RIDING THE COURTESY WAVE
A Day To Remember formed in Florida in 2003 and since that time they’ve toured Australia, oh, about a jillion times. And while some bands can easily wear out their welcome under such circumstances, ADTR have managed to make each visit bigger than the last. With new album Common Courtesy out now via 3Wise in Australia, it’s time for the band to come back with one of their strongest recordings to date. And so it was that last month they were announced as one of the big-ticket names on the Soundwave 2014 second line-up announcement. We caught up with vocalist Jeremy McKinnon to chat about it, including just how close the band came to having to call it a day.
The first thing we should talk about, of course, is the massive Soundwave juggernaut!
It’s the best festival on the planet, man! It’s our most favourite to play at least. I mean, good lord! It’s the most well-run, fun thing we get to do as a band, honestly. It is the highlight of every album cycle for me as a musician. I’m honoured to be a part of it and I’m honoured that Australians even care for us enough to bring us back. I’m always excited to go there.
It seems like every time you turn around, you guys are here!
Yeah, we try to be! I’m telling ya, I’d move there if I could!
So why do you think Australians have taken to you so much?
I don’t know but I’m really happy you have!
So you started the writing process for this album two years ago. Does it always take this long from beginning to end?
Always, man. That’s just how I write. I’m always writing at all times. For instance, I just recorded a brand new song just last week that I’ve had sitting around but have never recorded. It’s like that. I’ll just plug away whenever I have time at home. Every time we’re home I’m usually tracking at least one song every break we have. I’m writing year-round, and that way when it’s actually time to put a record together I have a record full of songs that I love, instead of ‘Oh shit, we’ve got two months to write an entire album,’ and then you write a really half-assed one. This is our career, right? May as well take it serious!
Well the stuff here has been crafted and fine-tuned to a level that you might find in a pop album rather than something this heavy, yet it sure doesn’t sound pop.
It took us eight months to track this entire album. We had something like 40 song ideas. There were like, legitimate great songs that we didn’t even get to work on just because we didn’t have the time. We found 19 songs that we were tracking, and we ended up actually finishing 16 out of the 19 that we started tracking. Those were the songs that everybody gravitated towards. Even if there were songs that I felt really should have been on the album that were not, that’s just not the stuff that everybody was really drawn to. So this was the album that we all wanted to put out. We had the time to sit and make sure we were absolutely happy with it. And honestly, we couldn’t have made a better record right now. This is as good as it’s going to get at this point in our career.
You have your own studio to work in — what’s it like?
Well we actually had a lot of stuff built for us by (producer/engineer) Dan Korneff. He builds outboard gear too, and we had him build a lot of compressors for us. I worked with Andrew Wade and he would work with Dan Korneff on what he did and didn’t like in the studio, and by trial and error they built the whole studio around that. We also have a patch bay and everything using all this stuff now. It was a learning experience. It took us a few months to get up and running but yeah, it’s a really awesome setup! And now Andrew’s got it set up here for me and I can literally just plug in to the front of a compressor and I can track a guitar that’s the same quality as the album we just made.
That’s one thing a lot of people with home studios miss — a good analog compressor can do so much more for your sound than a plugin.
Yes! A huge difference. So hats off to Dan Korneff for helping us out. He built about three or four and he’s amazing at what he does. Couldn’t have done it without him.
And have you adapted the studio environment to be a creatively inspiring space?
For sure! Andrew built custom panels and we got them wrapped professionally by upholsterers, so we decorated the room how we wanted to. There’s this huge panel that takes up the back wall and we had our artist Mike C, who does all of our artwork, he made this big huge 90s collage of just stuff that we grew up with. All these 90s things, so like, every time somebody comes into the studio they just stare at this stuff for hours. We have everything up there. Michael Jordan, POGs, video games, Home Alone, everything you can think of. It’s pretty awesome.
So the album was released digitally on October 8, over a month before getting a physical release.
We had to do that because we didn’t know until two days before October 8 if we were going to be able to release it at all, because our old label tried to go to the courts and say we shouldn’t be able to release the album. And the judge decided “We’re not going to stop this band’s career because you guys have a disagreement. They’re gonna put out their album. You should have settled. You shouldn’t have let it get to this point.” Which is pretty much what they said, which is awesome because our label’s entire game plan was to stretch it out until we were stretched into a corner where we had to make a bad decision. So we kinda just said “Y’know, we’re gonna gamble here,” and the judge took our side, thankfully. We really did gamble with our whole career. It was really, really scary. Seriously. If we had have lost it would have been the end of our whole career, seriously. It would have ruined our career. It would have been over. So it was pretty serious, we knew it, and the judge sided with us. I can not put into words the feeling that we all had when we heard that the judge sided with us. It was amazing, man. I’ve never had a feeling like that in my whole life. It was like we were the underdogs who won the football championship, man. |
BY PETER HODGSON
A Day To Remember are heading out for Soundwave Festival in 2014. For more information including dates, tickets and full line up visit www.soundwavefestival.com