You Me At Six's vocalist Josh Franceschi is in your Rock Sound 50. Here he tells us how he wants to make a difference.
WHAT DROVE YOU TO CAMPAIGN AGAINST ONLINE TICKET TOUTING?
“A lot of people talk about these problems on social media, but there’s a massive difference between that and actually taking a stand.
"We announced a small show in London last year, it sold out really quickly, and when I looked online there was an overwhelming sense of frustration amongst our fans. Not because it’d sold out, but because the tickets all seemed to have re-appeared on secondary ticketing websites.
"I made a remark on Twitter about it and people got in contact with me about this petition. I wanted to do something that wasn’t just, ‘I play in You Me At Six and everything’s great’. The more I looked into it, the more I realised I needed to be part of the solution, to play my part in looking out for future generations and artists.”
DID YOU EXPECT TO MAKE SUCH AN IMPACT?
“I never envisioned that I’d end up speaking in front of a parliament select committee! It’s been great to be part of the FanFair Alliance – people from across the music industry, trying to make a difference for the good of everyone.
"I wouldn’t have had the life I’ve had if people didn’t put the love, time and care that they have into our band. I want to use my platform to speak up for people who aren’t being listened to, not just sit back and go, ‘Everything’s fine!’”
HAVE YOU ALWAYS FELT THAT WAY?
“In the past there were definitely times where I found the idea of having influence uncomfortable. I’m just a guy who plays in a band some people like listening to, that doesn’t make my opinion more important than anyone else’s.
"I used to find it quite difficult when people would say, ‘Your music has helped me through about this, how should I deal with this thing?’ When people approached me for advice – when they were going through hard times – I didn’t feel informed enough to offer guidance.
"But recently I’ve done a lot of research into the kinds of problems that come up a lot, and tried to educate myself on the best way to approach them. When we were making ‘Night People’ I’d be reading through people’s comments on social media about our music and the band. I thought, ‘You know what, not everybody feels they can talk to their parents, their best friends or a family member. Sometimes people need somebody on the outside to communicate their problems to’.
"Whether I’m going through something or the people around me are, I want to understand in case people do want to talk about it. We have a responsibility to conduct ourselves in a decent way, to justify people’s trust.”
WHAT ELSE ARE YOU INVOLVED WITH AT THE MOMENT?
“I’m campaigning around the concept of toxic masculinity and what’s been called ‘the man box’.
"It’s this idea that many men don’t feel able to communicate about how they feel, or feel pressured to act like an alpha male. Me and a group of other people – some athletes, some actors, other musicians – are trying to get people to understand that the ‘mental’ in ‘mental health’ shouldn’t put you off talking about things you might be going through.
"That whole ‘man up’ culture doesn’t help at all. Culturally in England, we go to the pub and talk about football, girls, whatever it is, but there’s this whole other area of life we don’t talk about: how we feel about things. Spending so many months and years in a bus with other young men, I’m aware how hard it can be to be open. I want to help take away that stigma.”
YOU’VE LED THROUGH EXAMPLE MUSICALLY, TOO…
“Yeah, we’ve always stuck to our own plan, while flying the flag for British rock. But more and more, we’re realising the impact we’ve had – whether that’s making it easier for rock bands to be played on Radio 1 or opening up certain festivals to artists like us.
"Plus, I’m sure a lot of people didn’t expect us to be five albums deep in in 2017! We haven’t stuck to one lane and have allowed ourselves to grow, and it’s paid off.”
This interview is adapted from the Rock Sound 50 issue of Rock Sound. You can pick up a copy below...