You Me At Six are one of Britain’s best live music exports. The band just wrapped up their Australian tour with Paramore, and we here at killyourstereo.com got the chance to catch up with Matt Barnes for a quick chat over the phone before they played the final show of the tour to get the details on the band’s upcoming album ‘Cavalier Youth’ as well as some details about a return trip to Australia later this year.
Hey Matt. It’s Rob from killyourstereo.com here. How’s it going?
Yeah man, I’m good, how are you?
I’m doing pretty well myself. Are you enjoying the Aussie Summer?
Yeah, I have. It’s been fantastic! We were down in Melbourne the other day, and apparently it was so hot that it was on the news back home and my mum called and was like, “s**t, it must be pretty hot” and I was just like “yep. Yep, it is.” (laughs)
You guys are currently touring Australia with Paramore. How are you finding the visit this time around?
Playing with them or playing in Australia?
Let’s go with both.
It’s been great. We haven’t played Australia for what’s coming up on two years now, so it’s always good to get back here. We absolutely love coming back down here.
As for Paramore, it’s been a while since we’ve played with them. The last time we played with them might have been when we were in Australia for Soundwave a few years ago, so yeah, it’s great to be playing with them again. It’s all pretty good and I feel like I’m living the dream right now.
How did your relationship with Paramore come about? Were those Australian shows the first time you played with them, or did you guys get together at all before then?
Back in like, maybe 2007, there was this gig in the UK. It was a festival called Slam Dunk Festival, I’m not sure if you would’ve heard of it over here. We were third on, and Paramore were headlining, and we just thought ‘we’re all the same age, around 18, let’s go talk to them,’ and so we got to chatting and then they asked us to play a few more shows with them in 2008 in the UK, and now we’ve actually played quite a few shows together and we’re really good friends with them.
How’s it been hanging out with Twenty One Pilots as well on this run?
Yeah, they’re really cool. Great guys and a very talented band! They work the crowd pretty hard as well. We went out the other day and me and Josh [Dun] got to chat quite a bit and he was a really, really nice dude.
How’s this tour compared to your previous visits, say with Soundwave or your headline tours?
Well the shows are a lot bigger than our headline shows, obviously. So like, there’s loads and loads of people, which is awesome. I guess we’ve just been on an upward trajectory with Australia. Every time we come here it’s just that little bit better, y’know?
Any stand out shows so far?
Melbourne and Sydney were both good. Like, really good. The first show we played in Brisbane, that was interesting. We hadn’t played a show for a good month or two and it was a bit sketchy but we had ironed all of that out by the time we hit Sydney.
I got the chance to go along to the Sydney show and it was amazing! I think it may be the best show I’ve ever attended.
Thank you very much.
You guys have come a really long way in seven years as a band. When you recorded your ‘Final Night of Sin’ DVD, you sold out Wembley Stadium, an enormous feat for any band. Do you guys ever reflect on your career and go “how the hell did this come so far?”
Oh yeah, no doubt. You kind of pinch yourself pretty regularly to make sure you’re actually awake. If we didn’t have the DVD to look back on that, it would be hard to believe it actually happened. It was definitely a great way to end the last cycle so we’re hoping to do either the same or bigger with our next album.
We never thought we were going to reach this point, to be honest. We were just a band that wanted to play Drive Thru Records covers. We didn’t even expect to ever even go on tour.
You guys have a new album titled ‘Cavalier Youth’ coming out in a fortnight. Do you want to tell me a bit about the album?
We just spent like, two months recording it with a guy called Neal Avron, who’s recorded with bands like Fall Out Boy, Yellowcard, and All Time Low. He basically knows how to make a rock band sound sick, and this record sounds really good. I think it’s coming out on the 30th out here in Australia.
I can’t wait to start touring it and actually start playing some new songs, because the older songs are starting to get a bit boring to be honest. It’s like, we’ve had the same set for two years and I’m just at the point where I’m like ‘I’m over this, let’s get some new stuff happening.’ Something fresh.
The title is an interesting one to me. What does ‘Cavalier Youth’ mean to you guys?
Well it basically means ‘Carefree Youth,’ and that’s sort of always been what we’re like. When we started touring the world, Josh was 16, and I think the oldest one of us was 18, and we’ve been on the road for our entire adult lives, so ‘Cavalier Youth’ seems like a pretty perfect title for us.
In my humble opinion, ‘Fresh Start Fever’ and ‘Lived A Lie’ are the best songs you guys have released. How have you found the feedback from your fanbase?
Yeah, we’re always quite sceptical when we put out new songs, ‘cause no one knows what it’s gonna be like, and we don’t know how our fans are gonna react, but everyone’s reacted really, really well. We couldn’t have asked for a better reaction.
Was there any conscious direction you took on this album, or did it all come about pretty organically?
Every single one of our albums has come around really organically. We don’t really sit down and decide what direction we take, and it always happens really organically. We work best when we can work without pressure, and this album there’s been virtually none. It was more like, ‘yeah, when you want it done, just go record it,’ and so that’s what we did. We waited till we had enough songs, and then we went to the studio and recorded it. No one told us what to do. It was sweet.
How did you challenge yourself on ‘Cavalier Youth?’
Yeah, we really had to challenge ourselves as musicians. We listened to a lot of different types of music leading up to the writing and recording. One minute we’re listening to country music, then hip hop, next you’re listening to rock, and then motown, and soon enough we’re in this headspace of taking on lots of different styles rather than just churning out your specific type of rock, and I think that shows on the record quite a bit as well. There’s so many different production things we never would have done before.
Are there any key influences that you think made their way on to the record?
Nah, I don’t really. We sort of get influenced by each other to be honest. We’re closer than ever, and that’s sort of what made it what it is.
What have you guys done differently this time around?
Well the studios we’ve recorded in are a lot better. We’ve taken a lot more time with it, both in writing and recording. It was a much more stress-free process rather than other times where we’ve been like ‘quick! We need another song,’ but this time it was more like ‘we’re really happy with these tracks. Let’s record them!’
What can people expect on this album that might be a little bit left of field? What makes this stand out amongst your catalogue?
Well it sounds a lot better than any of our other albums thanks to Neal. Really, it’s just a bigger, better album, and I don’t know how to explain it other than saying it’s the best album we’ve created. We wouldn’t have gotten to this without writing the other three records first, but this is the sound of You Me At Six.
What are your personal favourite tracks from the album, and why?
My favourite song is Forgive & Forget. It shows that we don’t just write fast pop rock songs. It’s a lot slower, more eerie, and it takes influences from bands like The Temper Trap.
When you say it’s a slower track are you talking more like ‘When You Were Younger’ or maybe even ‘Crash’ from Sinners Never Sleep?
Yes. Although, not like Crash. Not like a slow love song. There’s a lot of cool rhythmic things to it. It’s definitely my favourite.
If you could give people a reason to buy the album using only one sentence, what would it be?
‘Cause it’s kick-ass British rock music. (laughs)
I know you haven’t even finished this run yet, but is there any possibility that we could expect you guys to tour Australia again sooner rather than later given the release of the new album?
Well, the other day we were speaking to AJ from Soundwave and we were like “please can we come back?” And he gave us a resounding yes and asked when we wanted to come back, so we told him around September, and he was like “Sweet! Let’s work it out!” So nothing’s concrete yet, but we’re working it out so we can come play some headline stuff later this year.
Awesome! I can’t wait to see you guys again! I’ll just give you a couple of quick ones to finish up on, if that’s all good. What are your most anticipated releases for 2014?
Obviously, Cavalier Youth! (laughs) You know what, I’m not sure. We’ve been so busy working out this album that I just haven’t had time to check out what else is coming out this year, so I don’t really have an answer.
If you could only listen to three bands for the rest of your life, who would they be?
I reckon at the minute, it’d be Bon Iver, Bob Marley, and possibly Bring Me The Horizon, to mix it up a bit.
Over the past seven years, who has been your favourite band to tour with?
Definitely Paramore. Without any doubt. They’re the best, and nicest band we’ve ever toured with. They are one of the biggest bands in the world, but you wouldn’t pick it talking to them. They are the best band we have ever toured with.
Any final words you’d like to finish on?
Keep an eye out for Cavalier Youth coming out at the end of January, and we’ll hopefully see you again later this year.
‘Cavalier Youth’ is out in Australia on January 31 via Cooking Vinyl.