A Day To Remember (Kevin Skaff)
For their latest album Bad Vibrations, the Florida five-piece packed their bags and headed to a cabin in the mountains. It was a far cry from how A Day To Remember usually write their gold-selling records, but gave them much needed space to breathe and take it back to where it all started. Bad Vibrations comes in as the band’s sixth studio album and showcases another layer of their signature pop-punk/rock/metal fusion.
Whilst being in the middle of a US-wide tour supporting Blink 182, lead guitarist Kevin Skaff took some time out to discuss bringing the band together again, the possibility of sharing unreleased songs, and his favourite tracks off the new album.
A Day to Remember is known for being first and foremost a live band; how do you sustain that blistering energy through tours like these ones when you may be performing one night after the other?
I have no idea to be honest with you. I’m starting to get to the point where I’m getting arthritis in my neck but yeah just keep doing it and hopefully by the end I can still walk! Honestly it’s just all the fans – if they have energy, we have energy. It’s 100% up to the crowd whether they want to have a crazy show or just an alright show but if they’re not feeling it, we do try our best to get them into it.
We’ve heard a lot of variety from the new album already, between ‘Paranoia’s’ ridiculously catchy hooks, the brooding ‘Bullfight’ and the rawness of ‘Bad Vibrations’ itself. What do you think the one thing is about A Day To Remember that ties all these songs together?
The best part about A Day To Remember is that we can do whatever we want. We’re kind of known for being the schizophrenic, genre-changing band so I guess we just blame it on being an ADTR record. That’s why it’s so everywhere.
How often do you end up with extra material that doesn’t make the cut?
We still have like 25 songs left over from Common Courtesy and 30 songs left over from this album. In a way we’re kind of like when they saw Prince’s vault and found 1000 albums left over – that’s going to be us [laughs]. Usually we just keep them and hopefully one day it’ll just click and it might work for the next record. We’re not opposed to releasing B-sides or whatever.
It’s also no secret that you’re not ones to shy away from writing music that’s meant to be felt – whether it’s a dynamic riff or brutally honest lyrics. Is your music equally as therapeutic for you and the rest of the band, as it is to fans?
Oh yeah, 100%. I think that’s why we write music is to just get it out there. We’re a pretty vocal band, we’ll be like ‘yeah I’m fucking pissed off at you’, you know, we’ll tell each other things like that. It just comes as second nature to us to put our feelings out in the world. If other people hear it and it helps them then that’s awesome but we do it for us, and if our fans love it then that’s fucking great.
Has there been any songs that have been a bit risky where you’ve thought maybe we shouldn’t say that, maybe we shouldn’t release that?
There is a song off Bad Vibrations! Jeremy actually came to us and was like ‘hey in this song [Exposed] I say some stuff about politics, are you guys cool with that?’ A couple of us were like ‘I’m not sure, we’re not known for being political and we’re not trying to be’ but then after you read the rest of the lyrics it makes sense why it should be there. We took a chance on that one, at least Jeremy did lyrically, but I love that song; it’s probably my favourite heavy one recently. Especially with this year’s American election shit, I wouldn’t say it’s about the election but there are a lot of statements about politics in general and I think it just comes at the right time.
Do you have a favourite song off Bad Vibrations?
I really like ‘Naivety’, ‘We Got This’, and ‘Same About You’. ‘Same About You’ because it’s different for us; usually we have pretty big verses whereas this one we set them real small. ‘We Got This’ was a favourite song of mine from Common Courtesy that originally didn’t make it, so I’m really glad we got to work that one in. ‘Naivety’ was cool because it kind of came out of the blue. I was sitting on a couch playing some chords and humming when Jeremy comes in and was like ‘what’s that? Show me the chords’, so I showed him and he came back with a chorus. We literally wrote the song in an hour or two after that.
There’s been a lot of talk around Bad Vibrations and how the making of it was a less structured, more organic process for you guys. Why did you decide to take a step back from more formal songwriting and do it this way?
We wanted to be a band again. Our last couple of records have been a lot of one person off writing in one room, another person off writing in one room, and hoping it just worked out. We just wanted to go back and do the band thing and make everyone love being in a band again, so we tried something different. We took a chance going to a different producer (Bill Stevenson, Jason Livermore) to get a different sound and keep it fresh and I think we did it, I love the new record.
How do you think the album would’ve been different if you did create it in full in a studio again?
I think there would’ve been some songs that some people in the band just don’t care about. Then that could be like ‘oh I don’t want to play that live because I’m not feeling it and I didn’t feel it before.’ We have a couple of those songs from old records where we’re like ‘I don’t want to play that song because I have no special bond with it.’
A Day to Remember’s studio album Bad Vibrations is set to be unleashed on September 2. Their ‘Bad Vibes’ world tour kicks off in Australia throughout December before continuing on to UK and Europe in early 2017. Tickets are available here.