Sherwood, The Rocket Summer, Armor for Sleep and The Academy Is… visited Jannus Landing on the Sleeping with Giants Tour this Friday. The Academy Is… has toured with bands such as Fall Out Boy and the All American Rejects, had coverage on MTV and gained global recognition since their start in 2002. Santi, the band’s most recent album, was released in April 2007 and a new one is in the works.
“It’s exciting to be on a club tour again,” The Academy Is… bassist Adam Siska said. “The crowds have been great; the shows have been awesome. It’s more than I could have ever hoped for, you know?” he said.
The band formed in high school and eventually gained global popularity through the help of their friends in Fall Out Boy.
“Pete’s been our friend since before he was in a band. He’s been supportive of us since the first practice,” Siska said about Fall Out Boy bassist Pete Wentz. Wentz gave them tips on getting signed.
Over the years, The Academy Is… has tried to progress and expand their boundaries as musicians. They feel that effort is reflected on their latest record.
“Musically, it’s just collaboration between all five of us,” Siska said. He also said the creative process for songwriting varies from song to song.
“Some songs (drummer) Andy (“the Butcher” Mrotek) created completely on his own,” Siska said. “For other songs the five band members worked together in a single room, collectively coming up with ideas and chord progressions that they liked.”
“I’d say, without a doubt, we’ve progressed as players and as songwriters,” Siska said. Touring and practicing has made them all more confident.
The band is writing a new record. It will have elements from previous records, but the band hopes the album will progress compositionally and sonically.
“We continually evolve our sound and we try and keep it still within the vein of what The Academy Is… (is about),” Siska said.
When it comes to making music videos, the band relays ideas with directors and producers, who support them and offer seasoned judgment.
“I think it just shows the kind of collaboration between us and the record director,” Siska said.
Their video for “Everything We Had” is about a couple breaking up at a birthday party. The video runs backwards, showing the breakup that explains the lead singer’s behavior at the very end. It was not based on personal experience, although the song itself is a personal favorite of the band.
“It has a lot of cool colors in it and I think it’s directed very well,” Siska said.
Petro, the director, sent them a treatment for it and the band liked the idea.
“Visually, I’d say it’s my favorite video,” Siska said. His favorite scene in the video is when lead singer William Beckett jumps into a pool fully clothed after smashing a birthday cake with his hands.
In addition to making videos and albums, The band has been busy touring the globe, making appearances in countries such as Australia, France, Germany and Japan.
“It’s just awesome to hang out, party and have fun in the rock n’ roll circuit,” Siska said.
Brussels, Belgium has been his favorite city to visit because of the atmosphere. And because of the chocolate, crepes, waffles and “all sorts of delicious treats,” he said.
Japan is another favorite. Siska said it is a real culture shock to go there, but he has a lot of respect for the country.
His least favorite overseas experience was his first time in Paris. The band drank the water while playing a spring break show in Cancun right before traveling to France and got very sick.
Siska said he thinks Florida is a very nice place to visit, despite the heat. His brothers live in Miami and Osceola, and the band lived in Florida for about a month while they recorded music in St. Cloud. They especially like going to Ybor City.
“Everywhere we get to go, I really feel blessed that we get to go play music and that they (the fans) would actually care to come see us,” he said. “It’s more than I could ever have hoped for.”