A Day to Remember Talk "What Separates Me From You", Fan Stories, and "L.A. Noire"
Thu, 08 Sep 2011 10:32:35
"A few of our song titles are actually movie quotes," says A Day to Remember singer Jeremy McKinnon. "'Mr. Highway's Thinking About the End' is from The Good Son, while 'I'm Made of Wax, Larry, What are You Made Of?' is from Night at the Museum."
The Good Son and Night at the Museum couldn't sit at further opposite ends of the spectrum, but that dichotomy mirrors the band's sound in some ways. On their latest offering, What Separates Me from You, A Day to Remember masterfully slide from throat-slashing metal to catchy punk crooning. If Slipknot and New Found Glory had a baby, it might sound like A Day to Remember, and that's what makes them so awesome.
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com, A Day to Remember frontman Jeremy McKinnon spoke to ARTISTdirect.com editor and Dolor author Rick Florino about What Separates Me From You, fan stories, video games, and so much more.
Did you have one vision for What Separates Me From You from start to finish or did it come together song by song in the studio?
It's like a track by track thing, and then it comes together naturally. As a band, we never try to do anything. We know what our band is, and we mix certain things. It's always going to be that, but we let it come out naturally. That's exactly what this record is. We wrote it over the course of two years. By the time we actually began tracking, we were more prepared than we've ever been before. It was cool.
Given the preparation, was there more cohesion?
I guess so. We were a lot further along than we'd ever been in the past. Every record has been different except for the last two. The only difference between this record and Homesick was we actually took two years to write it. Whereas on Homesick, we were like, "Oh shit, we should probably write some songs."
What's the story behind "If I Leave"?
It's all about different things you got through being on the road. Things don't always work out in your favor. It talks about a relationship ending when you're not really around enough to actually take care of it in person. It's about growing apart as time goes on.
Did you always know it would conclude the record?
Sometimes, I do know those things, but with this record I didn't. It just felt right. When we started putting the songs together and they actually became full songs, that seemed like a good ending. It's kind of negative, but it's positive. The song is happier-sounding. To me, the whole record was a really dark place, to be honest with you. Even the more poppy songs are darker. "If I Leave" is one of the songs that isn't at all. It's more of an upbeat, happy song, even though you're talking about serious stuff. To me, it was a breath of fresh air. You're coming out of it which is exactly what the future is going to be.
Is it important for you to paint pictures with the songs like that?
It's not something I think about. I just write about whatever is going on in my life at the time. I try to do it in a way where it's not so much, "Me, me, me". It's more about everyone. I think, "How can I say this in a way where I'm saying what I need to say in order to feel better, but somebody else can take meaning from it too?" I get out what I need to get out, but I attempt to communicate it in a manner that can help other people too. "All Signs Point to Lauderdale" was an actual life experience I had with me and some friends. The only ones who know what those mean are me and those people. It's part of our band.
Do a lot of fans tell you that they can identify with the lyrics?
Absolutely! I think that's one of the main reasons our band does so well. I'm not even kidding you. These people come to these shows and they have such an attachment to these songs. It's awesome, but it's crazy to actually see it happen. We're five normal dudes playing music we enjoy playing, and these people really find meaning in it. In the long run, what's more important than that?
Which bands spoke to you like that?
To be honest with you, I've never actually had a band really connect with me like some of these people say they connect with us. I wish I had. I attach to our band like that. I'm the one singing these words. It's my life. I'm talking about my experiences. I'm very attached to them. I try to write them in as personal of a view as I can without having them be too much in my favor. Nobody wants to feel like they're reading my story. They want to listen to a song and feel like they can relate. That's what I try to do.
What video games are you playing right now?
That's hard! We actually had our PS3 stolen off our bus on this tour, and it was mine so it sucked. I was in the middle of L.A. Noire. I was literally right at the end of the game, and somebody stole my PS 3 [Laughs]. We've always been playing Mortal Kombat on the new one. It's hard because we're here on Warped Tour and you have to download all of these updates every time you put a new game there. It sucks because our internet isn't good enough to do it so I can't really play anything.
Did you dig L.A. Noire?
I did! I just wish I could've finished it!
See our last interview with Jeremy here!
Do you like A Day to Remember?