The beginning happened about two years ago. Billy and I just started writing songs together and we had two other members in the band. We started writing songs and we just started getting this together. Slowly but surely we started playing songs around Chicago and then the label thing happened. We recorded this two song demo and we started sending it around to labels. Fueled By Ramen got interested and from there we started touring full time probably around August or September. We've been out ever since so it's a recap of what happened.
What are some of your musical influences? I noticed Pink Floyd is listed as an influence.
Definitely. I can only speak for myself but I like Elliot Smith a lot. I like Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin. I know Billy loves Simon And Garfunkel. We like Aimee Mann a lot. We really like Foo Fighters and Nirvana.
I guess you guys had a lineup change.
Yes, we had a lineup change basically. We had two other guys in the band and we got along but when you start touring, it becomes a lot different than just playing around. We started touring and they wanted to go back to school and go to school. We found Tom who is a great guitar player and "The Butcher" who drums now. So far so good.
They didn't want to be rock and roll stars. You guys came out with Almost Here. It was kind of an autobiographical album?
Kind of. It's funny because when we were writing it, especially the lyrics, I play guitar in the band and me and Billy would sit down and we'd write. I'd basically come up with these ideas and musical landscapes of something I wanted to do and Billy would just write. I think it's definitely a snapshot of where we were for those four months while we were writing the album. A lot of the songs deal with those things.
Are there certain tracks off the album that are real favorites of yours?
I like track four which is "Phrase That Pays". I like that song a lot. I do like "Black Mamba" a lot which is track five. I'm proud of the whole album. There was some magic that happened in the studio. Billy nailed some stuff that I'm really proud of but as a whole I think it's pretty complete. We had two and a half weeks to do so it's a very quick process of doing it.
You used James Paul Wisner as your producer.
Yes, it was great working with him. At the time, when you go in to record your first album, there are a lot of things that go into it. You go in and it basically came down to where he really helped us with bringing the melodies together and some of the harmonies. I'm grateful that he worked with us. It was a very cool experience.
You guys have been out touring with Something Corporate and Fall Out Boy. How long have you guys been out on the road?
We've been out since around September pretty much and we toured with Matchbook Romance, Motion City Soundtrack, and so far so good. We've toured with a lot of the bands we've listened to and really appreciated the scene. So far so good.
How much longer are you guys going to be out on the road?
Right now it seems like the whole summer. We've got May and June is in the works. I know we're going to do two or three weeks of Warped Tour. Hopefully until August we'll be on the road and I think we're going to take a little time off right there. Starting in September, we're going to start doing it all over again.
Have you had a lot of sold out shows? Someone mentioned that tonight was sold out.
Yeah, as far as us. Obviously we're from Chicago so we've played some great shows there. We played a recent one at just a VFW hall, Knights Of Columbus. It was great. It was like 400 kids and it was amazing. Those are some of the recent ones.
Any other thoughts or comments?
If you don't have the record, please pick it up. Come to the shows. I know we're going to be on tour in May so hopefully you'll come out to one of those shows.
The Academy Is...