In conversation with The Academic
I caught up with Irish 4-piece The Academic just before their sold out show at The Chapel, Leeds to discuss their number one album Tales From The Backseat, coming of age and supporting some of the biggest names in music.
Released 12th January 2018, The Academic’s debut album brings a fresh burst of youthful bright pop to the indie scene, combing catchy choruses with driving guitar riffs, which have seen the album hit number one in the Irish charts.
How has the album been received?
Craig: We were excited after working so long on the album to finally release it, we’ve worked really hard on it and we got number 1 in Ireland so that was an amazing achievement.
Matt: I think the reception has shown most in the shows, it goes from people just knowing your one single and singing along to that to everyone singing back every word on the album.
Going from one or two singles out to a number one debut album, at what point did you realise an album was a realistic idea after being band for quite a few years?
Matt: An album was always something we had in mind; it just took us a while to get there.
Craig: We wanted to tour as much as we could, so our main focus was on that.
From spending most of your time touring and barely going into a studio, what was it like recording a full-length album?
Matt: Before the album we had an EP out called Loose Friends which was recorded sporadically over two years, so it was weird to sit down in a studio for 2 and a half months to record the album.
Craig: Spending 2 months in America to record the album was great as it gave us a chance to sit down and look at all of our songs and pick the ones that best suited the album.
We can hear from the album that it is very much inspired by growing up and coming of age, were there any experiences that gave you the idea for that theme?
Craig: Naturally the song-writing was going that way as we were all learning to deal with what was happening at that age, the songs were written at a time when you feel so emotional, some situations come up and we’re able to make songs out of them so in a way they’re great.
Matt: There is one song on the album that was inspired by a very specific time, called ‘Fake ID’ which is literally just about Craig looking 12.
The band was recently won two Webby awards after posting a Facebook live video of their track ‘Bear Claws’, which utilised the delay of the live stream to create a loop-pedal effect.
How did the idea come about to use Facebook live for that purpose?
Matt: We were playing with another band and they went live on Facebook when we noticed it would take a while before it actually showed up on the feed, so we thought it would be cool to manipulate the delay. We got together with people in New York and they were able to help put the video together.
Craig: We only rehearsed for one day and we only went live once, so what was posted was all done in one take.
Moving on to touring, you just announced that you’re supporting The Rolling Stones at Croke Park, what was your reaction when you heard the news?
*the entire band laughs in excitement*
Matt: We only put our name forward for the craic, we didn’t expect much to come from it.
Stephen: We always try to put our name out there for the big shows just in case on the off chance someone replies and this time it actually did.
Matt: What freaked us out the most is that the stones actually picked us out of 19 other acts so the fact they like our music in itself is amazing.
The band also hinted at some musical treats coming up which they have now released in the form of an Abbey Road session, where they performed their most well-known songs, and a surprise cover of ‘Better’ by Lil Yachty.
They went on to deliver a powerful, energetic set to a packed out crowd and seemed to attract a variety of all ages, be sure to try and catch them on future tours, and also check out their number one debut album Tales from the Backseat.