Interview with The Academy Is… vocalist William Beckett and bassist Adam Siska
November, 15, 2008
S&S: What are your plans after the Bill & Trav’s Bogus Journey Tour ends?
William: It’s top secret. We’re doing some shows with Fall Out Boy actually and some shows with radio sponsors. That will be really fun.
Adam: The Jingle Ball Bash. We’re doing Christmas shows and stuff like that. It will be a lot of fun.
William: Holiday shows.
Adam: I’m going to be performing in a Santa Claus costume. It’s going to be a good time.
William: Then, after that, I’m not really sure. There are a couple things that we’re talking about doing. We’re definitely looking forward to spending some time at home.
S&S: Describe each band member in three words.
Adam: Mike Carden.
Adam: Maniac and Mr. Know It All. Michael Guy Chislett – Australian.
William: Kind and shredder. He shreds at life.
Adam: The Butcher – Woah, ninja, and Picasso.
S&S: Now, the moment of truth – each other.
William: Choose wisely. Do you want me to leave the room?
Adam: No. Friendly, tea, and sleeps above me. But in a separate bed, of course. Not as a team.
William: Thanks for getting deep with it. I wish I would have gotten something like Picasso or maniac.
Adam: Doesn’t sleep above me. I take that one back. Genius!
William: That’s what I was looking for.
William: Adam – On thin ice. I’m just kidding. Loyal, funny. I’m sorry, let’s take the funny back and say hilarious. Sometimes too smart for his own good. Too-smart-for-own-good, hyphenated.
S&S: What is your favorite song lyric, be it from one of your own songs or another band’s music?
William: I can’t pick a lyric. You can’t ask a painter what his favorite color is. I don’t really get overly inspired by other lyricists. There are maybe two lyricists that I like a lot, but listening to them isn’t as much inspiring as it is frustrating, because it’s like, “Oh, I wish I had written that.” That’s why I watch a lot of movies. I like imagery.
S&S: Visual inspiration?
William: Yeah, visual inspiration. It sparks a unique description. It’s hard to ask someone who writes lyrics. I’m sure that Adam has some.
Adam: Yeah, I have a few lyricists that I like. A couple songs that come to mind that are my favorite lyrically are a song called “Girl From the North Country,” by Bob Dylan.
William: That’s an amazing song.
Adam: That’s one of my favorite songs. It’s definitely up there. A song called “Thirty-Three” by The Smashing Pumpkins. Lyrically, I really love that song. A song called “Brothers on a Hotel Bed” by Death Cab For Cutie. I really like that song a lot. All three of those lyricists, I like a lot.
S&S: What is one of your favorite childhood memories?
Adam: I was really into building forts, catching frogs, all those types of things. One time, we got a bunch of wood and went around the neighborhood asking for leftover milk cartons and shit. We made a boat, like a raft. We went a couple miles down the river with a big piece of wood and milk cartons keeping it afloat. And then, it sank. That was that, but it was fun while it lasted. That’s one of my favorite childhood memories.
William: We didn’t have a lot of money growing up, and my mom was raising my sister and I alone basically. She was going to school as well and working and trying to raise two kids. So, we didn’t have a lot of money, but my mom saved up enough for us to take a vacation down to Orlando. It was a huge deal to us. We went to the Epcot center and Disney World. It was a great time. I remember that vividly, just because I knew how much it meant for my mom to do that for us.
S&S: How have you personally changed since the band started?
William: I think we’ve changed in a lot of ways. I’ve definitely become more responsible. We’ve all grown up quite a bit since the band started.
Adam: My voice got deep. That’s cool.
William: We’ve grown as musicians and songwriters.
Adam: I grew hair on my legs.
William: You had hair on your legs when you were five. I have started to grow little chest hairs. It’s not very exciting, actually. As much as we have grown up and evolved as a band and as people, I think that the one thing that we realized while making Fast Times is that what is and always will be our solace is music. In writing songs and performing them, that’s something that has been our therapy and outlet. It’s been pretty much for the past five years all we’ve known. So, our love for that and our thirst for that hasn’t changed.
S&S: Describe your ideal life. Do you want to make music forever, pursue other interests, start a family?
William: I think that we all have different interests. That’s what’s so cool about being in a band like this. We’re all very different as much as we’re alike. As much as we come together through music and as much as we’re best friends…
Adam: I would definitely say that we’d all say that we’d like to play music for the rest of our lives. I don’t know if it would be necessarily with the band or by yourself when you’re in your house. I think that’s the good thing about music – it can be played anywhere. For me personally, there are definitely things that I would love to venture out and explore. Maybe sail around the world or become a pirate. Maybe venture into commercial acting. Like Pizza Hut commercials or something like that. That would be a cool thing to do.
William: Acting might be in our future, definitely. So much as he’s joking, I know that you (Adam) and I could get into acting. I’m really interested in it, and I know that he’s interested in it. There’s always writing. I love writing. Not just lyrics and songs. I enjoy writing short stories and prose as well. I might write a book one day. Adam has amazing stories; his life has been very interesting and pretty crazy. He’s likely to write a book as well. Unless something crazy happens, I don’t think I’ll ever be without music. I’m not sure that I’ll ever lose the need to write songs, regardless of what happens with this band. I’d like this band to go on and be like the Stones, playing when we’re fifty.
Adam: TAI TV final episode will be at my death bed.
S&S: What do you feel has been your greatest accomplishment so far?
William: One of the biggest accomplishments for us is that I think we’ve established ourselves as a band that’s not going anywhere. We’ve played with a lot of bands that don’t really have the passion. They’ll make one album and expect to be huge, and if they don’t get huge, they break up. This isn’t something that we’re doing to get famous. This is something that we’re doing because we love it, and we need it just as much as the people that are here love it and need it. Our biggest accomplishment I think is making three albums up to this point that are very different from each other and that all show musical growth.
Adam: This current tour we’re on right now is a big accomplishment for us. I think every time we go out and do a tour, it’s a big accomplishment. We’re playing for new people that have never seen us live before. We’re playing for our old fans. That’s something that we hold really special to us, because we love touring, and we love playing songs live. We love interacting with fans. The fact that we’ve done so many tours now, and we’re on our third record. The fact that we come back and play places like Starland again, and it’s consistent. That right there is our biggest accomplishment. Just the amount of great touring we’ve done and the great fans we’ve had.
William: There are a lot of bands that I don’t think are going to last because of the content. Especially now, with the way the economy is going and the way that the music business is going, I think that, hopefully, people are going to want and need content over…
William: Yeah, basically. People are going to want something to hold onto. Something to believe in and something to feel good about. What we intend to do and what we try to do with every album and every song we’ve ever written is to fill it with as much content and focus as possible. And be true to ourselves while doing it. I think a lot of these bands aren’t going to survive. A lot of these bands are just going to go away, and people are going to forget about them. Not that this is some kind of contest. With the internet and with Myspace, anyone can start a band. There have been bands that have been signed recently that have never played a show in their lives and have zero fans. Or they have 1,000 friends on Myspace, and that doesn’t mean that you have what it takes to be in a band.
Adam: It’s strange, because the way bands used to be signed, they didn’t have fans beforehand. A lot of bands were put together. I’m talking like Motown. It was like the starving artist musicians that came all the way from God knows where. They ended up somewhere.
William: As bands get younger and younger, I think that what’s going to end up happening is that the cream is going to rise to the top. Those bands will sustain, and it’s going to be because of their music and the content. Not because of how good-looking they are or how “cool” they are or who they know. I’m really happy because regardless of record sales and everything that’s going on in the music industry with labels falling apart, the need for music is never going to disappear from our society or from the world. In these tough times, we get more inspired to write and make music. Less pressure is on having big songs, and it’s more about just having good songs.