Five things we learned from our In Conversation video chat with A Day To Remember

The pop-punk band's frontman Jeremy McKinnon on writing new album 'You're Welcome', Download Festival memories and, erm, pickles

The release of A Day To Remember’s seventh album, ‘You’re Welcome’ has been a long time coming. Initially due out in 2019, the record was first postponed to early 2020, and then later pushed back once again due to the global pandemic.

Undeterred by the unforeseeable delays, though, the band used this time to really hone the record. Tracks were sent to a host of different mixers, who all specialised in certain genres to make sure each song was exactly how the band wanted it, with final touches made on the album remotely. The results are surprising, with ‘You’re Welcome’ being a genre-splicing collection that sees the band’s stadium-shaking sound imbued with pop sensibilities.

With the album’s release last week, we caught up with frontman Jeremy McKinnon to discuss creating the record, Download Festival memories and how a pickle played an essential part in creating the ‘You’re Welcome’. Here’s five things we learned.

They wrote so many songs there might be another album – and some of Jeremy’s favourites didn’t make the cut

You might think that by album seven a band could start to run out of ideas – but that’s not the case for A Day To Remember. In fact, when working on ‘You’re Welcome’, the group ended up with 40 songs to choose from.

“Some of my favourites didn’t make it, because they just were a step too far in a certain direction, or we had another song on the record that was similar, and people liked this one better… we got to a point where something’s got to be sacrificed.” Jeremy says.

In fact, they had so many songs left over the band have easily got the makings of another record: “We’ve got five songs that no questions asked at some point would get released, with minimal work on them.”

Viva La Mexico’ tells the true story of a raging stag do

Riotously fun party song ‘Viva La Mexico’ was inspired by the real life events of the band going to Mexico for guitarist Neil’s bachelor party.

“Look, I didn’t name names,” Jeremy protests, insisting he didn’t stitch up any of his bandmates and instead took all each member’s antics and anonymised them. “All of these different scenarios happened to one person or another, I just told it from the perspective of one human being having this wild time in Mexico. So it is a true story.

“It’s about typical Americans going to Mexico for typical American reasons, and then actually falling in love with the country for the people and the country itself.”

He loves the retro, Weezer-influenced sound of the song, too. “I love that it’s got that 1995 sound. It’s got one of those riffs where if I was in high school, I would have learned that and played it so much. My mom would have come in and be like, ‘Please stop playing that!””

A Day To Remember put a huge focus on ensuring a healthy work/life balance

Another of the songs on the record, ‘Only Money’, is a deeply personal track that addresses missing key moments in life due to being away on the road.

“I’m always very, very conscious of that,” Jeremy explains. When the band first started, they toured constantly. “We were really putting in the work to try to grow the band back in the day. It was a learning process, and I was grateful. We did a lot of that grunt work when we were in our early 20s.”

But now they are more confident to set boundaries, ensuring they get time at home: “We got to the point where it’s like, ‘Let’s try to protect family life and also continue to build this’. Now we’ll do a month of touring, a month off.”

Jeremy is also grateful to have spent more time with his family over the past 12 months due to the pandemic grounding any tours A Day To Remember had booked. “It sucks that legitimately all musicians just overnight didn’t have a job; but at the same time, flip that coin, I would have missed at least a year of my daughter’s life. I got to be here and I’m seeing I’m seeing the difference in the relationship because I got that extra time.”

One of Jeremy’s most embarrassing moments happened at Download Festival

Although the band won’t be able to play Download Festival this year as the event has been cancelled due to the pandemic, they do have fond memories of previous instalments of the rock festival.

“[Download] has always been the pinnacle for us,” says Jeremy, before revealing that “one of the funniest moments of my career happened there.”

Before the band’s first ever Download performance, their British tour manager imparted some wisdom on the band. “He said, ‘Dude, this is a legendary festival, you should say something about how this is cool,” Jeremy recalls.

“I was like, ‘Right! I can’t believe I’m playing this, I’m gonna say something,’ he winces. “If I remember correctly, it came out pretty good. I was really happy it flowed naturally, then I realised what song I was about to intro right after I talked about this amazing rock festival…. I realise, I close my eyes and say: ‘This next song is a cover song called ‘Since U Been Gone’’”. Who doesn’t love a bit of Kelly Clarkson?

A pickle played an essential part in recording ‘You’re Welcome’

Plenty of bands have been taking it back to old school methods, but ADTR decided to take it one step further, and used a pickle.

“I wanted the ending to ‘Brick Wall’ to make you feel uncomfortable, because it almost sounds like as it’s going it’s getting louder and louder and it slowly distorts, and I wanted it to feel like your speakers were blowing” Jeremy enthuses. “A way of accomplishing that was to run the mix stereo through a pair of pickles.”

Inspired by American record producer Sylvia Massy’s work with Tool, the band brought the snacks into the studio and integrated them into the recording process.

Jeremy explains of the results: “You’ve got that nasty, electric sounding distortion popping and crackling in this insane way through the song. They slowly pull that into the mix as this crazy drawn–out ending is happening.”

And the technique ended up being a multi-sensory sensation. “It was so cool to see too, because the pickles light up. They turn off the lights and you see electricity going crazy in these glowing pickles.”

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