INTERVIEW: Academy Killer Break Down Barriers Between Genres With Their Upcoming EP, "Lost In Make Believe"
Music shouldn’t be about conforming to genres or boundaries or a specific sound, and Hamilton-based four piece, Academy Killer are set on breaking down those barriers with their upcoming EP, Lost In Make Believe. Determined to chase music that feels right and moves them, Academy Killer first formed with these ideals in mind four years ago and are certainly putting them to the test with their new EP. Set to be released on September 20th, 2019,Lost In Make Believe encompasses the band’s earnest, honest, and playful energy.
With the EP out later this month, we caught up with the band to chat about their growth since their debut EP, their plans for the future and more. Read the full interview now below.
Can you tell us a little bit about Academy Killer for anyone who might not be familiar?
We’re a 4 piece rock band with stylistic cues from pop punk, jazz, funk, pop and anything in between. I don’t know if what we do is rock or merely our own flavor or take on pop punk. I think we’ve got a little bit of something for everyone.
You guys are gearing up to release your new EP, Lost In Make Believe this month! What are you most excited for fans to hear on it?
We are! We recorded Lost In Make Believe a year ago and it seems surreal that it’s nearly out in the world, the wait has sucked! I think we’re most excited for fans to hear While I Drown. Of all the songs, it was the one truly written as a group effort from start to finish.
Personally, I want people to hear Seventeen as I feel it’s my best work as a songwriter. It’s this huge, stadium rock ballad that’s very personal to me as it was inspired by the loss of a dear friend. To me it’s the kind of song that you’d perform in front of 80,000 people and every single person could just feel the energy that the song invokes. I feel like I drew influence from rock bands of the 70’s and 80’s that made songs that were larger than life. There’s a lot of use of organ, delayed guitar and other elements that help create soundscapes that grab hold of the listener and hopefully move them emotionally.
Did you have any major goals in mind when you first started working on the EP?
There were a few goals we had for LIMB. I think the biggest and most important to us was that we wanted to create something reflective of ourselves and who we are at the core, our experiences and how we see the world around us. We wanted to write from the soul and not from what we think we should sound like to fit an image or genre, which I think we have done. No two songs are alike and there are many, many sides to this EP. Even if people don’t hear the music, we have something we are so insanely proud of and is definitive of who we are and what we’re doing.
You’ve mentioned in the past that you want to be able to break down barriers between genres and sort of forge your own path. Was this something that was on your mind when working on this EP?
100%. This was the main idea I had when starting Academy Killer 4 years ago. It’s not that there was a thought like, “it can’t sound like this” or “it can’t sound like that”, there was just no real consideration for specific sound at all. We just wrote and if it sounded good, we worked with it. If it moved us, then that was a good starting point.
Without confining ourselves to an idea of what something should sound like, many different aspects from many different genres have made their way in to these songs, and we’ve naturally drawn influence from all the different music we listen to.
With Lost In Make Believe being your sophomore EP, how do you feel you’ve grown or evolved with the writing of these songs?
It’s hard to say. I think it’s just a matter of natural progression and developing a better understanding of song structure, songwriting and being able to think outside the box. I’ve expressed in other interviews that I believe songwriting should come more from a feeling as opposed to conscious thought. Yes, you need to put thought in to working out parts to optimize their flow and structure, but the basis of what you play or sing should come from losing yourself in a moment or feeling and letting your hands stumble across a guitar part or words spontaneously dance off your tongue. Most of these songs started with me at my desk, eyes closed, head back, guitar in hand and just strumming around until there was an “ah ha” moment where something just synced up with what I was feeling.
Were there any challenges you faced when working on the EP? If so, how did you overcome them?
For the most part the writing came naturally. Many of the challenges have been from everything else that comes along with releasing the EP. Finding the right people to work with for videos, artwork and whatever else. The biggest challenges for myself has been having to take on many roles. Having to learn how to make websites, learn Photoshop and Final Cut to create promotional content, researching marketing and advertising, learning back end management stuff such as cataloguing of songs to track plays/sales for charting and royalty collection and way more. Treating certain aspects of what we do as a business without a manager or label behind us has been stressful. Massive shout out to all the teams behind artists.
What was the most exciting or rewarding part of the writing and recording process?
With writing, it’s exciting and equally rewarding to create something out of nothing. A songwriter will craft a song out of nothing but their own mind and inner being. It can be surreal to sit back and go “this song didn’t exist in any shape or form yesterday and now it does because I allowed myself to express how I felt in one particular moment”.
When recording, it’s exciting to hear songs start to come together and to be able to sit down and try different things as the songs are built piece by piece. The most rewarding part was to hear these finished, polished tracks and go, “this is what I envisioned, this captures the feeling I wanted to express”.
Do you have any other big plans coming up? Any shows or tour dates in the works?
We do! We just booked our hometown release show for Lost In Make Believe. It’s on October 4th at The Casbah in Hamilton, Ontario. We also just bought a van and will be looking to do an American tour in the new year. The process for visas allowing us to work in the US is extensive and costly but we will do everything we can to be there with the new music as soon as possible.
Thank you for taking the time to chat with us! Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Thanks for chatting with me, the pleasure is all mine. I just want to let readers know to connect with us on social media and to check us out wherever they may listen to music. We love connecting with new friends and we appreciate every stream or view. Bands do big things when you, the listener, can get behind what they’re doing so come hear what we’re all about.
You can Pre-Order Lost in Make Believe here http://bit.ly/preorder-lostinmakebelieve