Following the release of their fifth studio album, ‘Night People’, You Me at Six are set to clinch their second consecutive UK Number One album tomorrow.
Having sold more copies ahead of the likes of Little Mix, George Michael and David Bowie during Monday’s Official Chart Update, the Surrey-based rock band are in pole position to end the week in top spot – following up their last number one album, ‘Cavalier Youth’, from 2014.
Their latest release has confirmed You Me at Six as one of the most important rock bands to emerge from the UK. ‘Night People’ was recorded in Nashville at Black Bird Studios with Grammy award winning producer Jacquire King (Kings Of Leon, James Bay) and mixed by Andrew Scheps (Black Sabbath, Red Hot Chilli Peppers).
Having headlined Wembley Arena and The 02 already, and having sold over 600,000 albums globally, the band have decided to kick off proceedings with a bunch of new UK tour dates later this year.
Ahead of Friday’s Official Chart, Shoot! spoke exclusively to You Me at Six drummer and Manchester United fan, Dan Flint, to chat about rock music and the Red Devils…
Having released ‘Night People’ on January 6, how excited are you that your new material is finally out in the open?
“It is currently number one in the midweek [chart], which is the third album in a row we have had at that number one spot. So for a rock band, in this day and age, we are super happy to be up there.
“We have been a band for 10 years now and having done four albums and still being young guys, we thought it would be a good opportunity for us to build a studio in my house. We really took our time with the tracks and made sure that when we did come back, it would be the best stuff that we have ever produced.
“It took us a little while to get finished and we went out to Nashville and recorded out there with a guy called Jacquire King and changed labels, so there has been a hell of a lot of things going on for You Me at Six behind closed doors.
“It is all just a relief now, like a weight off of our shoulders that it is finally out there. We no longer have to be so secretive about it. It is great having new music out, having brand new music on the radio, playing new songs and hearing people’s reactions and getting the ball rolling again. It is all good fun!”
What should You Me at Six fans expect from your latest album release?
“I think the songs that we have put out so far, we wanted to have a heavier and darker side to us. Songs like ‘Plus One’, ‘Swear’ and ‘Night People’, there is kind of a little bit more attitude behind it. Now we are older, grown men, our music influences have changed.
“We have a lot of hip hop influences as well, so it is kind of a huge mash-up of what we all listened to at the time. Songs like ‘Spell It Out’ sounds like an eerie James Bond theme tune. Very dark, very rocky, something you could imagine hearing on something like a trailer for Game of Thrones.
“Then there are definitely some lighter shades to the album, like ‘Take on the World’ and ‘Heavy Soul’, some really uplifting kind of festival anthems as well. We have always done this over the band’s career, we don’t have one solid sound, we like to have a bit of a mash up of everything that we like.”
With the album heavily tipped to climb straight to Number One in the UK Official Chart tomorrow, are you willing to say your latest release is the band’s best ever work?
“I would like to think so. We always strive to be better musicians, make better music and be better songwriters. In the past, we would take three or four weeks to write a record, go out, record it and put it out. Whereas this time around we have really dissected every single section and we just tried to create something that will be timeless and that no one can critique in a bad way and be something that we are really proud of. I think we achieved that for sure.”
How does it feel to have outsold the likes of Little Mix during the Official Chart Update?
“It is just incredible! When we look at the top ten and you’ve got Bruno Mars, George Michael, David Bowie and the powerhouse of Little Mix in there, they are one of the biggest artists in the UK at the moment, if not the entire world. Coming from the X Factor, they are massive. I think they have sold like half a million records in the last couple of months, so to be up there among those kind of names, it is something that a rock band doesn’t really do, so we are really, really proud of that.”
Now, let’s move onto football. You are a big Manchester United fan. How did you become a Red Devils supporter?
“My earliest memory was the fact that my dad was a huge Manchester United fan, so it was just one of those things that was always on in my house when I was growing up. Then I obviously had the luxury of being a youngster and getting into football when we had The Class of ‘92 really. Who wasn’t going to support Manchester United when you have got [Ryan] Giggs, [David] Beckham and [Paul] Scholes in the same team? That was just a dream really.
“I had the luxury of growing up through those amazing years that we had. Obviously we have had a few darker times in the last couple of years, but I think we are starting to get to the point now where I am feeling really confident. I think it is 11 [Premier League] games unbeaten now. We look like we are passing the ball well, moving the ball around and scoring some good goals. We are gelling like a team and we actually look like a team for once.
“Whereas before, we were just throwing players on the pitch and seeing what happened, trying to nick a point and a result here or there. But now we are starting to see off teams week in, week out, winning 4-0 [vs Reading]. Hopefully we’ll get through to the final of the [EFL] Cup. It looks like we are heading in the right direction.”
United are currently sixth in the Premier League, favourites to reach the EFL Cup final, in the FA Cup fourth round and have advanced to the knockout stages of the Europa League. How would you sum up United’s 2016-17 season so far?
“I think everyone thought it was going to be a quick fix – that [Jose] Mourinho was going to come in, he bought a few big players and that was it, we were going to go on and win the league. But obviously it just goes to show that it doesn’t matter how good your players are, who your manager is, or how big your club is, you have obviously got to get all of those players on the same wavelength, use the right shape and keep the ball.
“I think he had a bit of a problem at the back at the start, but it now looks, surprisingly anyway, that [Marcos] Rojo and [Phil] Jones are creating quite an alliance at centre-back, which I think is sort of the foundation within the team. With someone like Henrikh Mkhitaryan coming in as well, how good does he look. He looks like a really exciting prospect for the future, and it is the first time in a while that someone has come in and actually test teams and take people on.
“Last year, there was so much sideway passing, we just kept the ball and didn’t do anything with it. Whereas this year, we have actually got players like [Paul] Pogba who are passing balls forward for once, taking people on and you have got people like [Anthony] Martial getting into the box.
“I think our main thing at the moment as well is having someone like Michael Carrick adding that balance to the team. It allows other players like [Ander] Herrera to get into the box and get forward, whereas before, they would just do their defensive duties. So I feel he [Mourinho] is really starting to get that balance right.”
You are 10 points adrift of Chelsea at the top of the table. Is the 2016-17 Premier League title out of reach for United this campaign?
“I think the way that Chelsea are playing, and I know they lost 2-0 to Tottenham, I can’t see them slipping up too much. Diego Costa is there turning on the heat again. They have got Eden Hazard and Pedro, what a talent he can be, scoring goals. Willian too. You look at the players off the bench, Willian isn’t playing that often, yet he still goes on like a superstar. So I don’t think Chelsea will be beaten.
“But I think we will be up there, second or third is not out of reach for us at all. Arsenal, they always bottle it every year and slip up. Tottenham, they are not used to winning games year in year out and finishing in the top four, they are not exactly a club that is used to doing that. I think now that we are turning on the heat, other teams should be scared. We are making our home [Old Trafford] a fortress once again.
“Last year, teams that came to United thought, ‘Oh, we’ll come here and nick a result’. Whereas now, we have got that fear factor again and obviously I think those mind games play quite heavily on players before games. That is going to prove pivotal for us. I am really confident at the moment, it really excites me to watch Manchester United again. Which is the whole point of loving football isn’t it? Enjoying your club play.
“Last year was boring at times frankly. Least this season we have got amazing talent. We may not win every game, but it is definitely an exciting watch.”
One star signing Mourinho negotiated was bringing Zlatan Ibrahimovic to Old Trafford last summer. What have you made of his impact at the club so far this season?
“I think that is what he said he wanted to do, to come to the Premier League at the end of his career, when everyone thought he was done and do it in the hardest league out there. I think at the start, he thought that he could have more time on the ball, probably like the French league [Ligue 1], where he had a bit more space and was able to pick his pass a little bit slower and take his time.
“But after a good couple of weeks in the league, he realised, ‘Oh okay, I am going to have defenders on me instantly. Two or three players surrounding me. I have got to bring the ball down and play the ball quicker’. Some of the goals he has scored as well have been out of this world.
“He always hits the target, so that is the kind of striker you want really. I can’t really fault him at the moment, he is on fire.”