You Me At Six frontman Josh Franceschi has told NME why the band have decided to split, as well as talking through plans for their final world tour that will extend into 2025. Read our full interview below.
This comes after yesterday’s shock announcement that the rock veterans would be calling it quits, as the Surrey quintet broke the news to fans through a video montage posted on social media. As they approach their 20th anniversary next year, Franceschi described how that milestone “has always been our finish line.”
“This is like our childhood crush, that we’ve been together with for 20 years and grown up alongside”, he continued. “But it is so much bigger than us five. It’s completely out of our hands what this band means to others. Let’s have the opportunity to say goodbye properly, versus slipping out the back door.”
The band confirmed that a final run of UK shows will take place in 2025, following their last festival appearances this May which sees them headline Slam Dunk for the third time.
Franceschi opened up to NME about the process behind the decision, plans for their victory lap, and what life after You Me At Six will look like.
NME: Hello Josh. How are you feeling now that the cat’s out of the bag?
Franceschi: “We were all together yesterday, in our manager’s office. It’s been quite a confronting thing, going to bed every night knowing this band’s actually going to come to an end. I feel I’m getting a glimpse of what it would be like to die, then see what people were saying about me afterwards!
“I think the fans are grieving now, but we’ll probably grieve when we’ve only got a couple of shows left. Fuck, this is it. There’s always that thing – don’t be sad something’s over, just be happy it happened in the first place. That’s where I’m at with it.”
How did you come to the decision that it was time to bring an end to You Me At Six?
“We’ve been talking a lot over the last couple of years about what motivates us, collectively. We’ve achieved everything we wanted to in the sense of the things that mattered most to us: playing Brixton [Academy], going to America and Australia. Two Number One records, all these sort of mad, stupid headlines.
“But the thing that mattered the most is longevity, getting closer and closer to that 20 year mark. We don’t need this band for self-indulgent reasons. We’re all really satisfied with what we’ve done, let’s just tie a nice little ribbon or bow around it. You don’t want to be the last ones hanging around at the party. We want to be a band that bowed out, not one that was kicked out.”
When did you have this realisation? It hasn’t even been a year since you released ‘Truth Decay’…
“I [initially] wanted [2021’s] ‘SUCKAPUNCH’ to be our last record, then the pandemic kind of recomputed everything. When we made ‘Truth Decay’, I started saying this should be our last record. We knowingly and submissively made a bit of a throwback record, and we asked ourselves, ‘Why did we do that?’ We just leaned into our younger selves.”
Does that mean ‘Truth Decay’ is the last bit of music we’ll ever hear from the band?
“I wonder if anyone picked up on it, we were warning everybody. That’s why we did the throwback style, the suits we wore. We were saying, ‘This is the beginning of the end’ from then! But as far as I’m concerned, there’s no more music coming from us.”
Have you considered releasing music outside of You Me At Six?
“There’s no doubt in my mind that I’ll be creative, and making music. What that looks like, and in what capacity remains to be defined. Music’s been my life for 20 years. It’s definitely the most honest representation we can give, when we’re trying to project how we’re feeling. So again, that would be nuts, for me to not be doing that in some way. I’m sure the others will do exactly the same. We’ll see. But for now, that’s a completely different conversation.”
Your first festival was Slam Dunk, and your debut single was released on Slam Dunk Records. How poetic is it to return as headliners for your final festival show?
“Ben Ray, who books Slam Dunk, was our first ever manager and gave us our first show in a proper venue at The Cockpit in Leeds. When we got there, we just bombarded him, let us open [the festival]. No one knew who we were. But he believed in us, and he gave us that chance.
“I think it’s a really poetic ending to our great relationship. How big that festival has become is a testament to him and his team, but also to this alternative scene that we have in England. When other festivals have maybe dipped in and out of guitar music, Slam Dunk hasn’t. It’s a great honour to go and play there.”
Those Slam Dunk shows really represent going out with a bang…
“I feel really connected to the idea of how we’re doing it. There are so many examples of artists that have fallen out publicly, or have left a bitter taste in the mouths of their fanbase, who have supported you for so long. It’s always been us five, making music for each other as friends. [‘Truth Decay’] was the easiest record we ever made, it was just so full of joy.”
“I thought we were going to end it after the South American tour we did in December. But we need to make our fans understand how much we respect this thing, and that we don’t take this lightly. It’s been really measured and thought through. It’s all about this next 12-15 months; I think it’s going to end in April next year. How much can we give back before we clock off? For me, it’s the perfect final chapter.”
When can we expect to hear details of your farewell tour?
“We’ve worked out that our final gig is going to be 20 years to the day since our first ever band practice, which is wild. It wasn’t even deliberate. The UK tour is gonna be pretty mad. It’s a couple of months until we announce those dates. We’re looking at going to America, Europe, Australia, and Japan.”
How do you whittle down eight albums into one final setlist?
“We know we want to play for over two hours. There are songs off ‘Take Off Your Colours’ that we haven’t played in so long, plus deep cuts like ‘The Swarm’. We want to have about 40-50 songs that are all rehearsed so that we can mix it up every night. If you come to multiple nights, you’re gonna see a different show the next night. I think that will keep us on our toes.”
What makes you most proud about You Me At Six?
“We’ve had really wobbly moments, leaving two major labels, five different managers. Win, lose or draw, we’ve been earnest and true to ourselves. We’ve not been afraid to make mistakes, and I’m proud of the fact that we’ve all had to take it in turns to take the mantle of not losing faith. That’s what makes a great team, when people are willing to carry each other through the bad moments.
“I think our fans have picked up on the fact that this is a serious underdog story. I really hope other bands look at our story and can take things from it. I remember when [Catfish And The Bottlemen frontman] Van McCann came up to me at Manchester Apollo, years ago. We stayed in contact, and he went on to be in one of the biggest bands our country’s produced in 20 years in Catfish. I’ve had people reach out to me that I had no idea even fucked with us at all. It’s good to know we’ve done something right in our little lives.”
Have you thought about life after the band?
“There are three weddings happening, between the five of us. There’s a lot of talk of going travelling, or maybe start having kids and that sort of stuff. We’re still figuring it out. Maybe there’s nothing to figure out, and we’ll just go where the wind takes us.
“The concept of those four not being in my life is just completely mental to me, that would never happen. I have no doubt that we’ll be together and we’ll do stuff socially. I’m sure for some of us, if not all of us, there’ll be more that will happen down the line creatively. But I’m going to focus more on the immediate future, and make it a beautiful ending to a pretty remarkable story.”
You Me At Six will headline Slam Dunk Festival this May, with details of their final tour that extends into 2025 to be announced soon. The band will also be playing a BRITs week War Child show on February 19 at Brighton Concorde 2 next month. Check out the band’s other 2024 tour dates below, with tickets available here.
9 – Wolverhampton, KK’s Steel Mill
10– Norwich, UEA
11– Bristol, o2 Academy
13– Oxford, o2 Academy
14– Middlesbrough, Town Hall
15– Aberdeen, P&J Live
17– Liverpool, Liverpool University
18– Portsmouth, Guildhall
25 – Slam Dunk South, Hatfield Park
26 – Slam Dunk North, Temple Newsam
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