the AU interview: Max Helyer of You Me At Six (UK)

Larry Heath talks to Max Helyer from popular English rockers You Me At Six about their upcoming tour with We The Kings late August/early September, how great an experience Soundwave was for the band, and what we can expect from their upcoming third LP.

Hey there Max, how you going? Where ‘bouts are you at the moment?

I’m currently standing in my back garden, smoking a cigarette – might make myself a cup of coffee and enjoy the sunshine that England is finally getting for once.

You’re about to come down to Australia and it looks like you guys are going to release a new album around the same time.

Yeah, hopefully. We are about 90 percent done on the CD and it’s been quite a long process. We’ve taken so much time on the songs and production – we want to make sure it’s the perfect follow-up to [the 2010 LP] Hold Me Down. So we’re really excited for that and so excited to come back to Australia as well, it’s been quite a while since we’ve been there so we’re just looking forward to playing shows down there.

What were your experiences like last time you were down here?

It was amazing. It blew us all away because it was our first proper headline tour when we came there with The Audition and it blew all expectations as to what we were going to do. We didn’t really know what was going to happen, like we played Sydney and around 1,000 people turned up and we were mind-blown at how 1,000 people wanted to watch us from the other side of the world. It was one of the best times we ever had as a band – it was probably one of the best tours we’ve headlined outside of the UK.

When you guys come down here you will be touring with We The Kings, do you know those guys quite well?

Yeah, we’ve toured with them a couple of times now, namely on the Warped Tour [in the States]. They are just really good dudes – really fun to be with, they have a good laugh and a really good social life. They love to go a wonder about as well because you often find yourself stuck in a venue all day but those guys love to go and make a day of it – like going to play some football for a bit. They love exploring the towns and that makes for great tour buddies. Touring is a great way to meet new friends and just have a good time.

Any chance of getting you back down here for another Soundwave?

Yeah we’d love that – hopefully we get to do Soundwave, we don’t quite know what the plan is at the moment. It would be amazing for us if we could play Soundwave again because when we did it in 2010 it was one of the highlights of our career – it was so different, you get treated very well and it’s a very relaxing experience, and you’re also playing some of the best shows you could ever do. That’s the first thing we ever did in Australia and it was just amazing – it’s a really good vibe.

I also understand that you have ventured into having your own clothing range?

Yeah, it’s taken a lot of time because a couple of the other guys as well have their own clothing range as well, so I’ve just been waiting for the right time and period to do it. We’ve been talking about it for about one and a half to two years now and just been coming up with ideas on how to approach it and how we want to be portrayed as well. That’s going really well at the moment (

How did the name of the clothing line come about?

The idea of the company was that we wanted people to have clothes which were limited edition. Like when you see a lot of people buy t-shirts sometimes people get bummed out how everyone else buys it as well, so the idea was that you have something that is so limited it’s almost like an antique now, so that’s how the name came about.

So you say the new album is about 90 percent done. What can we expect from it? What’s changing for you guys – how was the recording process different?

Well recording wise, for the first two albums we did we recorded it in Redding with John Mitchell, and this time we have been working with Garth Richardson (Gallows, Rage Against The Machine, Biffy Clyro) and he was really interested in our band. We never thought that someone of his calibre would ever want to work with us – so that was amazing. We went and recorded it in L.A for over two months – we were in the studio ‘Sunset Sounds’ where like Led Zeppelin and The Doors have recorded – it was also one of the last places the Beatles played. So the place had a lot of historical meaning for the music industry and it was a really overwhelming experience to be working there – we’ve been so privileged.

Also with the recording process, we had a lot more stuff to play around with and a lot more time to tweak individual parts if we weren’t happy with them and stuff like that. So it was a totally great experience, we just got the mixes back and we are really happy with them. We think we’ve matured a lot in terms of song-writing and playing and there are a lot of different styles on the new album that you can expect.

We’ve already heard the song “Rescue Me” with rapper Chiddy Bang – is that part of the album, or was that a one-off song?

Nope, that was just a one-off – we were in the process of writing the new CD and we thought we needed to get something out there to remind people that we still exist and haven’t forgotten about the fans. We thought Chiddy would be the right person to do it because like he’s not really a mainstream rapper, he’s more underground and he has the same interests that we do and he likes good music and skateboarding – he has his own kind of twist and writes great songs, so we’d thought it would work for both of us – we were really lucky to work with him.

My final question for you, if there was a ‘dream guitar’ that you could own what would it be?

Well my prized guitar is a 1976 Gibson Les Paul Custom and it’s really everything I’d want. It’s built really well and it just sounds like a beast, like the inner-beast is coming out of and creating this monstrous sound – so that’s my ideal guitar. Like, I’m also into the new stuff, I’m always re-designing my guitar and making sure it’s the best it can be. I like a mix of Gibson and Fenders usually.




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