Interview – The Academy Is…

Before playing their set in Toronto last week, we had the opportunity to talk to singer William Beckett and bassist Adam Siska about how they’ve grown as individuals over the years and what they have planned for the future.

© Jeff Parsons

It’s ‘To Write Love On Her Arms Day’ today. Are you guys doing anything special for it?

William Beckett: Yeah, it’s actually Friday the 13th as well. But we’ve done a lot of work with the organization and helping spread awareness about teen suicides. We just did a huge acoustic show at our old high school that actually had four suicides in the past year. It’s tragic, you know? We definitely want to help show kids that doesn’t have to be an option.
I think everyone’s noticed you guys have been extremely busy the past two years. How has playing shows, recording and life in general been for you guys the last while?

Will: It’s been really good. Like everyone’s going to have their own opinion. But I think we’ve gotten to a point where we’ve toured pretty much everywhere there is to tour and that’s pretty life changing in itself.

Adam Siska: Yeah, we’re pressing on and playing shows and we’re really grateful for the people that have been supporting us from the start. It’s just been really great.

Do you think you’ve grown as individuals and as a band since releasing your debut in 2005?

Will: Yeah, we definitely have.

Adam: It happens to everyone you know. I think it’s a natural theme for bands. Sometimes you don’t even realize it. Like someone in the U.S. Asked us where do you see yourself in five years and I’m like “Well I have an idea of where I’m going to be in five years but anything could happen”. Who knows, I could end up being a monk living in the middle of nowhere or in the mountains. Times change and people change.

Will: It’s funny because like right around the bend we have a world-ending prophecy.

Adam: It’s all in the new John Cusack movie!

Will: It’s just like our generation is the one that’s suppose to live past whatever is supposed to happen or not happen, but we get to experience that. Five years from now, who knows.
It’s great to see a band like The Academy Is evolve as their career goes on. What persuaded you to release an EP instead of full record?

Will: Well we had just released our third album and we wanted to put out some new music. We had some songs still left over from the Fast Times At Barrington High sessions that didn’t make the cut but we were still very passionate about them.

Adam: Yeah we didn’t release another album because there’s so much hype around a new album. But with an EP it’s more relaxed. Like “By the way fans, Tuesday we’re going to release an EP and here’s another song on MySpace, check it out when you can”. It was a lot easier because it wasn’t a big marketing campaign. Instead it was a gift to our fans for supporting us all these years.

How was it working with Andrew McMahon on the track “Sputter”?

Will: He is a great guy, a great friend and we’ve all been really close since one of our first tours with Something Corporate.

Adam: Yeah we learned a lot from him back then because he’s just a great performer.

Will: So we came up with the idea to do a song together. As a lyricist its great to work with someone else whose music I respect. There aren’t that many great lyricists around anymore. Being able to talk to him about a song and write a song with him was like finding someone who speaks my language.

Adam: Good thing about Andrew is he always has an idea. He’s just that passionate about music.
Earlier this month, it’s been said you guys hope to release a new EP next year. Is this true?

Will: I don’t know where that information came from. You’ve been doing interviews lately Adam, so you must have screwed up.

Adam: I think it came from a recent issue of Alternative Press where they have a list of the most anticipated albums or something.

Will: We’re not making an EP though, we’re going to make a full-length. It’s not going to be just anything, it’s going to be a big, big effort. There’s no timetable for it because we’re not going to make one.
What kind of sound are you guys aiming for this time around?

Will: Well look at our three albums, what do you think? They’re all pretty different so it’s bound to be different. But now, we’ve grown as a band to understand our weaknesses. What we’re going to try and do is capture the live energy we have on stage and the attitude and our desire. It could take a long while to bring everything together. It could take a long while to make the album or it could take a month. It all depends.
Have you guys ever considered releasing an acoustic record?

Adam: Yeah we did. We actually released one before.

Will: But that one doesn’t really count. It is what it was and it just didn’t seem like we put a lot of effort into it. But I don’t know. I just did a mini-tour in the U.S. where we played a bunch of acoustic shows and I was able to be really passionate while playing some songs. But as far as where we’re headed next, I don’t think it fits into our plans.

When it comes to songwriting, you guys have penned a handful of great tracks. How difficult is it for you to write a song?

Will: It all depends on the environment as a writer and if you’re in a positive environment. That’s what produces inspiration. When inspiration comes, it comes from a different place. For me as a writer, I take things very seriously. Sometimes I can write a song like that but sometimes it will take me a week to play around with it and finish it. It’s all about just writing something you can relate to.


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