When it comes to Art Vs Science there’s not much you can’t expect from the band. Their live shows turn them into energy-fuelled menaces, their recordings overflowing with pop sensibilities and ulterior motives of rock, and over the past two years they’ve made a name that’s nigh impossible to be unaware of around this country. Introducing themselves abruptly and forcefully, songs such as Flippers and Parlez Vous Francais? planted them firmly on the charts and at the top of many an iPod playlist.
With their latest release Magic Fountain broaching the subject of all things under water, under world preacher and a little bit make believe history, it should come as no surprise when I found them at the most magic fountain of them all; “Sorry it’s really loud here!” screams bassist cum vocalist cum singer Jim Finn. “We’re at Wet and Wild!” he beams through phone. “We’re in line for some rides and there are all these kids running around.”
Sitting tight in Queensland about to record their much anticipated debut album with noted producer Magoo, the band has eagerly taken a day off to enjoy the fruits of the oversized pool life. Interrupted only by the background booms of the loudspeaker encouraging people not to run, it’s one of the few relaxing days the band will have over the coming months. When asked about the album Finn concedes “There’s nothing I can tell you about it really. Not because I don’t want to but because we just don’t know what it will become yet.” Not even an album title? “Nup. We just like to leave it all up to what happens in the studio and take it from there. There are so many songs we have to record, but there is no list of preferences, it’s totally what feels right at the time and what fits together well. We have no idea what the album is going to become” he says sounding rather relaxed.
It’s hard to believe that such a level of success has been reached by a band with just one EP behind them, but Finn puts this down to “A lot of hard work on our part, but also the support we’ve had means we can tour a lot and we didn’t have to record an album before we were ready. I think it’s silly when bands start playing what they think people want to hear, rather than what they think sounds right. It’s so easy to get it wrong, and I just think if your insticts lead people to liking you in the first place, you should keep following them.”
And with that, the interview is placed on hold as the line has cleared and it is now time for Finn and compatriots to get wet and go wild. Ten minutes later a panting Finn is back on the phone exclaiming “We just went on The Claw and The Wipeout. Yeah…they were amazing.”
Aiming to have the mystery album out by February of next year, Finn is quick to promise that the Canberra Foreshore Summer Music Festival crowd will be lucky enough to hear some of the freshly recorded tunes first. “We will have just finished everything off and have a new album on our hands, so I think we’ll be desperate to play some just to see how the crowd reacts to them.”
When it comes to crowd reaction, Art Vs Science is known for getting some of the best; people miming all over the place, using crutches as flippers, and karating kicking their way through four minutes of fun. But Finn modestly explains, “We’re always amazed that people come to our shows. It’s such an honour for people to show up and see us more so than it is for us to play. I’m always overwhelmed when I see people singing along and sticking around for the whole set; it’s so far beyond anything I ever expected. We had no idea what to expect from Canberra the first time we played there, but we had such an overwhelming response from our shows there we really can’t wait to play again.”
And when discussing festivals, well, Art Vs Science is really in their element. Earning a veteran-like status already for their relentless touring and inclusion on festival lineups throughout the summer months, Finn says when it comes to festivals, it really is because they love it. “I’m sure there is no other country in the world that does festivals like Australia…last year we were playing Stonefest, which I found out is the oldest festival in Australia, and this year we’re playing Foreshore, which is one of the newest. There just seems to be more and more that pop up each year. And the lineup for this festival is so good too; we’ll definitely be hanging around all day to watch the other acts.” And just like that, the line disipates in front of Jim Finn and it’s time for another ride.
Foreshore Summer Music Festival
Saturday 27 November at Commonwealth Place, Canberra