Music editor Aoileann Kennedy chats with lead singer of ‘The Academic’ Craig, about touring, recording and the band’s plans for 2017.

After two years of non-stop gigging, The Academic are finally looking forward to some time off. In fact it’s something that lead singer Craig is looking forward to the most in 2017. You can hardly blame him. The Mullingar band have been a feature of music festivals and venues all over Ireland for the last few years. They’ve played everything from Electric Picnic, Sea Sessions, Longitude and Other Voices, and have also featured in the line ups of international festivals like Benicassim. They have been steadily releasing music, with tracks like ‘Different’ and 2016’s ‘Mixtape 2003’ getting regular airplay and generating plenty of hype around their much anticipated debut album.

Much of our chat centred on the album. Fans and music lovers have been waiting for its release since their EP ‘Loose Friends’ was dropped in 2015. Craig explained that the band’s main focus for the year is their album. The group have spent time in LA and Ireland writing and recording music over the last few months and have gradually made progress. Although he couldn’t reveal too much about it, he promises that the record will feature plenty of new material, with some tracks coming as a major departure from their previous singles. It would seem that fans won’t have long to wait to finally hear a completed album from the band. As for why it has taken so long to release their debut, Craig explains that their busy gig schedule left them very little time to actually sit down and record. Recording requires taking time out of performing and laying low, something which the band was understandably nervous about. There is always a fear that momentum can be lost.

Their slow approach would seem to have paid off as their fan base is loyal and expanding. They are currently on a UK tour, and bar an unfortunate flat tyre in Brighton, it has been a great success. The band are happy to be playing venues they haven’t visited before and have been surprised by the positive reception in some areas. The boys have had a busy year so far. After finishing a tour late last year, they travelled to SXSW in Austin Texas, playing 6 shows in 5 days. Once their current tour wraps, they return to Dublin for a performance at The Olympia on the 6th of May as part of FM 104’S ‘The Gig’ in aid of the ISPCC/ Help A Child Dublin.

In regards to the rest of the year, the band’s main focus is finally finishing their album. They will be taking a step back from their hectic touring schedule, and won’t be a major feature of this year’s summer festival season.  They are focusing most of their energy on writing and recording. There is pressure to get the album exactly right, something which the band is keenly aware of. The last few years have brought them plenty of praise and acclaim, but this also means that there is a certain level of expectation surrounding their debut. I wouldn’t worry too much. When you listen to their previous releases, it seems doubtful that their album will be anything short of excellent. I for one cannot wait to (finally) hear it.


Aoileann Kennedy  Music Editor