Exclusive: A Day To Remember and Of Mice & Men Talk "Right Back At It Again" Tour and More
Thu, 14 Mar 2013 11:00:39
This spring, two of heavy music's leaders join forces for the Right Back At It Again tour.
A Day To Remember will be supported by Of Mice & Men for the jaunt, and it's already sold out numerous cities across the country. Fervor for both bands has completely swept the musical landscape, and their legions of fans are only growing by the day. That's because not only do both bands consistently deliver live, but they're also making meaningful and unforgettable records that resonate potently.
In fact, these two groups are spearheading a revolution, bringing attention back to the genre and elevating it to the next level in terms of both heaviness and catchiness. They both know how to write a song, and they both know how to ignite a mosh pit.
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, Jeremy McKinnon of A Day To Remember and Austin Carlile from Of Mice & Men talk their upcoming tour together, how they both discovered music, what they're listening to, and so much more.
See the tour dates here!
How did you two both initially discover music?
Jeremy McKinnon: With me personally, I got into music through a mutual friend I grew up with. He started his own band, and I thought he was the coolest dude ever. I originally started playing guitar because I wanted to be in his band. He eventually turned me down and became a doctor. So, it worked out from there [Laughs]. I kept going with it and met all of my guys through the local scene. We sort of made a local super group, I guess you'd say. That was the start of me playing music in general all the way through A Day To Remember.
Austin Carlile: I was 20-years-old, and I listened to a lot of older hardcore and pop punk. My friends were like, "Let's start a band like this". Then, we did. One of our first shows was with A Day To Remember. It was in 2006 or 2007 at a little place in Columbus, OH. We opened up for you guys. It was just us. I quit that band, started another one, and I'm here now.
Jeremy McKinnon: What was the band you were in when that happened?
Austin Carlile: It was called Call It Even. I ended up not playing with that band. I played it with my other band Ambience. Then, we changed our name to Attack Attack!
Jeremy McKinnon: That's crazy! I had no idea that even happened.
Austin Carlile: My friend sent me a text with ticket. It was like six dollars. It was A Day To Remember and "Special Guests" Call It Even at a little club in Columbus.
Jeremy McKinnon: What a small world.
Austin Carlile: I know, right?
What pushed you to choose this as a career?
Austin Carlile: For me, it was just being on stage. I never had anything that felt as good or made me as happy as performing did. As I got into it and was able to do it even more, it drew me further in. It made me happier than anything else so I kept doing it.
Jeremy McKinnon: With me, it was more the songwriting. With my old band, Against All Odds, I wrote everything. I would take these songs to my friends and teach them how to play it. It was an unspoken thing. Nobody tried to write music on his own. I did it all. That's what really made me happy. I don't know why I was drawn to it. I just was. I wrote something like forty songs for that first band, and we only played like four shows ever. It was just me and my friends being together and hanging. My first experience being in a real band that played a lot for people was A Day To Remember. I went from there.
When did you first hear each other's bands?
Austin Carlile: I remember a couple years ago A Day To Remember took over the whole entire fucking internet and music scene. Everywhere you went you saw Homesick. Everybody was listening to it and talking about it. It was everybody's favorite record and favorite band. I don't think you could miss them if you listened to heavy music, hardcore, punk, or rock [Laughs].
Jeremy McKinnon: It started out with Attack Attack! We were touring with a lot of bands around that time, and they were one of the bands that absolutely shot through the roof. Like he was saying, it was something you couldn't miss. Everybody was talking about their first album. When they split with Austin, everybody was wondering what was going to happen. That's how I came to know about Of Mice & Men because I was following what was going on with his original band.
When did the idea for this tour come about?
Jeremy McKinnon: We reached out to fans. We always try to put together packages that the people who come to see us would like to see. We want them to be interested when they come out. We try to keep it different too. Of Mice & Men was by far the name we heard from everybody. It was what the fans wanted. It was a no-brainer. They're what kids wanted.
Austin Carlile: We were stoked! We knew it would be a big tour. As soon as it was announced, it was sick. New York sold out in a minute. All of these other shows sold out. It was a no-brainer for us too. People will come to the show and take something out of it. We get to watch A Day To Remember every night too, which was awesome.
What's it like relating to these kids that are into your bands?
Austin Carlile: It's important to me. It's not that I want to be a perfect person, role model, or whatever. That's not something I even strive to be. At the same time, I want to be someone kids look up to so they see you can do different things, you can be a positive person, and you can be in a heavy band and not talk about bad stuff. Drinking, drugs, and sex are shoved down kids' throats by the media and most music they listen to. I think it's cool we can make music without all of those negative aspects and subjects. All of our music is uplifting. It's about stuff they can relate to and can help them. It's important for me to bring them something different from the rest of the bullshit they have to hear.
Jeremy McKinnon: When I'm writing songs, it's never something I think about too much. I'm just trying to tell stories. The stories are usually something that's directly affected me in my life or something I was going through. I'm always working throughout the year. Writing these songs is what makes me feel better about what I'm going through. I'm always trying to be a better storyteller. I'm trying to get better at putting how I feel into words. Over the course of our career, I feel like I resonate with these kids because of that. I'm telling real life stories that happen to everybody. They're motivational songs for me too. They give me hope to keep doing what I'm doing. It wasn't something I meant to do. It's cool if anything you do can naturally help another person. It grew over time with me. If you can actually help somebody, what's better than that?
It's great you're inspiring kids to pick up guitars again too…
Austin Carlile: The age of the rock star is over, and I think that's being proven with people in today's music scene who try to do that. They act like, "Oh, we can do and say what we want". The era of that is over. It's cool that bands like ours and A Day To Remember can have a different impact on people.
Jeremy McKinnon: I actually think that's why we do so well. We are different from what people expect. It's not so much the same stereotypes that people have heard. You can relate to everything we say and do. We're normal people playing music. I think that's why people can relate to it.
The dynamics make you guys hit even harder.
Austin Carlile: Absolutely! You can't have a song with all big parts and expect it to sound "big". It's like a movie without a climax. With how we write songs, we can have one moment and follow it up with a completely different emotion or feeling. That makes the previous or following part hit that much harder or sound that much better.
Does it take toll on your voice?
Jeremy McKinnon: When I first started out doing it, I was the only vocalist in my band. We didn't have a backup until we got Kevin. That's been really helpful live. I learned a lot of hard lessons on our first few records touring. I was going up there and going hard every night on both sides. I'd be up there screaming like I do on records, and I wouldn't have a voice the next day. I have to find a middle ground.
What bands spokes with you growing up like you spoke with your fans?
Austin Carlile: I didn't have a band that had that similar positive impact. I did get a Drive-Thru Records sampler with The Early November. By the time I was in high school, I got all of their albums. That was perhaps the only band that did it for me. When I started doing music, I wanted to do it in a different way.
Jeremy McKinnon: I can actually relate to that a lot. I didn't have a band that spoke to me. There were a lot of bands I loved, but there was a never band I connected with on par with the level of how people connect to our music. I've never experienced that. I've had a handful records make me feel that weird pull like a religious experience. I've never had a band do that for me. It's more live shows when somebody will do something really special in the live setting.
Austin Carlile: The closest things for me were Tear from the Red and Opposite of December by Poison the Well. I cherished those records more than anything in the world, and they're still two of my favorite albums.
What are some of your favorite bands?
Austin Carlile: I listen to a lot of Limp Bizkit and Linkin Park. Korn is one of my favorite bands. I like a bunch of stuff like that. That's something I listened to when I was younger, and I still listen to it now.
Jeremy McKinnon: My favorite band is NOFX, and I don't know why [Laughs]. There's something about them I love. I still listen to them. I listen to those bands who were big when I was young like Limp Bizkit. I listened to Korn the other day. I love Millencolin too. If you listen to them, you will hear a huge influence on us. Then, there's Bury Your Dead.
Austin Carlile: I forgot how much I loved Bury Your Dead.
What have been some of your most memorable experiences?
Austin Carlile: Mine would be just having the opportunity to tour the world. The first time I ever left America was because of a tour. The first time I got to every country I've been to was because of the band. It's cool for me to think, "Wow, I'm in a different country because I started a band!" It makes you stop and appreciate where you are. You come from nothing and see where you are. It's a really cool feeling. That, and Corey Taylor hung out with us on Soundwave and watched our set. That was pretty cool because he's one of my vocal idols!
Jeremy McKinnon: I'll never forget the first time my bass player Josh and I were driving our van overnight and we were going to New York City for the first time. None of us had ever seen it. We took shifts and had partners we would drive with. I remember going over that bridge and you could see the skyline. You never forget stuff like that or the first time I saw Tokyo. It's crazy. It's weird if you think about what music is. It's not real. You can't touch it. We're traveling the world because of it. We're earning livings. It doesn't make sense to me at the same time. Then, there are special shows that stand out. At the last Soundwave, there were moments like that. There are these massive bands on the tour like Limp Bizkit. The dudes from the Creed were standing on the side of the stage freaking out at what people were doing to our songs. I was looking out at thirty or forty-thousand people jumping up and down doing crazy shit. Sometimes, you think, "What the fuck am I doing right now? I'm from a hole-in-the-wall nothing town in Florida. I was mean to be a redneck. What the hell am I doing here?" [Laughs]
Who are you listening to right now?
Austin Carlile: I'm listening to a lot of indie rock right now like Beck, Young the Giant, and Mumford & Sons. I go through phases where I go through different stuff. I'm on a kick with really mellow music. Our touring schedule has been so crazy. When I'm listening to music, the last thing I want in my ear is somebody yelling at me.
Jeremy McKinnon: I'm all over the place. There's no rhyme or reason to it. I really love Adele's theme song for Skyfall.
Austin Carlile: It's great!
Jeremy McKinnon: It's incredible! I've been listening to the Me First and the Gimme Gimmes album Love Their Country—other than our new record, which I've been listening to so much it makes me crazy. Then, there are a few random rap songs.
Austin Carlile: Have you heard the Kendrick Lamar album? It's one of my favorite hip-hop albums ever.
Jeremy McKinnon: I have to check it out. I just listened to the Frank Ocean album.
Austin Carlile: Oh, man, it's perfect! The Weeknd's House of Balloons is so good.
Jeremy McKinnon: The Weeknd just did a song with Juicy J that's badass.
What can we expect from your new music?
Austin Carlile: We're not doing anything this summer. We're recording our third album for three months. We're keep it under wraps until we're in the studio.
Jeremy McKinnon: That's similar to us. I had so many songs saved up this time around. I was writing a lot of music during this period. I loved a lot of it. The guys loved a lot of it. We ended up with forty-something songs. It's taken us six months to put the album together. It's not done. Right after we get off the phone, I'm going to finish the rest of the screaming. I can't wait for people to hear it because God lord, we've been working on it for so long.
What are you most excited about this tour?
Austin Carlile: I look forward to playing in big rooms full of people. This is the biggest tour we've done except for festival dates. I'm excited to play packed rooms with kids who want to be there.
Jeremy McKinnon: I'm just happy to be back on the road again. We put out a new song called "Violence (Enough Is Enough)", and we're excited to see how it goes over live.
What's your favorite song from both bands?