Armed with sing-a-longs and mosh parts a plenty, Florida’s finest (that’d be A Day To Remember) are causing one hell of a ruckus at the moment.
Front man and facial hair connoisseur Jeremy KcKinnon caught up for a chat…
Hey mate, how are you this evening?
I’m good man, how are you?
I’m doing well man. If I’m not mistaken you’re heading off to Europe fairly shortly yeah?
Yep, very soon man!
It wasn’t that long ago that you were supporting Maylene in the UK, are you surprised at how quickly you’ve stepped up to headlining a full European tour?
Yeah, it’s been really awesome. We went over really well there… it’s just such an awesome place and we like being there so we’re really excited to be going back.
Touring since 2007 has clearly paid off then… maybe a few other bands should take note?
“Old Record” was released towards the end of last year. What was the reasoning behind the re-release, considering that “For Those That Have Heart” was already given the DVD treatment in 2008?
Well, there was going to be a pretty big gap between the last record and our new release, so, for one, Victory approached us because they didn’t want people to forget about us and two, we thought it was a good idea because it’s really hard to get our first record because it went out of print for a while to the point where it hadn’t even been in stores for the past year.
So when Victory suggested it to us we jumped on it because we were just happy that people could actually get their hands on our older material. So yeah… that’s why we re-released it.
You guys dropped “Homesick” on February 3rd; can you tell us a bit about the writing and recording process?
Well, we wrote it on the road pretty much, which goes hand in hand with why we named it Homesick, because we’ve been on tour for pretty much the last two years and figured we’d just write about that.
Most of it was done on Warped Tour and then we finished it up between a few other smaller runs, and then we had Chad Gilbert from New Found Glory come out on the road with us and demo all the songs and help with arrangements and things like that, and finally our good friend Andrew – who’s worked with us on our previous records – got it all down on tape.
We’re just so happy with how it all turned out man.
Is there a primary songwriter in the band, or is it more of a collaborative effort?
Well, For Those That Have Heart was more of a collaboration but this one was more of a… it was still pretty collaborative I guess, but myself and Tom wrote a lot of the stuff together and then Chad would help us bounce some ideas around, as would the other guys band.
It definitely wouldn’t be A Day To Remember song without everyone’s input though.
“Homesick” obviously shares a lot of elements with your previous work, but the transitions between your heavy and melodic parts are a lot more fluid. Is that something you guys were conscious of when working on the new material?
It’s something that we wanted to be conscious of and it’s something that we wanted to make work, so to be honest with you I think that’s the biggest step we’ve taken on this record. We think Homesick is a lot better than anything we’ve put out before and I think it has a lot to do with Chad helping us with the arrangements and just making everything flow a lot more.
His producing definitely helped make the album what it is today and like you said it turned out a lot more fluent than our previous work, which in turn makes it sound so much more professional. Like I said before, we’re just stoked with it.
How else do you think “Homesick” differs from your earlier records?
Well I mean, it’s got some of the heaviest songs we’ve ever written and then it’s got some of the poppiest tracks we’ve done as well.
We just tried to take what we were doing – the different parts – and roll it all altogether and make it more consistent. I know bands always say this, but you know what I mean, haha, just to make it a little heavier and a little poppier.
We’ve had a lot of great responses to the new material so far so I think we’ve definitely given our fans what they wanted.
Couldn’t agree more man. I haven’t put the record down since getting it a few weeks ago…
Oh that’s awesome man, thanks so much for checking it out.
A lot of bands talk about their development together as a group of musicians, but do you think the growth in your song writing would’ve occurred if you hadn’t spent so much time on the road together?
I don’t know what would happen if we hadn’t been on the road so much, but all I know is that we did spend all that time away and that we’d have a completely different record if we hadn’t toured so much.
I’m really happy with the themes that we discovered on the road and the things that they helped us create, because I’m more proud of this record than any of our other records and those ideas really helped us compliment the musical ideas that we were putting forward.
We may have our detractors, or people that put us down for simplifying things in both our music and our lyrics, but we love the way things turned out and we feel it’s an honest record because we just wrote about what we were experiencing.
Like you said before, the road steered the lyrical direction for the record. Are there any experiences in particular that shaped your lyrics or is “Homesick” just a general run-down of life in a touring band?
It’s more of a general run-down man, because I tend to write my lyrics on a day-to-day basis, like when it comes to what’s going on, be it in my life as an individual or our lives as a whole band then I’ll just start writing.
I think that’s why a lot of people can relate to us so well, because I’m no the kind of person that writes some huge rant and then tries to find meaning in what I’m saying. I just write about what we’re doing and how we’re feeling – like being away from home – and put it out there… and people seem to be able to grab onto that.
It’s cool because there were things that kind of inspired me to write some things, but I don’t really like talking about those things because already we’ve had so many kids contact us saying they’re taking something from a particular song and I’ve actually written it about something that’s so completely different, haha. I don’t want that kid to be like, “oh, that sucks”, so I think it’s better that way.
It’s always great when people can take what they want as opposed to what I want, so if our songs can help people in a certain then I’m happy for them to do that.
Are there any bands you’ve toured with over the last couple of years that have had an impact on your band, both musically and just how you guys live and work together in general?
Well yeah, coz it’s just like being on the same wavelength as a whole new group of people, but in saying that, I think we’ve learned as much from being around ourselves as we have from being with other bands. Not that older groups haven’t helped us out in other ways, but the five of us have really grown together.
You know, just being around each other not only helps you as a band but it helps you grow and deal with life in general. We’ve definitely learned how to understand each other and know when someone needs to be left alone or when someone needs our help to get through something, so our communication skills have come a long way since we started, haha.
Knowing when an issue is particularly delicate and when it’s time to take a step back and be calm is a really important life skill that we’ve all had to learn.
You had a huge response when you toured here with Parkway Drive in December. Were you anticipating such a good reaction in Australia?
Ah no way man, haha, it was incredible touring with that band because they’re amazing at what they do, and they’re just HUGE.
I knew they were big but to walk into an outdoor arena like the Riverstage and play to that many people is just retarded man, haha. I don’t even know bands that are in this kind of genre that can do that in the US, but they’re just like, “yeah, let’s bring out a bunch of bands from the US that don’t really know each other that well”, haha and yeah, it just worked man because it was all their draw.
We were so honoured to play that tour with them and they’re just a great band with great songs. You can’t anticipate something like that and we just feel so privileged to play to that many kids in a country we’ve never been to before and yeah… we can’t wait to get back down there.
Who are some fresh bands that you’ve come across in the last twelve months that you think kids should be checking out?
Let me think… I’ve been listening to the new… well, this isn’t out yet but the new The Sleeping record is pretty cool.
I’ve also been listening to a lot of our new record because I need to find stuff in there that I can pick on and improve upon for the next record, haha.
Oh yeah, and I’ve been listening to the new Stick To Your Guns because that’s an amazing record too!
Now I know you guys are booked pretty heavily throughout 2009, but as you touched on, when can we expect a return tour down under? I know there are a lot of kids in Adelaide who are still dirty they didn’t get to see you…
Oh yeah man, that was one of the biggest shows of the tour… we were so bummed out about that. We were stuck in a fucking airport for ages man… it was the longest day of my life.
We want to come back as soon as possible, so it’s something we’re working on at the moment. After Warped Tour we’re pretty open so hopefully something comes through for us… maybe not directly after Warped but we’ll definitely be back this year.
And on a less serious note, one of the kids who frequents our site would like to know how you craft such impressive, but inoffensive facial hair?
You know, I don’t know, it just kind of comes in that way and I’ve let it go for the last few years, haha. I’m actually kind of thinking of getting rid of it but a lot of people are into it so I’m not sure, haha.
You’ve got to keep the people happy man…
You know it haha.
That about wraps it up, is there anything else you’d like to add?
That’s about it man.
Thanks for your time man and good luck in Europe.
My pleasure man, thanks for having us.
A Day To Remember‘s new album ‘Homesick‘ is out now through Stomp Records. You can find out more about the band on their Myspace page.