When James Draper and Jordan Brady were students at St Edward's College in East Gosford, rather than writing mathematical equations, they'd often be scribbling out imaginary albums in notebooks.
At the time they were obsessed with the likes AC/DC, The Living End and Green Day as they created tracklists they fantasied would one day be on their own albums.
"That's what the bands we were listening to were doing and that's what we dreamed of doing ourselves one day," Draper, 25, says. "This idea of the debut album has always been a magic thing for us."
More than a dozen years later Draper and Brady, better known as indie-rockers Winterbourne, will finally release their debut album Echo Of Youth next Friday. The desire to make their debut album truly special, meant Winterbourne has endured a torturously slow build.
In 2014 they released their first EP, All But The Sun. Then in November 2017 they began a six-month recording project between Byron Bay and The Grove studios on the Central Coast which would become Echo Of Youth.
"We really wanted to be sure that the music we were putting out; we were ready to say, 'Yep, this is Winterbourne'," Draper says. "Luckily we've gotten to a place, especially with this album, and the team we're working with has gotten to a point where it feels like it couldn't get any better. We feel comfortable now we can put out a full-length album. We were thinking of doing an album when we released the second EP, but we didn't think we were quite there and didn't want to get to album two and feel like this should have been our first."
The long gestation appears to have paid dividends for Winterbourne. Echo Of Youth mixes their love of Simon & Garfunkel-style folk harmonies in tracks like Sunday Night and Daylight, with their jangly '60s Beatles-style indie-rock of Revolutionary Man and The Actors.
Draper and Brady first met in year seven through a mutual friend. The boys' relationship was initially terse, as they competed to be a guitarist in the same band. On another occasion they both volunteered for the same guitarist role in Sydney. Draper got the gig, forcing Brady to play bongos. On the train trip back to Gosford the two rivals discovered they had common interests and became best friends. From then on they'd constantly jam together at school and afterwards at each other's houses.
"When we first started playing together it was learning AC/DC songs and Green Day, The Living End and Airbourne," Draper says. "We'd go to the same music teacher and then go to Jordan's place and one of us would play Malcolm's [Young] part and the other would play Angus' [Young] part.
"That's where our love of music came from and that's where we started recording music. We sounded somewhere between AC/DC and Green Day. I've got some recordings and it's not good. We were experimenting with singing at that time and we never thought we'd sing."
At their music teacher's suggestion, the pair started listening to Simon & Garfunkel and The Beatles. From there they discovered they could both sing and play guitar as a duo, instead of conducting a futile search for bandmates with similar aspirations.
Between 2012 and 2014 Winterbourne would regularly busk in Pitt Street in Sydney, which in time, sharpened their performance skills and built a solid following.
"We definitely learnt a lot from it and it takes a few goes of feeling ridiculous setting up your stuff in the middle of the street," Draper says. "We did it last year as a one-off as a promotion and it was the same feeling all over again."
Winterbourne's days of playing to strangers on the footpath are long gone. Next month they embark on a European album tour through Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, the Netherlands, France and the UK, before they return home to tour the Australian capital cities.
"It's the most rewarding thing in all of it," Draper says of touring. "We did a show at the Factory Theatre [in Marrickville] and there were 800 people singing our songs and that was just so fulfilling and motivating to keep going. It's years and years of playing to strangers and then you start building that fan base and for that one night it comes back and you're all in the same room singing songs together."
Winterbourne's Echo Of Youth is out now