November 3, 2014 Interview – Chris Miller of You Me At Six
When one does not place limits on themselves, the possibilities are endless. That is a motto something UK band You Me At Six believe in as they continue to climb the ladder to the top of the Rock world. Beginning a decade ago, while still in their teens, the band has already achieved three certified gold albums in their home country and look for world domination with 2014’s Cavalier Youth. The road has been a long one, but with time on their side, a myriad of experience, and eyes toward expanding their sound as they mature, You Me At Six have plenty of momentum to achieve their goals. Recently we sat down with lead guitarist Chris Miller for a personal look at the growth of the band, their unity as friends, the strain of touring, and much more.
CrypticRock.com – You Me At Six has been together now for around a decade and in that time the band has really progressed while achieving a good deal of success in the UK. Recently, the band has begun to get wider recognition in North America. How does it feel to see the band grow as much as it has?
Chris Miller – It feels absolutely amazing to put it in easy terms. We have toured twelve or thirteen times here, we have been putting in the ground work for a long time, and it feels as good as it did in the UK when we first started to build a name. It is really an organic experience. I think it is working exactly the way we want it and we are happy to keep taking it to greater heights.
CrypticRock.com – It is going very well for the band right now. The band’s sound has progressed from your debut Take Off Your Colours in 2008. What ignited the band’s change in directions musically?
Chris Miller – I feel that, particularly for the first album, we are very young at 16 to 17. We obviously wanted to emulate the sound of our peers. I think you could tell we were very excited young guys; the music was very fast and riff-oriented, and exciting. I feel like we have had a gradual progression over time, with each other as our musical tastes have changed, and also we have become better at songwriting. I feel like it has been a very natural progression, it was never “we are going to change right now”, it has all been completely natural. I think it has been good for fans because you can still find elements of all our albums in each album. It is not like you are putting out a scary album that no one really understands or concept album which is weird. I think our progression has been done in natural way.
CrypticRock.com – Yes, that is part of the pleasure of following a band, watching their progression.
Chris Miller – Yes, it keeps things exciting and fresh for a band as well. No one wants to write the same album more than once. I think that is something that is really important and I think we have done it in a good way so far.
CrypticRock.com – Absolutely, your latest album Cavalier Youth is perhaps the pinnacle of the band’s massive and broad sound. What was the writing and recording process like for this album?
Chris Miller – The new record was probably the most fun, enjoyable time in our career so far. The whole experience of writing it to finishing it was just a great one. We wrote most of the album in a tiny little studio in the UK, sort of in the middle of nowhere. It was really cool to have a studio for a few weeks, sort of lock ourselves in and write music together. That was all that really mattered, there was no schedule or time restrains, we were just left to our own devices. If we woke up in the morning and felt like writing songs, we would write songs. If we felt like going into town and chilling out together, we would come back and play music all night. We recorded it with Neal Avron, he is a really good long-time producer who has done everything from Fall Out Boy to Aerosmith, to Linkin Park. When we met him, we just really clicked with him. We just knew he fully understood our band and exactly what we wanted to do. It was a really organic progression and really relaxed to be honest. We had a nice house in the Hollywood Hills with a big old house and a swimming pool. Whether you were in the studio or chilling, it was just a really good studio. He has a studio in an outhouse in his garden. It was really nice to go there and hang out with his family and have dinners. It was just a really nice family experience.
CrypticRock.com – It sounds like a great experience. Some bands say their recording experiences are extremely stressful. The end result with Cavalier Youth was very positive.
Chris Miller – Yes, I think we have had some tough times recording in the past. I feel like the studio we recorded in itself played a huge part. It was a really well-lit room with massive windows. It was a bright airy atmosphere where most studios are dark dingy holes you are stuck in for three months. That starts to wear on you for a while, where this was such a great experience compared to anything we had done in the past. You can really tell from the sound of the record, it a very positive sounding album; even the artwork. I think the whole process conveys positivity, which is great.
CrypticRock.com – Exactly, the other aspect with the band, with the record, is that this is another recording process together. Essentially You Me at Six has kept the same lineup. That has to help as well. What has been the key to the band’s chemistry?
Chris Miller – I think the key to being a band with the same lineup for so long is being honest with one another. A lot of bands fall apart along the way because they were not actually real friends in the first place, they may have been put together by someone else. Where we were friends from college, we said let’s start a band and just did it. I think the secret is the bond between us and we are all real good friends and always have been. Even if we have an argument with each other, it is sort of over after ten minutes. We just have a really good bond together.
CrypticRock.com – Yes, a natural friendship opposed to something that has been organized works out better.
Chris Miller – Yes, there are a lot of bands which do not hang out with one another. There are a lot of bands we have toured with that go off and do their own thing during the day and meet up to play their show in the evening, where with us five, it is us all the time. We are just a real good group of friends. We all have different personalities and traits. When you put it all together, it works really well. It is a good thing and we are very lucky to have that.
CrypticRock.com – Yes, not many bands find that chemistry. With the ever changing landscape of Rock music in the mainstream, do you feel as if You Me At Six have comfortably found their niche within in it all at this point in your careers?
Chris Miller – I think we are definitely at a good place and where we want to be. For us, we really want to be an out and out Rock band. We are looking to push boundaries and be the next big band like Kings of Leon, Foo Fighters, or Muse. That is what we really want to do. We are very happy with where we are now, but the minute you lose ambition to push it to the next step, you are just going to stay where you are. I think, for us, we have very high ambitions. I think we all truly believe, as a band, people around us can push us into that world. We have always aimed for longevity, a lot of bands are around for one or two albums and disappear. We are only twenty-four and twenty-five right now and already on our fourth album, we are about to move on to the fifth in 2015. We are in a really good place, we have to just keep on pushing and keep it going.
CrypticRock.com – Yes considering your age, the band has accomplished an immense amount thus far. You recently completed an extensive North American Tour with Young Guns. How did the tour go?
Chris Miller – The shows were all awesome. It is always hard doing tours that long because it is generally a long time. You are away for over two months on tour, it does get quite hectic, but we were ready to do it.
CrypticRock.com – It was a long tour, thirty-seven dates in total. Everyone gets homesick, life on the road can be stressful. How do you manage being away for that long?
Chris Miller – I think we call it “tour mode,” which is get on with it, you are all doing your jobs and enjoying it. We have our phones, always talking to people at home. I think it comes back to the point of us doing it at a young age, it forced us to grow up very quick. We were doing month long tours at the age of eighteen. We have been away for probably seven months a year for almost ten years now. It is something you get used to, it is hard and you do have your moments where you want to go home. You always have to think you can be doing some terrible job somewhere else, we are doing exactly what we want to do, so that is what gets us going. You just have to appreciate everything you have been doing. It is a good place to be.
CrypticRock.com – Yes, it is a great thing to have. Many people would love to play music for a living. What are some of your musical influences?
Chris Miller – I love many different styles of music. My main thing I love in the music is Rock music. I love Blues music, I love everything in between really. Starting when I was younger, it started off with Rage Against The Machine and Incubus. Now, it has sort of evolved from anything from Foo Fighters to John Mayer, to anything like that. I think we all really have very diverse music tastes and I think that helps when you are writing songs. It is very hard to write songs when you are just listening to the genres of music you play. It is good to have a broad sense of music tastes and appreciate everything for what it is, even if you do not personally like it. We are always looking for something someone did in some song that influences our writing.
CrypticRock.com – That is essential, not to box yourself in as a listener and a musician.
Chris Miller – Yes, you do not want to turn anything down before you give it a chance. You never know, you may get someone’s new CD and say, “I am definitely not going to like that,” then you put it in the CD player and you think it is the best thing you have heard in a long time. I guess you should never judge a book by its cover.
CrypticRock.com – Exactly, my last question for you is regarding films. CrypticRock.com is a Rock/Metal and Horror news site so we like to focus on all genres. Are you a fan of Horror films and if so what are some of your favorite Horror films?
Chris Miller – I am actually the biggest girl in the world when it comes to Horror films. I never really watch them, my girlfriend absolutely loves them. I am an Action or Sci-Fi guy myself. I saw The Conjuring (2013), which was terrifying. Some of my favorite Sci-Fi films are the Alien series and Prometheus (2012). I like anything that is other worldly.
CrypticRock.com – Sci-Fi is an extension of Horror in a way. Those are pretty frightening films. What is your opinion on modern special effects with CGI?
Chris Miller – I think, when it is done well, it is really good. I saw the new Hobbit film, the way they were filmed was way too much for me, I really did not like it. I am sort of in the middle, I kind of like the old school, but as long as it is not too ridiculous it is totally fine. It is when they go absolutely mental with the edits that is when I sort of laugh a bit.