He is easily one of rocks politest and loveliest singers out and about at the moment and also one of it’s most well-spoken and engaging. I, of course, mean Josh Franceschi of You Me At Six! Off the back of the band’s latest record, ‘Night People’, the band will be touring down under on the east coast to eager and impassioned fans this September. Completing Josh’s and I’s third chat in total to make for a real hat trick, read about the band’s push and hunger to come Down Under as well as Josh’s own performance philosophies below.
Hey Josh, how are you going man?
I’m good man, how are you?
I’m well, thanks! I’m gonna dive right into this as to not waste too much time. I noticed on your twitter you told your fans you’re working with Frontier Touring to add an option for the underage fans in Melbourne on your upcoming tour. Did you know Melbourne was 18+ before it was announced or did you only just realise?
No, I knew that there are different configurations depending on what you sell in the venue. So if you open a bar upstairs to the venue you can use underage wristbands so they can’t access that area. But the promoter didn’t really want us doing that so we decided to wait and see what the reaction was when the tour was announced and the reaction was that they wanted an all-ages show.
Does knowing the age of the crowd affect the way you perform and play?
No, not really. It’s always about achieving the same goal which is putting on your best performance and that people got their money worth from the show.
It is pretty cool to think that there are people at under eighteen concerts who will be experiencing their first ever live show.
Yeah, it is. I mean, we all remember our first show and along with many other things I get great pleasure from fans telling me afterwards that it was their first show and they had a great time. Because I know no matter what happens whether they keep listening to us or not, we’ve played a big part in their life and they’ll always remember their first show was a You Me At Six show.
It’s also groovy with how many years you’ve been running that your band for a lot of people is their first favourite band and probably their first ever CD they bought with their own money.
Well, in a time when people actually bought CDs sure. [Laughs]
Likewise, with my previous question, do Festival sets and headline gigs get looked at differently from a performer’s perspective and do you attack them in different ways?
I think the main difference between a festival and headline show is that you’ve got an opportunity to win new fans over. There’s also that feeling of the unknown. You have no idea how receptive people are going to be and how they’re going to take to you. The thing is that our festival set times are forever changing. It’s half-an-hour some days and others it’s an hour or twenty minutes so there’s always a conversation between us of what we want to play.
At this point, I get an alert on my phone that thirty people were confirmed dead in the Grenfell Tower fire in London.
Hey Josh, just changing course for a quick second, you’re not anywhere near the fire at Grenfell Tower or know anyone near there?
No, I’m on the other side of the city so it’s not affecting me or my friends which I’m thankful for.
Awesome, just wanted to check in with that! Anyways, one of the other things I wanted to ask about was the fan reaction to the exclusion of Adelaide and Perth. There’s an outcry against that and probably a justified one, however, do you find it unfair that the outcry is aimed at you there band when really there’s much more to it than just the five of you deciding where to go?
Well, the last time we toured Australia we played the festival Groovin the Moo and were one of the few international bands to do shows outside of that. We did Melbourne, Sydney and Fremantle and Adelaide. So this time around we had a lot more limitations. And when a fan doesn’t see their band come to their city it can be a frustrating thing but ultimately we can only work within the constraints of finances. Lots of tours to Australia just break even and doing more than you can means you run at a loss which is never a smart business move. We’ve got to be smart if we want to do a full run of Australian dates and do other things like South East Asia or Japan or New Zealand in order to justify doing a bigger tour. But this time we’ve just done a big run of festivals and are also setting up more headline tours elsewhere so we couldn’t justify the full country financially. It’s a financial thing. It’s expensive to come to Australia and fans know that from ticket prices being higher. It’s tough on Australia and on us as we always have fun over there and we had a lot of talk with our labels over there and a few conversations about not coming to Australia at all on this album and just waiting for the next one so we pushed really hard to make it happen at all. If you look at the route, we’re flying in and there for seventy-two hours then we’re out. It’s a long way for three days but I always understand that people will be disappointed. I hope the fans who can make it have a great time and those who can’t will see us next time when we can do a much bigger tour.
Great answer mate! And one I think will be beneficial for people to hear. Now, I work as a presenter/public speaker and sometimes I find myself going into auto-pilot mode. Like, I know the content so well that I just switch off and then “wake up” ten minutes later and I’m done. Does that ever happen to you or are you a very present performer?
There were some shows where I was completely on autopilot for the majority of the show. And that’s not something that was deliberate or because I wasn’t feeling the shows but when you’re on forty of fifty days on tour your muscle memory can just kick in. Especially when touring America where every venue is basically the same you can almost guarantee that the shows will at some point blend into one. I’ve lately been getting into meditation and spirituality and I made a real honest choice for this touring cycle that I want performing to be a far more therapeutic. Like, for the full time I’m on stage I want to make as much eye contact as possible with the crowd and really try and find sections of the crowd that I can watch their experience unfold. Music and thoughts are interlinked really as well as performance and I don’t think the fact of going onto auto-pilot is a lack of disrespect to anyone I just think it’s a reality depending on the situation and the ability of your consciousness and just letting your body perform at the level it knows it can. You don’t want to be too switched on as if you’re too aware of it all it can stump your performance and stop you from enjoying the moment of it all.
I agree, some of the best times I’ve presented have been when I’ve just switched on. Your mind and your body know what it can do best and sometimes you just need to get out of its way. Sadly, I think that’s all the time we have left Josh. Thanks so much for your time today and good luck on the tour!
Thank you so much, Matty!
Tickets to You Me At Six’s tour with Hellions and Columbus are on sale now from Frontier Touring. Snatch one up before it’s too late and go down and if Josh looks you in the eye, give him a wink and a thumbs up and have a merry old time. And while you’re at it grab a copy of their latest offering, ‘Night People‘ and suss the greatest song from that record, ‘Heavy Soul’.