Q: I love how chill and ear-pleasing “Fingers Crossed” is! Can you walk me through the creative process for this song?
ACADEMY: I (Evan) was going through a period of time in my relationship where we were taking some time apart. I wrote a few heartbreak type songs about it, then realized that I really did believe it would all work out, so I wrote this song. It’s about being hopeful that a relationship can come back around while in the midst of hard times. The second verse was a sort of a picture of how I envisioned the future would be.
Q: What impact did you hope to have on listeners when you set out to create this song?
ACADEMY: We hope that anyone in a similar situation can find some strength and realize that they’re not alone. It sucks when love is unreciprocated and it’s even worse when you’re stuck in love with someone who’s floating away. Sometimes you have to let go and sometimes you have to to hang on. We hope that ‘Fingers Crossed’ helps make that decision just a little bit easier.
Q: How did Evan Walsh and John That come together to form the duo that is ACADEMY? And what inspired the name ACADEMY?
ACADEMY: I dropped out of college and moved to LA from Rhode Island when I was 19 to make music. A mutual friend suggested we meet up since we were both from New England (John’s from New Hampshire), new to LA, and were making pretty similar sounding music. We met up at John’s house, hit it off & made a few songs… and a few months later I asked him to join me in ACADEMY and was thrilled when he said he was down.
The name ACADEMY: I (Evan) grew up in East Greenwich, Rhode Island in a house built in 1850. There used to be a school called the East Greenwich Academy (formerly Kent Academy) from 1802-1943, and while it was open, the principals lived in the house that I grew up in. Across the street where there used to be school buildings and dorms is a big field that now has basketball courts/little league games etc. Growing up this was always the place I would meet up and spend time with friends. When I was choosing a name I thought all my ideas sounded lame, but ACADEMY was so plain that it would at the very least not be embarrassing/I loved that it was an homage to my home/friends/family/childhood. Fun Fact: Here’s an excerpt I found on the Academy: ” The first Conservatory of Music in America was opened here in 1859 by the late Dr. Eben Tourjee, the founder of the New England Conservatory of Music, Boston (1867), who ever after had more or less of a general oversight of the interests of the school. No Academy in the country has been more widely celebrated for the superiority of its Musical Department.” It’s not a wild name for a band, but apparently it was meant to be…That’s where the name ACADEMY comes from.
Q: I see you’re currently releasing your 5th studio project, “Bleacher Seats.” How do you hope listeners respond to it?
ACADEMY: ‘Bleacher Seats’ is supposed to be a bit tongue in cheek to begin with. It’s our first completely new body of work since getting back together in 2020. We’d essentially been so far out of the starting line up and off the bench that we were hanging around in the bleacher seats career wise. We’d love for this record to find new ears, give our existing fans a taste of something new and hopefully catch enough people on the same wave that one day folks are buying bleacher seat tickets to see us. We’re both very much from a working class background and are currently working class musicians so ‘Bleacher Seats’ just felt right. It’s for our people!
Q: What is your favorite song from “Bleacher Seats”?
ACADEMY: (John) – ‘Fingers Crossed’ or ‘Good Karma’ featuring our friend Callaway Martin
(Evan) – ‘Astronaut’ or ‘Follow Me’ but it’s constantly changing.
Q: Do you have any parting words for your fans?
ACADEMY: Stick around! We’re releasing a new song off ‘Bleacher Seats’ every month in 2023, lining up some live shows and working on new tunes! We’d love to see each and everyone of you on our next tour!
Interviewed by Zoey King