Can you talk to us more about your forthcoming single “The Distance”?
K: It’s meant to inspire and instill a sense of strength and ability in oneself, and to let the listener know that times may get tough and you may get down on yourself, but maintain laser-like focus and don’t lose sight of your goals no matter what bumps you may endure. If you fall, dust yourself off and keep pushing onward.
N: We hope the message can help motivate and foster the mindset that no goal is too big. It’s normal people who accomplish great things, but not without a clear vision and unwavering determination.
L: There are a lot of different vibes on the EP, but this is definitely the most up-beat, in-your-face pop punk tune we have to offer. It’s definitely a personal favourite on Lost In Make Believe.
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
K: I wouldn’t say I was inspired by any one event, but a collection of events throughout the journey of Academy Killer. It was more so written as a personal reminder to keep pushing forward at times I may feel defeated or incapable of something or feel like giving up.
Is there a music video in the works? What was it like to film the video?
O: There is and it’s done! We’re currently awaiting its premiere on July 22nd! It was shot by Sean Deakin of DKin Productions at AstroLab Studios in Toronto’s film district.
K: It was hot and sweaty but it was an experience to remember. We wanted something cinematic and visually captivating so renting a film studio and professional camera and lighting equipment worth more than our lives was the only reasonable option [laughs]
N: Yeah, it was an amazing experience working in a great studio with a fantastic crew. We had a lot of fun and I think it shows in the performance. The band and crew definitely meshed and it ended up being a comfortable, natural feeling shoot.
L: There’s no storyline so we did what we could to make it an exciting performance video and just gave it our all. The video is just bursting with energy.
The single comes off your new album Lost In Make Believe – what’s the story behind the title?
K: Lost In Make Believe comes from a line I wrote in The Distance. There are many aspects to it’s meaning, but at the core it represents being the dreamer lost in thought on a quest of self-discovery, love, success and a better understanding of the world around them.
How was the recording and writing process?
N: Recording Lost In Make Believe was a surreal experience. It took us a little over a week to track everything but it flew by. I feel we bonded an inexplicable amount making this record as we spent hours holed up in the studio together where we could be expressive with one another. It allowed us to create something raw and untampered. We worked with a great producer who got what we were going for and worked with us to make the most of these songs.
K: I love writing but I think the recording process is by far one of my favorite things ever. It allows us to sit back and deconstruct what we’ve worked out and break things down to a point where we can go, you know what, that part could be better, let’s try this, or experiment with different instruments and sounds to reinforce the feeling we’re trying to create in a song.
L: A lot of the songs stemmed from ideas Kevin had worked out and then brought forward. However, we all played integral roles in making the songs what they are today.
K: 100%. These guys are the most talented group of musicians I’ve had the honor of working with and no matter how far I took an idea on my own, the finalized songs are a direct result of everyone truly stepping up to the plate and adding a piece of themselves.
L: We were all still making tweaks in the studio even. Hell, I wrote and rewrote some of my guitar leads between recording sessions just because of changes we made as we went. I’ve recorded a lot on my own and do covers all the time, but recording Lost In Make Believe was awesome.
O: No matter how hard you prepare for the studio, there are bound to be changes made and it really puts your musicianship to the test. The whole recording process was new for me and was a memorable experience. We can’t wait to get back in the studio and make another record!
You guys have a very similar vibe / energy to bands like Sparks the Rescue and Amber Pacific – would you say they’re influences in your writing?
K: I wouldn’t say so, no
L: To be honest, we haven’t heard of them before.
How does being from Hamilton affect your music?
K: Audibly, I’m not sure it does. However, it’s very motivating to see so many Hamilton artists doing well for themselves and taking their art and message to a much larger platform and audience.
Was this always meant to be a more personal record for you guys or did it happen gradually?
K: It was always meant to be personal. That was the vision I had when starting Academy Killer; to create music that is honest and reflective of myself and my experiences. The songs are meant to be like a snapshot of a feeling or thought in that one moment of an ideas conception. I want the listener to be able to hear a song and truly connect with it should it align with their own experiences.
Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?
K: I more or less found inspiration in the human experience. I draw from things I’m feeling, going through or whatever may be weighing on my mind and try to use the music as a means of expressing myself as best and accurately possible. It’s therapeutic for me and personally does a lot more than simply talking about it, as writing requires me to look within and confront whatever it is I’m facing.
Any plans to hit the road?
N: Absolutely, as soon as possible.
O: Yeah, we have been talking about setting up a North American tour.
L: Our budget is kind of tied up with releasing this record right now but we’ve been looking at sufficient touring vehicles. We’ll be pooling our funds once this release is out of the way and making it happen.
K: We could definitely do a string of Canadian dates but I really want to take our act to the United States too, it’s just a costly endeavor and we’ll need to approach that once we’ve dealt with all costs pertaining to the release of Lost In Make Believe. We should’ve picked something cheaper to be passionate about [laughs]
What else is happening next in Academy Killer’s world?
K: After The Distance comes out on July 26th, we’ll be releasing Looks To Kill and its video on August 23rd, and then September 20th is when Lost In Make Believe comes out!
L: We’re going to do what we can to create some content on our own, I’ve been working out acoustic renditions of the songs so maybe you’ll see some acoustic videos on Youtube sometime soon!
N: Aside from that, I think it’s safe to say there will be some local release shows on the schedule until we can branch out further!