feel like it has a lot of the qualities and a lot of the spirit of the band from when we first kind of started coming through. Just now we have a far more kind of comprehensive understanding, I guess, of how to shape those things and kind of what it means and how to really put it all together with a bit more experience. So yeah, that's kind of where we're at with Truth Decay.




I love that attitude and honouring your earlier sound and and the genre that you helped shape whilst bringing it into a contemporary realm. It's done so well, in my opinion at least. The new album is this declaration of self-worth and acceptance and also ha quite a bit of reflection for you as well. Could you unpack the themes and concepts explored across the album and like the importance with documenting them to you within your music?


First and foremost there's always the importance of seeing yourself in your own music. I've always found [it] to be imperative, like if I don't hear my story in our songs then how can it be our songs, you know? I almost have to, it's one thing when we're demoing and like kind of fucking about or whatever, but when we actually get into it, it takes its toll or can take its toll of like trying to be that vulnerable within the writing. But I've realised over the years that when we're at our best is when that happens. And I guess also it's when you are at peace with who you are or who you've been, who you are now, and the potential and the capacity you have to move on to that next phase of your life, it's pretty liberating. So being earnest in your music is kind of like a non-negotiable, you know, like it's, yeah, of course I'm gonna say that I've had issues of alcoholism or issues with my mental health or even the point of like wanting to end my life. Or the fact that I've been surrounded with toxic masculinity for the last eighteen years and it's taken us eighteen years to understand how to grow from being boys to actually being "men", you know? For me, if you kind of identify as a man, then I would say that something that men don't do historically well is show empathy or like true empathy. Or they find it more difficult and they find it more difficult to listen really. And I think that's what a song like Mixed Emotions is about for us. It was a song about us about growing up and almost being accountable and being like, 'I wish I'd been better equipped to help you, and I wish that you'd listened more or wanted to listen and wanted to understand me better.' I remember when me and Dan were driving to the gym in Santorini and we left the studio and I was like, 'I've written this poem for the song we have and I dunno whether people are gonna think it's just a bit whatever.' And he was like, 'well, read it to me and tell me what you think.' And then I did and he pulled over the car after like the first verse and he was like, 'yo, start this whole thing over,' and I read it again and he was like, 'this is about us,' and I was like, 'yeah.' And he was like, 'oh, and that bit about being strung out on the bed is about that time when that happened with us.' And I was like, 'yeah.' And he was like, 'oh,' and I was like, 'yeah, man.' He was like, 'do you still feel that way now?' I was like, 'well, I feel like we owe it to ourselves to be more willing and to be transparent and to talk.' And he was like, 'all right cool, I think we should bring that in today.' It was a catalyst, you know, it provoked conversation. It provoked growth. And I think that was truly our main goal, say with this song. Actually I guess now moreover as a fella in his thirties, I want our music to empower people. I want it to provoke conversation between maybe fractured relationships. I want to bring people together in celebration. There's so many more. Like there's so many more, there's so much more that motivates me more than just like, 'I want our band to be big and to get played on the radio or make money.' Do you know what I mean? It's kind of like now we've done all that, we've been a radio band, we've played big venues, we've made a bit of money that we haven't had to get nine-to-five jobs or whatever. Like things that motivate me are just like trying to, I guess just as music is a vehicle just to continue like pushing the band on, but pushing all those kind of conversations, you know? And I think that if you can't be honest with your own music and tap into trauma that then ultimately leads somebody else who maybe doesn't know how to express themselves or doesn't know how to feel about themselves, if that contributes to them being a happier version of themselves or a more honest version of themselves, I think that's pretty cool. So that's kind of what the record is about. And I guess, there's a song like Deep Cuts where it's about in real time seeing two of my closest friends, one was in a relationship where her partner was abusive mentally and physically, and just a bit of a douche bag. But like, it didn't matter how we framed it, she was in love with him. And the other one was one of my friends who was like, I would call him a serial dater who was in this pursuit of validation through dating. I was like, 'why don't you two see yourselves the way that we see you and love yourselves the way that we love you', like it's dumb. It's cool because as an outcome of that song and me being able to talk to them via that song, she left her partner and has got her own place and started a whole new chapter of her life and he's deleted all the dating apps [laughs]. It sounds dumb, but those two things, if that was like the goal, which it was, to try and like enforce the school of thought that they both deserve better, whatever shape that comes in. They both figured that out by hearing that song. That's what I'm saying about I hope that our music can just offer that, you know? That's the main thing.



Yeah, I love that and all the messages laced throughout the album. I definitely think a lot of people will be able to resonate with and relate to the album in ways that will help them make links and connections with situations within their own lives and hopefully have a positive influence. Now, if you had to pick three songs from Truth Decay to play to someone who had never heard your music to make then an instant die-hard fan - which three would you choose?


Well I think Deep Cuts is one, which is why we put it out first. I think it embodies the spirit of You Me At Six the best I think. It's a song that evolves as you listen to it and has lots of interesting moments, twists and turns. I mean, the mid-late is kind of like a call to arms and I love it when a song builds and builds and builds and just goes and it's like a fucking solo. Which is kind of what we've done in that song. It features a lot of the kind of the characteristics of our band that I think are good. So I'd go with Deep Cuts. I'd go with Mixed Emotions, mainly because of the sentiment of the song. I'd get them to watch the short film we made for it, where obviously the song just kind of soundtracks the film. But I feel like that has a very important message. Ollie and I, when we made it, and my friend Jake who we actually met on holiday and ends up being like the main protagonist, well the protagonist in the video, all confronting our interpretation or our experiences of that issue. I just thought it was a really cool thing to have people from, whether it be dealing rejection from their father because they weren't I guess what like a stereotypical boy into man, or that they had or who they were choosing to love unsettled their dad. There's a bit in the video where Ollie had Jake as a young boy putting on nail varnish and like again, the stereotypes and the stigmas that come with that versus 'Oh, why aren't you just into football and girls, why are you more fluid or why are you intrigued by these different things?' I think that song generally and that video, I think is a really interesting role in the album. Because I think it also opens up and provokes these sort of conversations. Like there's nothing worse than some journalist respectfully jumping on the phone and being like, 'so tell me, what was it like recording that song?' Who cares? It's been, it's happened, it's done. Is there any point in me explaining what comping a vocal is, is that really interesting? Or talking about something that in real time is affecting your brother, your father, your sister, your mother, your partner. Do you know what I mean? Like what are we doing? Why are we talking about boring like that? So yeah, I'm happy that Mixed Emotions has kind of opened that door for us in that sense. And then finally, I think I'd go with God Bless the 90's Kids because I feel like it's just a quintessential You Me At Six stomper. We kind of saw that song when we've written it, we were like, 'yeah, we've got that.' Fundamentally we have that song and it's got the big old classic You Me At Six chorus, the t-shirt lyric. So yeah, I feel those three songs to me are kind of embody the spirit and I guess the tone of voice of the record




I back it! I mean I think everyone should just listen to the whole record, but if they've only got that 10-15 minutes to get hooked and come back for more - those are the three.


[Laughs]. I hope so, that's the plan.




Like I mentioned earlier, you guys are quite a pivotal act within like the emo genre. How do you think the scene has evolved and repositioned itself over the past fifteen to twenty years that You Me At Six have been around? Obviously there is such a resurgence in the genre at the moment as well.


Yeah, that to me is the kind of the key element there, is that there's been a resurgence. Because the scene died. Like hard. I wasn't like a, 'oh by the way this is fizzling out.' It was just like, within what felt like overnight, it was like, 'bye Soundwave, bye Warped tour, bye great package tours, bye fucking oh we'll take you out in this territory and you take us out and that.' No, like everyone became fucking islands and they just look after themselves. That sense of community and that sense of having somewhere else to go just vanished. I think it vanished for a chunk of time. Like, I don't wanna say a decade, but what felt like a hot minute. And then I guess the thing about music is it always goes in cycles, right? So next up they're reckoning it's gonna be 2000's nu-metal, it's gonna be back. It's kind of already happening in America. Like a bunch of Papa Roach sounding bands getting big. So yeah, it's not baggy board shorts, but it's now like ripped dudes with great hair, but they play that music. So sweet, let's see what happens. But I think artists like a Machine Gun Kelly or a Yungblood aesthetically kind of brought back, and maybe brought to the forefront of the mainstream consciousness, and then even like people like Juice WRLD and like little people who are like, 'this is the music that I fucked with growing up. Like my favourite band is Fall Out Boy.' And you're like, 'wait, what?' So you could feel that there was that kind of like alternative-emo culture coming back around. But I think that would be the changes, was the death of it. And then I guess the renaissance in itself was interesting. But you know, even like you saw with that festival When We Were Young, which by the way, the fact that we didn't get booked for that either last year or this year is a travesty cause compared to some of the bands that have been booked. I mean I love Wolf Alice. I play football with Theo. He's a good mate of mine. But why the fuck Wolf Alice got booked for that? They weren't even a band when Warped Tour was a thing. So blew my mind. Anyway, that kind of like was the final, I don't know, the final conk in the engine if you like. Like that was the thing that everyone was like, 'oh okay, right.' Everyone thought it was a joke, like a joke lineup. And then when they realised it wasn't, and then you got blink-182 reforming, Paramore come back with a record, Fall Out Boy come out with the record. Just all these important little moments that actually are massive. I've been going around up and down the country recently doing DJ sets for like these kind of nights and what's been really fucking cool is it's again, it's reflective of the scene that I grew up in. But the difference being is now it's cool to look alternative, right? Whereas our generation was like getting punched in the face by twats if you had tight jeans on and a floppy haircut or nail vanish on or fingerless gloves, and now it's cool as to be that. So you know, the younger generation: you are welcome. We copped beatings so that you can be yourself. I think it's totally cool seeing just that, more importantly, that kind of rebirth I guess of something that I think meant a lot to people. I think also people like myself going into my thirties or people in their late twenties who grew up on this stuff and as I said, I've been starved of it for probably eight years, a decade, because things felt like it had gone. I think it's really cool and I think that I've been interested by the new wave of younger bands coming through, seeing what they're offering it. I think it's super cool that a bunch of bands that are maybe disbanded because they can no longer afford to be a band because there's no demand for their band, are now being able to come back out and do some touring and people will be able to go and have these incredible moments and these incredible nights where they're celebrating their youth or whatever. I think it's cool, and I think for a while it felt like there was a lot of ring fencing going on, a lot of territorialism within music where it became even more uncool to like alternative music and I just think it's great that we have in this moment again where it's being celebrated.



Exactly, that's what music should be about. The resurgence has been so great, especially seeing younger generations discovering 2000's bands. I love that you mentioned Soundwave there, because that was the first festival I ever went to.


Mate, so I'll tell you, I'll give you a quick anecdote about Soundwave, right? It will take two seconds. It's well funny. So I was 19 and we did our first ever Soundwave in 2010. So we flew over and it was the first time we'd been to Australia and like our side shows were with Paramore and we were playing Sound Wave and I was like, this is dumb. Like this is well funny and on the first night of Soundwave or the night before the first show if you like, they used to hold these huge parties and I was like, 'well let's see what's up.' So we all go at this party and if I tell you that like it was like the most surreal thing in the world, being in a room at that age with all of your favourite bands. Yeah. And they've known each other for years, but being seen as an equal because you're in the same room. I remember going out with of Daryl Palumbo from Glassjaw and Head Automatica and a bunch of fucking Steel Panther and a bunch of fucking New Found Glory and smoking a bong and I was like, 'what's going on? Like, this is awesome.' And it was, it was just that. Again, it was that thing of like none of the bands doing Soundwave could believe that all these bands were in Australia at the same time. People coming to the shows couldn't fucking believe it. It was just simpler times man. So I'm hoping they're returning because that was good fun. Soundwave was, I know what happened with it. I know all the kind of controversy I guess also around the kind of the framework of that festival, but the intention of, you know, celebrating alternative music on that scale. I know Good Things has come in and I think they're doing an incredible job as well. That was a fucking hell of a time. We haven't done Good Things yet, so I can't compare, but like that was a hell of a time. I think we've got Good Things in December or the following year, but we'll see. We're trying to come back in May as well. So we'll see which one lands.




That was my next question, because I've seen you guys a few times and you're always so great live. So hopefully you guys will be back in Australia super soon.


Yeah, thank you man. Yes, that's the plan. I jumped in an interview before us and I was like, Australia was the first market outside of England that blew our minds in terms of being that far away from home. So the distance thing is just a joke anyway and like, I don't understand why people like our band and we are this far away from home. But then also like, I remember coming over and we did like a tour where we did the Roundhouse in Sydney and I remember -




I was actually at that show I believe!


I think it was like us and We The Kings and somebody else.




Tonight Alive were supporting you at the Roundhouse show I went to.


Oh, okay so that was another time. But that's what I'm saying, we've been lucky enough that once it got to a point, every time we've come back to Australia, we've done good business there and it's the only market outside of England, and maybe Germany, where we can guarantee that we're gonna go somewhere and the show's gonna be fucking awesome and it's like a little victory lap. So yeah, Australia's always in the first thing where we're like need to go back and do this. And I think, you know, I know that fan bases can come in and out, and falling out of love with the artists and that sort of stuff, but we've been really fortunate that over the years our fan base hasn't died. It's still still healthy and there's still a lot of love for us over in Australia. So we're very grateful in that sense.



Truth Decay is out now!


Comments


bottom of page