On the surface it would appear that the five men who make up mosh pop-punk outfit A Day To Remember are on top of the world right now. Topping charts worldwide, moving in excess of 500,000 records through global sales and of course selling out stadium sized venues in every continent, but hidden amongst this success was a crippling fear.
During the process of recording their fifth album Common Courtesy the band were amidst a legal battle with long time record label Victory Records, as A Day To Remember were planning to self-release the record the issue arose that the quintet had not fulfilled their contract. Whilst not at complete liberty to admit the full extent of the situation, guitarist Kevin Skaff reveals that this now resolved dispute was an incredible source of inspiration.
“The whole process and conflict with Victory Records was a very stressful time for the band, we didn’t even know if the record was going to come out. If Victory got a hold of it they could have shelved it for years, we were pretty scared about losing because Common Courtesy may have never seen the light of day. When we got the call saying the album could be released and on our terms, it was the biggest relief and one of the best days of our lives. But through writing lyrics and even in my case writing with my guitar, I think it was the best way for all of us to vent our frustrations about it and life you know?”
As with any art creation there is always more than meets the eye and while the issues surrounding the release of full-length number five pushed ADTR to write some very remorseful and memorable songs, there was a greater deal to this than what admirers of the band would expect.
“The topics are not limited, Jeremy (McKinnon, vocalist) writes about anything: Girlfriends, the music industry and other assholes. I would say that there was a lot of outrage expressed lyrically with this record. Jeremy keeps quite a bit penned up inside and he really holds onto stuff, so I would hate to be on the wrong side of him (laughs). You never know with that guy, I’m pretty sure he is mentally stable enough to not go on a shooting spree, but his words can crush a soul. That doesn’t upset us though, we were really happy with what he was coming up with. Sometimes it was really blatantly obvious to us what he was singing about and then the more subtle stuff, he would explain to us in more detail what the song was about and it really captured what we were all feeling about certain things really well. There’s a couple of stories that some people do not know about, but when it’s played the relevant people know exactly what it means, which is kind of crazy.”
Without the promotional aspect of a backing record label however, there is the concern of the all important record sales and naturally the availability of the record. But with arguably the most committed fans in the world to these mosh-pop innovators, the risk was well worth the reward.
“We worked on that record for the better part of a year, it is the one that we are collectively most proud of. Another thing too, it is literally our album. There was no magazine advertisements, no commercials, really there was just a small amount of promotion through basically our personal social networking. This was literally delivered by the five guys in A Day To Remember, not a huge team of corporate people. I think that is the coolest part to the record, it’s just ourselves who recorded it and put it out for the fans to have. We were blown away by how many units were sold, we really have to thank all of our fans for sticking by us and still buying the album. It’s hard to understand sometimes though, we were told the other day by an interviewer that we have four times the amount of twitter followers than the population of the town we grew up in.”
Having just toured in July, ADTR have signed on for the 2014 Soundwave Festival, their fifth visit in total. If one has witnessed the band perform live, it is quite the spectacular event to observe these Floridians in action. But do the five-piece have any specific plans for this time around?
“Not yet but we have pretty mad imaginations which we always have to scale back, even then with our shows something always goes wrong, but it is fun. Hopefully it goes a bit smoother for Soundwave whatever we come up with, if it doesn’t? Who cares, Green Day is playing, it’s going to be amazing.”