Access All Areas.net.au: Hey Jim, how’s it going? Jim: We just finished the Parklife tour, it was really good, lots of late nights and early mornings, missing a lot sleep that I’m catching up on now but it was really good.
Access All Areas.net.au: When did you first learn to play music? Jim: The first time I played music, probably when I was about…sort of all the kids in my family learn the piano, mom and dad got us to learn the piano back when we were really little, about five years old I guess. I think that is sort of intense but and the teaching is really good, it is always kind of what we wanted to play and I never did grades or anything like that. I play a lot of Jazz and stuff so from there I moved on to learning drums. Drums are my favourite instruments to play even though I don’t play drums in the band. But yeah moved on to drums and guitar and other things.
Access All Areas.net.au: It’s interesting that your music is created based on human responses to sound. What attracted you to that concept in the first place? Jim: I think just the nature of the music we play and the way we started wanting to play this sort of music was ‘cause going to festivals like Parklife and Good Vibes and things like that, and seeing dance music can have a really big build, sort of drop out certain elements and then have a big build up and suddenly drop the beat and everyone goes absolutely nuts. With our songwriting, we especially write music to think like if we were an audience, what would we wanna hear, like how would we want the song to go like we want to have a big build and drop and then bang, this sounds awesome. I think yeah it’s just how we would respond to it.
Access All Areas.net.au: Have you discovered sort of the most appealing sound to people? Jim: Not a certain sound. I think we discovered a certain thing that happens a lot is in big builds where you sort of drop the beat and bringing everything in together for a big climax that gets fantastic response from the crowd. That is always something that people seem to get into. I think if you find most of our songs have big builds in them often then drops back into the beat. I think that’s the nature of dance music. I think DJing and dance has the same response from the crowd as well.
Access All Areas.net.au: You and the guys wrote seven tracks in two days when you first got together as a band. What was the main inspiration behind all those songs for such a fast writing process? Jim: We’ve been talking to someone who’s just jamming and coming up with a new band and they were like oh we need a band to come and play in this club and we’re like okay yeah we’ll come to it, we promised him we had a whole set of songs, which we didn’t. We haven’t really played in a band properly but we had the idea at the time. So we had keyboards and things so we’re like well, we got a show booked in a few days so let’s write some songs! So we just sat down and wrote seven songs and ‘Flippers’ was one of those and ‘Hollywood’ was another one, songs that we still play today.
Access All Areas.net.au: Do you have a favourite out of all the songs? Jim: Each song is kinda different. I know it sounds kind of weird that I don’t have a favourite but for me personally, I always enjoy playing ones for the crowd like the most, that’s where the most fun is when the crowd is having the most fun. So I think ‘Flippers’ and ‘Parlez-Vous Francais’ because the crowd knows them the best. I always enjoy seeing the reaction, seeing everyone get really excited so, I’d probably say the well-known ones. Those are the ones that definitely make the crowd go nuts.
Access All Areas.net.au: Is it also important for you guys to keep a raw sound, as opposed to electronics? Jim: Oh definitely. We all want it to be clear that we’re like a live band ‘cause we don’t have samples or any backing tracks, nothing like that. Every single thing that the crowd hears is played by us…we really want our sound to reflect that, to sound like a live band. I guess you wanna sound like a live band that’s playing dance music, so we wouldn’t really want to ever go to those clichéd, poppy synths sound and sort of dirty grind, noisy sound.
Access All Areas.net.au: Obviously you guys love performing live, does it beat recording in the studio then? Jim: Yeah definitely. I think playing live is personally my favourite part of the band just because it’s the most fun. You get to play out to thousands of people and just have a fun day. I think I enjoy recording as well. It’s different though, you couldn’t keep touring and doing shows all the time because you’d get sick of it. It’s nice to have the time and go write the tracks and record it, and it’s all very exciting and new when all that happens. The whole process of getting together and writing songs, recording and touring and seeing how that all grows, just how it all works is really good.
Access All Areas.net.au: Which gig has been your favourite by far? Anything that sticks out? Jim: For me, the show at Parklife is probably the biggest I’ve ever played. To go on stage and play to 13, 000 people was incredible, just blew my mind. I mean, the big festivals are always fantastic with the big crowds like Splendour in the Grass and they’re always great fun. Every now and then, we’ll have a fantastic show in a small pub, everything is just working and has a really good vibe. Think we played one in Melbourne, a sold out show for 500 people in this awesome room. Everything was just working well and in the zone I guess.
Access All Areas.net.au: So what has been the more challenging part of being a musician for you? Jim: More challenging part…Getting us on time to catch your flight (laugh) and getting enough sleep to do it all over again the next day.
Access All Areas.net.au: Do you think you guys are gaining more confidence in performing? Jim: You mean confidence in catching the plane or performing?
Access All Areas.net.au: Performing! (laugh) Jim: Yeah I know (laugh), everytime you do something new, you repeat and do it over and over again, you get better and better at it and your confidence obviously goes up, so every show we play, every tour we do, every song we write I guess. Our confidence goes up in all the areas. Not that we’re consciously aware of it but our friends point out you sound so much better and in the last two months, I saw you there, you talking to crowds are getting better and we really appreciate people telling us that and we go oh good, we’re doing the right thing haha.
Access All Areas.net.au: Do you guys often play new songs at gigs? Jim: We try to do that now. For the whole Parklife tour, we were playing new songs, just road testing it, probably gonna be on the new album. So we really like to do that, we like to write songs and then play them in front of a crowd. As I was saying before about how we write the song. We actually have to see the way the audience respond. This one we’ve been playing, we changed a little bit ‘cause I think oh the crowd wasn’t really excited there as they should’ve been, we should change something there to build a bit more excitement or add or take things out. So we really like to play new songs before we record them or finish.
Access All Areas.net.au: Will all the new ones go into the album? Jim: The songs will definitely go on the list for the new album. We have to see what songs we write. If we write a whole bunch of better ones, I guess they won’t. I think the one we’ve been playing so far would probably go on there ‘cause it’s getting a good response. People are asking what’s about it and they go, oh I really love that song you guys played and then yeah I guess we’ll see.
Access All Areas.net.au: What was the name of that new song? Jim: That one’s called ‘Higher’. So it’s just got this crazy sort of scream, and sort of building this rhythm like “HAIIIIIIIIIIYAHHHH!” (laugh).
Access All Areas.net.au: Think that would be appealing to people as well (laugh)… Jim: Oh yeah, who wouldn’t like to scream ‘Higher’, like a karate chant like “HAIIIIIIYAHHHH!” (laugh). That would probably make a fun song to sing.
Access All Areas.net.au: How do you hope to set yourselves apart from other indie artists? Jim: I think there’s not a lot of bands doing lot of live, dance music. But bands like The Presets, I think Midnight Juggernauts are the only entirely live band, I think they are. I mean that’s kind of what we do I think it’s performing live, so yeah I think the sound of being live dance band, I think we kind of have different sounding keyboards as well. I think that’s mainly because they’re not very good except they’re running into very big, dirty amps. The keyboard that I usually use is really old, crappy, Yamaha keyboard. Usually it’s got really sort of weak, unimpressive sounds, when you run up into this big, dirty guitar amp, it’s got this big massive crunchy balls of shaking sounds…so yeah that’s how our sound is a bit unique.
Access All Areas.net.au: Just lastly, what would you like to say to your fans? Jim: Thanks for coming and keep on doing it! (laugh). Just thanks, I’m really happy that they are. Thanks for being our fans.
Access All Areas.net.au: Alright thanks very much Jim, nice talking to you. Jim: No worries. Thanks very much.
Interview by Sandy Tan
Sydney's ART vs SCIENCE formed in early 2008 when keyboardist/guitarist Dan Mac approached his high school friend and confidante, drummer Dan W. (who had just inherited an Ensonique keyboard from a late mad uncle) with a view to making loud dance music. They recruited Jim Finn for bass keyboard duties, and wrote seven tracks in 48 hours after Dan Mac volunteered the trio to play at their first gig, glossing over the fact that the band had yet to make many any music together.
Three months later ART vs SCIENCE took out triple j unearthed’s Splendour in The Grass competition off the back of the impossibly catchy track ‘Flippers’. They were a surprise hit of the weekend, playing to a rapturous crowd of over 5000, raising temperatures higher than they should have been at 1 o’clock in the afternoon, and marking themselves as ones to watch.
ART vs SCIENCE have honed their sound – part pop, part French electro, with a healthy infusion of rock – at numerous festival and gig appearances including Parklife, Falls Festival, MS Fest in Tasmania and Good Vibrations and capped off their dream year with an Unearthed J Award nomination, plenty of airplay for their second single ‘Hollywood’ and the number 44 spot in triple j’s Hottest 100. Their first headline national. tour of May 2009 completely sold-out.