Yesterday we had a chat with Dan W (drums/vox) from Sydney dance-rock trio Art vs. Science ahead of filming the music video for their new single – which he wasn’t able to tell us the name of but he did give us some insight into what the music video was about.
Since winning Triple J’s Splendour In The Grass competition for the track ‘Flippers’ back in 2008, the band has skyrocketed into fame winning the number two spot on Triple J’s Hottest 100 earlier this year for the track ‘Palez Vous Francois’. How’s does that feel?
Ahh, it feels pretty nice! It’s certainly a change from what was happening before. It’s been great and it’s been odd. We’ve been doing tours and people have been buying tickets and turning up – that’s certainly something that has never really happened before.
Where do you think Art vs. Science would be if you didn’t win Triple J’s Splendour In The Grass competition?
We like to think that we would be at a similar level of success but just that it would have taken a longer time. We are certainly indebted to Triple J and playing our track as much as they did. We have spoken about this once and we decided that it was kind of having four years of development packed into one year. Without it, right now we would probably only just be releasing ‘Parlez Vous Francois’.
What were you all doing before hand?
Well we all messed around in a lot of bands before this one. I was doing stuff with The Philadelphia Grand Jury and Jim, Dan and I had always wanted to start a weird dance-rock thing. So, we got together and jammed around and then we were like: “actually, this might be kind of ok” so then we did some shows in Sydney. We basically won the Splendour comp about three weeks after the band started. Then after playing that gig everything just went crazy. At the beginning the band was only meant to be a weird experiment, no one intended for it to go anywhere. It wasn’t a genuinely planned bold move or anything, it was just kind of: “Do you want to play some dance-rock music? Well yeah I guess so. Well alright” and then people actually liked it and we were like: “Holy crap!”
Currently ‘Magic Fountain’ is sitting at number one on iTunes. You guys just keep pumping out epic tracks!
That’s what we gotta do! We just want to keep going and to see how loud we can get, how ridiculous we can be before people stop listening basically. That track is definitely the loudest and most ridiculous so far [laughs].
Where do you get your influences?
That particular track was Dan and I running around Parklife, just trying to watch a lot of acts in a small amount of time. We saw Empire Of The Sun which just had so much colour and light and awesomeness on stage and we said: “That is awesome, we should try to create something that’s like that, you know like magical, like a fountain, like a magic fountain!” and it all just steamrolled from there. You can be inspired by the weirdest of things at the weirdest of times, you just need to have a pen and pad with you to jot it all down.
So, the ‘Magic Fountain’ single is out already and we have read that you are just about to release another one. Are you able to reveal the name of the next single?
Ahhhh, I don’t know actually. I don’t think we have been given the go ahead yet [laughs]. It comes out in a couple of weeks and we are just about to shoot the music video for it in a couple of days. I can tell you about the video if you like? Yeah, that would be great! It’s sort of this journey of a strange man in a strange land, kind of in the theme of that old movie with the flying dog, ‘Never Ending Story’. It’s like an extremely super low budget ‘Never Ending Story’-like action sequence. So does that mean you get to ride on enormous flying dogs? Well we are yet to see a finished script, but maybe. I think it might be more like a man in desert that slays numerous monsters in order to achieve happiness. And by the end you learn the moral, however bizarre the moral will be, we haven’t quite decided on that yet. I don’t know, maybe we will have a giant dog in there somewhere.
Speaking of music videos, what’s the story behind the one for ‘Magic Fountain’?
It’s a story of a mad inventor that tries to find his creative essence but loses his mind along the way. He ends up making a jacket out of speakers in an effort to capture the soul of the youth. It’s not meant to be a grand metaphor of the music industry; we just like the idea of an old man in a speaker suit looking a little creepy and wandering around. It looks like it would’ve been fun to make? It was a bit of a nightmare actually, the jacket took so long to make. It’s made up of car parts and stereo parts. Do you still have the jacket? Yeah, yeah we’ve got it. There’s no way we are getting rid of that! Do you whip it out at parties? Sometimes. It’s actually really hard to put on; it takes about half an hour. You need other people to help you get it on and it’s hard to go to the bathroom in it because on the arms there are these valves from amplifiers that make the arms really hard to bend. You couldn’t reach down and unbuckle your pants. I’d imagine it would be awkward then because you’d need assistance? Yeah it would. It could be a weird pick-up line.
We saw you play last at the Bacardi Express in Sydney and I must say, you certainly brought a lot of energy to that room.
Yeah that was the one where other Dan sounded like the Cookie Monster because he kind of lost his voice. It was a fun experience. We had just spent 24hrs on the train before that gig. First time we’ve ever been on a train with a guy that makes cocktails for everybody. We were like: “This is the best thing ever. We are in heaven”. I think we enjoyed it a little too much.
You have recently recorded a track for the Tim and Neil Finn He Will Have His Way compilation. How did all that come about?
We were very proud to have been asked to be part of it. It was very cool, he gave us two choices but we chose ‘I See Red’ because it was kind of not as slow. We had half a day to record it in our friend Luke’s studio in Coogee. The original of that song is so weird and uptight and anxious and energetic and nervous sounding – we just wanted to produce that but with our brand of loudness. We did it all in one take, in a room, after a lot of coffee. If you listen carefully in the bridge you can hear glasses full of water tuned to each note and being hit with spoons. But you have to listen closely. It’s also at the end of the track. But yeah, that was a lot of fun. Im actually looking forward to hearing the full album. I love the Boy and Bear version of ‘When Ever I Fall’ – it’s awesome! I also really want to hear the Philly J’s cover aswell.
What words of wisdom would you offer to anyone that would like to get started in the music biz?
You’re asking the wrong guy. I feel like a creepy uncle when I give advice to people. I think: “Why are you asking me, I’m an idiot”. I guess it would be to just try and do something that you like. You should certainly not do anything that you don’t like or you’ll just go freaking crazy and start hating everybody. So basically, do what you like and try to do it well. And smile at everybody!
You’re playing at Field Day next year and it has a pretty awesome line-up. Are there any acts that you’re really looking forward to meeting or seeing play?
Yeah there is a bunch of them. We are huge fans of The Rapture, definitely those guys. I’m actually looking forward to a new album from them because it’s been a while. We saw them at Parklife last year and they were very very cool. We really dig their whole onstage energy-vibe; it’s something we try to emulate I suppose. Also, Erol Alkan – he’s certainly a pretty cool producer. Justice of course will be very loud. And Sleigh Bells, those guys are very cool too.
Here’s the music video for ‘Magic Fountain’. It really is a sweet jacket:
You can catch Art vs. Science at Field Day’s 10th Anniversary on 1st Jan 2011. What better way to kick-start the New Year?
Field Day tickets are on sale now over at Fuzzy.com.au.
Standard Tickets: $135 + $7bf = $142 (no hidden charges)
‘More Expensive’ Tickets: $195 + $7bf = $202 (no hidden charges)