Morgen erscheint das Album „Suckapunch„, seines Zeichens der siebte Longplayer der Engländer You Me At Six. Dies zum Anlass nehmend sprachen unsere Redakteure Kevin und Jacky mit Gitarrist Max Helyer über die neue Platte, die sich so experimentell, wie noch nie präsentiert. Diese Vielfältigkeit spiegelt sich ebenfalls in den vier vorab veröffentlichen Singles wieder. Max erklärt, wieso sie ausgerechnet diese vier ausgewählt haben und wie der Sound des Albums zustande kommt. Außerdem schauen wir gemeinsam in Vergangenheit und Zukunft der Band.
Frontstage Magazine: Hello friends, how are you doing? How did you spend New Year’s Eve?
Max: Hi there, keeping well this side thank you and hope everyone your side is well too. I spent New Years Eve at home making cocktails and enjoying the evening at home with music and my partner. Was different to not be with friends and family but it was the right thing to do.
Frontstage Magazine: True, but the next celebration is already around the corner: Tomorrow your seventh studio album „Suckapunch“ will be released. Under the given circumstances, how will you celebrate the release of the album?
Max: It’s going to be celebrated in a different way to how we are used to releasing records thats for sure, I know we will be doing lots of stuff via social media and doing lots of fan engagement that way, thank god for technology and how far it has come and allows us to still connect with fans this way. I’m also going to do a cocktail evening at home and have some fun to celebrate the album coming out no doubt by listening to it.
Frontstage Magazine: Beforehand you have released four singles that couldn’t have been more different. Was this meant to show how diverse the new album will be or how did the song selection of „MAKEMEFEELALIVE„, „Beautiful Way„, „Suckapunch“ and „Adrenaline“ come to be?
Max: Well it definitely shows the diversity of this record which we always had in mind showcasing before the record comes out, we always knew that „MAKEMEFEELALIVE“ was our first choice to release. because it really shows off lots of variation that we have done on this record, with more electronic and heavier influences being all mashed up into one song. I also think it came out at a time where people were frustrated with what we have all gone through over the last year and nothing better to release that stress and frustration by releasing a song that does that for us. We knew that „Beautiful Way“ would be a fantastic song to release the pre order with because it still shows off some new tricks we have done with our music but felt like fans of the band would really like this song, as for „SUCKAPUNCH“ we wanted to show off more variation with the electronic route on this song and know it has become one of our favourites from the record and also keeps fans guessing what this record is going to be like. „Adrenaline“ was a perfect song to release on New Years Day to give everyone the adrenaline going into the new year with confidence and belief.
Frontstage Magazine: For the new record you flew to the Karma Sound Studio in Bang Saray, Thailand and recorded the songs in only five weeks. Why did you choose Thailand from of all available places and not for example the UK?
Max: A couple of us were writing with a friend called Richard Craker and knew his dad Chris owned the studio in Thailand, there were conversations about where we were going to make this record and it was the top pick from our side, once we got all the negotiations done on how much we could spend on the record we found a way to make Karma work and then the rest was history.
Frontstage Magazine: With “Suckapunch” you are more experimental than ever before. The amount of electronic and hip-hop parts has increased and is perfectly arranged to the usual You Me At Six sound. What was the reason to give more space to these elements?
Max: I know when we make a record we always try to push ourselves to write the best music we can do at that time but make it a challenge to push ourselves out of our comfort zones, with this record it all stemmed from the song we released called What’s it Like. That gave us the belief we could really push the sound of the band taking influences from all the genres of music, in music I always find taking risks helps us get to somewhere new and unfamiliar that we could have never imagined being. We also know that we try and change things up every record so it’s not just exciting for the fans, but it’s also exciting for us to, it keeps fresh enthusiasm going across all of us making music and that’s when i think you make your best work is when you are engaged, excited but also a tad bit nervous because you don’t really know how or where things will end up.
Frontstage Magazine: It was not always like this in your 17 years of band existence. What is your secret that you still get along so well? Were there ever any bigger disagreements?
Max: I think the one thing that has allowed us to maintain a healthy relationship internally is that first and foremost we are still really best mates, no matter how good or bad stuff gets we are always there for each other, if that’s to do with the band or things that happen outside the band. By doing this for such a long time as well i would say we are more family or a brotherhood. I notice lots of people always say to us how do you guys manage it but it just comes down to having fun, looking after each other and still really enjoying what we do and not taking it for granted.
Frontstage Magazine: And looking towards the future, what are your plans for 2021? Can they exist at ll?
Max: The BIG OLD QUESTION!!! I would say if we can get back to some normality by playing a show this year that will be a massive win for us, having not played a show since Gunnersvile back in September 2019 is the longest we have gone as a band without playing a show together, so we have some tour plans just hopeful we can go out and play again. No doubt through all this madness there will be lots of songwriting to as that’s what most of us musicians are really doing now whilst we have all this time at home.
Frontstage Magazine: Yes, same applies to your colleague Sharon den Adel from Within Temptation as we learnt in our interview with her. She also told us that she is a fan of your band. Are you happy to know that colleagues like her are among your fans as well?
Max: Wow, well I didn’t know that at all, will have to go give her a follow and chat as its always good to bounce off other artists, maybe we will cross paths playing a festival in the future! Always happy to know that people are fans of your band, like this there are fans from different areas / genres of music that you would never guess like you.
Frontstage Magazine: Our last question is always a bit out of the ordinary: World Disney knocks on your door and offers you to re-record the soundtrack of a Disney movie. Which one would you choose and why?
Max: It’s gotta be Fantasia or the Jungle book for me.
Frontstage Magazine: Thank you very much for your time. We wish you a pleasant year and a successful release. Stay healthy.
Fotocredit: Daniel Harris