When I speak to Dan Mac - guitarist, keyboardist and vocalist for Australia's burgeoning electro darlings ART VS SCIENCE - it's just after midday and his hoarse, croaky voice and intermittent yawning are evidence of the previous night's show and its proceeding celebrations. "We should be in Geelong, or at least on our way, but we're still in Ballarat," he mutters with a slight chuckle. "Everyone is still sleeping... I'm so hungover. It was a good show though. It was rowdy, but not too rowdy. It was just right." Although the group has had to constantly placate the feverish, junky-like cravings of a listening public who have only demanded more of the three-piece dance-rockers since their rise to prominence shortly before 2008's Splendour in the Grass festival, they've taken the sudden rise to recognition gracefully in their stride.
As their name suggests, the song-writing process for Art vs Science relies not only on the instinctive, imaginative expression of personal emotions and feelings, but also incorporates elements of observation and deduction, honing their sound according to other people's responses to it. "We want to write songs that people can get into and enjoy the very first time they see us," Dan admits. "We try to write songs that you don't have to learn. It might be risky to be repetitive and catchy, to be one-dimensional, but we try to make up for that with the creativity and originality within our music."
With their self-titled EP having been lapped up by the electro/dance-rock community, the release of their debut LP will be much anticipated. Although they've been together for barely 18 months and have been labeled by critics as a fly-by-night one trick pony, Dan conveys not even a flake of nervousness regarding the writing process for a whole album. "It's going well," he says declaratively. "We have about five or six cassette tapes full of strange noises and big beats. Now we've gotta sit down and throw them all together into some sort of pop song format." Dan goes on to explain that he's purchased a vocoder (voice distorter/synthesiser) but that aside from that, the group will remain a 'live' band, refraining from the use of laptops, backing tracks and pre-recordings. "We come from a rock background and in that scene having a backing track would seem like cheating. A lot of bands doing the dance-rock thing have come from DJ backgrounds, so for them, adding extra drums, synths and loops is just a natural progression."
So when Art vs Science come to town later this month, pop along to the ANU and prepare to get rowdy. Despite Dan's intimation that it is actually possible for a crowd to become too rowdy, it's obvious he prefers activity over passivity. "Some crowds have too many indie types. We've been told that if they're nodding their heads, then that's a positive sign...but it's still not that fun."
Catch Art vs Science at the ANU Bar on Wednesday August 26. Tickets can be purchased through qjump.com.au.