Do you remember what that first week was like after the band had formed? What did you think about the band at the start, and where did you hope you guys would go?

Craig: It's a hard one to recall, we were so young at the time, remembering an exact week is a bit of a blur to be honest. We all had been in and out of other bands at that time. When we eventually got into a room together for a jam it instantly felt like we had a connection and that we were all on the same wavelength. Dean’s dad had a garage out the back of his house where we used to go to practice. We initially went in to play cover songs, but writing original music happened pretty quickly and it was kind of just a moment of us saying to ourselves 'Okay, this is what we’re doing. Let’s make it as good as possible’. We had no idea where it would go at the time, we certainly didn’t expect to have done as much as we have on the back of only 1 EP release. I mean back then the dream would have been to record an album and to be able to go and play it to as many people as possible.

The Academic in New York City
The Academic in New York City

It feels like these songs tend to pour out of you, and I wonder what do you suspect it is that makes it so easy to make songs together? What do you think it is about how you communicate?

Dean: Growing up together and being best friends definitely makes it a bit easier. Knowing each other so well means that no one is afraid to make suggestions. We all want to make a song the best it can be and that mutual understanding makes for good communication.

Is there a song that after you wrote it/worked on it together, you shared a "fuck yes" moment? If so, what song was it?

Craig: ‘Bear Claws’ was one of the first songs we wrote together as a band and that was a complete ‘fuck yes’ moment. We were maybe 16 at the time and we thought that we had just created something special.

The Academic in New York City
The Academic in New York City
The Academic in New York City

You announced your upcoming debut album Tales from the Backseat a few days ago. Walk me through the journey of that - where was the album recorded and how long did it take to create?

Dean: We started the recording process at the top of this year in Los Angeles and finished it off in London a couple of months back, but the journey probably started a couple of years ago in terms of the writing. We have been on the road so much touring that finding the time to get into the studio for a sufficient amount of time was hard. It was a blessing in disguise because we were definitely much more prepared to record an album this year than we were a couple of years back. We worked with Tim Pagnotta on the record, who was great. His energy throughout the entire recording process was so infectious. We wanted to push these songs as far as we could and having Tim at the helm helped us get to that place where we were all feeling like we had made a great body of work.

Describe to me the experience of listening to the album back for the first time. How did you feel?

Craig: Strange. Not sure if strange is the word we would use, but it was definitely a proud moment. You don’t get to make an album every day of the week. I mean some of the earliest tracks we ever wrote are on this record, it’s like your babies growing up! To hear them back to back with some of the newer material as a full collection was brilliant.

The Academic in New York City
The Academic in New York City
The Academic in New York City

Obviously people have asked you loads about the looper video for 'Bear Claws'. Having the initial idea is one thing, but what was it like to execute it and was there ever a worry about whether or not it would fit the context of the song?

Craig: The execution was always going to be the hardest part, that fear of going live and knowing if you mess up that mistake will repeat for the whole performance, it was intense. We had a good feeling about 'Bear Claws', the chorus has a lot going on that allowed us to build the loops in an interesting way.

Speaking of 'Bear Claws', I think that was the first Academic song I heard. Do you remember the experience of making that track?

Craig: Yeah, pretty clearly. The initial idea was written by myself and Stephen at a sleepover, we just had this “ay oh” hook that got inside our heads. The entire song actually came pretty quickly in the end. It was definitely a moment where we thought, this is actually pretty good. We scraped a few quid together and went in an made a demo of it which served us well at the time.

The Academic in New York City
The Academic in New York City
The Academic in New York City

It's interesting to me that the live experience of The Academic differs from what it's like to listen to you guys recorded. How intentional is that, and do you suspect it'll still be like that on your debut album?

Craig: It has never been that intentional. We played a lot of shows before we even stepped foot in a studio. It’s always going to be hard to replicate that intense live energy from a show on record. It is something we were conscious of going into to record the album but listening back to it now, it feels like a lot of that energy was captured in the recordings.

Lastly, when it comes to your upcoming debut, what do you think will surprise people the most about it?

Dean: I think people might be surprised that it’s not just straight up drums, guitar and bass. We experimented with some different instruments and there are some pretty whacky sounds throughout the album. You might not really notice them on the first listen but give it a few spins and you will start to hear them. Also, I think what might surprise the diehard fans are some of the songs that didn’t make the cut. We have so many songs and narrowing it down was not easy. Hopefully everybody will be happy with the songs we got down!

The Academic's debut album, Tales From The Backseat, is out on January 12th.

The Academic in New York City
The Academic in New York City
The Academic in New York City