It feels almost hard to believe, but it’s currently been three years since we received new music from A Day To Remember, and just as long since they’ve played Australia.
Having taken a bit of time off since 2016’s Bad Vibrations, the band have been hard at work once again, touring the world, and gearing up to release their next album, You’re Welcome.
Despite the record – which they described as being the “happiest” they’ve ever written – being delayed from its November release date, the group have doing their best to bring their breathtaking live shows to audiences all over.
With the new album now set to be released in early 2020, Australian fans were undoubtedly overjoyed to learn earlier this year that A Day To Remember would be making their long-awaited return for a run of shows as part of the Good Things festival.
To celebrate their latest Aussie tour, we caught up with guitarist Neil Westfall to learn more about their music, the band’s upcoming plans, and his desire to move to Australia.
Check out ‘Degenerates’ by A Day To Remember:
Tone Deaf: It’s been almost three years since you guys were last in Australia, how does it feel to be back?
Neil Westfall: I fucking love it here, I think I say it like every time we do interviews, but I would live here if you guys would let me. I mean, I know it’s not up to you, but if they would let me, I would live here.
TD: Are there any places in Australia you like the most?
NW: Melbourne. Like, I’m not even just saying that because we’re here, but I just think this place is incredible; the food, the art scene, all of it.
TD: Any fond memories of playing here in the past?
NW: When I go back to the states, I try and explain it, I’m like, “it’s just better”. You can do the same things that you do in America, but for some reason here, people… Like, I just went and saw Bad Religion. I’ve seen them about 20 times. I’ve never seen them here, but for some reason watching them here was just better.
The way the people reacted with them, the way they reacted with the crowd, it’s just… better. I don’t know how to explain it. I feel like fans take the time to learn the things that other people just take for granted, and I guess that goes along with them feeling more grateful, but it’s just better, I don’t know.
TD: You guys have been pretty busy over the last few years with touring obviously, but you’ve also found time to record some new music. How were the recording sessions for the new album?
NW: It was pretty rad. This process, it’s still going on now, honestly. We’re at the very end, I would say we’re about 98% done. It’s been cool, it’s been over a year long, and we did a lot of it at home. We just flew our producer out on our last tour of the states, and he just came out for like two weeks, just to kind of finish up… It wouldn’t be an A Day To Remember album if we didn’t do some of it on the road.
It’s been cool, because it’s been a learning process. We went from having a year off, to doing a tour, to straight into having a year of recording. It’s been a lot of time to lear about ourselves, practice our craft, and sort of hone in on the kind of things that we want to be good at and the kind of things we probably weren’t so good at before.
And on this record especially, we’ve gotten better at all of the aspects we’ve kind of tried to push out on the previous records, and so this we just went further and got better… I don’t quite know how to explain it.
Check out A Day To Remember’s ‘Resentment’:
TD: Going back to the new album, it was supposed to be released last month, but it was pushed back a bit. We heard reports of artwork holding it up, but what’s the cause of the delay?
NW: Artwork, yeah, we still don’t have artwork. I think we’re just waiting on that thing that inspires us where we see something or… Because we’ve worked with a couple of design firms and they showed us stuff, and none of it really felt right, none of it kind of clicked with everybody. And we’re just waiting on that moment where we’re like “yes, that is it, we can’t live without that.”
That’s kind of where were at with artwork, but then the music just wasn’t done yet. It’s kind of weird because in the beginning you do all these things and make strides; like one day you can get so far on a song and then towards the end it feels like you’re working three, four, five days on one part.
And you’re just so close but you’re just not there yet, and that’s where we’re kind of at now, just finishing mixes, final production, making parts just feel like they flow better.
As you know, with our band we try to fit all of our influences and things will happen and we’ll write parts that make us say, “wow, this sounds like four different songs, why did we do this?” And we’re like, ‘It’s just supposed to be this way.”
And we just have to figure out those little pieces that fit together so that we can be like, “oh yes, this is all one song, this is great.” It’s those little parts that take the longest?
TD: When are you guys looking at releasing it now?
NW: Early next year, so it won’t be too long. I mean, we have a deadline, but that hasn’t really mattered yet [laughs]. But yeah, early next year, and it will be worth it. Like, these small changes that we’ve done, even in the amount of time since we were supposed to release it until now, the songs have gotten infinitely better.
I couldn’t imagine if we’d been like “fuck it, we’re going to just put it out on November 15th.” It wouldn’t have been right. The deadline we have now will be upheld unless we don’t find artwork, but we’re going to figure that out.
Check out A Day To Remember’s ‘Right Back At It Again’:
TD: The artwork on A Day To Remember’s releases are so striking and powerful and such an integral part of the package, but have you ever considered just going to the opposite end and going really minimal instead?
NW: That was one of the ideas that one of the people we worked with had. They were like, y’know “every album you’ve done has been very intense on the artwork side”. Albums like Homesick, or What Separates Me From You, or whatever.
Whereas For Those Who Have Heart, it’s very minimal, it’s like, a sheet of paper, guy with his back turned, whatever. But I don’t think that we had found ourselves yet at that point.
The artwork is, like you said, such an integral part of what the album is, and you can look at it and be like “oh, okay” and it’ll sort of tell the story, but we haven’t found something that tells this story yet. And it’s such a broad spectrum on this release because the music is such a vast… It’s hard, I don’t know.
TD: So once you guys wrap up these shows, what have you got coming up next?
NW: We’re just going to keep touring. I mean, we had that year off and I felt like I was losing my mind. I was like, “what do I do?” I took up all these weird hobbies, I learned how to record music…
I think that now that we’ve kicked it off and are back into it… We did the ‘Degenerates’ tour and then this tour, and we have some plans for next year, but it’s all kind of open-ended because we don’t know what’s going to happen.
We don’t know how people are going to take the release, where we’re going to go. It’s kind of all dependent on getting the album out.
TD: Are there any specific bands you’ve seen at the festival so far or hope to see?
NW: We just got to watch Trivium, and we got to watch Bad Religion, and then Jeremy and Kevin just got to go and watch Thy Art Is Murder. Simple Creatures, I’m pretty excited to see them. I don’t even know what it’s about, I just love Mark [Hoppus], I love Alex [Gaskarth], so it’s going to be pretty cool.
Oh, and Violent Soho. They’re like one of my favourite bands and we’ve never gotten to see them before. And of course Parkway Drive, because they’re just fucking legends.