I caught up with the Academic ahead of their Newcastle show to discuss their career, influences and what's next...
It’s really nice to meet you all, I’ve been listening for quite a while so It’s really nice to get to talk to you, you know, one on one, and you’ve just come back from, was it Glasgow?
Stephen: “Glasgow last night”.
How was that?
Matthew: “Yeah the Glasgow crowd are always one of, if not the best crowd in the UK”.
So the Newcastle crowd have something to compete against then?
Matthew: “(laughing) Well we've only actually ever done a festival in Newcastle so far”.
Oh so this is your first-
Craig: “Yeah this is our first Headline in Newcastle”.
Matthew: “It’s a beautiful city. I think it’s probably one of my favourite cities in the UK, cos it’s a big college town right"?
Is the second date on your tour is it?
Matthew: “Well, second to last date of the UK tour”.
In terms of Pre-Gig routines how do you get ready before you go out on stage - I imagine Budweiser is involved quite a lot?
Craig: “(laughing) That's an integral part of it. We don’t pray or anything like that".
Where did the name ‘The Academic’ actually come from?
Craig: “We pulled it from a book, we were just looking at a book that we read in school called ‘The Catcher in the Rye’, pretty famous book, and we just grabbed that and it stuck. It made sense because we were all in school and the book is about growing up together and the journey into adulthood which is were we’re at right now in this chapter, and our lives”
So did you all meet at school then? And were you all playing music before you met?
Matthew: “Well, me and Stephen are brothers. We all properly started playing music around 13-14 and we all started playing at the same time. We would bring acoustic guitars to school and jam during lunch time or whatever. But this final line up never properly happened until the age of 18, and it all started from there".
And I’ve also seen you guys did some work at the Abbey Road Studio, I can imagine that was a big event in your music career?
Craig: “Yeah that was something special. We did a bit of an acoustic EP that we got to perform there. And just to see, you know, ‘The Walls can talk’ but it feels like they do a bit, and pianos where John Lennon's’ cigarettes are stubbed out”.
Are the Beatles a big part of your inspirations as a band?
Craig: “Yeah, they’re massive inspirations". “We’re all definitely big ‘Beatle-heads’, if that’s the word".
Are there any other acts that have inspired you?
Craig: “What we kind of experienced was the early 2000s Indie Rock, with bands like The Strokes. And then New York thing, and then getting into bands like Vampire Weekend got us into their kind of guitar music."
What is your songwriting process?
Craig: “We used to start with just like a core melody. I wouldn’t think as much lyrically when I was younger, you’d just come up with something and if it sounded good and went with it I wouldn’t second guess it. The album we have at the moment is a more youthful approach t song written, but it’s more lyrically motivated with ‘I want to have a song called this’ and then
the song name will inspire the lyrics behind it. It can be a mixture of both. If you have a good
riff that you, you’re I’m going to work it into a song”.
Lastly, what advice would you give to budding musicians?
Craig: “It sounds like a no-brainer but just gig as much as you can. Yeah take no shortcuts, get in a band and just play and write as much as you can as well. We’re very much a template for the kinds of bands that just gig in pubs for as much as they can. It’s a series of very slow building blocks, but sometimes there’s luck involved and you meet a certain someone and make a certain connection".
Matthew: "That is an element that you can’t account for. I think, yeah, it’s the typical ‘gig and write as much as you can’. You can be in a band that records a song which blows up online and you think ‘we want to gig here there and everywhere, but you’re just not a band. Experience will help you get yourself together and put your best foot forwards, but yeah definitely playing live".
Dean: “Putting in the hours live is really worthwhile for sure".
The Academic tour continues throughout the UK and Europe: https://en-gb.facebook.com/theacademic/