There’s a constant sense in the Art Vs Science camp that they can get away with anything, which is probably why they do.
It’s probably partly the psychological advantage of two members of the band having law degrees, and the third being a pilot. “Dan [Mac] and I both have law degrees, so we can take on all the litigious enemies of Art Vs Science,” says drummer Dan Williams. “And [keyboardist] Jim [Finn] is a pilot as well, so if we fail, he can just fly us to a neutral country or something…”
The band formed in 2008, not as a joke exactly, but "more like a misunderstanding of dance music that we liked,” says Williams. “I think we thought, ‘We can be like Daft Punk and Justice, we’ll plug keyboards into our guitar amps and try to make as much noise as possible!" Now, he thinks they sounded nothing like Daft Punk, but they were booked for gigs in 2008 before they even had any songs, so a vaguely misguided attempt at imitating their heroes has worked supremely well for Art vs Science.
The band who wrote Parlez-Vous Francais? have said that actually beneath it all, there is depth and meaning in the music. “There’s obviously songs that aren’t meant to be taken seriously, they’re just some fun,” Williams says, “But many a true thing is said in jest, and we try to say something strange or something real in amongst all the ridiculousness."
The latest single, Creature of the Night, which is a classic Art Vs Science wacked-out electronic party jam, is about “night time versus day time and the allure of hedonism”, Williams says. The video clip marks singer and guitarist Dan Mac’s directorial debut, and features keyboard player Finn dressed up as ‘Gwendoline’.
“So Dan was saying, ‘Gwendoline, in this part you’re really distraught and you’re running through the forest away from the moon goddess and the sun goddess, who are both vying for ownership of your soul, so just portray that on your face while you’re on this cart, being led by this strange yeti that’s pulling you through hyper space. Ok go'!”
After watching it, it’s not surprising to learn that Art Vs Science are big fans of The Mighty Boosh. “It’s obviously absurd,” Williams says. “But within it all, I feel like it’s saying something about imagination and friendship and all that kind of stuff. So among all the absurdity [of our music] hopefully there’s something to latch on to.“
The band has been described as having musical ADD, but Williams says “I never thought about it in that way. I guess maybe it sounds like that but to us we don’t make it in that way, a lot of it is very deliberate and I don’t ever feel like we’re just randomly doing something, there’s usually been some sort of considered approach about it. So I don’t know, people with ADD, do they consider their approach? I’m not aware of all the permutations of the conditions so I can’t really use it as an analogy anymore.”
Williams isn’t quite sure why what Art Vs Science does is working. “But we realised that it’s better to be loved and hated than to have a shrug of the shoulders reaction to everything that you do.”
Art Vs Science
When: August 15, 8pm
Where: Transit Bar
Tickets: $20 plus booking fee from moshtix.com.au