Ahead of their third studio set Sinners Never Sleep, Digital Spy caught up with frontman Josh Franceschi and guitarist Max Helyer to discuss the LP's heavier sound, their US domination plans and what they really think about pop factory The X Factor.
Your latest single 'Loverboy' is a step up from previous material; are you pleased with the response?
Josh: "It's been really good. I think when we did 'Rescue Me' it left people not knowing what to expect next. It was such a wild card song and it was like nothing we'd ever done before and nothing we'll ever do again. We wanted 'Loverboy' to be the first single off the new album because it still has the elements of the band, but it showcased where we were going with our new record which is a slightly rockier and edgier version of You Me At Six."
Have you read the comments about it on YouTube?
Max: "I always check out YouTube comments. It's always nice to see different people's perspectives. Some people say it's the best thing ever and that they're glad we've moved on from the Chiddy Bang stuff, whereas others are like 'this is not as good as their previous stuff'."
Josh: "Everyone who has an opinion loves to talk s**t. That's the way it is. If you look at what newspapers are full of; drama, sex, sports scandals - it's not about positive stuff. People like to read that stuff for some reason. If someone says they like our stuff, someone else will say they hate it just to be different, when they probably secretly like it."
Is 'Loverboy' a good indication of what to expect on your new album Sinners Never Sleep?
Max: "It's definitely a good starting point. It's a straight up rock song. It's catchy with a funky bassline and a melody and chorus. It encompasses an overall view of what the CD is shaping up to be. We're really happy with what we've produced. I would say this is the most honest record we've made."
Does that mean it's better than all of your previous work?
Max: "It's probably the most musical collection of material we've released. There's been a lot of thought in how the songs come across. There are all these little tricks that we've learnt from producing the CD and working with Garth Richardson, who really took us out of our comfort zone."
Is there a particular track you think fans will be surprised to hear you singing on the record?
Josh: "I think 'When We Were Younger' and 'No One Does It Better' are the two that stand out for me because I like to think that there are You Me At Six fans who don't know about Thrice or Mogwai, so for us to have that sound may introduce them into checking out some of our favourite bands."
The album is a lot rockier than your debut...
Josh: "I think people always knew we had the potential to do the heavier rockier thing. We've always had that in us. We showed that on 'If I Were In Your Shoes' and some of our slightly darker numbers. That was something that we had in our locker that we could pull out and I think this album has benefited from that."
You have a very American sound - have people been surprised when they learn you're British?
Josh: "Yeah, my argument for that is American pop-punk bands were the only artists I looked up to. As a vocalist, I think as time has gone on I've found my own voice and it's not as obvious and trying to emulate other vocalists as it was before. If we had been listening to Oasis and Stereophonics our sound would be completely different. I feel we have now got a stage where we have discovered what we can and can't do and we're developing our own sound. We've come a long way and as we've got older our tastes have broadened. I only got into Oasis this time last year!"
Are you hoping to match your success in the US?
Josh: "I don't think we've given it enough time. It's so expensive to tour America, but there's definitely something there, I think. The fact that I sang on the Bring Me The Horizon record has had an indirect effect on our US fan base. We're going to tour there a lot with our new record and try to build that fan base."
You were supposed to support Blink-182 on their UK tour this summer before they rescheduled - will you be joining them next summer for the new dates?
Max: "No, we couldn't commit 14 months ahead unfortunately. We'd have loved to have gone and done that tour because we're all massive Blink-182 fans, but we just don't know what we'll be doing at that point."
Josh: "I think with Blink it was a selfish decision to do it. When we were offered it, we didn't need to do it. Everyone around us thought it would be cool to do, but insisted that we didn't have to do it. We already know which festivals we're playing next summer and if we want to reach certain milestones through these slots, then we don't have time to do a massive UK arena tour."
You famously covered Lady GaGa's 'Poker Face' in the Live Lounge - are you fans of her new album?
Josh: "I love GaGa. I haven't listened to her new CD properly yet though. It was cool when we did those Live Lounge sessions - with the other being Ellie Goulding's 'Starry Eyed' - that we could cover two completely different artists and give them a You Me At Six version. We had a lot of fun making 'Poker Face', but I don't know if we'd do another GaGa song in the future."
Are there any pop songs that you're currently into?
Josh: "Yeah, there are a few. I actually told Tulisa from N-Dubz at V Festival after watching their set, 'Look, I'm not going to lie to you. When I first heard an N-Dubz song I thought it was the biggest pile of s**t.' But when you see them with their live band and their set it is really impressive. They have a few songs that are pretty decent."
Do you think a true rock band could ever be successful on The X Factor?
Josh: "I don't think The X Factor would allow it. The way I've seen the show evolve over the years is that in the beginning it was genuinely about going out there and showing wild card auditions and it being a simple good audition, bad audition, 'yes', 'no', whatever. But now you watch it and it's a f**king disgrace. They had seven minutes of a lady who was clearly mentally ill audition and she's been on it every f**king year. I thought to myself, 'Why are they showing this and ignoring people who actually have a good voice?' Now they follow people from their houses to the audition. It's more of f**king sitcom than a talent contest. Nothing genuine is ever going to come out of that show. I think that's really sad."
Are there any X Factor acts you're a fan of?
Josh: "Matt Cardle is a real musician and a nice guy and so is Will Young. But then you look at someone like JLS and they're huge and they've never written one of their own songs. I don't understand what the point of doing something creative but having no creative control is. It's not a cuss down because they have some f**king huge tunes, but they just stand there going, 'Oh, oh, oh'. It's just a shame that 200,000 have pre-ordered Cher Lloyd's debut album after hearing one song called 'Swagger Jagger' - and it's f**king s**t!"
Max: "It just winds me up that there are a lot of decent talented people in this music industry who are not getting recognised. There's too much time being spent on the machine. We were 16 years old when we did our first tour; travelling by Megabus and carrying all our gear. We stayed in the s**ttiest, dingiest places possible because we enjoyed doing music. These people get it handed it on a table."
You Me At Six's new album Sinners Never Sleep will be released in the UK on October 3.
Watch the music video for You Me At Six's recent single 'Loverboy' below: