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Interview: Boyzone’s Keith Duffy

Keith Duffy is a founding member of Boyzone, one of the UK’s most successful bands (his words, not ours) and this week he talks to Fuse FM about Boyzone’s farewell tour, his continued success with offshoot Boyzlife (with Westlife’s Brian Macfadden) and their upcoming collaboration with student favourite Bongo’s Bingo. Our interview starts off on a rather awkward note as a misunderstanding on who is calling leads to what we expect to be an extremely short “interview”. However after a few unanswered, and admittedly rather creepy sounding ‘Hello Keith, how are you?’ the Boyzone star realises we aren’t cold callers from The Daily Mail and everyone begins to relax. Throughout the interview Keith excitedly rattles off the places he’s performed in during his illustrious career but for someone who has toured the world several times, the singer is surprisingly more down to earth than you would expect.

Keith puts this to his upbringing, citing the bands “strict Irish mothers” and “God-fearing working class backgrounds” in helping him to stay grounded throughout the continued success of Boyzone. He also praises the atmosphere of the band as well, revealing that if anyone ever fell into the traps of success “there were always three or four of the other guys to help pull you back up.” Even when we tell Keith that a lot of our female friends were extremely jealous that we were interviewing him he seems surprised and says he never understood the attention he received after Boyzone blew up. “We never saw ourselves as any different from the lads we grew up with” claims Keith, “when it all happens so suddenly you can’t process it too much- you can’t get too confident because if it all came so quickly that also means it can be taken away just as quickly.” It was only on Boyzone final tour with the album ‘Thank You & Goodnight’ that Keith truly realised how involved the band had been in people’s lives. He tells us that it was during the meet and greets fans had told him how his songs had been used for first dances at weddings, songs that people’s children were conceived to and even at funerals. “It really made me think for a second, whatever the critics or cynics have said over 25 years of Boyzone, we’ve been really involved in our fans’ lives and that’s something truly touching.” On the decision to call it a day on Boyzone, Keith reveals it was important for the band to finish on a high, saying their last album is “the best work we’ve ever done, it took us two years to record the album compared to a time where we could make a record in two weeks.”

Keith also opened up about the loss of bandmate Stephen Gately, who died of a congenital heart defect in October 2009 and who’s death had an overwhelming impact on the mechanics of the band. “We were all so close we didn’t really know what to do” says Keith, “we finished the album out of respect and called the 2009 tour ‘Brothers’ in his memory but we were falling apart at the seams.” Stephen was even featured posthumously on 2018’s ‘Thank You & Goodnight’, with the band remastering unreleased songs that Stephen had written whilst also sampling his vocals on the tracks. This acknowledgement of the past is crucial to keep the fans engaged says Keith, “its about giving the fans what they want. Don’t just be self-deprecating and play your new songs, its when you play the old hits that people feel young again, it takes them back to when they were 17 and didn’t have any responsibilities.”

Since 2015 Keith has partnered up with Westlife’s Brian Macfadden to perform a collection of their bands’ hits under the moniker BOYZLIFE. This March they will be featuring in Bongo Bingo’s Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations and the boys seem to know the hedonistic reputation of the event, calling it “a great night… but crazy! We’re really happy with what we have planned for our St Paddy shows.” Boyzlife have gone from strength and strength and sold out their UK shows in a matter of days when tickets were released earlier this month, but Keith says there’s more in store including “another tour this winter, followed by our debut album which will hopefully come out by the new year, followed by an even bigger tour in 2020; my diary’s pretty full.” It does indeed, Keith, it does indeed.

Interview with Noah Matthews and Harrison Brown

Interview: The Stranglers

The Stranglers frontman Baz Warne discusses the state of rock and roll, his distaste for genres and how to
maintain a rebellious image in a sanitised pop landscape.

After Hugh Cornwell left the band in 1990, The Stranglers struggled to replace the hole he left so
when you joined the band in 2000 was it daunting taking on such an iconic role?

I never thought about it that way because I was in my mid 30s, I had been a fan of them for many
years and had even toured with The Stranglers in 95 and 97 as their support act. They made me
feel very welcome and we were so busy touring straight away that I didn’t even get a chance to
think about it. The dust settled after about a year and then we all moved into a farmhouse to write
the next record.

The Stranglers were known for their notorious, punk persona, even appearing on stage in 1978
with dozens of topless female dancers. Do you think bands have to worry about being politically
correct when trying to also maintain their rebellious image?

I think it’s just the times they [The Stranglers] were living in, i think if you try and be right on and PC
you’ll never get a chance to say anything to anyone; you’d end up having to call a manhole cover a
person inspection hatch- to be fair that is a really extreme example, funny though! We are who we
are, and it worries other people more than it worries us.

The Stranglers have touched upon some hard hitting topics in their songs, are there any more in
particular you want to tackle?

Well, subject matter just comes to you at the time. I mean, there’s plenty to write about at this
moment in time; we’ve got some US gigs in May and we’ve just got to watch what we say because
I’ve already written a few songs about the cartoon character they’ve got in the white House. It
happens naturally so you don’t really plan ahead, you just save up instrumental bits and someday
you’ll fit words to that.

So do you have pre-made lyrics, then? Or is it more impulsive?

Different sides of the same coin: you should never through anything away, always write it down,
often on a mobile phone which is crucial to musicians nowadays. You might listen back to it in 6
months and think that’s crap and say “I don’t remember writing” that “I don’t want nothing to do with
that shit” but sometimes you’ll listen back and think it’s great and wonder why did we never
recorded it before.

Did you expect the success of Big With Coming?

Big Thing Coming… that was one of the first thing we did together. To be fair we laboured long and
hard on that record actually. I don’t know, it would’ve been easy to follow the same direction of the
90s album which the other guys would admit was a bit ‘wishy washy’. New blood is always good: in
a football team, for managerial staff, anything; anyone coming at something with a different outlook
is bound to bring something new. Living in this farmhouse altogether, it was like The Young Ones, just trying to learn each other’s personalities and how we worked and Big Thing Coming just came
out of that situation.

Did you grow up listening to The Stranglers?

Well I had no internet- just top of the pops. It was so sanitised and mindless but every once in a
while you’d get a band like The Stranglers- their sound was so unique and no one sounded like
them, and no one probably ever will. That is what you want in a band, 45 years later and we’re still
doing it, so that’s gotta count for something.

Have you noticed a change in the demographic of your fans over the years?

The teenage fans from 1970s are all parents now so naturally yeh. And a lot of the fans, the
vociferous fans, who and eat and sleep the band have clearly got their kids into us too. So in the
crowd we get men in their 60s, all the way down to small kids down by the barrier who are being
lifted up so they’re not squashed and just eating a bag of crisps and watching the show! There’s
this one kid who’s been coming to our shows since he was a wee ginger lad and now he’s grown
up with a beard and a girlfriend, it’s fantastic!

What do you think about bands moving away from traditional rock music, like Arctic Monkeys’ last
album ‘Tranquility Base’, or The 1975 finishing off their recent round of UK arena shows with a
massive ‘Rock is Dead’ sign?

Ah! Well how do you mean by genre, if you had to use that awful word. They’re just boxes and
pigeon holes so that music is quantifiable. I tell you what lad, you come and see us and you tell us
that rock is dead. In London, Manchester, Glasgow, there’ll be thousands of leather jacket wearing
lads just waiting to rock out. Basically, it’s just about how it makes you feel, it’s not rocket science,
its very simple to be honest- you might catch yourself humming a tune that you accidentally hate. If
you don’t like rock go and listen to some bloody acoustic guy or some Ed Sheeran and then you
can tell me you don’t like rock music.

You’re primary fanbase is in the Uk but you also have big fanbases overseas, such as in France,
do the type of fans or atmosphere change country to country?

That’s what happens when you have a French bass player! Yeh we love playing there and we do
very well in France. When you go to places you haven’t been to in years- like our US shows which
will be the first in 6 years- the venues are absolutely rammed and alive because people have
missed us. We’re also off to Japan for first time in 10 years and one of the things I love in Japan is
the politeness, they’re so polite! The stage times are earlier too so you go on at 6pm and end by
8pm, they literally come straight from work and then go home straight after we finish- you wouldn’t
have that in the UK would you.

How to stay on the straight and narrow having such a crazy job?

We’re about to get in a bubble for 6 weeks recording and its important to not get up your own
backsides. Eating good, not burning the candle at both ends, get up, shower, go to the next town,
play the gigs, done. Its just a pleasure to still do this, I know that sounds cliched but we just feel
honoured to be able to still play to our fans. We won’t have played for 5 months by our next gig
which is too long and in the studio we all have massive smiles on our faces, so if we ever aren’t
smiling thats a sign to stop, but we aren’t there yet!

Doing this for so ling, have you guys developed any traditions?

Well of course they’ll be specific pubs or restaurants in specific towns that you want to visit but our
only major tradition is we all have a nip of rum and blackcurrant before going on stage. It’s an old
working mans club trick- the rum opens up your sinuses and blackcurrant coats your throat; a bit of
medical help works but just don’t do 6 shots of rum otherwise you won’t give a crap what you’re

Did you have any particular inspirations?

To be frank anything with a guitar in it but it didn’t always have to be guitar music. Great guitar
solos used to stick out to me on the radio, like ACDC, Motorhead, Sex Pistols and The Stranglers
but I wasn’t into the Jam or The Clash because they always felt too manufactured for me. As I got
older I even started to listen to Neil Young but to be honest whenI finish work and I go home I just
want to sit with my wife or go ride my motorbike through the Yorkshire dales. Music is my job but
don’t get me wrong it’s also my pleasure and a luxury too.

Do you have any hobbies outside of music then?

I read a lot as I’ve gotten older and I’m a very passionate football fan even if we team [Sunderland]
is now in the First Division; I’ve from a working class background where football was all pervading.
My grandchildren are great- I love being able to play with them and then give them back when they
get too much. Also as I mentioned I ride so maybe when the weather gets better we’ll get the
motorbike out and have some fun!

The Stranglers have dipped into so many different musical styles, what can fans expect from the
upcoming tour, any surprises?

Well you just have to play ourselves, like some old songs that the band haven’t played every or
haven’t played for 30 years; we call them the black jukebox. I could tell you the setlist but I’d have
to come up to Manchester and silence you! There are some secret surprises coming up but
likewise they aren’t public so I don’t wanna piss anyone off by revealing them to you.

The Stranglers play the 02 Apollo on March 30th as part of their UK tour.

Interview by Noah Matthews and Harrison Brown

Live Interview: RUEL at The Ritz

Just over thirteen years ago, Ralph van Dijk and his wife, Kate, packed their bags from London and moved to Sydney, Australia. Taking their three-year-old son Ruel with them, back to the country of their birth, they left behind most of their extended family. Ruel was enrolled in a local school and his parents returned to a lifestyle they were more familiar with: warm winters, even warmer summers.

Origin stories often become infatuated by the small details. Ruel has now spent the majority of his life in Australia; he learnt to read and write there, indeed he discovered his musical talent there. But you do ask yourself whether things would have turned out differently for the sixteen-year-old starlet – who’s now being touted widely as Australia’s answer to Justin Bieber – if his family hadn’t emigrated to the other side of the world.

Or, actually, you could ask Ruel himself. “It probably would [be different],” he candidly told me as we sat in backstage at the O2 Ritz in Manchester.

“Living the lifestyle that I have done in Australia has definitely shaped my influences, my experiences and – most significantly – my relationships.”

And it’s the relationship he seems to have with his family that resonated most in our conversation. Having relatives scattered across the other side of the world has appeared to give him an understanding of what he finds most important in life. “We like to make an effort to come back to England all the time – my grandma lives in…”, he ponders his UK geography, “…Bournemouth, I think, so we are going down to see her tomorrow.

“I think that’s what I like the most. The fact that, when I’m on tour particularly, I have family that I can visit to keep me sane. One of my parents will always travel with me so it’s nice to be able to share my experiences with them.”

Ruel, who combines typical teenage pop production with a mature and, often earnest, soul vocal was in the UK for almost two weeks as he supported Mabel on a tour that covered nine dates across the both England and Scotland. After greeting me personally at the stage door on a torrential night in Manchester and having an off-the-record chat about the varying international success of Devonian singer-songwriter Ben Howard, we pitched up next to each other on a small leather sofa in his blow-heated greenroom at the back of the venue to talk about the sixteen-year-old’s journey so far.

“It was my dad who sent tapes of my voice to different labels and studios, before M-Phazes took an interest,” he recalls. “When I met him, I had no idea he was this huge producer – I was pretty oblivious and super outgoing, which is quite funny looking back!”

Gaining recognition at the age of twelve by M-Phazes, a Grammy Award-winning producer who has worked with the likes of Eminem and Zara Larsson, was a break that nobody really expected, even Ruel himself. “He must’ve just thought I was some random kid from Sydney – my voice hadn’t even broken then,” he admits. “You’d never assume someone like him would take much of an interest.”

That interest ultimately meant a record deal and, two years later, the release of his debut single “Golden Years”. The success of this track and the follow-up single “Don’t Tell Me”, along with a breakthrough live appearance on national radio station Triple J, gathered momentum for Ruel and landed him a Top 100 hit on Australia’s main music sales chart.

Within the space of a year, Ruel had transformed from your average teenage boy with a voice beyond his age, into one of the most exciting pop talents on the emerging world-stage. And you wonder how that affects him, both personally but in terms of ‘RUEL’ as a brand image. He responds in a characteristically mature approach: “From day one, I’ve always wanted to keep everything about my image to be focused on the music.

“When I first got social media and put out my first little releases, we made sure to not put out anything to do with my face or focusing on how old I was. We put nothing out apart from just music and I guess that just resonated with people.”

Overnight, instant success is becoming increasingly synonymous with the Millennial generation of emerging talent across the world, a route modelled most famously by the likes of Justin Bieber, and Ruel seems intent on ensuring that his credibility as an artist is rooted deeper than in just the novelty of his youth. “Everything I put out now is still all about the music. I think that’s what keeps me credible and makes sure I remain an artist instead of a gimmick.”

A crucial factor so far in Ruel’s journey towards stardom has been the recognition he received from an artist whose musical journey also began in their teenage years. “I was in my locker-room at school, by myself after lunch,” Ruel recounts, “I just opened up this message and Elton John’s face was on it. I started freaking out, I’d been put on the radio!”

Ruel is referring to when, in September 2017, ‘Don’t Tell Me’ was aired on Beats1 Radio; a specific selection from Elton John. “The weirdest feeling” came over Ruel as he listened to John describe him as astonishing, live on international radio. “I had a little dance party by myself. It was a music legend, talking about me!”

“We then, later in the year, met in Sydney and chatted for hours about new music. He gave me some real good bits of wisdom.”

And those bits of wisdom seem to have rubbed off on Ruel, who hit his Sweet Sixteen only a matter of months ago. You get the sense that a series of wise moves have been what shaped Ruel’s path so far: the initiative to send out music to record labels, the choice to originally post music under a pseudonym.

In fact, perhaps his father’s decision to up sticks from London and move to Australia was a wise one after all.

“These parts two years have flown by and it all feels like my whole journey has happened in a week,” Ruel finishes up with. “But my family – and the things they’ve done for me – have helped me so much.”

“I suppose that’s what makes sure that everything feels normal in what has been a pretty crazy couple of years.”


Interview and written piece by Adam MacDonald

Live Interview: Saint Sister at The Castle Hotel

Saint Sister is an Irish electro-folk duo comprised of Gemma Doherty and Morgan MacIntyre. On Friday 14th December they played Castle Hotel in Manchester. This venue itself created an intimate setting and feel to the evening, enhanced by captivating harmonies and sounds created by the duo.

The two met at Trinity College Dublin. Doherty recalled, “We were both in Trinity at the same time and met towards the end of our degrees, and we both were looking to make music in some capacity – I didn’t even know what kind. It was that weird time after college. But Morgan reached out and we just went for it. We just started playing together and did what felt most natural, which at the start was just using our two voices and using the harp, and we built it from there. That was about four years ago now.”

Their Manchester gig did not feature their band who often play with them. However, if one were to close their eyes during the set you would not believe you were listening to only two people.

The duo created loops onstage comprised of voices, harp and thumping rhythms, producing a sound that filled the entire room. The emotion and meaning behind their songs are evident when they play, and this held the attention of the audience fully throughout the one hour set. The audience remained in complete silence other than to applaud and cheer after every song. MacIntyre, who writes the lyrics, stated “All the songs are emotional for me and all of them ring true and that stops them from going stale”. In particular, McIntyre says she enjoys playing ‘The Mater’ live, due to its stripped back and intimate nature; “It’s the easiest one for me to tap into the reasons why I wrote it. Because it’s quite a sad song, it doesn’t ever feel like I have to work hard to get into that mood when I’m singing it and trying to deliver it in the appropriate way.”

Manchester’s show was not the most intimate the duo has played throughout their tour, which began in September. Doherty recounted that during a show in Mullumbimby in Australia there was a power outage, “There had been a tropical storm. It just happened as we landed, maybe an hour before our show. So, when we walked in to set up, [nothing was working]. The whole town was out, so [it wasn’t] our fault… I feel like everyone becomes very forgiving in that instance; when all of a sudden it’s everyone’s [problem] to deal with together. There was a guy in the audience just shining a torch up at us. Everyone else was just so quiet, and they sang along if we were playing a cover. They were really with us, even though they probably couldn’t hear a thing!”

Saint Sister’s songs all tell a story, and not just through the lyrics. The instrumentation feels like an extension to the stories told, complimenting the lyrics wonderfully. Doherty explained “We do quite separate things; Morgan focuses on lyrics with the melody a lot of the time, and I’ll work on production or instrumentation and arrangement. We come together quite early on in a song. We both have different roles, and it works well”.

Saint Sister have a unique sound that is a perfect representation of Ireland in 2018; it’s modern but the folk roots are still prevalent. The duo finished their set with a beautiful acapella cover of The Cranberries’ ‘Dreams’. Doherty and MacIntyre’s voices blend together to create rich harmonies, and this cover perfectly highlighted that.

It is clear The Cranberries’ music has had an influence on Saint Sister. When asked which artists they are currently listening to, MacIntyre described a game taught to them by Ciaran Lavery, who opened for Saint Sister during a number of dates on their tour. “He introduced us to a game called ‘Good Song, Better Song’, where you just think of the best song you could possibly think of. My first one was ‘Romeo and Juliet’ by Dire Straits. You think it’s the best song, and then someone comes up with an even better song, and you just keep going. [It’s] good because it can go off in different genres, and then someone [throws] a curveball. We also do this thing, we call it ‘Irish Hour’ and everyone has to pick only Irish acts.”

Saint Sister’s debut album ‘Shape of Silence’ came out in October 2018; if you have not already listened to it, you are missing out. Saint Sister is one to watch.

by Hannah Montgomery

Live Interview: You Me At Six

You Me At Six are headed out on their epic 52-date World Tour. This is nothing new for them, but this tour is extra special because selected dates are also part of the Take Off Your Colours 10-year anniversary tour. This was their very first album and so they are playing it in full, alongside some of their newer hits. This didn’t stop them from throwing in a lot of their old songs on their first night at Manchester’s Victoria Warehouse, despite it not being a Take Off Your Colours night. The crowd was with the band for the whole show, but it is safe to say that these older songs got the biggest reaction. In particular, Save It For The Bedroom and Reckless were particular crowd favourites. Their staging included huge video screens with animations and lighting effects adding to the atmospheres of each song.

Frontman Josh Franceschi prefaced an emotional performance of Take On The World with a speech about his love for Manchester. As well as his admiration for the resilience and community solidarity shown in the wake of the Manchester Arena bombing in 2017. You Me At Six were supported by The Xcerts and Marmozets, both of whom delivered electric performances and quickly drew the audience in, gaining more than a few fans.

Ahead of the performance, I sat down with guitarist Chris Miller.

Fuse FM: You just dropped the Back Again music video, it just looked like you were having a laugh. What was it like to film?

Chris: Yeah, to be fair, it was a lot of fun! We just got to bowl all day and chill and dress up in stupid outfits. We’ve done too many videos now where we’ve taken it too seriously and try to be ‘the cool band’ and we just aren’t!

FM: Do you get a lot of input in the videos then?

C: Yeah, the ones on this campaign in particular! Especially 3 AM and Back Again, they were both our ideas and then we worked closely with the director, came up with the treatment together and we’re now good friends. So, it’s just like coming up with a crazy idea and then seeing what you can do. The 3AM was just supposed to be like how you think you’re doing on a night out, whereas in reality you look like an idiot! Then Back Again, we just wanted to take the piss out of a film basically. We all thought The Big Lebowski was a good one to do, because we thought it was a bit of a cult classic. So, if you’re a bit younger you might not know the film, but you could still get something funny out of the video. Whereas, if you have seen it, you sort of get both sides of it.

FM: This is obviously a huge tour, what’s your favourite thing about touring?

C: I just like being in a different city every day to be honest. It’s nice just going around, having a walk and seeing stuff. We’ve obviously been to Manchester loads now but we went to the Trafford Centre today, and I’ve been to Manchester thirty or forty times but never been there! It’s like Vegas in there! It’s ridiculous! So yeah, I just like seeing the different sites, especially when we’re abroad. There’s obviously loads of touristy stuff you can do or just kinda find some locals to take you about and show you what’s good!

FM: You’re doing the two nights in Manchester with different sets, how do you think they will compare?

C: I don’t really know, I’m sure quite a lot of people will come twice. It’s been fun playing the old stuff, it’s definitely fun for the crowd, because some of the songs off the first album we haven’t even played live before. Call That a Comeback, we’ve never played that live ever! So, tomorrow night will be like the fourth time we’ve played it! It’s a weird one for us and we obviously enjoy playing both of them but it’s nice for us to see the difference of playing the first album and then we chuck about 8 or 9 more songs after the first album at the end. So, people get a bit of both!

FM: If you could collaborate with anybody, who would it be?

C: It changes all the time, personally, as a songwriter, I’d really like to write a song with John Mayer, I think that could be really cool. I’m sure Max would probably say someone in the hip hop world, like we’re really into Anderson .Paak at the minute. Which is really cool because it’s got all the rap elements but still a proper band in there. I think we’d go for something completely wild and unexpected and see what happened.

FM: What’s been the best thing of your career so far?
C: There’re so many things! On every album we’ve released there’s been some defining moments. I think back in the day the first time we ever headlined the London Astoria was a big deal for us; because that’s where we grew up going to see bands. It’s not there anymore, so I’m glad we got tick it off the list quite early. Then moving through, moving up the bill at Reading and Leeds is a big thing for us, and being on the main stage there. Number 1 album was a big thing for us as well for Cavalier Youth, it’s just really cool for a British band that play guitars and isn’t in the pop world, to actually be number 1. We’ll just keep aiming high now and see what happens!

FM: You finish up the tour and then play Neighbourhood festival next year. It’s such a musically diverse line up, what’s it like playing shows in that setting?

C: Yeah, I think our day is us and Nothing But Thieves and then like George Ezra and other people like that. Our favourite shows to play are shows where we shouldn’t really be on, like ones that are a bit of a weird line up. When we first started, every show we played in our local scenes was just metal bands, and we were sort of just the pop band on the metal gig. I think for us, we really enjoy playing the first few songs and maybe the crowd’s not that into it, but by the end, everyone’s loving it, so we know then that we’ve done our job.

You Me At Six are on tour in the UK until 9th December before moving on to the European and American leg of the tour.

Interview by Sophie Stevens

Interview: You Me At Six

You Me at Six have recently released their sixth studio album, aptly named VI. I
had the pleasure of speaking to lead guitarist Max Helyer about their new album
and their upcoming tour for Fuse FM.

Alana: First of all I’d just like to say thank you so much for taking the time to talk
to us at Fuse, it’s brilliant to be able to chat to you.

Max: ‘No worries, anytime’

A: So we’re talking about your new album and I feel like with this album
there’s a lot of energy and it kind of feels like a breath of fresh air. Do you
personally and as a band, feel proud of the album you’ve created?

M: ‘To be honest with you, you’ve absolutely nailed it on the head there Alana, it was
like a breath of fresh air for us as a band, ‘cause we were challenging ourselves to
listen and try and do something different and take inspiration from the music we
listen to which is quite a wide dynamic you know of how much different styles of
music we listen to so we tried to incorporate that into our record and like you
said really have fun with it music’s supposed to be about having fun and enjoying
yourself and I think that really does come across in the songs we’ve written for
this record. To be honest with you it was just a great experience and it all came
very naturally and the whole record was really formed around the space of 2
months, the majority of the record, so I think that shows we were on to
something. We were just having a great time being around each other, writing
and creating music in different ways that we’ve never done before.’

A: You’ve gone for a few different sounds in the album. Fast Forward is
rockier then you’ve got Back Again, which is slightly more indie sounding
and then 3AM where you’ve got synths and more of a pop sound. Is there a
reason that you wanted to get in a mix of different sounds?

M: ‘I think we’ve always had that element in our band but maybe to not the extremes people have heard like this before. I think really the most important thing was just capturing energy and moments and times in our
life that were going on in the last year or so and putting it down into music. Fast
Forward is quite an upbeat rock, quite loud in your face one but that was a time
when there was personal stuff going on in our lives, hence the reason you want
to fast forward through, you wanna get through some bad stuff and come out the
other side and it’s gonna be good. I think we had to match that kind of lyrical
content with the energy of the music as well and we felt something like rockier
was the right direction with that but then Back Again definitely, for me the
reason that song came from was trying to get a Friday night feeling going, when
people are switching off from Friday from work and going ‘right I’m going down
the pub and I’m going to get myself a gin and tonic and I’m going to have a great
weekend’, that sums up that song and same kind of with 3am as well it’s like,
who hasn’t had a night going out ‘til 3am and having a drunken stumble home
and just going through your phone, like I think everybody can kind of relate to
these moments in their life, we just kind of have our own way of interpreting

A: You’ve said that there were times when you had personal stuff going on,
are there any songs on the album that stood out as being particularly
challenging to make?

M: ‘I would say a challenging song was I.O.U. It’s a bit of mix-mash throughout that
song, it’s kind of got a bit of funk, it’s got rock and a bit of hip hop all into it and
it’s sections and for us we have the ideas we’re like ‘this sounds really good’ but
it was kind of gluing the puzzle together, getting it all perfectly in tact and like
‘how do we link this section to this section?’ and that was something that really
kind of happened in the studio. It was very natural but that was great because
when we worked on this record with a guy called Dan Austin he heard and
understood the vision that we had for that song and he was challenging us as
well, which enhanced the song and made it a better song. So that was definitely
one of the more challenging songs that we had to do on this record but one of the
best ones I think in my opinion.’

A: You’re also going on tour in November, are you excited to get back on the
road again?

M: ‘Yeah definitely. For us playing live shows is like our bread and butter,
something we’ve always done and we’ve been doing it for about 12/13 years
now so for us live shows are really important, and I think that’s where people
can understand. I think if you like us on record you’ll love us even more live. I
think there’s a bit more of an energy that doesn’t maybe sometimes cross over
onto our record. And we’re also doing a 10 year anniversary tour for our first
record and the response to that has been overwhelming, we’re all humbly
surprised by that and to see that there’s a record that we’ve made that’s stood
the test of time for 10 years and people still want to see that is something that
we’re all very proud of.’

A: And you’re playing in Manchester on the 23rd and 24th of November at the
Victoria Warehouse which is a great venue so hopefully you’ll have a lot of fun there. Is there a particular place you love playing?

M: ‘We’re looking forward to playing Manchester because we’ve actually never
played the warehouse before. We’ve done all the academy’s, we’ve done the
Apollo a fair few times now and we’ve done the Manchester Arena as well so for
us to play a new venue in Manchester, I think we’re all sitting there being like
‘let’s see how this goes’ ‘cause we’ve heard great reviews about the venue from
friends and bands who’ve played it before and said it’s one of the best shows on

A: As you’ve said you’ve been a band for a pretty long time, does it ever get
tough spending a lot of time together and how do you stay grounded as a

M: ‘I would say we’re like a band of brothers to be honest with you. Our friendship
and our bond has grown strength to strength over the years. We’ve gone through
good times, we’ve gone through bad times and I think that’s kind of developed us
into the band and who we are, you know, when you have all those things that
happen in your life. We’ve done it from a very early age, we started the band
when we were like 15/16 so I think we’ve grown together and I classify them as
my family now and even all their mums and dads, it’s all extended family. So to
us we have a great time doing what we do and I think that’s the most important
thing and I think that’s the reason why our new record sounds fun and energetic
because that’s our outlook on life just have fun and enjoy yourself. You know
we’re very lucky to be making music after all this time so you know let’s just
enjoy it as much as we can.’

A: Has there ever been anything go catastrophically wrong whilst you’ve performed?

M: ‘There’s definitely been a few moments in our career, I won’t tell you all of them
but the one I remember recently, it was about last year or the year before when
we played Reading Festival and we had a massive power cut during our set but
the one thing that was working was Josh’s microphone so he did an acapella of
one of our songs while we were all waiting for the power to come back but it
kind of created this moment like it was a memorable point and we got all the
crowd singing along and it was just one of those things we looked at and we
didn’t even need the music, people were so in the zone that they were just like
‘yeh we’re into this’ it’s so different you know, so you can turn bad things that
happen on stage into great moments.  You’ve got to keep on your toes when you’re playing live, you encounter many
things, it’s just how you react and deal with it.’

A: Well it sounds like you saved it. I reckon you wereall right in the end.

M: ‘Yeh… we definitely were.’

You Me at Six perform in Manchester at the O2 Victoria Warehouse on the 23rd and 24th of November and their sixth studio album VI is out now. I reckon they’ve done more than all right

Interview by Alana Cook

When Fuse Met /// Tom Grennan

Ever wondered what makes Tom Grennan tick? Wonder no more! Ellis Harbord sat down with the Bedford-born singer songwriter to find out more…


Fuse: How’s the tour going? Is the first time with a band?

Tom: Yeah it’s going pretty well man, no I’ve done it with a band before.


Fuse: last time you were here you played at sound control, which has been knocked down recently. How does it feel to be playing at a bigger venue, is it a big step up?

Tom: yeah there’s obviously more people, more energy. I suppose it is more of a jump, but it’s good man.


Fuse: when I first heard your music, I thought your voice sounded quite unique. There are quite a lot of voices coming from England that have an americanised twag, but would you say your voice is a defining part of your music?

Tom: thank you very much, yeah that’s something I’ve always tried to keep in my music, that britishness, I’m from England, not America do you know what I mean. I keep it real to where I’m from.


Fuse: I want to talk about your track ‘Something in the water’, is that one of your earlier songs you wrote?

Tom: yeah that’s one of the first ever songs I wrote, yeah man. I wrote it in my bedroom, and it’s had a bit of an impact since.


Fuse: in the first verse you speak about: your mum, about how time goes fast, putting worries aside, not living with regrets, actions speaking louder than words. There’s a lot of wisdom hitting you straight I’m the first verse, it’s quite impressive. Would you say that’s a wisdom you’ve grown up with or gained recently?

Tom: thanks, yeah probably just growing up with it. I talk about my mum, and I just listened to her words. She’s a genius so whatever my mum says is always going to be right to me.


Fuse: I read somewhere that you started learning guitar while you went to uni is that true?

Tom: yeah I didn’t play guitar before I went to uni, when I started I kinda hibernated in my room for a while – for whole year really and just taught myself how to play guitar. I tried to write some songs and then just went round looking for gigs in London and then thankfully someone liked it. In Finsbury Park pub, yeah and then I got signed and here we are today.


Fuse: The fact you were just playing in your room and then had the determination to go out and play is impressive.

Tom: yeah I think it’s just getting the courage to believe in what you’re writing and to believe in the songs you’re trying to get out there in the world, trying to connect people and having the balls to do it. If you can do it everyone can do it, it’s just whether you have the courage to do it or not.


Fuse: Would you say that courage has continued, do you still have that same attitude and determination?

Tom: Yeah definitely, I got the determination. You can do whatever you put your mind to. If you keep working away and grinding hard then you can do it.


Fuse: what would your advice be to the guitar player who sings ‘in their room out of tune with no one around them?

Tom: Keep doing it, believe in what you’re doing. If you like it, then other people will like it as well. Unless you are really shit, then pack it in.