Meet The Academic, the band using the Facebook live delay as a loop pedal

"We thought it would be pretty fucking groundbreaking if we could pull it off"

Did you know when you go live on Facebook, in between pressing go and it appearing on your page there’s a few seconds of delay? Well Irish indie foursome The Academic did, and they managed to use this to their advantage: to create a loop pedal.

Sound complicated? It kinda is; but let us try and explain.

When you press go on Facebook there’s a few seconds before your video goes live. This means that everything you see on Facebook is ever so slightly delayed. The Academic used this delay to create a type of visual loop.

First they pressed ‘go’ on their Facebook live and started playing immediately, creating their first loop. On a screen behind them, they have the Facebook live feed being projected. You see the delay in action, as the band don’t appear on that screen until about 10 seconds after they’ve started playing.

As the first loop appears live on Facebook behind them – The Academic then move onto playing the next loop, and then the next. With the band being filmed in front of the Facebook live, this meant they could gradually build up the song like you would with a standard loop pedal – but instead they did it with their crazy cool (and complicated) visual loop.

The Academic arranged current single ‘Bear Claws’ for the occasion, gradually adding in each instrument until the full band are playing. It makes a bit more sense if you watch the video (trust us):

Frontman Craig Fitzgerald explained the complicated process saying: “by ‘hacking’ Facebook Live we really tried to push our live performance to a different type of level. Everything had to be timed perfectly. From the musical loops to the choreography.”

We caught up with The Academics to find out how they created their viral video:

How did you realize this Facebook looping was something you could do?

“We noticed a delay in Facebook live from the moment you go live, to the moment it actually shows up on people’s walls so we thought it would be cool to turn that lag into a video and audio sampler.”

Why did you decide to use the loop on ‘Bear Claws’? 

“When we looked at the songs we have, Bear Claws was the most natural fit for this specific idea and also it’s our most recent song so people will have been familiar with the original version. We thought it would be cool to show it in a different light!”

Did you anticipate it would be this successful? 

“Not to the extent of how much interest it is getting around the world at the moment. When we talked out the idea we thought it would be pretty fucking groundbreaking if we could pull it off but you never know with these things, we had one shot to make it work and there was no room for error.”

And will there be any other tech-savvy antics like this on your debut album out next year?

“We have a lot of ideas floating around at the moment. We’ve got a few surprises up our sleeve for the album so you will just have to wait and see!”