The Academy Is… are currently returning to the music scene co-headlining on the 2009 Alternative Press Fall Ball Tour with Mayday Parade. We were able to sit down with bassist Adam Siska, in a very lengthy interview.
You guys haven’t been in the public eye very much this year, what have you guys been doing?
Just been enjoying ourselves. We’ve been a band for seven years now, and pretty much since the day the band started we’ve worked 24-7 on the band, and kept touring. We had some time for personal growth. I think it’s essential for any band to have that time away from being a band because the more you grow personally the more you have to offer in your music, and as a man.
So, we got to actually do that this year and I think that it was a good thing for us. During that time, we all practiced our instruments a lot and trying to progress in that. We just kinda reconnected to our family and friend. You can lose a little bit of that when you’re touring all year long. It’s nice to have that back.
Now we’re rejuvenated and ready to keep touring, and keep making records.
There have only been two singles from Fast Times, which is different from Santi and Almost Here which had around four or five. Are you guys looking forward to releasing another one or two from Fast Times, or will you focus on the new album?
I don’t think so. I mean, we’re not really a singles kind of band. We had singles on other records, but we never looked at them as singles, just songs we made a music video there. To be totally honest, with the state of records and all those things with the sales and the downloading… we just wanna make good records, y’know?
We don’t wanna try to push one song onto people. Because we did that with “About a Girl”, and that song did really well for us, but I don’t think it’s the kind of thing you need to do. If we feel like making a video at some point for a song on Fast Times, we’ll go ahead and do that, but we have no immediate plans for that. We’ll probably end up making some sort of video for “After The Last Midtown Show”.
“After The Last Midtown Show” is one of the stand-out tracks from Fast Times. Is it about more than just Gabe Saporta’s old band?
Actually, it’s not about Gabe Saporta’s old band at all. It’s just about the way you feel on a good night. I remember the last Midtown show, we were all there. We all had a very good time that night. So, it’s just kind of referencing that feeling and the time when things are changing around you and you’re a part of something special. We felt that way with Midtown because Gabe taught us a lot as a band and then Midtown broke up. It was a sad thing, but Gabe came back with Cobras [Starship] and we brought them out on tour, and we had some amazing times the next couple of years together.
I think the message of that song is to show that no matter what, you’re always moving forward and you’re nothing with out people. You need people in your life to do anything.
In similar fashion to Lost In Pacific Times and Fast Times, are you guys writing this new album on tour?
Siska: Yeah, we’re writing some now. It’s really hard to write on tour. Obviously there’s a lot of distractions and just a lot of friends in every town. This thing [Pro-Tools] that you’re looking at is how we recorded Lost In Pacific Times. I’m not very good at it. Michael [Chislett] is the man who knows how to work that magic school bus.
Biggest thing that fans noticed about Fast Times, was that it had a much happier and pop sound to it, different from your past two records that had an aggressive rock sound. Any reason why Fast Times broke away from that?
It’s hard to say. We never go into a record saying “We want there to be this sort of sound”, or ‘This one needs to be happy”. A lot of the songs we had been writing for Fast Times darker than anything we had written before. But, when we got to New York and started to record the album, you couldn’t help but feel optimistic, inspired, and excited, and I think you can hear that on the album. There is a bright outlook on the record. Fast Times is all about us coming together, and something positive. We want to install that in our fans and show them life is worth living and it’s fun.
What is “Beware! Cougar!” really about? Are you guys actually hit on a lot by cougars?
I wish, man. No, me personally not too many cougars. Willam, yes. Some of the moms that bring their daughters to show will come and try to buy him some PBRs, and stuff like that. But, I know he was involved in a relationship with an older woman at one times, and sometimes it can be an ugly road to go down. Those crazy cougars!
Sodium is one of the B-sides from Fast Times, and sounds more like something from Santi or Almost Here. Was it written during the Santi period?
Yeah, it was. I wouldn’t say written during the Santi period, but briefly after. I think Michael had tossed that riff around. It kind of got this real soaring sound, y’know that riff just feels a million miles high! It was something we always liked and we worked at it for a long time, but we just couldn’t get it to line up with what was going on in the Fast Times session.
What you hear on “Sodium” is all recorded similar to how Lost In Pacific Times was recorded, on our own, it’s more of a demo. Those are just songs we really liked a lot, but didn’t have a place on the album.
Same thing for “Tokyo Bay”?
Yeah– actually Tokyo Bay was written during the “Fast Times” session and we really liked it a lot, but just didn’t come together in time and we wanted to have a B-side, so we decided to use that one.
You guys played “Ghost” [a B-side from Santi] for the first time on this tour. Did that go successfully?
It was fun! I don’t know how many people knew it. One of our biggest regrets is that Ghost wasn’t on Santi. We kind of overlooked that, and we should of just put twelve songs on the record. For one reason or another, we didn’t, and that’s the kind of decision you have to make fast. About the time the record was out, we were like “Damn”, “Ghost” is all our favorite song. We want more people to know it, and we’re thinking about putting on our Myspace so more people can hear it.
We were kind of swingin’ it up there since we never played it live before. It’s fun to get up there on stage with your friends and do something new and exciting. We’ve been playing these songs for so long, it’s almost like riding a bike. You get on, and it comes natural to you. It’s fun to kind of have to reach out there and think about a song while you’re playing it more. We’ll play it more.
You guys had a song contest, where fans were voting for songs they wanted to hear. Some of the choices were really old songs like “The Author” and “Judas Kiss”. Have you guys been meeting with those demands?
Fortunately for us, none of those songs won because I don’t know if they would sound good. We tried practicing “The Author”, and there was a time and a place where that style just made more sense in this band. Keep in mind, in the beginning, Butcher wasn’t in the band, and Michael wasn’t in the band. We had all these different guys.
One thing that is interesting about The Academy EP is that it’s like a math equation, the whole record. It doesn’t really make much sense. For someone who didn’t write the song, it’s really hard to understand the progession, and the time signatures. It’s very strange. So, we didn’t want to put the stress on the other guys of playing those all the times because they’re very complex songs. A little too complex if you ask me. But, we’ll play it if it wins.
I actually did see “The Author” and “Judas Kiss” on there a few times though.
See, what happened was that people voted, and those ones won. Then it turned out there was a bunch of kids who didn’t get to vote, so we extended the polls. After that, “40 Steps” swept the entire thing.
Have you guys been filming any new TAITV?
We haven’t right now just because we spent so long on the road with Jack [the Camera Guy], and he’s one of my best friends, but having to do them every Sunday was getting a little hard. Especially since we’re trying to write an album right now. You have to pick your battles, you either wanna be internet comedians, or musicians, and right now we want to be musicians.
We still go out and try to give life to our personality with the fans, have some fun, crack some jokes. TAITV is just taking a little break. It’s not dead or anything, but I’ve been telling people it’s not happening because Jack is in a mental hospital. Which isn’t true. We’ll make it come back, we just need a little break from it because we worked so hard on it for such a long time that for a second we started to think that TAITV was bigger then The Academy Is…, and that isn’t something we want.
We want to be a band known for our music, and not our floating head biting off peoples’ arms.
Lastly, do you personally like being called “Sisky” or Adam?
Siska: I would prefer to be called Adam. It doesn’t bother me to be called “Sisky”, but it depends on the context. If I had known that I would have a different name then Adam, then I would’ve picked a name like The Edge, Butcher, or Daddy Primetime. I would have just picked a cool name y’know? Like Sid Vicious. Those are cool rocker names. “Sisky” is like… a pet lizard.