Talking to You Me At Six
You Me At Six have come some way since their humble beginnings playing live at Weybridge Town Hall. Having just released their sixth studio album VI, we caught up with Matt Barnes from the band to talk about the new album, performing live and living locally…
RELEASED ALMOST A DECADE TO THE DAY AFTER YOUR DEBUT ALBUM TAKE OFF YOUR COLOURS, YOUR NEW ALBUM VI CAME OUT IN OCTOBER…
So excited and can’t believe it’s been ten years since our first record, not many bands get to have the longevity of ten years and still get to create new music and an album that is so different to what we’ve ever released before.
YOU CO-PRODUCED THE NEW ALBUM WITH DAN AUSTIN AND IT FEELS LIKE YOUR SOUND HAS DEFINITELY EVOLVED – A PRETTY NATURAL THING FOR ANY BAND OR ARTIST – WHAT WOULD YOU SAY HAS INFLUENCED THE NEW TUNES?
We’re the sort of people that write what we listen to essentially. 10 years ago we were writing pop-punk songs. 6 years ago we went a bit heavier because that’s what we were listening to. And this time, we had been listening to pop, indie, guitar music and more positive music than the heavy rock music, so it’s been a very natural transition to the sound of this new record.
On our last record, we went very rock and we sort of went away from it thinking, we’re actually not a rock band, we’re more of a lighter band, we don’t take ourselves too seriously. Our last record it was very much dark lighting, dark vines, heavy songs. On this one, we thought let’s just do the opposite to that because we do just like having a laugh and having fun, so we wanted to make it more uplifting, more of a positive record all in all.
THE DANCE ROUTINE IN YOUR VIDEO FOR 3 AM… IS THAT SOMETHING YOU’VE ALWAYS WANTED TO DO?
Definitely. I mean me after four pints, I’m on that dancefloor – hard! It was really funny. 3 AM is a bit more pop and a bit more tongue in cheek to songs that we’ve ever done and we got this idea for the video. Chris and Dan especially really didn’t want to do it, but me, Max and Josh were just like, ‘c’mon, it’ll be fun, it’ll be funny’ and they were both like, ‘no it won’t be fun, it’ll be s**t’.
We then got into this dance studio in London to work on choreography. Five minutes in, I look over and they’ve both got these massive grins on their faces. It was so fun. We always like to have a laugh and I think that’s why we’ve lasted ten years, by literally having fun and winding each other up. Pushing buttons but knowing where the line is you know?
YOU MET EACH OTHER AND STARTED OUT AS A BAND IN WEYBRIDGE – WHAT CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT GROWING UP IN THE AREA?
Our second ever gig was in Weybridge Church Hall and our first gig was in Woking. Loads of our gigs were in Weybridge because back in the day you could do gigs at Weybridge Town Hall and we would invite mainly all of our friends down. I’m going back to before even our first record was out, so we’re talking 11 maybe even 12 years ago we were playing Weybridge Hall every month for six months or so and every month and every single time it would get bigger and bigger and more people would come down. The police would then turn up thinking, ‘what is going on in Weybridge, this doesn’t happen. Why are those loads of kids running around the High Street dressed as Emos? That might be when they stopped gigs there. We played loads in Guildford too.
We’re all from the area. I grew up in Hersham and I actually still live in Hersham and bought a place there a couple of years ago. Josh grew up in Weybridge, Chris also grew up in Hersham with me, so we are super local and I still love it around the area. I don’t see why I would move out. My parents have got a dog and I go to Esher woods with the dog – it’s the best.
HAVE YOU GOT ANY FAVOURITE SPOTS OR PLACES YOU LIKE GO TO WHEN YOU COME BACK TO WEYBRIDGE AND THE WIDER SURREY AREA?
I went to the Skywalk at Sandown Sports the other day. It was so good, amazing. My dad’s a musician as well and he plays in a function band and play’s covers and he did something at Sandown and he came back and said you’ve got to go down there, it looks so funny. I went down with a friend and it was sick. I love to run around it. Definitely check it out. I love taking the dogs to Esher Woods and to West End in Esher as well.
YOU HEAD OFF ON TOUR AROUND THE UK AND EUROPE THIS WINTER – WHAT CAN FANS EXPECT FROM THE SHOW?
We’re doing a mixture of shows. Half the gigs we’ll play our first record in its entirety and then a few other songs from other records but I’m not sure how many because that first record was like 16 songs long. The other half of the shows, we’re going to play some newer stuff and a mix of our other records.
We’re going through some staging designs at the moment and we’ve got some really cool things on the go. It’s going to be really fun. What I’m looking forward to more than anything is to be on tour for longer than five days. Our last few UK tours, don’t get me wrong, it’s been amazing, but we’ve been doing the arenas and because you only do four or five, a week later you’re back at home.
I love touring the UK because we’ve got so many friends up and down the country. Every single spot you go to you see people you haven’t seen for years. This time going out for two and a half weeks and still playing amazing venues. I’d rather be out for longer and play smaller shows than only pop out every now and then again because gigs are what it’s all about.
YOU REGULARLY SELL OUT HUGE VENUES, BUT A FEW YEARS AGO YOU PLAYED THE BOILEROOM IN GUILDFORD FOR INDEPENDENT VENUE WEEK, AND YOU PLAY NEW SLANG IN KINGSTON NEXT WEEK – HOW IMPORTANT IS FOR YOU TO PLAY THOSE SMALLER SHOWS?
I think it’s really important to keep it real and know where you came from. We’re going to do a release in Kingston because its 15 minutes from where we live and it’s paying homage to what used to be. Without our gigs in Weybridge and the local area, in Woking and Guildford, we wouldn’t be the band we are today.
The Boileroom gig, especially, was really important for us because music venues are always getting closed down. As I said, they don’t do gigs at Weybridge Town Hall anymore, the Kingston Peel got shut down. The Boileroom were threatened with closure and they made it.