A dinner date with The Academy Is…

Abbey Carr

The Academy Is here! With the rising popularity of their hometown friends and Fueled By Ramen labelmates, Fall Out Boy, TAI has been riding the wave of success as well.

Following an appearance on TRL’s “Spanking New Music Week,” an international headlining tour, and a full summer on the Vans Warped Tour, this band is ready for their first break of 2006 – and by break, I mean they are heading into the studio to record a follow up to their 2005 release, “Almost Here.” TAI consists of 21-year-old vocalist William Beckett, 18-year-old bassist Adam Siska, drummer Andy “Butcher” Mrotek, guitarists Mike Carden and Tom Conrad.

You might recognize one of these guys if you went to see “Snakes on a Plane.” During the end credits, they play a music video for the movie’s title track featuring the one and only William Beckett, who sings with Cobra Starship, another member of the Fueled By Ramen family.

With all of this success, the band is living their dream life. Not only did they get to sit with Samuel L. Jackson at the “Snakes on a Plane” premiere, but they also got to have pizza with me in Scranton, Pa. towards the end of Warped. After we ate dinner and argued over what song Panic! at the Disco should perform at the VMAs, I sat down with William Beckett and Adam Siska to talk about all things TAI…

Abbey: Adam, you started out in The Academy at a very young age – barely 16! It seems like you grew up with the band. What’s changed for you in the last two years?

Adam: Well, I’ve got this beard now, getting hair in different places.

William:Seriously though, I’ve noticed all of our growth in the past two years and Adam particularly because of the big age gap – 16 is really young – but Adam has never been your average 16-year-old, or even now, your average 18-year-old. He’s experienced more than [many] adults I know. All of us have really come a long way in the past two years with our maturity, our functioning as a band and our goals.

Adam: Warped Tour especially, I think I have grown up a lot on this tour in particular. Not only have I grown a beard, I feel like I have matured as a person and as a band member. That makes me very happy.

Abbey: Your sound has dramatically changed from your first EP released on LLR, to “Almost Here”, and into the latest EP that you released on iTunes. What new changes can we expect on the new album?

Adam: Different is definitely a word to describe it, but it is not going to be a polar opposite by any means. We’re still the same band.

William:The big difference is that this is the first record that we are all writing together with the Butcher and Tom. The first EP was done by five very confused, young guys in a garage, and that’s what it was. Everyone was kind of doing their own thing.

Then “Almost Here” was written, and that was predominately me, Adam, and Carden working on the record and writing all of the songs. So two of the guys weren’t on board. Now…we can finally sit and collaborate with The Academy Is. This [line up] is and forever will be The Academy Is. It almost feels like our debut. The songs are really going to reflect all five of our personalities. We are very different, very unique individuals. This record is really going to capture that in a way that “Almost Here” didn’t.

Abbey: Would you ever do Warped Tour again?

William: I’m afraid not.

Adam: But not to discredit the tour, we’ve had a great time, but this is just a stepping stone for us. I can’t see us doing this ever again. I think club tours are really great for us.

Abbey: Lately, we’ve seen lots of bands go through some rough times, especially with line-up changes. Do you ever worry about that within your own band or with your friends’ bands? Do you think they will have a harder time with such drastic changes?

Adam: No. I think our current line-up works very well for us. To be very honest, I can’t really see a line-up change for us at this point.

William: Or ever. It all comes down to: we are all friends and all individuals. Some people chose that this isn’t for them anymore. This is a very weird life to live – very unique, strange, and difficult life to live. At the same time, we are all doing what we love. If one of us doesn’t love it anymore, it wouldn’t make sense to lie to ourselves.

Adam: It’s a lot like a marriage, and we are committing to each other. If you are not able to commit to that part of your life anymore, I think it would be wrong to continue on faking it.

You need to find the right median of being the person you were at home before all of this began and at the same time, giving your life to what’s going on out here: playing music with your friends in front of people who really care about it.

Abbey: What are your plans for the near future?

William: After Warped Tour, we are shacking up in Chicago in the studio and writing the rest of the record, then after that we’ll go to L.A. to record it. That’s all we have planned for the rest of the year besides going to basketball games and relaxing. We are yearning for the basketball season to start!

After Warped finished, the guys headed home to Chicago to finish writing, then soon will be headed out to L.A. to record the new album!

While you wait, check out “Almost Here” or head over to myspace.com/theacademyis.

Abbey: Your last album was called The Academy Is… “Almost Here”. Now where are you? Are you HERE?

Adam: Well I just had this great pizza here in Scranton tonight, so I’d say yeah! I’ve finally arrived here.

William: We are taking our lives one day at a time, trying to be the best that we can everyday. Today: it was a beautiful day outside, we had a great show, we went and had amazing pizza, we hung out on this beautiful night.

There’s so much we can’t control, but all we can really control is our every day. So yeah, we were almost here before, and we are here now.