What can fans expect from your new album, Cavalier Youth?
It’s definitely the most we’ve progressed musically while still maintaining our You Me At Six sound. It may sound arrogant to say, but I think it is definitely the best we’ve sounded as a band.
That’s not arrogant. You didn’t say “We’re the best f****** band in the world, deal with it”. Very nicely put.
You mentioned the Arctic Monkeys, what do you think of their new album, AM?
(instantly) Unbelievable Jeff. I pre-ordered it. I heard it about two months ago and I got the vinyl on Friday and literally the whole entire album is the best thing released in the UK in the last 10 years.
Until our album comes out in January….(smiles)
When they said my name I turned round to give Benedict a hug but there was a seat filler guy in his place because they had taken him up to present Steven Moffat’s award, so I was like, ‘Benedict looks different. Oh no, you’re not Benedict!’ I thought I was losing my mind. I think the other guy got a bit of a fright too!
New Olly interview for Topman Generation magazine: 'You wouldn't see me in a bright orange jacket'
Breaking out from the reality talent show quagmire is tough. But pop charmer Olly Murs has managed to stand out head and shoulders above the rest, winning fans over with his charisma and cheery-brand of very British pop - the kind that crawls into your brain and stays there like a loveable parasite. Here we caught up with the Essex lad to chat festivals and lucky jean jackets…
Topman Generation: I know your new single ‘Dear Darlin’ came out this month… Olly Murs: Yes! I’m very happy with it. Very pleased with how people have reacted to it on radio, and the reaction of all the fans and the media. Plus it’s got a great video.
TM: You’re known for rocking a trilby hat, yet in the new video you’re not wearing one and the girl in the video is. That’s some pretty not-so-subtle symbolism there… OM: [Laughs] I think it’s in my contract that the hat has to appear at some point in the video! Well no, I guess it’s just with certain songs we’ll use the trilby, and some songs we won’t. In my first promotional campaign we rarely used a video for the whole thing. 'Please Let Me Go’, 'Thinking Of Me’, 'Busy’ and 'Heart Must Leave’ - none of them had a video. It kinda just appears here and there, I guess it’ll always be there if I need it.
TM: It’s always great to have a hat to fall back on, I guess. OM: I always have that hat there if I need to. I think I pull off a hat alright, too.
TM: 'Dear Darlin’ is a lot more of a ballad than some of your other songs. Was that a conscious decision? OM: I always try to do something different for my fans and I think on this album it was always gonna be key for me to do a ballad. I was really, really happy with the ballads we have on the album - 'Hand On Heart’ and 'Dear Darlin’ were the two that really stood out for me as potential singles. Also, I think that 'Dear Darlin’ had that sort of “cool” element to it, which is really important. It has a kinda dubstep vibe… [starts beat-boxing] That kinda thing, you know? I just really liked it and I felt that really worked well on the song and it hit home really really well, so I’m pleased.
TM: Is there a story behind the song? OM: I think that when you’re in a relationship it’s always nice to be able to write your feelings down on a piece of paper and really show that person how you feel. I think people don’t do that enough anymore. I think sometimes that’s just the best way of expressing what you mean, I felt that was kind of what was so good about this song. We really meant it from the heart and it’s just about someone you love that has gone.
TM: You’re supporting Robbie at Wembley this summer - that must be really exciting. OM: Yeah, it’s so exciting. Even just the performance aspect of it - not just the singing but the styling for it, making it all look great and, hopefully, putting a really good show together. I’m sure Robbie’s set is gonna be amazing too, so it’s gonna be a great tour for me and I’m really looking forward to going around the country and seeing all the fans.
TG: Was he someone that influenced you growing up? OM: Massively. I think he influenced a lot of male artists who are coming through, but I think he’s very unique. I don’t think you can really mimic what Robbie does, he just does his own thing. So, I’ve just tried to come and have fun with it, and be as good as I can… But yeah, he’s someone that I really admire. He’s great.
TG: Obviously festival season is coming up - what festivals are you playing this year? OM: There’s a few I’m doing but I’m not doing as many as I did last year. I just did the Radio 1 Big Weekend, which was great, plus I’ve got V Festival coming up at the end of August too. Besides a few summer shows that I’m doing myself. It’s not gonna be as busy as my usual summers, it’s not as many as I usually do.
TG: Who are you looking forward to seeing or meeting at V this year? OM: For me when you do these festivals it’s always nice to meet up with bands and artists that you wouldn’t normally get a chance to meet up with like the guys from 30 Seconds To Mars and MGMT or even people like Jamie T. All the artists that you’ve really liked from afar but you never get a chance to meet. I think that, obviously, at festivals you get a chance to see all those proper, credible indie bands that write these really quirky and cool songs, bands like The Vaccines. Regardless of the music I release, you’re all into music and there are a lot of bands that I’d really love to meet - Mumford & Sons seem really cool.
TG: Do you have any festival fashion essentials? OM: I think for a festival you definitely need to take Wellies boots. That’s what they’re called, right? Wellie boots?
TG: Yeah Wellingtons. You’ve gotta pack smart. OM: You have to. You need to take your Wellies because of the weather - you never know what it’s gonna be like. Oh and you’ve always gotta take a rain-mac with you. And an umbrella, obviously. They’re the three things that I’d definitely have to take just because I’ve been in that position before where you get caught out with all the mud and the rain.
TG: Would you say that’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt from festivals? To pack smart? Ours is strategically planning your bathroom breaks the day before. OM: Yeah that too! Though, to be honest with you, I think being a man, toilet breaks are much simpler. The main thing I learnt was just about the weather. Festivals in England are all about being cold and wet so you’ve gotta make sure you’ve got good jumpers. Although, to be fair, a lot of people go to festivals to try and look cool and be all “Look at me!” It’s just not gonna look cool when you’re covered in mud. You can wear a nice pair of wellies and a nice jacket and a nice pair of jeans, too, if you want. But fundamentally, we’re all just there to listen to music.
TG: Do you work with a stylist? How much input does he have? OM: Yeah I’ve got a great stylist - I’ve got a guy called Lee Holden who does all my styling. He’s great. He’s really really cool and we’ve got a really good relationship going. I think I’m quite an easy person to style - I’m not too extravagant and I don’t like to test the boundaries too often, but I think my style is quite, you know, cool. I think Lee gets me. He’s quite a cool guy, himself.
TG: So he’ll just have a little bit of input… OM: I think we’re very fifty-fifty on it. I think Lee’s job is to see a performance and think “What would Olly want to wear for this?” He’ll have all these ideas and he’ll bring me these rails and I can just tell him if I like it or if I don’t. It’s a system that just works and we end up coming up with something that we both really like. But 9 times out of 10 we’re on the same wavelength.
TG: Last time you spoke to Topman Generation you said that you felt your style had a lot of Mod influence. Do you think that’s still true? OM: Yeah, definitely. I try to chop and change but it’s definitely about that Mod era for me. I love skinny jeans and Fred Perry polos, those cool Harrington jackets… I love my brogues and trilby hats… I think when you put all those elements together it works. I never really thought I was into Mod stuff until someone mentioned it to me and said “You look very Mod in the way you dress” and I just went “Oh really? Well I suppose I am!” I think it just naturally went that way. I think growing up with the parents that I had helped; they were very much into that kind of music and they had a very cool dress sense, as well. I guess I just flowed with them, really.
TG: Do you have any style icons? OM: I think one of them was - and I actually got the privilege to work with him - Preston from The Ordinary Boys. He was always one person who I really liked. I saw him at V Festival and remember thinking how cool The Ordinary Boys were. they had such amazing vocals and sound, but also the singer had such a cool style. He was someone I looked up to when I started. When I started on The X Factor they asked me who I’d like to get styled like and I straight-away said “Preston from The Ordinary Boys” - I just liked his vibe. But then there’s also Paul Weller, the classics like that - The Specials, Madness: I liked their dress sense, but I’m trying to adapt my own thing now, really. I try and chop and change. Now I’m into sort of braces, “granddad” shirts, stuff like that but then I like to wear it with a blazer, too, and I’ve always got the brogues - although saying that, I’m wearing desert boots today… [Laughs] I guess it just depends on the weather and the day, really.
TM: Is there anything that you definitely wouldn’t wear? OM: I don’t really like wearing bright colours, too much. You’ll rarely see me in a bright orange jacket, or something. I don’t mind block colours and I guess in summer I might be a bit more daring. For example, I’m wearing this salmon pink colour jacket for a gig and it’s a bit… Well, I wouldn’t necessarily wear it but it looks good on.
TG: What would you say are the three most important items in your wardrobe? OM: For me, it’s all about jeans. I have to wear good skinny jeans and - I’m not just saying it because I’m talking to you - Topman really do the best jeans. I always wear Topman jeans. These are Topman vintage ones right now! I can never go out without a pair of Topman skinny jeans on.
TM: I think skinny jeans are just such an important base to build from… OM: Totally. Oh and I always wear a hat, especially on a night out because I hate doing my hair. So a hat is always a key thing for me. I also think you can’t really go wrong with a nice pair of smart shoes, a nice pair of smart jeans and a nice shirt. I mean, if you’re gonna go on a big night out and you’re not too sure of what to wear that’s the easiest thing in the world to put together. Sometimes I’ll try and be a little bit more daring and try to work a little accessory into the outfit to make it pop a bit more so it doesn’t just look like I’ve gone to Topman to buy the whole thing!
TG: Do you have a particular piece of clothing that you consider lucky for if you were out on the pull? OM: Well I’ll tell you what: I used to have this jacket that I used to wear and every time I wore it I would get lucky. It was like a jean jacket. I bought it and it was like this really expensive jacket - it was about £400, I think. I remember that clearly. It was a jean one and you could actually reverse it - you could have it one way one night, one way another. So it was like: “Well, what mood am I in tonight? Am I this? Or am I that?” I think I wore it out about four times and I went out and pulled four times… Actually I never knew where that jacket went. I could never remember where I put it.
TG: One of the girls probably took it as a memento. OM: [Laughs] Oh yeah, one of them probably took it. Or maybe one of my mates took it and he’s getting all the luck now! It cost me a lot of money, that jacket, so I wanted to get a lot of wear out of it…
TG: And I supposed where it’s reversible you can get twice the wear out of it, can’t you? OM: Just the fact that if it wasn’t working with one girl I could just say “Wait there a minute, darling…” and go and change it around.
TG: Or if she rejected you once, you could turn it around and pretend you’re a completely different person. OM: [Laughs] Yes, exactly!