A Day To Remember Talks ‘Self Help’

A Day To Remember singer Jeremy McKinnon chats with Pollstar about the band’s happening later this month in Southern California.  Along with ADTR, the lineup includes Underoath, The Wonder Years, The Story So Far, August Burns Red and many others.

The event takes place March 19 in San Bernardino at the National Orange Show Events Center.

(click on image for complete poster)

Self Help is produced by A Day To Remember, the band’s Fly South Music Group management company (managers Mark Mercado & John Youngman), ADTR booker United Talent Agency (agent Dave Shapiro) and Anaheim venue Chain Reaction (promoter Andy Serrao). 

The festival gives fans and bands the chance to commune with each other while immersed in a day-long celebration of hard rock.  Other acts making the trek to the Inland Empire include Yelawolf, Issues, Crown The Empire, Further Seems Forever, Letlive, Tonight Alive and Cruel Hand.

We could tell you that Self Help is great way to spend a Saturday in March, but the ADTR frontman is way more persuasive.

Photo: Adam Elmakias

A Day To Remember curated last year’s Self Help Festival but did not play the event.  This year the band is headlining. Why the change?

The first year we headlined it as well.  It’s going to be something where it’s like every now and then when it makes senses, or whatever, we’ll play it.  But we’re trying to set it up to where it will be something that anyone can headline.  It’s not going to be solely us in the future.

A reformed Underoath is also on the lineup. Did Underoath want to play the festival or did you have to talk them into it?

We kind of heard rumblings that they were going to do a reunion with the lineup from They’re Only Chasing Safety. That was such a big record for us growing up.  Just being in a band in general it was such a big influence on us.  We immediately approached them.  It was like, “Hey!  If you could play a lot of this and Define The Great Line, we would love to have you guys come, be a part of this festival and have you be one of the biggest bands on the bill.”  We toured with them in the past, we’re friends with them, and they were down.

Are you and your bandmates going to be Underoath’s No. 1 fans when that band’s on stage?

Oh, my God, of course.  That’s the best part of being a part of this festival – being a music fan and being able to give bands and records [a place to be] played that you want to see.

When creating a lineup like this, do you have a wish list and go from there or do you have bands asking to be on the bill?

Some people ask but most of it is … doing a wish list.  We do who we want to see then as it comes closer and closer, we’re looking at bands who are doing something special in the moment, like those new bands that might pop-off, if people are talking about their current record.  It’s really anything in our world that’s doing well or that we want to see … and we try to get who we can for that time period.

By giving the new bands shots on the lineup, is this a chance for A Day To Remember to give back?

We had something like Bamboozle, which was massive for us when we were coming up.  That’s how we look at [Self Help], that kind of festival based around our genre of music.  We’re putting a lot of time and effort into making sure the artists are comfortable.  Other festivals, in our world at least, haven’t really done that over the years. We’ve done a lot of festival touring overseas and they really, really take care of you like you’re special. We’re trying to do that on the back end and put together a festival lineup that people are stoked about.

What else can fans look forward to?

It’s a big thing for us. We’ve always been a production band, or a band that wants to put on more of a show than just getting up there with a backdrop and collecting a check.  We’re going to try to convince bands, as this continues to go, that the headliner needs to put on a show. Since we’re the headliners this year, we will be doing that.

Will there be additional entertainment, perhaps carnival attractions between sets?

Not particularly.  We just try to keep it about the music. We don’t have many bands, if any, overlapping, so it’s been a pretty cool vibe, so far.  People just go back and forth from stage to stage and every band gets to play to that massive crowd the headliner gets to play to. Because of that I’ve seen some spectacular performances from bands.  It’s been pretty cool, so far.

Courtesy of Facebook.com/
SelfHelpFestival/Adam Elmakias.

Is there a charity involved with the event?

I don’t think so. … I understand the confusion because of the name.  [Self Help] is based around … what fans of this type of music always come to us with.  You hear people say to you a lot, “This kind of music helps me get through my day.”  That’s really where the name came from.  I don’t think there’s a [charity] connection right now but it’s definitely something we’re considering for the future.

Metal fans talk about the extended family vibe at concerts by A Day To Remember and other bands of the genre. Is Self Help like a big family reunion for bands as well as fans?

For sure.  Especially on the band side.  I guess I couldn’t speak for people going to the festival because I’ve never been in that role.  As a band it’s all the people we’re either excited to see or that we want to meet. … It’s like that family reunion vibe but everybody goes out to play to a massive crowd. And the crowd in San Bernardino has been really awesome to everybody.  The vibe is really cool each year. … I’ve seen some pretty special performances because the band is so into every band that plays.  It’s pushed people to do that much more on stage.

Will fans get a headlining set from A Day To Remember that’s unique to the festival?

We’re working on that now, actually.  I’m outside the practice space right now. It will definitely be unique to this festival.  There’s going to be stuff that we haven’t played before.

As a member of A Day To Remember and having your own festival – is this the best job anyone could ever have?

The answer is “Yes” but I can’t put into words how awesome it is.  Especially being a part of the festival.  As a big music fan, what is cooler than to be able to reach out to your favorite bands and have them be like, “Yeah. We’ll come play?”  It’s the best thing ever.  We put together the festival we want to see.  Especially with this year having some of the bands we’ve been influenced by and asking them to play stuff from the albums that influenced us. And they said, “Yes.” So we’re going to try to continue that.  It just doesn’t get better than that.

Is there anything you’ve been wanting to tell the world about Self Help but haven’t had the opportunity?

I would just say that it’s a really good vibe.  If you like rock music I think you’re going to be pretty impressed with what happens there.  This genre of music isn’t mainstream by any means.  It’s definitely a big underground scene.  If you’ve ever wanted to see this genre displayed in a great way, this is your festival. Just come out and check it out. You’re going to have a great time.

National Orange Show Events Center in San Bernardino, Calif.

Please visit SelfHelpFest.com for more information.  And be sure to revisit Pollstar’s 2015 coverage of Self Help via this link.