A Day to Remember’s Jeremy McKinnon on You’re Welcome, the State of Metalcore, and More

"If it's playing shows or ... writing more music, I'm ready to get back to work"

A Day To Remember Jeremy McKinnon interview
A Day To Remember’s Jeremy McKinnon, photo by Amy Harris
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Florida rockers A Day to Remember have just unleashed their seventh studio album, You’re Welcome. The LP champions a mix of hardcore, metalcore, and pop-punk, showcasing the band’s multifaceted songwriting approach.

Standouts on You’re Welcome include the punk-fueled “F.Y.M.”, the anthemic “Bloodsucker”, and the acoustic ballad “Everything We Need”. Plenty of bands have variety in their sound, but on You’re Welcome, A Day to Remember prove they can conquer a multitude of genres.

A Day to Remember frontman Jeremy McKinnon checked in with Heavy Consequence to speak about You’re Welcome, what it’s like to release an album during theCOVID-19 pandemic, the current state of metalcore,  and more.

Read our full interview with McKinnon below, and pick up A Day to Remember’s new album, You’re Welcome, via the band’s official store or Amazon.

On how he’s handled the past year and all the obstacles due to the COVID-19 pandemic

We’re just taking it one day at a time. I’m glad that we’ve had this album to put work into, like trying to finalize the art and the mix in the early months of COVID-19. It gave us something to be working towards. It definitely slowed down the process, but it gave us a focus. Other than that, I’ve just been spending a lot of time with the family, which is a blessing, because you don’t get that time away back. So, on the positive side, I’ve been able to spend this whole year with my family.

On the album cut “Resentment” and the story behind that song coming to fruition

That was one of the first riffs I had. I got in a room with my dude Cody Quistad of Wage War, because we collaborate a bunch. We sat in a room together and started working on demoing the whole thing out, and it took a day. That hook always stuck with me. There were bits and pieces here and there. The breakdown was there, and it didn’t change, but the rest of the song — we wanted it to be more than just like the typical metalcore track on the record. I wanted this song to be a shining example of mixing the genres and mixing the influences.

I love that chorus, and that chorus was created I think three years ago, to put it into perspective. It always was pretty much everybody’s favorite hook. It stayed that way for a long time until the record was almost finished. One day, I just got super frustrated in front of everybody in the studio. I was like, “I want this to feel like more like a modern pop track or more like Nine Inch Nails in the verses.” Colin (Brittain, producer) went to work, and immediately that struck a chord with him, and he knew exactly how to get that across. He pretty much put together exactly what you hear on the album. Within 15 minutes of me saying what I wanted out of that inspiration, “Resentment” was done.

On the band’s livestream show in January, dubbed “A Day To Remember: Live at the Audio Compound”

It was amazing. Everybody who was there, including the camera crew, all got tested the night before, so we kind of created our own little bubble, like the NBA did. Nobody was going in or going out. So, for the first time since all this happened, I got to walk into a room without a mask on with my friends and sit down, like we used to do, and play music. I hadn’t seen them since this all happened. We hadn’t even been in the same room together, and we definitely hadn’t played music as a group of people since then.

On how it felt to perform during the livestream show, more than a year after A Day the Remember’s last gig

It was just amazing to feel normal and to be in a room and to not be worried. To walk into a room and not even have it cross your mind. What a blessing that was just in itself. This record was supposed to come out in 2019, so our fans are definitely due for some material. So, we were really excited to give them something on top of what they were expecting. We’ve been asked for years by fans to do an acoustic album, so we treated [the livestream] like it was a live acoustic record. I think we’re going to do a vinyl pressing of it eventually and really treat it like the live record that it is. So, it was amazing to do it, and everyone that participated in it seemed to love it. So, it was great to perform again together after so long.

On the state of metalcore music today and whether it’s in a good place

I do think it’s in a good place. You’ve got bands like Architects, and they’re doing new, cool, creative stuff with their sound. I think it’s exciting. You got Bring Me the Horizon; you’ve got us. We’re not as metal as either of those bands, but we dip our toe in every now and again. I feel like it’s just a cool time when people are experimenting. You’ve got bands like Code Orange doing super cool creative stuff with their productions that feels modern and feels more pop-influenced, but it’s still very much not pop. So, I just feel like it’s a cool time and that people are doing things that are outside of the box. I genuinely think that’s how something happens that’s unique to our time period.

On the idea that young people don’t want to hear heavy guitars anymore

I think metalcore and heavy music, in general, goes under the radar, especially in America. In the UK and Europe, there’s still an outpouring of love for heavy music, especially in Germany. Germany has metal festivals that rival the biggest festivals in America. But, even in America, we have huge rock festivals, like the Danny Wimmer festivals that are happening. Those are massive events. So, people still love it. I just feel like you don’t hear about it as much.

On the trend of hip-hop artists starting to make rock and metal music

I actually think it’s cool that some hip-hop artists are starting to make these pop-punk influenced records. I’ve seen some people say negative things about it, and I’ve seen some people praising it. I think it’s all good, man. Anything that makes people more used to hearing a pop-punk song or a metal song or guitars, in general, is great. It’s all positive. I think all of us getting together and helping each other grow and continuing to innovate is all positive. I think it’s an exciting time, honestly.

On his work as a producer, both with A Day to Remember and other bands

I’ve done two out of the three Wage War records and the last three Ghost Inside records. I worked on a Devil Wears Prada record. It’s something I’m slowly working on when I have the time and when I find the right project. That’s been the blessing of what I do for a living. Since going out and touring is my main income, that gives me the freedom in my production job to pick and choose who I work with. If it’s someone I’m inspired by, it’s someone that I know I can help, and then those creative gears start going off the rails for me.

On whether live music will be forever changed because of COVID-19

I don’t know. I mean, when it first comes back, it’s going to have to be at least a little different. Who knows what that’s going to look like? I’m super excited that we’re on track for herd immunity because of the vaccine, so that’s super hopeful. We keep hearing rumblings that maybe soon, something can happen. That’s great for us, because the rug really did get pulled out from underneath musicians and especially people in our world. We pay our bills playing shows. So, to have that completely switched off, out of the blue, was scary. But, could it be different forever? It could, but I’m very much of the mindset that it’s eventually going to go back to mostly normal unless there are things that people genuinely want changed.

On what’s next for A Day to Remember

I don’t know! I think we’re going to try to do some big livestreaming event where we play the new material and do some cool production and stuff like that. We want to try to put something special together for people. Other than that, I guess it’ll depend on what’s going on with the state of the world. I’m ready to get back to work. So, if it’s playing shows or something else, like writing more music, I’m ready to get back to work.

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