A Day To Remember never had any idea that their crazy mash-up of pop happy choruses and crushing breakdowns would see them elevated anywhere close to the heights they have now reached. Now almost a household name, the Florida 5-piece keep playing the music that they love to play and convert new fans with every release. Their upcoming Australian tour with Metalcore giants Underoath is looking to be a completely sold-out affair. In the lead up to their Australian visit, A Day To Remember’s guitarist Kevin Skaff gave us 20 minutes of his time to talk Australia, album No.5 and Knuckles The Echidna.
Hey Kevin, this is Jake from Killyourstereo, how’s things?
Hey man, thanks for doing the interview.
No worries man, thank you. You’ve almost wrapped up your US ‘Gamechangers’ tour with Bring Me The Horizon, Pierce The Veil and We Came As Romans. How has the tour been?
The tour has been awesome man, couldn’t ask for more. It’s been sold out every day which is awesome.
It looks like the Australian shows are going to be a similar story mate, you looking forward to coming over with Underoath?
Yeah man, we’re so excited to get back to Australia. And especially with Underoath, we toured with them with six months ago and they’re all awesome dudes.
How did you enjoy No Sleep Til Festival in December?
Insane man. It was crazy, it’s only really Australian festivals that we’ve had a chance to hang out with the bands that have influenced us. It’s weird that it only seems to happen in Australia. I remember eating lunch at an airport and all of a sudden realising I was eating with Milo from The Descendants and like, a couple of the dudes from GWAR [laughs]. It was awesome, we had a lot of fun.
How many songs from What Separates Me from You can we expect on the setlist?
Well on this tour we’ve played over half the record, we’ve been playing anywhere upwards of 19 songs per show which is awesome. I don’t know how long we’re going to get to play over there, but there will be a good few from the new album I think.
What Separates Me From You seemed to have less of the mash-up of soft/heavy within each song, having it’s songs that are definitely more soft and pop-happy and then having songs that are just all our brutal assaults. Was that something that you were striving for?
Well we didn’t really know what to plan for to be honest. It was a little bit all over the place, because of me coming in, Tom leaving and all this new stuff that was going on. We were supposed to record with Adam D and then he had to cancel for some reason. So the whole thing was kind of a mess going in, and we didn’t really plan to have super poppy songs or super heavy songs or anything like that. We just went in and started throwing stuff together and if it sounded awesome, we just went with it.
The All I Want video came out great, obviously featuring many of your friend’s bands singing sections of the song. You must have felt a little sorry for the filmmaker putting it all together though…
I felt so bad man. Drew Russ, our videographer had to be gold status after how many flights he took with most of those bands. He was flying everywhere to get that footage. He had to edit it all as well and I felt so bad for him. But think the video came out incredible and I’m really happy he did it.
Can we expect any more videos off What Separates Me From You?
Yeah we actually filmed another video five or six days ago for All Signs Point To Lauderdale. I’m not sure when it will be coming out though, hopefully soon.
I understand that your last few records have been largely written while you’ve been on the road. With that in mind, have you been writing much stuff for album number five?
We have, yes. We’ve got lots of ideas man. I think we almost have as many ideas for the next record as we did for the last record already. I don’t think we’ll be recording anytime soon but we have tonnes of ideas, so I think the next record will come together very quickly and it’s going to be very heavy.
Cool. I noticed you recently made your television debut on Jimmy Kimmel Live! over in America, how was that experience?
That was fun man, Jimmy’s a good guy. He was on stage joking around with us before we played. He was awesome and it was a great experience playing on his show. We went on the Mark Hoppus show as well and that was great, I didn’t even feel like I was playing on TV because it was so much less pressure. I had a lot of fun on both of them, we’d love to do it again.
‘If It Means A Lot To You’ is a song that I have always used to attempt to slowly introduce girls to heavier music. However, I usually get stuck when it comes to following it up. What song would you use next?
Oh yeah, ‘If It Means A Lot To You’ is definitely a good start. Then maybe play ‘All Signs Point To Lauderdale’, they’d probably like that one. But after that maybe show them ‘My Life For Hire’, then ‘I’m Made of Wax’, then maybe ‘Sticks and Bricks’ and ‘2nd Sucks’ and the progression will be complete. Maybe take it a week at a time [laughs.]
Good plan. One particular song title on the latest record leads me to believe that you guys are Sonic The Hedgehog fans?
Yeah dude, Sega Genesis was the best back in the day. I was kinds bummed that we missed out on knuckles though. I love knuckles.
Dude Knuckles is so much better than Sonic. If you could ask Knuckles one question, what would it be?
Where do I get those awesome spiked hands? [Laughs]. We’re all big gamers so I don’t know, that title really came out of nowhere. We’ve been playing a lot of Madden lately, so I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a Madden title on the next album.
If someone handed you a copy of What Separates Me From You 10 years ago, what would you have thought of it then?
I’d be like, ‘what does this band want to do?’ It’s all over the place man, but that’s just our personality. It’s good because it gives a little something for everybody. No matter what music style you like, you can find something in there for yourself. Also I think it can turn on people to other styles of music. If someone only really likes pop-rock, they could maybe hear our harder side and like that as well. It can help people broaden…I don’t want to say musical horizons because that just sounds stupid [laughs].
Well obviously the music does come from a broad spectrum of influence, do you think that it’s more from your separate tastes or are you all in a similar place musically?
Do we have similar taste? Yeah for sure. It was really weird actually, me and Neil sat down and we would be like ‘I remember when this CD came out dude, I fucking loved that band for years’, and literally every CD we said would be the exact same CD and we were into them around the same time. If you check all our iPods they’d all be pretty much be the same.
Do you find some of the labels that people tend to slap on you band funny? I have never heard the term pop-mosh or moshcore applied to anyone but you guys.
Yeah, I don’t even know where those come from, it’s insane. I don’t even know what you could label our band as dude. People ask me what sort of band I’m in I always just go uhh it’s kinda like hard rock? Normal people that aren’t scene oriented or don’t know what’s going on with the whole thing are just like ‘yeah I know metal, rock, rap and country’, that’s it. So you kind of just have to throw in a describing word with one of those four genres, so I’m just like hard…rock.
What has been the craziest fan tribute to the band that you’ve seen?
Well yesterday at the Record Store Day signing a girl took pictures of her five cats and drew shirts that the five of us always wear on them and got us to sign them, that was pretty funny.
If you were to make a supergroup of any musicians, alive or dead, who do you think you would choose?
Ooh shit. Dave Grohl, I don’t know what the fuck to play, the man can play anything. Dimebag Darrel on guitar. Neil Peart from Rush on drums and Geddy Lee on bass . I’m going to want to be in the band so throw me in on second or third guitar or whatever. Freddie Mercury on vocals.
Nice! Now name the band.
Super Fucking Awesome would be a good band name for that band I think [laughs].
Quality. Strangest interview question you’ve ever been asked?
There’s been a couple. Whether or not I enjoy having 13 year old girl fans was a kind of weird one. I was kinda like ‘yeah…sure man, I don’t know.’
Any Australian food you’re looking forward to hitting up again?
Hungry Jacks is always good since there’s no burger king [laughs]. Oh wait, Lord Of The Fries. I love that place. It’s not in enough places, I need it in more places.
Oh I know how you feel man, I’m two hours out of Melbourne and that place is half the reason I like going there.
Yeah they need to share the love, it sucks man.
True. Well I think that’s our time up mate, any final comments or shout-outs?
Yeah just thanks for listening to our music guys, and see you all soon. Looking forward to it.
Looking forward to having you mate, take care.
Thank you, see you soon.