What is Shadow Academy? The new musical duo formed by Dan Avidan and Jim Roach took fans by surprise last month when they released their first single together. The music video for “White Whale” was featured on YouTube and Hollywood Life. With more music on the way, this is a great time to learn about the music industry’s newest prog-rock outfit.
The first of Shadow Academy’s two collaborators, Dan Avidan AKA “Danny Sexbang” is a musical comedian and online personality. Avidan is one half of the Game Grumps, a video game-related Let’s Play YouTube web series he hosts with co-host Arin Hanson. He has appeared on the popular online series since 2013. Avidan and Hanson have also teamed up to produce music as the band Starbomb, which has released three studio albums. Starbomb is a musical parody and comedy band that writes songs about video games.
Since 2009, Avidan has served as a singer and songwriter for Ninja Sex Party, a musical comedy duo, with co-collaborator Brian Wecht AKA “Ninja Brian.” Ninja Sex Party takes cues from other comedy bands like The Lonely Island and Flight of the Conchords. Their albums consist mostly of songs on the topics of love, sex, and fantasy as told through the perspective of a hypersexual Jewish superhero and his silent ninja friend. The group has released eight studio albums. Two of these albums, along with a third live album, were produced by Jim Roach.
In addition to being a producer, Roach is a songwriter and owns Red Parade Music Group. Artists that belong to this label include Jesse Thomas, The Young Romans, Go Tell The Eskimo, Skyler Stonestreet, and Javier Dunn. In 2015, Roach and comedian Kyle Dunnigan won an Emmy for Outstanding Music & Lyrics for a song written for the television show “Inside Amy Schumer.” Prior to his work as a producer, he worked as a drummer, bass player, guitar player, and songwriter for The Snax, The Rosewood Fall, Hoku, and other music acts. According to Avidan and Roach, the two enjoyed their previous collaborations and, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, they passed time by working on music together. “White Whale” is the first song the duo wrote together.
“White Whale” is a prog-rock tune inspired by Herman Melville’s 1851 novel Moby Dick. The music video features scenery from the novel and the song animated by Simon Macko. The content of the song and music video is a departure from the norm for Avidan, whose past music projects have been broadly humorous in nature. The duo has cited Rush, Smashing Pumpkins, My Bloody Valentine, and Muse as inspirations for the bombastic, energetic track.
It doesn’t seem like Shadow Academy is a one-trick pony, either. The duo has already teased another upcoming single titled “Once and Never More” and has indicated that a full album of searing prog-rock tracks is in the works. Fans of Avidan, Roach, or prog rock, in general, may want to keep their eyes out for more from this energetic duo.