Kickabouts with BMTH and Parkway Drive, jogging with Mayday Parade and his first thoughts on YMA6’s third album - welcome to the second part of our web-only feature
Click here to read the first part of the article.
It's not just the setting that's hard to adjust to. For other festivals, both US and domestic, set times are planned well in advance so bands can rock up onsite, rock out onstage and then shoot off while the sun’s still up. On Warped, when you’re playing is decided on the day and then posted publicly so kids who want to see, say, Four Year Strong, who would on paper be a headliner-ish band, have to turn up when doors open at 11am because they might be playing 20 minutes later. Every day it’s different, and for Josh that’s ideal.
“We know that when we wake up we’ll have a set time, a signing time and a press time, and those are the only things we need to do in the day – apart from going to catering - and I can figure out what I’m going to do. We’ve been playing a lot of football, especially with the guys from Bring Me The Horizon, Parkway Drive and Pierce The Veil. I’ve been going running with Jake from Mayday Parade, there’s a little crew – us two and Joe from Set Your Goals, it’s really nice. I always try to do stuff with other people who aren’t just my band, just to keep it all fresh.”
If it sounds like a strange version of summer camp that’s because it completely is a strange version of summer camp. Find one of the few working showers at any of the sites and you’ll find a weary queue of band members holding vile, unwashed towels and a half-empty bottle of shower gel as they try to clean themselves for the first time in a week, but the atmosphere is like an army barracks during a particularly long war. And every night after the bands finish playing a gigantic barbecue is rolled out and impromptu card games are set up, some enterprising roadies open bars (if you want a bastard-strong cocktail for three bucks, find NOFX’s bus) and the fans savvy enough to sneak through the chain-link fences hang out with the bands.
Like at school, everyone knows each other’s business – and everyone pays attention to the cool kids. There are cliques, factions and scene politics just like in any arbitrary group when lots of people who don’t know each other are brought together in close proximity, and YMA6 are fast making a name for themselves.
“A good indication things are going well is that people are talking about us on the tour. The first time we did Warped it was our first time in the US and when I introduced myself I was like, ‘Hi, I’m in You Me At Six’ and by the end of the tour they were like ‘Oh you’re that British band’. And this year, if I say I’m in You Me At Six all the people in bands have said, ‘You’ve been killing it!’ or when I see people in catering in production they say they’re hearing great things about our sets or that we have massive queues for our signings. We did a signing yesterday that started at 5pm and we weren’t finished until 6.45pm. It took us three or four years of solid touring in the UK to do what we did, and that’s what we have to do here at some point. We’re going to have to write a record soon to keep things fresh.”
Ah, a new record. While the frontman is extremely keen to stress that work has officially barely begun on the follow-up to this year’s ‘Hold Me Down’, it’s clear he’s starting to get his head round the idea of bettering everything they’ve done before.
“We started writing just before we came out [to America]. It’s definitely different – we said if you judge our band after ‘Take Off Your Colours’ you’d find a different band from ‘Hold Me Down’, and I think it’ll be the same for this one. If your sound doesn’t change from album to album then that’s bad. When we were writing those albums we were listening to the bands that play the music we play, but we aren’t listening to that much pop-punk any more. It’ll be based on the music we listen to now, so it could be a bit heavier…”
He drops names like The Ghost Inside, A Loss For Words and Parkway Drive, but You Me At Six’s third album isn’t going to be a hardcore record. Franceschi goes on to cite Brand New’s opinion-splitting ‘The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me’, which was also their third offering, as evidence that even bands with a clearly defined sound can still innovate and surprise, and that more or less sums up what he wants his band to do. Whether they will or not remains to be seen, but the more summers he spends in a bus travelling around the United States, the more chance there is of it happening.