A Day To Remember have a chat + Top 5 Essential Songs
Howdy folks. What follows is our brand new intern Emily interviewing Jeremy McKinnon of her favourite band, A Day To Remember, in her second week of working for us ahead of their first Australian headline tour. Sweet gig? You bet. Especially now that we make her do everything. Only joking. Sort of. Thanks Emily.
Do you or any of the other guys in the band have a pre-show ritual?
McKinnon: Not really, I mean we just kind of hang out until we play, and then we go and when we all have our instruments, we all fist pound each other, us and the entire crew, right before we go on stage. That’s the only ritual we have.
How do you keep from losing your voice when you’re in the middle of a massive tour?
Jeremy McKinnon: Well, I don’t usually have that problem, I kind of figured out how to do it; how to keep up with myself. The only problem I come across is sometimes I’ll just get sick, and that’s my problem, so I’ve just gotta try and stay away from people who are sick and just take a lot of vitamins and stuff. That’s usually my only problem.
“The Downfall Of Us All” has become an anthem. What kind of buzz do you get from looking out into a crowd and seeing everyone singing the words to something you wrote?
McKinnon: It’s just crazy. It wasn’t ever really meant to be anything like what we’re doing these days, you know, we’re doing some pretty crazy stuff. We’re just a bunch of guys that were friends that just got together and played music that we wanted to play, and it just kind of happened, so it’s wild to me. We’re just having a good time and kind of going with the flow, you know?
What would you be doing right now if you weren’t fronting a band?
McKinnon: I’d be playing music regardless, because that’s what I do. I’m just fortunate enough to be able to do afford to do it now.
Do you set out to write songs like that [“Downfall”]?
McKinnon: You know, I don’t really try to do anything, we just write whatever comes natural to us, that’s what we’ve always done, and that’s just what comes out, I guess that’s just the way I write songs.
My absolute favourite song of yours is “I’m Made of Wax…”, but one of the best parts of it is probably the film clip. Have you guys always wanted to wail on small children in a game of kickball? How did that come about?
McKinnon: It was actually a friend of ours who just kind of told me randomly, he was like, “Hey, you should totally do this for your video”, and I was just like, “That’s a great idea”, so I got with our video guy, Drew Russ, and we kind of brainstormed this video treatment around that idea and we got our good friend Dan Dobi to film it, and that’s what it was.
I just thought it was really funny seeing that little kid get slammed into the ground, which probably makes me a bad person…
McKinnon: [Laughs] Yeah, we were pretty happy with it. That kid was actually awesome too. He came out to a few random shows and he was really excited about everything, so it was awesome.
Several of the songs on “Homesick” actually feature guest vocalists. Do you like doing collaborations with other artists? Or do you prefer it when you’re just singing by yourself.
McKinnon: They’re not really collaborations when we have people on our records, it’s just stuff that I write and they just do their part, I mean I’m way to picky to let somebody else write something over the top of my songs *laughs*. It actually stresses me out having people involved, even when they are just doing their own part, ‘cos usually they can’t be there with me at the time and I actually had a lot of problems with all of the guest vocals on the record because of that. I’m a really picky person and it had to be perfect, so a few people had to re-do things to make me happy, so I’m sure I’m just as annoying to them.
Is there anyone that you really want to work with?
McKinnon: I have no idea, I actually just enjoy working with the team of people I usually work with and just doing my own thing.
And going on from that, who do you most admire in the music world?
McKinnon: I’m really stoked on the people we work with once again; I mean, I think Chad Gilbert does a great job with us, he’s perfect for what we do, and then I think Andrew Wade is incredible at what he does. Pretty much every record we’ve done has been involved with him in some form; we couldn’t make a record without him, so I would say for the most part, Andrew Wade.
Now let’s talk about your Australian tour. Most of your major city shows actually sold out in about a day. How does that feel having fans half way across the world?
McKinnon: That’s crazy. I mean, as I said earlier, it’s just wild the way things are going these days. We’re just having a good time and trying to do what we do and people just accept it, so it’s cool.
Now that you’ve got a heap of killer songs in your repertoire, is it difficult to choose songs for a gig set list?
McKinnon: Yeah definitely, I mean adding more songs definitely makes things more difficult, especially when you’re limited to how long you can play. We’re actually going to play Warped Tour this summer and I have no idea how we’re going to play a 40 minute set. We’ve got four records now, so it’s crazy.
I’ve actually seen you guys talking about some crazy things your fans have done, like that one guy who jumped off a balcony, landed on stage, and then stage-dived into the barrier… How do you guys respond to that sort of thing?
McKinnon: It’s not usually something you realise is gonna happen, so it’s always pretty surprising and we’re usually just stunned and kind of look at each other, horrified for a second when something like that happens. I mean, God, some of these kids; I don’t even understand how they’re alive after some of the things I’ve seen people do.
Were you ever that crazy over a band?
McKinnon: Hell no! I mean, there are bands I like, but I would never jump off a balcony on stage for any band.
You guys have now notched up four big albums. Which album was the most fun to work on, and which one was the most tedious in terms of the process?
McKinnon: In terms of fun, I would say our first record and I would say that because we didn’t care *laughs*. I mean, there was absolutely no thought, there was no revision; we were a local band and we just wrote music that didn’t make sense and it doesn’t go together at all, so that was definitely the easiest one to do, because we didn’t really give a crap what it sounded like. Every record since that first record has been a tedious process because I’m really involved in what we do, so yeah every record is tedious in a process like that.
Yet again, Blunt have taken the guess work out of learning about your favourite bands. We argued, fought and threw Easter eggs to determine the following Top 5 tunes of both A Day To Remember and Underoath. Disagree? Fight us (online)
FIVE ESSENTIAL A DAY TO REMEMBER SONGS
1. The Downfall Of Us All – Homesick (2009)
The song with that acappella intro and a big contributor to the ADTR takeover.
2. I’m Made Of Wax, Larry, What Are You Made Of? – Homesick (2009)
The perfect example of an ADTR track. Catchy, heavy and a weird songtitle. Nice guest appearance
3. All I Want – What Separates Me From You (2010)
One of the best off the new album, a more punk rock side to ADTR.
4. The Plot To Bomb The Panhandle – For Those Who Have Heart (2007)
The big fan favourite from the album that started the pandemonium.
5. Since U Been Gone – For Those Who Have Heart re-issue (2008)
Sure it’s a cover, but it’s also one of the best re-interpretations we’ve heard in years.
FIVE ESSENTIAL UNDEROATH SONGS
1. Reinventing Your Exit – They’re Only Chasing Safety (2004)
Talk about creating a monster. The pop song that put Underoath on the map and quite possibly why the albums since have been so heavy. Oh, no chance they will play it either!
2. In Division – Ø (Disambiguation) (2010)
Aaron who? Losing such an important member should have been more of a problem for Underoath but no, heavier and experimental as ever was the name of the game.
3. Desperate Times, Desperate Measures – Lost In The Sound Of Separation (2008)
Being a successful, modern rock band on a major label while paying complete disregard to the idea of writing palatable singles instead of angular, expansive post-hardcore. See here if you need some tips.
4. In Regards To Myself – Define The Great Line (2006)
From the first moments of Define The Great Line, Underoath set out to upset all the fans they won with “Reinventing Your Exit” – “In Regards To Myself” being the first aural grenade lobbed at them.
5. The Sun Still Sleeps – The Changing Of Times (2002)
The sneaky moment where the former blackened death band fell in love with a catchy chorus. So just to recap Underoath have moved from Christian black metal to emo rock to experimental post hardcore in their career. Bonza!
Check out the dates for the tour below. With some dates already sold out, hit Soundwave for more details.
SUNDAY 8 MAY – PERTH, ASTOR THEATRE
TUESDAY 10 MAY – ADELAIDE, HQ
THURSDAY 12 MAY – MELBOURNE, FESTIVAL HALL
FRIDAY 13 MAY – SYDNEY, LUNA PARK BIG TOP
SATURDAY 14 MAY – SYDNEY, LUNA PARK BIG TOP
SUNDAY 15 MAY – BRISBANE, THE TIVOLI
TUESDAY 17 MAY – GOLD COAST, COOLANGATTA HOTEL
WEDNESDY 18 MAY – BRISBANE, THE TIVOLI