Having recently wrapped up Memphis May Fire’s Unconditional Tour, veterans A Skylit Drive are back and better than ever. Their newest record Rise is the most successful release in both the band’s and label Tragic Hero Records’ history. Vocalist Michael Jagmin sat down with idobi writer Alex Rudisill as the tour came to a close to discuss the band’s latest endeavors.
How has the Unconditional Tour been treating you?
Things are definitely moving along and I feel like it’s definitely getting a good reaction, especially on this tour. It’s nice because we can tell the certain percentage of the crowd who actually know the songs and even the ones who don’t know them seem to be enjoying them.
How does this record compare to the rest of your discography?
I feel like every band is gonna say their new album is better than everything else they’ve done – I’m sure we’ve even said that about our past albums. This is the only one that once I was finally finished with it, I wouldn’t wanna go back and change anything. Even now, I listen back and still think that there’s nothing I would change. Of course, you always can always go back and change things, but I know that the songs are the best that we could have possibly made them.
Where did you draw inspiration, lyrically and musically, for this album?
I honestly try to listen to as little of other artists while writing albums because I don’t want to pull inspiration from another artist. I just do the best I can to write honestly, and I don’t write about any cool topics. I just write about what the song makes me think about.
Has this current tour met or exceeded your expectations?
It’s definitely met every expectation, and then some cities have completely exceeded them. For a band like us that’s been in this niche for so long, I guess you never know where you stand. It’s nice to see that our fan base is still going strong. We really appreciate all the fans that have stuck through with us and have been so open to the new music.
The video for “Crazy” actually is pretty crazy – lots of paint, colors, and fan participation. Did you enjoy being able involve and interact with your fans like that?
Definitely. We did that in an older video too, where we had fans come out. The setup process for that one was a little more strict, so sadly not as many kids could come out. This one was a little more open so it was rad to see a much larger group come out and get to hang out and talk with them. It’s not like we had a hidden dressing room or anything. We hung out and ate amongst them all day and it was very cool.
Stoked to go back on Warped Tour this year?
Yes, we’re very excited. Warped Tour is the most fun tour you can be on. I’m definitely excited to watch Saves the Day and Anberlin.
What’s the hardest part of touring for you guys?
I couldn’t say one thing. First off, being away from your loved ones is the hardest thing. No matter how many times you tour, you’re not entirely used to it. Of course, you get used to the feeling of coming and going and adapt to it a little faster, but at some point while you’re away, it hits you just as hard. Lack of privacy is a really hard one to cope with. Some days you just really want that space but it’s just not gonna happen. The best part is getting up on stage; that’s what the whole day is about, the thirty minutes to an hour you get on stage every day. No matter how much waiting or cool places you eat that day, all of it’s about that performance you put on.
What are the band’s goals for the near future?
Pushing Rise as hard as we can. I’m not trying to look too far ahead. Today comes first. How can I make today the best show that I possibly can? And tomorrow I’ll think about that show. When this tour is over, I’ll think about the next one. I just wanna put everything I have into each and every show.
What new music are you looking forward to this year?
I’m so bad about new music. When I was younger, like all kids, I was constantly like, “This is my new favorite band,” “I love all these guys,” and “I checked out these ten bands this week.” The more I’ve done it, the more it’s harshened my view to the point where I’m a super critic of everything. Any bands that are in this niche at all are harder for me to get into because I’m around it so much. I tend to listen to rock bands like Jimmy Eat World and Copeland.