Alter The Press!


Interview: A Day To Remember

Whilst over in the UK for a nationwide sold-out tour, Neil Westfall and Kevin Skaff of A Day To Remember sat down with Alter The Press! before their show at the HMV Forum in London.

The guys spoke to ATP! about their recent trip to Australia, plans for another music video, starting work on the follow-up to 'Homesick', Mexican food and more.

Alter The Press: How was your recent trip to Australia?
Neil Westfall (guitar/vocals): Amazing, straight up. Since we went over there, with Parkway Drive in the beginning, I don't think you could have asked for a better trip to Australia. The shows were amazing, we got taken care by the Soundwave Festival (Australian music festival) crew and it was really weird touring on a plane instead of a bus.

Kevin Skaff (guitar/vocals): There are no buses allowed there, you're not allowed to sleep in a moving vehicle. It's crazy, but awesome though.

ATP: Obviously, you couldn't charter a plane, unless you're Metallica, so what did you do?
Kevin: Soundwave staff would book your equipment on a truck, and just drive it to the next place. That way, all the band members could put their baggage on the plane and head to the next show.

ATP: How was this year's Soundwave Festival?
Neil: The first couple of days, we had some technical difficulties, like Australian rental gear, but when we got that stuff ironed out, it was the most fun I've had.

Kevin: It blew my mind. We were playing to 15,000 people a day. It was insane.

Neil: It's what you dream of when you start a band, literally. Like, I would say that's how the Soundwave Festival came together, as: great weather, summer time, when we are used to winter this time of the year, we went to the beach, I went parasailing, I went to the zoo, we got play with snakes. It was crazy.

ATP: Did you get to watch a lot of the bands playing? Kevin obviously watched Glassjaw.
Kevin: For sure I did, first day. They played three songs back-to-back from 'Worship and Tribute' (Glassjaw's second album.)

Neil: I never got into them when I was younger, but watching them live, and appreciating them as musicians is like, ‘Fuck! This band is so good!'

Kevin: Anyone who doesn't like them, it's like, 'Do you have ears?!'. Another crazy thing is that, we were hanging out in Perth, for Soundwave, and the backstage was actually in a jail, so we all got our own cells for our dressing rooms. I was chilling out, then Durijah, (Lang) the drummer of Glassjaw, came and spoke to me. I was like, 'Dude, you're totally in Glassjaw and was in Saves The Day!' They are all the nicest dudes, it's crazy.

ATP: Did you watch any other bands?
Neil: I watched Sunny Day Real Estate at a Sidewave show with Jimmy Eat World. I don't remember, but they are awesome. I watched Whitechapel because they played right before us.

Kevin: I watched The Get Up Kids. It was sick.

ATP: What was the best show out there?
Neil: Mike Patton, from Faith No More, showing his dick on the camera.

Kevin: The camera was about six inches from his dick so he just whipped it out.

Neil: He grabs the camera, and pulls his dick out in front of it, on the big screen.

ATP: The demand for you out there at the moment is insane.
Kevin: I was not expecting it to be that serious.

Neil: The magazine cover (Blunt, Australia's top selling rock magazine) we did out there definitely helped.

ATP: Your video for 'I'm Made Of Wax Larry...' is finally getting its premiere on MTV2/MTVU. It's crazy because we spoke about it in November, and it's taken this long to get out.
Neil: We shot it the beginning of December and we've been sitting on it since. It took forever to get MTV on board for it. I think it's more important to have them on board, instead of just putting it on, like, YouTube.

ATP: Any plans for another video?
Kevin: We are filming the video for 'Have Faith In Me,' in a week.

Neil: We are shooting it on March 21st. It's going be more serious than the others. I'm going to be naked in it. It's going be a scene with just me and the camera, like when it gets close, you can just see into my eyes. Have you ever seen the picture of Burt Reynolds on a bear skin rug? We are going to reenact that shot.

Kevin: A bear laying on top of another hairy bear.

ATP: You recently announced a huge US tour with August Burns Red, Enter Shikari, Silverstein, Veara and Go Radio. Did you hand pick the support yourselves?
Neil: Yeah. We wanted to make sure that this is the best tour we could put together for our fans. We went back and forth with bands we wanted, bands we couldn't get due to recording etc. This is the best package we could put together. I'm really stoked because it's giving the kids exactly what they are looking for when coming to an A Day To Remember show.

Kevin: Variety.

Neil: If you had never heard of any of the bands, and if you heard them now, any of them could be your new favorite band. It's a whole bill of that.

ATP: Jeremy (McKinnon - vocals) and Josh (Woodard - bass) just started their own record label, Running Man. Are any of you working on anything at the moment?
Neil: I have a clothing company which I've just started, Elevated Engineering, which should be coming out March 26th. It's more like street wear, Florida skateboarding culture, graffiti culture, stuff like that. This is something I've always been into and now, finally, able to do it.

ATP: Have you started work on a follow-up to 'Homesick'?
Neil: We've written a few jams, we're always constantly writing, like I think we wrote some parts the other day. When we get home from the tour in the US, that's when we are going to drop everything and start writing and doing pre-production full time.

Kevin: We then come back here for festival season, and we are actually bringing Andrew Wade (tracked every ADTR CD in the past) with us to do all the demos and stuff.

ATP: Will you have a studio on the bus while you're touring?
Kevin: It won't be like a studio on the bus but like a make-shift studio.

Neil: We'll bring like a speaker, a guitar amp simulator, microphones, he'll just write the drums on the computer, and we'll just demo the songs out like that. When we get back, we'll track everything fully, and Alex (Shelnutt - drummer) will use his magic and do whatever he does behind the drums. I think, instead of Adam D (guitarist of Killswitch Engage) just mixing this CD, we are actually going to try and track it with him.

ATP: Is Adam D going to be producing the new album as well?
Neil: I think Chad (Gilbert, guitarist of New Found Glory) and Adam D will work together.

ATP: Are any songs completely written already?
Neil: Maybe, just one is completely finished. We have parts, and then actual songs that are written, but not worked out as a band.

ATP: Is there a name for the new album as of yet?
Neil: Not yet.

Kevin: Jeremy used to have a name for an album that he really wanted, but found it was actually the name of a Terror (hardcore band) album.

ATP: After the US run, you're going to work on the new record, and then you are coming over for festivals, with dates in Germany already been announced. Are you planning any dates in the UK?
Neil: I know we are going to do it; it's just all being worked out still. We definitely will be doing festivals. I think Reading and Leeds maybe, I don't know.

ATP: After the festival circuit, is that the end of the 'Homesick' album cycle?
Kevin: For the most part, yes.

ATP: Thank you. Lastly, is there anything you would like to add?

Neil: I actually enjoyed the food since I've been over here, and I don't mind the cold this time. Also, for the first four days here, it was sunny! I couldn't ask for anything else. I have a message for the whole UK though: If anyone wants to open a restaurant, your dad wants to do something with his life because he's in a mid-life crisis, open a restaurant, Mexican food. It's the new thing, all of Europe, all the UK. I know it's been around a long time, but you are just getting on this shit. Mexican food, do that. Thank you.

'Homesick' is out now on Victory Records.

- Jon Ableson

Alter The Press!