Interview: William Beckett on going solo and his full-length “Genuine & Counterfeit”

By Jen Canipe  |  Photos by Ryan Russell

After years of being the front man of The Academy Is…, William Beckett has embarked on his solo career. If you know anything about The Academy Is…, you’ll know that William has an incredibly versatile, melodic voice with incredible range! After a series of solo EPS, William has joined the Equal Vision Records team and has released his first studio full-length album, Genuine & Counterfeit, as a solo artist. Having matured as an artist and songwriter, William Beckett has poured his heart and soul into this new album. Take some time and get to know William Beckett!

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How is being a solo act different from being in a band?

Besides the obvious, I think the biggest difference is my sociability. I’ve made more friends in the past eight months than I did in eight years with a band. 

In 2012, you released a series of EPs (Walk the Talk, Winds Will Change, and What Will Be) and an acoustic full-length (Pioneer Sessions) of the 12 songs on these EPs. These were your first releases as a solo artist. Tell us what these songs meant to you, and perhaps share a story behind one of your songs. 

The EPs collectively tell a story of change and discovery. “Compromising Me”, for instance, was the first song I wrote as a solo artist, and it clearly illustrates a new chapter in my creative life.

William Beckett - Genuine & Counterfeit cover

Tell us about your upcoming album, Genuine & Counterfeit. Tell us about the recording experience. Did it go as you expected? Why or why not?

I wrote around 40 songs for the album and narrowed it down to 13 in the studio. The recording process was amazing! I did the album in Chicago, which was great to be able to come home and sleep in my own bed every night. My producer, Marc McClusky, and I pushed ourselves and each other to the limit, and the results are clear when you listen. 

You have a couple of special guests on the album, Max Bemis from Say Anything and Derek Sanders of Mayday Parade. What did these guys bring to the album?

Diversity. I’ve been friends with those guys for a while, but we’ve never done guest spots or collaborations up to this point. Max is a label mate now, and Derek and I have been buds for years. Great honor to have them both on! 

You have said that you “don’t make the same record over and over again.” Tell us why this is your philosophy as an artist.

I think if you’re not evolving as an artist and challenging yourself to do something different each time, it would get boring not only for the listeners, but especially for the band or artist. I, personally, feel that while that approach may not always yield the most instant gratification, it will sustain in heightened lasting power. 

How has it been working with Equal Vision Records? 

EVR rules! I’ve been a fan of the label for years, so it’s a bit of a perfect match.

How has your experience been on Warped Tour? What’s the funniest thing that has happened?

Warped is so great! A lot of funny things went down. On the bus, Vinnie Caruana and I have a DJ team that keeps our friends happy. It’s called Willy Vinilly. 

Rumor has it that you were doing guest vocals with a different band on Warped tour each day. How did you choose the band of the day? Who did you perform with?

A lot of it depends on schedules. I’ve sung with Alvarez Kings, New Beat Fund, Relient K, and Nevershoutnever. 

What is the best bit of advice anyone has ever given you?

All advice is usually useless. People have to learn from their own mistakes and experiences. No one can teach you better than consequence.

William Beckett

Share some of your favorites with us:

Favorite book: A Song of Ice and Fire series
New album: The Killers – Battleborn
Clothing store and brand: J. Crew and Uniqlo
Thing about Chicago: my family
Guilty Pleasure song: “The Promise” by When In Rome
Phrase: “Good on ya, mate.”
Thing to do on the bus between cities: play Fifa.

What would you like to say to your old and new fans? 

Quite simply, the best fans ever!

Genuine & Counterfeit is available now. It’s an incredible debut full-length…  get in on William’s story of change! You’ll be glad you did!

Purchase Genuine & Counterfeit here:
Physical | iTunes

William Beckett - Rick Springfield 2013

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