R13 caught up with Sixnationstate before their recent gig in Crewe to find out about their debut album, which hits the shelves this week. Geri, John, Lex, Rich and Neil were all on hand to give us the lowdown:

Can't Let Go

G: The first song on the album is a song called 'Can't Let Go', Lexi joined the band and his dad is really into world music, Latin and percussion and weird instrumentation and to show off in the sound check Lex used to do this bossanova beat and we were always trying to incorporate it into a track.

Lyrically at the time it was a bit like the Mystery Jets as they have that whole Englishness about them, so it was a real coming together of everything we were listening to at the time.

L: It kind of developed into the opener to get people involved, you don't see many bands that start off with a percussion piece.
G: It's an interesting song and the chorus sounds big!
R: And it's the first song we all sang on together.
G: The change in confidence of these guys singing since we started has been amazing.

Keep Dancing

G: Song two is 'Keep Dancing', another song that kind of wrote itself. I remember we were in rehearsal on a Friday night when everyone else was out having fun we were freezing cold in a garage.
R: It was a real step forward for us in terms of songwriting, there was something about it, it was the first proper song we'd written.
N: It wasn't just that, for individual members as well it was the first song where it was what Sixnationstate became after that. It mapped out where it was going for the next year or more after that, everyone found their perfect place in the song and that's kind of what we aimed for in every song after that.
L: It was the song that got us our record deal as well, the one that was really exciting for us at that time and upped the game for us when we play live.
G: I remember our manager saying "boys it's just not working", I remember him saying "don't play it, it's not that great"
J: We were that close to not recording it as well.
N: For me I remember playing it for the first time in Reading and there seemed to be a buzz after that gig, for me it was that song that made that night as good as it was.

Caught the Sun

G: At the time our A&R man was pushing for more song type songs for the album and when we wrote that we were all excited about showing it to our label and our A&R man wasn't too keen on it, now they want to put it out as the next single! haha

R: It was another one where we wrote it and played it live on the same day.
J: We have a habit of doing that, not quite having it there yet but playing it anyway.
G: 'Caught the Sun' was like a default name, I specifically remember not wanting it to have anything to do with the sun but it kind of got given that name and it just stuck, same with 'Keep Dancing', it was supposed to be 'Keep on Dancing' but our A&R guy changed it and I have to say it works much better as 'Keep Dancing'.
Taking Me Over

G: Again came out of nowhere, we were in a rehearsal room in Southampton
R: Written the same day as 'So Long'
G: John had this Batman thing and we fitted round that, that's what the song is about really, without it it was shit!
J: Aww thankyou, we had this train thing going down, me and Lex and everyone just came in, it was pretty easy, it wrote itself.
G: I remember saying make the solo like 'Taxman' but did it end up sounding like that? Not really!
R: I remember not even liking the song when we first wrote it
G: That was one of the ones where our A&R man wasn't keen but public opinion decided it should go on the album and it's a live favourite, that's the one that gets everyone going.

I Hate the Summer

G: I was the only one who got a ticket for Glastonbury but luckily Neil got a day or two day ticket.
N: Yeah my ex-girlfriend was working there and got me a pass and I had to come up with elaborate ways of sneaking myself back into the festival
G: On the Friday I saw this band called Stands and they did this speed up and stop thing and I'd never seen it before and came away thinking 'wow'. It pissed it down as well but that was my third Glastonbury and one of the others was the hottest ever so it's like 'I hate the summer'. It started off sounding like a Gomez song but then we put it down and it turned into a reggae tune, I don't really know how that happened!
L: I spend a lot of time wondering where songs come from.
G: I think that was one of the first songs that wasn't melody driven, it's more music driven, the same as 'Taking Me Over'.
R: The hard part with that is the groove.
G: The lyrics are cool.
L: We have 'I Hate the Summer' t-shirts but people don't get it, it's kind of ironic but I've always wanted to be involved in a song that's got a bit of a story behind it.

So Long

G: If we hadn't had Rich and Mark in the room I think maybe us four would have discarded it after that rehearsal. Mark and Rich were determined to persevere with it but we thought it sounded too much like the Bravery or Joy Division. Rich and Mark said we had to do it though and it grew on us.
J: I think it's definitely a song over the style it's played in, it's straight forward but it's still a good song.
G: It's probably one of our first 'on beat' songs as well. I like playing it live, it always gets an amazing reaction and is probably the one that we most wanted to release as a single. Even people that don't like the band like that song!
R: And we recorded it in one take!
G: Yeah I lost my voice whilst we were recording the album so I could only do ten minutes and if I didn't nail it it was so bad.

Everybody Wants to be My Friend

G: When we wrote it we all knew
R: We all thought it was going to be the single
N: It was wicked because we wrote it in the shed, Rich put his guitar down and picked up the melodica and instantly there's something different there and it just built up in sections. It just all came together and we had it finished that night.
R: It coincided with the day my girlfriend moved out as well.
N: I remember my old girlfriend came over to visit and somebody else and we got them all in to listen to it and I remember thinking 'there you go, have some of that!'.
G: Our record company got me, John and Lex tickets for the Flaming Lips and we were walking round at the after party and people would introduce themselves as 'Hi, why are you here?', we were doing it because we wanted to meet as many people as possible but we were really interested, not being cool at all.
J: The head of Universal came over to us and Steph, our label boss, gave him a cd and he's like 'You guys sound fantastic' and I said 'but you haven't even listened to us yet!' and it was a bit of a faux pa as he didn't look too impressed. Later on though I said to him 'I'll buy you a drink, anything you want' and he was like 'mate, I'm paying for this bar'
G: Nobody gives you the time of day but the moment they find out you're in a band they're all over you so it was more of a sarcastic thing and not an arrogant song at all.
L: I'm still convinced it's to do with Myspace!
G: It's not one of my favourite songs on the album but it's one of my favourite songs to play live, I love singing it and going mental.
J: It's the sort of song I imagine student caners listening to but also rude boys driving down the road in blacked out Nissans.
G: Their mum's blacked out Nissan!

Where Are You Know

N: That was written really late, we went out to Latvia to record the album and we had it a week before that.
G: We knew it was a good song but we couldn't play it at all, it was really not tight so we went on tour and played it all the time and got the knack of it.
R: On that tour we discussed it being a single because we weren't happy with what they had pencilled in.
J: I was really ill and I was listening to you guys play it imagining how the bass would go and I had this image of the bass being like the intro to 'Sweet Child O'Mine', my chance to shine!
R: At the time we wanted like a dance track to go up and down with the dynamics rather than verse, chorus.
G: We don't play it anymore because it's so shouty and I keep losing my voice all the time. I like it and it's a great album track but it's not a single at all. I like playing it but I can't do it but it has a great chorus.

Up and Down

G: We recorded it at five in the morning, pissed.
J: We'd had about two jars of coffee each as well.
G: We were putting in 18 hour sessions.
L: I'd never done anything like record an album before and it took us a while to get into it but that song we'd been playing live for so long we just knew we had to nail it.
R: We were all having trouble with 'Blow Your Mind' so Ian said let's try something else so we'd all had a few drinks and went in and nailed it.
G: It was thank god we've got something done because after the first few days we had bits of songs but nothing finished. When we wrote it the call and response thing on it was like one of those old jazz things.
R: There's a section in it where you can hear us all dancing!
G: I think it's the song that sounds most different to everything because it was mixed in the non mixing sessions.
R: And we got some horns on it as well
G: Yeah we got a guy from a band called Imperial Leisure, came in and did it in about 20 minutes. I like the skanking piano on it as well.

Don't Need You Anymore

G: This is a song that we discarded
R: We had it but it needed a middle eight but it never seemed to work
G: We used to play it live but one of our friends always used to say it was too hypnotic so eventually we discarded it. We had the demo of it but we knew we needed a more ballady type song on the album. It's probably the most produced song on the album.
R: No I'd say it was the most heavily arranged, not produced. It's the only song on the album that we couldn't play live because there's so much on it.
G: It's a really angry song, the lyrics are very dark, it's like an anti ballad and yet it's a ballad at the same time!
R: We weren't sure about it and Ian our producer talks about getting tingles down his spine when we played it.
G: I remember playing acoustic guitar on it in the middle eight and I have mild arthritis in my hand but because we were all playing live I knew I couldn't stop, because if I gave up everyone else would stop to see what was going on and now I really like that part, it's almost as if you can hear the agony!
R: I was amazed that we'd done a song that was that kind of big.
G: Yeah it's very epic.

Blow Your Mind

G: We recorded it and we all came back and we thought we'd fucked it up, it's a bad thing if you keep listening to the unmixed version you don't get the taste for it. If you're not doing it live and keep dropping in like maybe Queen did, we didn't want an album like that, we wanted something more raw. The vocals didn't sound that good on it at first but once the backing vocals went on and you heard it in context it started to sound great. That's one of my favourite songs on the album now.
N: That was the only song on the album that took longer than one day to mix, we spent two days on it.
G: It's slower than the demo, which I like, usually we do the demo and then I think we should have done it faster. You criticise your album but that one, I couldn't be more happier with.

We Could Be Happy

G: Written on a Friday, recorded on Saturday and mixed on Sunday!
N: We didn't even really have our guitar parts sorted before we went in. What happened was he (Gerry) had written the song pretty much on his own over Christmas and while we were mixing the record he went in and did a quick take to send to the label and they got back to us saying record it.
G: So we went into a room together and the song became a song.
R: We were really sad because we were on the last day of the album and then suddenly we found out we had an extra day or two to record 'We Could Be Happy'.
N: It was one of the most fun songs to do because we didn't have it completely written when we went in to do it, so we were writing as we went along.
R: Plus we knew we had to get out of the studio so Johnny Depp could come in!
N: It was completely different to recording out in Latvia and it was a really nice way to end the session.
G: We play it live differently now because we've had time to, not change it but work on it so it's delivered with a lot more force.
R: It's got Freddy Mercury's piano on it as well!
G: That became the single that's done the best for us so far.

Secret Track

N: We did it with Rob from Does That Offend You Yeah? and his studio is a lot smaller. We did the drums first, then John came in and wrote the bass part and the rest of the song is built around where they decided to go with it so bit by bit we got more guitars on it, Rich put some piano on it.
G: It's basically an alternative version of 'Just Don't Know', which is a b-side to our last single.
N: It's completely turned into a psychedelic dub.
L: We used to take all of our songs and turn them into dub songs, which went down really well but this song was the one that when it was transposed actually sounded like a proper dub song.
N: Each of us would go in and do our different parts and Rob would say just don't even think about what you're doing, then he would fade in and out of the different parts.