Frontman Josh Franceschi tells Thea De Gallier their 10-point plan for world domination
Know what you’re capable of
The last thing you might imagine a band cracking out when they record an album is a whiteboard listing their goals and achievements, but that’s exactly what You Me At Six did. “We’ve had a Number One album and played arenas, and the question was if we want to take it up, how are we going to do that?” singer Josh explains.
Get off social media
“We didn’t want to worry about what our peers were doing,” says Josh. “When you’re making a record, you look at all the bands that are touring and think, ‘I wanna be doing that as well.’ Then when you’re on tour, you want to be in the studio making a record. There’s no point comparing yourself to a band on-cycle when you’re off-cycle.”
Be more American
“The American dream is to be from a small town and make it in Hollywood. In England it’s like, ‘What, you’re not satisfied playing this s**tty pub every Friday night?’” says Josh. “Being in the music industry, people don’t often open doors for you. You have to knock them the f**k down.”
Get outside your comfort zone
‘Night People’ was a record of firsts for YMAS. It was the first time they worked with Grammy-winning producer Jacquire King – whose résumé includes Tom Waits and Kings Of Leon – and the first time they recorded live as opposed to single-tracking each song. “Not many bands could record an album that way – there might be a weak link in the group,” Josh says. “We learned that we’re a far more accomplished set of musicians than we thought we were.”
Don’t hold grudges
There’s an old cliché about being nice to people on the way up in case you need them on the way down. Or, in YMAS’s case, being nice to people who weren’t so nice to you on the way up. “I think NME gave our first record three out of 10,” laughs Josh. “But the guy who gave us [that] is actually one of our best friends now. Moments like that, we just think, ‘Fine, it’s not all meant to happen at once.’”
Cultivate important relationships
You Me At Six made their 2016 live comeback with a secret set at Reading& Leeds Festivals. “If you look at the history of those secret sets, they’re there because [the organisers] have the intention of you and them working towards being a headliner,” says Josh. Canny.
Don’t play down your ambitions
“I remember standing watching Paramore side-of-stage at Wembley when we supported them and saying to our promoters, ‘Do you think we can do this one day?’ and them being like, ‘You’ve got no f**king chance!’” laughs Josh. Well, we know who had the last laugh there.
Bond with your team
Working in Nashville with a new team meant the band had relationships to build. So the idea of Thirsty Thursdays, where the band boozed with producers and studio staff, came about. “It’s really important to build trust between people [who are] going to make your record,” Josh explains. “Sometimes loosening people up is one of those things. Thirsty Thursdays allowed [the production team] to get loose, rather than us being high all the time.”
Know your limits
“We all smoke weed a lot, but it’s a lesser evil than going out and drinking a bottle of vodka,” says Josh. “[Getting wrecked] is not something we’re massively interested in. People’s advice has always been, ‘If you’re really serious about not being a flash in the pan, you can’t be off your nut every night on stage.’ If people come to a show and I’m hungover and my performance is weak, we’re doing a disservice to them.”
Stand up for what you believe in
“If you’re a musician, you’ve got to realise you make money in a way that not a lot of people are fortunate enough to do. You don’t need to take the p**s on top of that.” So alongside launching his band’s album, Josh has been declaring war on ticket touts. “In 20 years’ time when musicians of the future say, ‘Why the f**k didn’t you do anything about this?’ we can say we at least tried,” he says. “There’s been some hairy moments over it already [Josh personally sold tickets to a small show, and has spoken on the Daily Politics show] but I’m not scared of anybody. You’ve got to be some sort of d**khead to think it’s OK.”