LP Walkthru: Art vs. Science - Big Overdrive
Get the story behind the songs on beloved Sydney/Eora trio’s long awaited third album
Image Credit: Pat Stevenson
For nearly 15 years the Australian trio of Jim Finn (vocals, keyboards), Dan McNamee (vocals, guitars, keyboards) and Dan Williams (vocals, drums) have been crafting their unique brand of indie infused electronic music as Art vs. Science. With a slew of anthems under their belt lifted from a number of EPs and albums, it’s been seven years since we were last blessed with a full-length Art vs. Science release… until today!
The all too appropriately titled Big Overdrive delivers on its title, being packed with big tunes layered in all manner of melodies, synthesisers, danceable drum beats and that signature Art vs. Science playful experimentation, not scared to push boundaries and try new things while maintaining cohesiveness and that signature Art vs. Science sound.
Of the release, the trio say “Big Overdrive is a celebration of jamming and making music which is fun, different and experimental. It’s a collection of tracks written over most of the band’s lifespan, with an emphasis on songs which we think are beautiful in their weirdness. The themes of the songs span love, loss, exuberance, life, death and passion. And dancing.”
To dig even deeper into Big Overdrive, the boys were kind enough to tell us the tale behind each track on the album - have a listen and read along below!
We Are Learning
This is a song I wrote when I was in love with someone long ago, and was probably at peak hippiness. It’s about how we can’t really communicate emotions very well as humans, and it’s something we’re still learning to do.
Check The Boombox
A real classic Dan Mac and Dan W jam - we recorded this at a friend’s house in Mt Wilson NSW. It was freezing cold but the vibes were warm and the feeling was swirly.
How 2 Stay High
A tune that arose from a quick and free wheeling jam between Dan W, Dan Mac and Jim - down at Brain Hotel Studios, part of Dan Mac’s house in Thirroul. We were talking earlier that morning about how you can’t try and endlessly recreate the first timer euphoria you experience in a hedonistic youth. And if you can’t do that, how can you keep the vibe alive? How do you stay high?
I Saw You
Dan W was noodling on an upright piano at Magoo’s studio when we were doing The Experiment. That’s how old this tune is and how resilient it must be to refuse to be forgotten and insist upon completion and release. The words are by Dan Mac and speak to his and his loved ones on times of trial and attempts to connect both to yourself and to others.
Is it a Russian sabre dance? Is it the Tetris song? Is it some sort of breaks tune by Freestylers? No! It’s Art vs Science of course, wielding a deadly Yamaha DX21, an Ensoniq SQ1, and a Korg MS2000 being played through a Mesa Boogie amplifier in the bedroom that Dan Mac grew up in on a hot summer’s day.
A glowing ball of light, conjured by Dan Mac and seen by Jim Finn, led the writing of this song from start to finish. It is love, it is possibility, it is excitement. It is DANCE
Deep in the depths of lockdown, Jim Finn asked Dan Mac to write a song about being in a club and feeling that excitement kick in. So he did and then we got Kim Moyes to take it to the next level. SWEAT, SWEAT, SWEAT.
One Other Thing
Manager Claire Collins asked if we’d like to pitch to write the theme song for Double J’s “The J Files”. We all had a crack, and Jim Finn’s tune won the pitch! Dan Mac’s tune was seen by Dan W though, and D-dubs thought it should go on the album. It’s a weird song with some weird noises.
More from the steamy attic room. Dan W and Dan Mac sang the verse vocals in one take into the same mic. The vox were intended as a placeholder until actual lyrics were written, but the vibe was strong and they decided it was finished. Lyrics have been written to fit the vibe and the phonetics. If you’d like, you should listen and write the words for yourself. It’s a musical Rorschach inkblot test.
This song is about galactic ecstasy. Galaxticy. Alien intelligences. Mortality. Euphoria. Death. Life. Dancing. Dying.
Written at The Grove Studios, Moonlight is a weird, weird jam but it’s awesome. If you’ve never actually danced under the full moon, this might give you an understanding of the feeling. However, if you have danced under the full moon, then hopefully this is a reminder why you should care about your mind, and what happens in this great theater of yours.
ART VS SCIENCE TOUR DATES
Friday 30 September, Caloundra Music Festival, Queensland Tickets
Saturday, 17 December, Wine Machine, McLaren Vale, South Australia Tickets