If you’re a Reddit user, you may be aware of Irish indie rockers The Academic already. Landing themselves on the front page of the site, they went viral with their video for “Bear Claws” in which they used Facebook Live’s 30-second delay to create an amazing loop video, that even the guys admit they’re still trying to wrap that heads around.
Made up of Craig Fitzgerald, Dean Gavin and Matt and Stephen Murtagh, the quartet have been making music together since their school days, drawn to those classic indie bands that we all know and love.
Now getting ready to release their debut album, Tales from the Backseat, early next year, the record deals with the shared experience of growing up and their insanely catchy anthemic tracks shimmer with the relatability and charm of teenage youth.
Giving us a sneak peak today, the guys have just released their brilliant new single “Permanent Vacation”, that radiates with the energy and enthusiasm we’ve come to expect from the indie babes.
Currently touring in the US and set to support The Kooks when they hit Europe, The Academic are certainly establishing themselves as ones to watch.
Firstly, how did you all meet?
We all met back when we were in school and that’s when we kind of started playing together. Matt and Stephen are bros so they obviously knew each other and then once we started going through school we starting jamming together and writing songs and that’s kind of where it kicked off from. We started the band at like 17/18 and kind of started taking it serious from there on in.
Was there a certain moment that made you want to start making music together?
I think it kind of happened straight away because we were all really close friends and we all enjoyed playing music. We were just literally in a garage with each other for months, just playing some of our favourite songs and writing songs together so it was more just out of the love of music really.
And did you have a similar idea of what you wanted the band to be like? Was it fairly harmonious?
We all had a really wide range of influences growing up but where we all found our common ground was in the mid-2000s indie style. Craig liked everything from Motown to hip-hop and Dean played heavier stuff when he was younger, but where we really all found common ground was with bands like The Killers and The Strokes and stuff like that.
Classic. Did you buy all the leather jackets and skinny jeans and really just get into it?
Yeah! That was us. We were the kids in school who wore the skinny jeans…
And with your name, what was the idea behind The Academic?
We were playing under so many different band names when we were growing up in school, but when we started to write the songs we were showing up to places and people didn’t really know our name so we sat down and made a short list of names. We were all reading Catcher in the Rye at the time and that was a big influence on how we started writing songs, and so I skimmed through that book and the word “academic” was in the first two or three pages so that was in the list, and then it made sense cause we were all in school together and that’s kind of how it stuck!
Amazing, and you’re dropping your new song “Permanent Vacation” today. Can you tell me a little bit about it?
It was written in a session where we had a guitar riff that sounded a bit nuts and then it was switched to become a drum thing and then it became this kind of 60s sounding beat with kind of a punk back beat in the verse. It was a really easy song to write and the lyrical theme was always going to be something about the idea of never wanting to come home from a holiday becayse you’re having too much fun type of thing. It was written in the summer so that’s kind of what that was about at the start when the song was created. We’ve been playing it for quite a long time now and I think it’s a band favourite at this point.
Amazing and you’ve announced your debut album Tales From The Backseat as well! Without giving too much away, what can you tell me about it?
So we recorded it in Los Angeles and it’s very different, I suppose, from our original EP. It was very much a labour of love. I mean we were in the studio for two months recording it every single day and it was just an intense and fun experience.
If you could have people take away one kind of feeling from it what do you want people to feel after listening to your debut record?
I guess like, it’s a happy album and so the experience should be enjoyable. You shouldn’t come away feeling sad, and if that happens you don’t like it. But yeah, it’s like upbeat for most of it, like an indie album that you can throw on at a party
Non-stop indie bangers basically?
Well kind of! But I think the stories are about growing up as teenagers, and everyone goes through that, so I think there’ll be a story in there for everyone to kind of get off the album I think.
You’re in America now. Did you ever think when you first got together as a band that it would get to the point where you’re recording in America and about to release an album?
No, I don’t think we were expecting this at all! We were just a band that wanted to show up to venues and play gigs and we never thought about recording the album until it got a little bit more serious. It’s a kind of surreal thing for us to be recording in Los Angeles now and then getting to go tour it like in kind of amazing venues. It’s an amazing experience for us so you just kind of take it as it comes really.
Yeah cause you’re about to go on tour with The Kooks as well, right?
Yeah. Once we get home from this US tour we’re pretty much straight into European tour with the Kooks.
Being self-confessed fans of 2000 indie music, do you think you’ll be able to play it cool around Luke and the gang?
We’ll try to play it cool but they do have some tunes…