When A Day To Remember started working on their latest record, 'Common Courtesy', they never imagined releasing it had the potential to ruin their careers.
Why would they? When you're a band like ADTR and you've sold in excess of one million albums, played to packed houses of 30,000 fans and been on the front page of next to every alternative publication on the planet, you'd think putting out a new LP would be easy.
Obviously that wasn't the case. ADTR firstly had to engage in a lawsuit with their record label, Victory Records, over unpaid royalties. The civil action case — which is still pending — only got worse because Victory Records refused to allow the band to release 'Common Courtesy'. “We were pretty worried ourselves,” vocalist Jeremy McKinnon says. “We finally finished this album and it took us almost a year to do, and when we finished, we couldn't come to an agreement to put the album out.
“[Victory Records] said to us, 'Good luck releasing this album in 2015'. Obviously if 'Common Courtesy' didn't come out until 2015, we wouldn't have been able to afford to be in a band anymore. It was a pretty scary time for us.”
It was a grim time for the group, but it sounds like they've been on top of the world since they independently issued the record digitally in October. “We've put out the album and it's smooth sailing from here, regardless of what happens in the lawsuit — that can happen in the background. Whatever happens, we can now continue our career and not be affected by it, and that's all we care about.”
Physical copies of ADTR's latest concoction of bruising guitars, venom-tipped screams and majestic melodies will also be self-released later this month. “We're working with people in different territories to spread the album as much as humanly possible. We're working with different teams in different countries, so we're really excited about it. It's going to be the first record [of ours] that gets pushed properly around the entire planet. The sky's the limit and we're all pumped about it.”
'Common Courtesy' is also the third album ADTR has co-produced with New Found Glory guitarist Chad Gilbert. It might just be worth putting money down that the artists will share plenty more nights together in the studio. “Chad's a part of our team,” Jeremy explains. “It's not so much that he's our sole producer because we all sort of do it together and oversee the whole thing. We've done some amazing things together and if we changed it, it would be like getting the combination for Coke and then deciding, 'No, I don't wanna make a crazy-ass soda; I'm just going to make something completely different now'.”
ADTR and Chad are perhaps the perfect combination because musically, they both exude a diverse yet similar cast of influences. On one hand, ADTR crafted some of their latest tracks while on tour with metalcore titans Bring Me The Horizon. On the other, Jeremy says he's just as fond of groups like Coldplay.
Then, when considering Chad's discography, which stretches from hook-laden punk to old school hardcore, it's easy to see why they're so dynamic together in the studio. “Being as versatile as we are I think is one of the main reasons we've grown so much … Like, if we were just a metal band, we couldn't branch out like we do because our whole fanbase would only love us as a metal band."
According to Jeremy, Australia forms a hefty chunk of that fanbase — enough that since they first played here with Parkway Drive in 2008, ADTR has headlined three national tours and been on two Soundwave bills, and they’ll be here again for next year's Soundwave Festival. “I'll never forget our first Soundwave. They put us on the metal stage — I think we headlined the metal stage — and we played after Anthrax and Meshuggah. We expected to be bottled and have crap thrown at us because why the hell is A Day To Remember playing after Anthrax and Meshuggah?
“I broke a broom and we duct-taped the Australian flag to the broom, the lights went out and we all started to walk out with the spotlight on me holding the Australian flag. Then, we went right into 'The Downfall Of Us All', and the lights in the whole tent lit up and there were 30,000 people who knew every single word of every single song.”
A Day To Remember play Soundwave 2014 at the RNA Showgrounds Sunday February 22. 'Common Courtesy' is released November 29.