What does it take for a band to stay musically relevant for over 10 years? You Me At Six feels friendship might be the answer.
“I think we would hate it if we were a pop band,” said Dan Flint, the drummer of British rock band You Me At Six.
Nothing much about mainstream success seems to appeal to the members of the band – lead vocalist Josh Franceschi, rhythm guitarist Max Helyer, lead guitarist Chris Miller, Matt Barnes and Flint.
“We’re literally just a group of best friends who gets to travel around the world playing rock shows. If we were a pop band, there’s always a group of people styling you, and shoving you into this and that,” said Flint.
And if they were a pop band, Helyer added, they probably wouldn’t have the freedom to go gallivanting around Kuala Lumpur until 5am like they did last week, when they were here for their first ever Malaysian gig.
Since they were formed in 2004, You Me At Six has found relative success in the industry with four studio albums and a slew of tours and music festival appearances. They’ve performed alongside bands like Paramore, We The Kings, Parkway Drive and Bleeding Through.
Their most recent album, Cavalier Youth, has made an impression on British music charts, topping the Official Charts Company’s Scottish Albums, UK Albums and UK Rock And Metal Albums charts, as well as making it to the Billboard US Top Heatseekers charts.
The band has tried to break into the US market, but according to Miller, finding the time to tour a country as big as the US is not easy.
“We’ve been trying for years now, but it’s sort of a weird market in the sense that things don’t seem to work like they do elsewhere. One minute you’ll feel like you’re doing very well, and the next you’re like, ‘okay, maybe not’. So we have to keep going back there before we can see any progress,” said Flint.
While the guys are glad there’s a new British invasion going on in the United States thanks to more mainstream artistes like Ed Sheeran and Ellie Goulding, the band is refusing to change its musical direction just to crack the American market.
For the past decade they’ve been together as a band, their philosophy has simply been to write songs they enjoy, and to let their music progress and mature naturally, said Helyer.
“When we first started writing music, we were about 16 or 17. Now that we’re older, we’re obviously going to have progression because you don’t want to write the same things over and over again. We want to push ourselves to see where our band can go,” he said.
Franceschi added: “We’ve seen lots of musicians come and go. At the end of the day, our mission is longevity, and so far we’ve surpassed our wildest dreams. I think rock music will always have its place as long as there are bands like us, the Foo Fighters, Muse and the Arctic Monkeys around.”