On the back of their latest album release after finishing their Australian tour Big overdrive, Art vs. Science They travel to McLaren Vale in South Australia Wine machine. We caught up Dan McNamee Talk about making an album.
What’s it like getting back on track?
The new songs are going really well. There’s a lot of energy from the crowd and I’m pleasantly surprised that they know so many tunes. We spent a lot of time fine-tuning the setlist to really flow. I think the new songs come at a point in the show where we’ve had some buzz. It’s a bit of a give and take. It’s also more pocketable than some of our earlier ones. You look up and wonder if people are into it, and they are. They are dancing. Not dancing, but dancing. It’s good. It feels good.
I was listening to the album in the car and thought it fit the Art vs Science style well. There are some that are more danceable and some that are slower.
Yes, it is different, but it lives in our world.
What kind of challenges did you face while making the album?
A large part of her thought a lot about him. It’s so easy to try to make everything perfect, but never get there without letting go. He can’t play anywhere. I was also out of Sydney due to COVID. We’ve gotten to the point where we’ve been working on it for years. We had to come up with something. Fortunately, there were a lot of good ones, so we had to skip a few. But we couldn’t leave it any longer. Everyone has babies and stuff. Turn on the music.
“Sweat” was the first release from Big Overdrive and I think it’s my favorite song on the album.
I think part of making the album changed how we write and record. I wrote most of it. Then Kim Moyes begining presets He did almost all of the beat production, which was completely different from how we used to do it.
It has that “preset” feel to it.
They were idols of ours growing up, so it was fun to include it in ‘Sweat’. But it was just a drum machine jam during jamming. Jim pushed me to do something from “In Da Club.” I fired up a crack and came up with a riff, wrote it all on an Elektron Analog Rytm, which is a fun drum machine, and then Kim put his own production on it. He kept the riff, kept the bass, but put in the drums.
Sometimes the simple songs are the best.
absolutely! Check out “Flippers”, one of our early ones. The simplest song you can imagine. The main premise of a riff is one note. Just a cool sound with just the right kick.
That’s what people expect. They don’t want to think too much.
Exactly, but we’re hyper-rational creatives who think every song should go on some weird, twisted journey. After some time we just go through the hard drive and find one that was almost finished and turn it off.
So does that mean you have a few songs left for the next album?
We do, but it has opened the door to many processes that were previously forbidden. Like “Check out the Boombox”; I made this with Dan Drummer. For a long time we thought we couldn’t release it because Jimmy wouldn’t play it. But then we thought yes, we can. Why not, just do it. Just pull out the rule book. For a long time we thought that we were quite stifled by the idea that a song should be completely democratic from conception to release. It’s like three people in the kitchen: one person is trying to make spag, one is trying to make Thai curry, and the other person thinks it’s corn. They all try to put it in one bowl. Someone needs to say tonight that it’s a swamp, so if you want to help, you can chop the basil.
When you think about The Beatles, they all had individual songs.
exactly I really enjoy jamming with Dan, the drummer. This is my favorite way to write and how we wrote many of the earlier Art vs Science songs. Me, sitting in his garage, keyboard plugged into a guitar amp. Once it’s written, enter Jimmy and he’ll add flavor.
How has covid changed the way you write songs?
Jimmy and I used to write songs ourselves and share them back and forth. I know a lot of what I wrote, except “Sweat” never saw the light of day. Frankly, Dan didn’t care about them. Which meant I would have to make the drums myself. I tried to produce them with Jim, but they wouldn’t go. They sit on a hard drive waiting for the right producer or the right moment.
Musicians always seem to have more music stored on their hard drives than released.
Well, it’s very easy to start a new one. Turn on the keyboard and click one note. I started doing a thing called a lucky dip where I would set a timer and pick an instrument. I have to do a song in half an hour. It’s not that hard to do. You can finish the song 80% formed. Completion is something that can take a lot of time. Although I don’t think so. I’m watching King Giz And they are so prolific. My understanding of their workflow is that rewrites are minimal. It’s a lo-fi kind of aesthetic, full of vibes and distortion, but that’s the goal, I guess. Some people like a well-crafted song. I appreciate that, but on the record, love is a vocal character.
What I like about your voice is that it has this raw edge to it. It feels real, and when you go from recorded to live, there’s no real loss of fidelity.
Exactly! For starters, Dan is a sick drummer, so it’s nice to set up the mics and run a bunch of guitar pedals. Because it’s so tight to begin with, you can mess with the sonics and it won’t fall apart. It just adds up. You hear the harmonics of the snare and the sound of the room it’s in, so you start to reset it. I find it amusing. Like the Beatles, I like to break down the mechanics of melody writing and interlude structure and composition. I’m actually into heavy metal, I love people who play really well live in an interesting way.
Real rock and roll is about getting lost in music.
like Bon Scott and ღღ – ღ epoch; Find a good sounding room, wait for the atmosphere to settle, and put it in after a few takes, or even one take. You also get a moment, which is cool.
Art and Science runs through the South Australian Wine Car Show this weekend. is this your first
We have made several wine cars. We also made a snow machine. The fellow who sets him up, “Muse” in Falcona, is actually a school friend. He was kind enough to invite us several times to this moving carnival. His MOB is “I want to throw a big party with all my friends, so let’s find a way to do it and get paid.”
He has a great lineup with San Cisco, Flight Facilities, Lime Cordiale, Cut Copy…
Cut out a copyis sick I have never seen them. This is going to be really fun. It’s the last show of the year for us, so I want to extend it a bit. There will be a lot of old Muso friends, so I’ll have a bit of a fight.
There’s a positive vibe in the air now that music festivals are back.
Festivals are very good. That’s why we got into this game in the first place. They still feel good. There is something unique about tens of thousands of people gathered to hear music. Meet new people, connect with new people, dance, feel free… all of it. It feels strangely tribal. I remember once walking up to a flock of corellas in Centennial Park. A fresh patch of flowers must have been especially delicious. It was a festival for them. It must have been about 50. Some tried to mate. They roam around, some of them were fighting. It was raining. There’s something about it with people. I don’t know why we do it, but it just feels good. It’s good to finally be able to get going again. We did a wine truck in Newcastle and he was sick.
Tickets for The Wine Machine at Serafinos in McLaren Vale on Saturday 17th December are available here.
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