One-thousand thirty. At the time of publication, that is how many days it has been since the release of A Day To Remember’s last album What Separates Me From You. Although it’s been nearly three years since a proper release, you’d be a fool to believe the band have been sitting around idly since then. After revealing a new album title (Common Courtesy) and releasing the first track (“Violence”) in late 2012, many fans expected the full release to follow shortly. Alas, that did not happen. In this AP-exclusive interview, vocalist Jeremy McKinnon breaks the silence and explains the unusual circumstances in which the new album transpired, how their current lawsuit with a certain record label may “crush” them beyond repair, and how he is legitimately terrified of the band’s upcoming House Party arena tour.
You guys released the first couple episodes of Common Courtesy: The Series, which documents the recording process for the new album. You’ve done “webisodes” like this for the past couple albums, too. Being completely honest, how much do you guys rehearse those before filming?
I mean, it’s just meant to be funny. We started doing them way back on the For Those Who Have Heart DVD. We were talking about doing our first DVD thing, showing [fans] who we are as people, and we just asked ourselves, ”What did we want to see from bands, what did we like when we were younger to see?” The answer was always just “Let’s have a good time with it, let’s try to make people laugh.” So that’s always been what we try to do- make people laugh and make it something that people can watch over and over again. And then sprinkle things that are real in there. As time has passed, we’ve started to make fun of whatever is happening publicly with our band. We just put out our third webisode for Common Courtesy, and the whole joke was how long it took for us to make this album. When you make a joke about what’s going on, it helps make people “get it.”
The webisodes seem so thought-out.
We usually just show up and do it. There’s never a rehearsal, we just wing it.
Both former guitarist Tom Denney and producer Andrew Wade are back on board again for the new record. What went behind the decision to stick to your guns and keep the recording process “in the family”?
We actually also had Chad Gilbert [of New Found Glory] come in and work with us, too. He co-produced the album with Andrew and me. That’s just the team of people that really started what we are doing here. Andrew has been recording us forever. His touches on the songs are really a part of this band. Tom is the same; his signature style is a part of what our original sound was. We don’t ever want to lose that. If we’re making an A Day To Remember record from this point on, forever, I plan on having Tom, Chad and Andrew involved in it, if they want to be. It just doesn’t seem like it would be A Day To Remember without it.
Did the thought of shopping around with other producers ever cross your mind?
I’ve just never been really interested in that. I just have such a clear vision of what A Day To Remember are to me, and the dudes in the band have always trusted me to be that overall producer. They’ve always trusted my opinion when it comes to stuff like what the album will sound like at the end. A Day To Remember are a very specific thing and I think a lot of people don’t get it. We started working with Chad Gilbert in the first place because he got the heavier side of things, but he was also involved in pop-punk. He was the perfect person to have come in and be that extra opinion. He’s never been the guy who is holding the reins; it always been what we think. It’s cool to have his perspective though because it’s completely different from ours, and a lot of times, it will make us completely rethink songs. A Day To Remember is its own thing, and we don’t need any outsiders, to be honest.
To say fans are anxious to hear Common Courtesy might be a bit of an understatement. What can you tell us about the new songs and the overall vibe compared to your previous records?
To me, the record is a lot more upbeat, which is cool. The last record was sort of moody. It was a darker record. I think this record is a good mix between that and the vibe on Homesick. Homesick was a little more happy-go-lucky, swinging-for-the-fences kind of vibe. I was in a better headspace for this new record. There are still those few songs where you’re dealing with some shit, but for the most part, the record is a lot more upbeat. It’s a lot faster. In my opinion—and hopefully people don’t take this too extreme—there is more of a metal influence on the heavy section of this record. I think there is more of a metal influence on this album than any of our albums since For Those Who Have Heart. I don’t want people to think that it will be a straight heavy album like For Those Who Have Heart, because it’s not. But the heavy section of the album is a lot more aggressive and metal influenced.