rushonrock‘s Tom Walsh caught up with one of America’s hottest rock properties and got the lowdown on life in music’s fast lane.
rushonrock: How is touring in the UK?
Travis Clark: The YM@6 tour was the fourth time we’ve been to the UK. We’ve opened for Cute Is What We Aim For, we headlined with Hey Monday and Out of Sight and then we did another headline tour with The Maine and The Academy Is. It’s been really awesome coming over to the UK again – we released our new record Smile Kid last month and the reception was awesome. We played a few new songs live and people seemed to like it.
rushonrock: There were fans queuing all the way around the venues on the YM@6 tour. How was it playing shows of that size?
TC: It’s insane.
Drew Thomson: Yeah we need to thank You Me At Six for that.
TC: They (You Me At Six) are absolutely humongous in the UK – it’s insane to see. There isn’t the added pressure you’d expect because back in the States these are kind of venues we’re playing on a regular basis. When you play in the UK you have to kind of win the crowd over because these kids are here to see You Me At Six and we’re just the support band. You have to make them like you.
Hunter Thomson: It’s easy to thrive off that energy. When they are so many people in the room going crazy it reflects on you as a band.
rushonrock: Did you get good receptions from the crowds?
TC: Yeah it was really good. The best thing about the UK is that you’ll play a show and no matter if it’s a week day or a weekend everybody parties. We’ll go to the bar after the show and people will come up to us and buy us drinks. By the end of the night you’re completely wasted and you haven’t paid for one drink (laughs).
rushonrock: What was the thinking behind all of you wearing Newcastle United shirts on stage at the city’s Academy?
TC: The thinking behind it was that whatever city we were in we’d buy the jersey of the local football team. We love soccer and we thought it’d be a fun idea to do. Myself, I’m a big Barcelona supporter, Hunter is a Liverpool fan.
DT: I support FC Copenhagen.
rushonrock: You did a song We’ll Be A Dream with Demi Lovato from the Hannah Montana films. How’d that come about?
TC: She’s been a really good friend of ours for the past couple of years and I wrote the song on piano that I felt needed a female vocal line. That same week I heard her sing the national anthem at an American football and it was incredible. I was like “woah this girl can actually sing” and she’s not just a Disney star, I asked her if she wanted to be on the record and she’d been a huge fan of the band so it just made sense. We had her at studio, she recorded her vocal part and when we got the mixes back it just sounded incredible.
rushonrock: Do you feel you could be perceived as doing something with a Disney star you could be contrasted with The Jonas Brothers or bands of similar ilk?
TC: I guess everyone will take it a little differently but I think once people actually hear the track they’ll realise the reason why we did it. I’ve heard song collaborations with other Disney stars which have just been horrible but this one is different. She really can sing, if she wasn’t a Disney star she could easily be a Paramore-esque singer and a really well respected singer.
rushonrock: What do you think sets you apart from other pop punk bands around at the moment?
TC: I think it is a little bit of saturation with pop punk right now and there are a lot of bands around. The difference are the bands that can take it to the next level and by putting out a second and third album you can judge whether people still want to listen to you. A lot of times bands will put out one record, have one catchy song and you won’t hear from them ever again. I’m proud, and can speak for the rest of the guys by saying, that we put out a second record, kids love it and it’s doing much better than our first album. It’s going really well at the moment.
rushonrock: When making your second album is it hard to make something that’s different from your first album but at the same time not alienating your fans?
TC: We’ve heard for a while that the third album is what really defines your sound. With our second record we did make a departure from our first record but they are songs on the album like Check Yes Juliet which are different and I think songs like that make the album really dynamic. You can see the difference between songs that were written immediately after our first record and the ones we spent more time on. I think our third record will be our solid and best effort.
rushonrock: If you could aspire to be any band who would it be?
TC: We’re all quite different but being the primary songwriter for the band I love Jimmy Eat World, they are my favourite band in the world. A lot of people when they write reviews say that bands are like “the new age Jimmy Eat World” and if we were to be compared to them it would be amazing. I mean they are just so amazing. It’s not cheesy, it’s just awesome.
rushonrock: Travis you are in this rare breed along with Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age and Frank Carter of Gallows in that you are a ginger frontman. How does it feel to be in this exclusive bracket of lead singers?
TC: I love it. We’ve noticed that it has actually set us apart from other bands because a lot of band members look very similar and it’s hard to miss a giant head of red hair. I had one interviewer ask me if I’d ever experienced ‘ginger hate’ and I didn’t even know that was real (laughs). It’s crazy.