A Day To Remember are gearing up to unleash their long-awaited new album You're Welcome on March 5, so we caught up with the band's guitarist Kevin Skaff to have a chat about the lengthy process in pulling this monolith together, when they can expect to be on the road again and more!
Read on for the full interview:
Hey Kevin! It's been a long time coming, but 'You're Welcome' is almost finally here - we imagine you're feeling pretty relieved!
Yeah it's about time for sure, cos obviously it was delayed a couple of times - one was our fault, one was COVID's (laughs)
It's the longest ADTR has gone without putting an album out - did you feel any pressure or expectation because of that?
Um, not really, I mean nowadays everybody wants a record once a year from people and that's just not how it was when I was growing up. It would be like three, four, five years between albums and Tool takes, what, 13 years between albums? So yeah this one definitely took longer but, what can you do especially with the last year.
The band's at a unique point now where you have old fans from 2003 and new fans in 2021 - is that something you guys actively think about when writing new music?
Not in particular, it's just whatever everyone's vibing at the time. You know, everybody with the exception of me now is married and has kids or kids on the way, and everybody's at a really good place in their life, so it kind of comes across on the album as...I don't want to say happy, but just a better mood. More positive. It's none of the "you should go slit your throat" albums (laughs)
Yeah that makes sense, songs are like an extension of emotion and if you're not feeling super angsty like you were as a teenager or whatever it won't come out that way.
Yeah, I mean albums are just a snapshot in time of the band. So it's wherever your head was at while you were in the studio, so there's a lot of things that go into the sound of what an album's gonna be.
You guys demoed 30-40 songs again this time for 'You're Welcome' - is it a difficult process to agree as a group on which songs will make the final cut and which won't?
(laughs) Yeah it is actually. I mean, this one was a little bit different because we got everybody in the same room, so band, management, producer and record label. So we got everybody to listen to everything we had then we all just started voting on stuff. So obviously there were some things that didn't make the record that bummed certain people out more than others on each individual track, but we got plenty for another record, so...
But yeah everybody gets their feelings hurt when you're picking tracks for a record. We have too many tracks, though! We have songs from old albums that never got used, like, tons.
Will they ever come out as a B-sides release or something?
Maybe after I die they will (laughs)
Surely they can't be that bad!
Kevin's death obituary B-sides.
So it sounds like it was a very collaborative writing process for You're Welcome. Do you prefer it over the stripped back, band-in-a-room style that you used for Bad Vibrations?
Um, you know, (for Bad Vibrations) a lot of people were fighting to just get the band in a room and do it in that really old school way of making albums, and I gotta tell you man, like, that drove everyone up the fucking wall. Everyone was so psycho by the end of it and, it was just a really tough process.
This one though, was so chill. Like, everyone just threw some ideas on their own, or we could write with other people, there was a lot of freedom. It was kind of like...what's that called when a husband and wife swap partners?
You mean...like the show Wife Swap?
(laughs) Yeah it was like Wife Swap but making an album. 'Cause there were so many outside creative people in this too. Like, Jon Bellion helped write 'Everything We Need', Mike Green helped write 'Mindreader' and 'Degenerates' for example, there was a lot of that stuff going on for this album.
If you had to pick a song off the finished album to show someone who had never heard A Day To Remember before, which one would you pick?
Geez you can't be asking me that, there's too many sounds on it! I dunno, my favourite song is always 'Resentment', but then on the extreme opposite end my other favourite song is 'Only Money' because it's so so personal for Jeremy, and like obviously I knew what he was going through, so when he showed me the song I was just like "holy shit dude, that's right in the feels". And 'Last Chance To Dance' is up there too.
Jeremy is obviously pretty particular about album artwork, and it was one of the main reasons the album saw a delay too - can you tell us a bit about what's on the front of You're Welcome or is that better answered by Jeremy?
I think that's better answered by Jeremy because yeah, him and Neil (guitar) wanted to take that very seriously, and they took it more than very seriously this time (laughs). For me, I know how people consume music these days. The size of the album art when they're listening on their phone is like the size of their fingernail now. But, I know that there's a lot of people out there who are die-hard A Day To Remember fans that really like everything that goes into it, so I can see both sides.
So they kept the silhouette thing going from the other albums, and it'll just be a cool thing for fans to get their hands on. Like the shark 'Common Courtesy' album that we only released in Australia - that thing went insane!
It's been pretty surreal from a fan perspective to watch A Day To Remember become one of the biggest bands in the world over the last decade. Does it feel the same for you or are you used to it all now?
I mean...it's gonna be weird if I say it's normal, but it's easier to take in, that's for sure. But again, we haven't a show since December 2019, so I have a feeling that the next tour back will feel pretty surreal all over again.
The COVID cases in the US seem to be dropping - is there a chance you'll be able to take these new songs on the road later in 2021?
Oh man it's the worst here. It was so stupid man, like, I've been sitting in my house for a year now, just waiting for this thing to be over, and there's people my age just out at bars like "who gives a fuck", and it really pisses me off, they're just holding up everything.
I even saw my friend going to a show in Florida being a dumbass, and they went to go see Buckcherry...like Buckcherry get to play a show and we don't? Fuck Buckcherry, dude!
Are there plans to go back on the road later this year, though?
Yeah I mean we're always trying to get back on the road, but we want to make sure we do it safe and do it by all the guidelines. We don't want to endanger any of our fans. So, Download is still technically going ahead in June? But I have my doubts. If I was being a reasonable person I would think that maybe tour could start up again in September or October, but we'll see.
I think our best shot is to just quarantine and, well, I don't want Americans getting all the Australians sick (laughs)
We're out of time Kevin, but thanks so much for the chat and stay safe!
Thank you brother, take care!
To celebrate the announcement of You're Welcome, we've got special signed cards to give away with pre-orders of the CD and vinyl over on the Maniacs Store! We're also running a competition where you can WIN the ultimate You're Welcome prize pack full of merch, vinyl, headphones and more!
It's ADTR season, baby!
Listen to A Day To Remember now.