A Day To Remember’s Jeremy McKinnon Talks New Album, Music Business, Pleasing Fans + More in Exclusive Interview
A sold out Grand Rapids crowd spent their Easter Sunday (March 31) with Florida metalcore/punk rockers A Day To Remember at The Orbit Room. Frontman Jeremy McKinnon sat down with us before the show to discuss the band's new album, pleasing both hardcore and pop-punk fans, their status with Victory Records and more.
A Day To Remember have become highly successful with their unlikely blend of metalcore verses and catchy choruses. The group completed most of the work on their fifth studio album, Common Courtesy. While no release date has been set, McKinnon says this is the most diverse and ambitious ADTR record yet.
"To be honest with you, it's our most all-over-the-place record," McKinnon shares. "We tracked a lot of songs for it and we don't know how many we're going to put on the album. It'll be the most songs that we come out the gate with ever. We wanted to be able to put everything that people wanted from us on the record, and make it be something that they're gonna really care about."
McKinnon continues: "If it's a heavy song, make sure it's a heavy song that people really are gonna be happy with. There's a huge chunk of our record that's just aimed at those people that are fans of our band. And then we've got pop-punk songs, we've got more alternative rock songs. We've actually got even slower songs than we've ever done. It's everything that's ever been A Day To Remember times ten."
Some may think that approach would cause too much dissension among fans who want consistency in an album. However, McKinnon is adamant that fragmenting their fanbase is not a concern.
"We don't worry about it, man," says the singer. "Us doing that and branching out a little bit at a time, but still staying the same as we do it, allows us to do what we do. I think it's a huge reason why we are the band we are. Creatively, it's very helpful because we're not just lumped into this one circle that we can't bust out of without offending people. We can, and we did on this record, branch out in a few songs where it's like, 'Wow, that's really different for them.' At the same time, the other 80 percent of the album is right up everyone's alley that's ever been in the alley [laughs]."
A Day To Remember have been involved with a high-profile dispute with their current record label, Victory Records. The band decided to take the Chicago-based imprint to court in 2011, which Victory responded by stating the lawsuit was just a way for the group to get out of their contractual obligation to the label. According to McKinnon, no settlement has been reached and it's unclear who will exactly release Common Courtesy.
"We're not sure," McKinnon answers when asked if Victory will release the album. "We'll see what happens. It's still being settled. We'll see what happens here in the next few months."
A Day To Remember are part of a passionate musical culture that tends to have a younger following. I was probably one of the oldest people at the Orbit Room show who wasn't a parent with their kids. However, McKinnon wouldn't be surprised if ADTR were making music and playing shows well into their 40's.
"Nobody in a MILLION years would believe that coming from a band like us," the Ocala, FL native states. "They don't see things from our perspective. You're not seeing these people come and having like almost semi-spiritual experiences with us at these shows. Forget what these songs mean to us. These people connect with these songs on a level that none of us ever prepared for or knew was going to happen. It's just special, man."
"It's happened every album we ever put out. This one is going to be no different. To be honest with you, I think I became a better storyteller on this album and I'm really, really excited about people hearing it."
Watch the entire interview with A Day To Remember's Jeremy McKinnon below, where we also talk about pop-punk's endearment to aging fans, protecting himself from wild audience members and the impact of the Randy Blythe trial, and more.