A Day To Remember

A Day To Remember

When Jeremy McKinnon was getting in trouble at school and working at a local supermarket in his hometown of Ocala, Florida, only in his wildest dreams did he imagine that a decade later he would be the head of an independent record label and the founder of one of the fastest-growing alternative music festivals in the US – all while holding down his day job as the leader of a band with loyal fans on every continent.
“It’s surreal!” says McKinnon, the vocalist in A Day To Remember. “It was a slow burn in the beginning, but now life feels like we’re on a rollercoaster ride that never stops. We’re so fortunate – we’re just a bunch of friends having a good time, travelling the world and growing together.”
However, like many success stories, A Day To Remember haven’t gone without scandal. In 2011, they filed a civil suit against their label Victory Records, claiming they were owed more than US$75,000 in royalties. A lengthy legal battle ensued with Victory countersuing them for breach of contract, but in 2013 the court handed down permission for the band to release its fifth studio album, Common Courtesy, on its own label ADTR Records.
As to whether A Day To Remember will share anything else on their label remains to be seen, but McKinnon is optimistic. “We’re always working on new material and I’m writing all the time, but there’s no final plan as yet,” he says. “We’ll see when the time comes, but we’re not opposed to the idea.”
McKinnon might be elusive about future recording plans, but a trip to Australia is days away. He says A Day To Remember’s return to Australia as part of the Big Ass Tour (which will see them co-headline with their buddies The Amity Affliction) could be looked upon as a trial run. Rounding out the bill are LA’s The Ghost Inside and Pennsylvania’s Motionless In White, making the Big Ass Tour a big fat must-see. “Australians are always super welcoming and we’re excited to be coming back so soon,” he says.
A Day To Remember are no strangers to our shores, with this tour marking the sixth time they’ll play for Australian audiences. While they’ve been known for their energetic and unpredictable live shows since the beginning, this year the good folks at Alternative Press finally caught on and named them Best Live Band Of 2015.
“It was so unexpected! We’d been nominated for a bunch of stuff in different publications around the world but we’d never won anything, so when we did it felt awesome,” he says. “We put a lot of time and effort into doing something special every time we do a big tour, so it was cool to see that people appreciate it.”
In testament to the power of self-belief and perseverance, a decade on from their inception, A Day To Remember are selling out arenas around the world. Common Courtesy debuted at number one on the Billboard Hard Rock charts and has been streamed over 50 million times. Now, having come out the other side of a legal nightmare that could have spelled the end for any band, A Day To Remember are one of the most respected and popular bands in hardcore today. Their secret to riding out the tough times is simple.
“It might sound lame to some people, but talking is the key. We air our dirty laundry to each other,” McKinnon laughs. “Sure, it made for a few awkward days here and there, but if you speak your mind to the people you care about, it really does help in the long run. You’ve gotta look at being in a band like a marriage, and we’ve been married for ten long years. If you don’t talk about how you feel and about the problems that arise in all of the craziness, things are going to bubble to the surface in a negative and destructive way. Imagine what’s going to happen if you add success to that?
“We’re never been a band that’s had a problem with confronting how we felt in the moment. That’s why we’re still friends and that’s why we’ve been able to travel the world and live out our dreams.”
Written by Natalie Rogers
 
When & Where: Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne – December 17