Originally published in Guitar World, February 2011
The metalcore pop-punkers get their sound together on What Separates Me from You.
A Day to Remember's Kevin Skaff has a theory about why his Florida-based band is finally reaping some mainstream success after years in the DIY trenches. The lead guitarist puts it down to the sound and attitude of the group’s new studio disc, What Separates Me from You, and its modern-rock radio hit, “All I Want.”
“It’s just a really honest record,” the lead guitarist says while en route with his bandmates to Los Angeles, where ADTR are playing KROQ’s high-profile Almost Acoustic Christmas alongside Smashing Pumpkins, Bad Religion and My Chemical Romance. “With all the fake ‘happy’ Disney crap going on in music right now, kids need real bands they can relate to. I don’t think people are trying to party in the U.S.A. anymore.”
Skaff may have a point, but there’s also no denying that ADTR’s new songs show an impressive degree of refinement over their past efforts. Previously, the band’s fusion of chunky metalcore riffs and soaring pop-punk choruses didn’t always cohere, but on What Separates Me from You, it’s seamless. Rhythm guitarist Neil Westfall credits Skaff’s blues-influenced chops for providing the glue that holds the disparate styles together. He also acknowledges the production know-how of New Found Glory’s Chad Gilbert, who oversaw the recording of Me from You. “Chad understands the fact that we have a background in different kinds of music,” Westfall says. “And he pushes each of us as individual players.”
Now that “All I Want” is propelling the band into new realms, Skaff admits that the fresh scenery has taken some getting used to. “Flying to a show and renting gear, as opposed to just jumping in the van with our own stuff—that’s definitely been weird,” he says. “But once we get out there and start playing, the crowd’s energy makes it feel like business as usual.”