Art vs. Science are an Australian electronic dance band based in Sydney, New South Wales. Formed in February 2008, the three-piece consists of James Finn (styled as Jim) on vocals and keyboards; Daniel McNamee (styled as Dan Mac) on vocals, guitars and keyboards; and Daniel Williams (styled as Dan W.) on drums and vocals.
In 2010, the group toured the United Kingdom in support of La Roux in March and then Groove Armada in May. The trio received three nominations at the ARIA Music Awards of 2010 for their independent extended play release, Magic Fountain and, in 2011, the group won "Best Independent Release" for their debut album The Experiment. The album peaked at No. 2 on the ARIA Albums Chart.
In February 2008 Art vs. Science formed in Sydney as an electro-pop dance band, after Dan McNamee attended a Daft Punk concert in 2007. He convinced his former high school friends, Jim Finn and Dan Williams to join. The trio were ex-members of Roger Explosion, a rock-punk band, which had formed in 2003 and included Finn's brother Tom on bass guitar. By 2007 Roger Explosion had released two extended plays and an album. Art vs. Science has Finn on vocals and keyboards; McNamee on vocals, guitars and keyboards; and Williams (who, at the time, was also a member of Philadelphia Grand Jury) on drums and vocals. The band were booked to play gigs before they had created any songs.
We started jamming for Art vs. Science in February last year. We didn't have any specific songs, we had a loose idea for a few tracks, and our mate asked us to play. We weren't ready but we said yes; wrote seven songs in 48 hours. We tend to work well under pressure.
--Dan Williams, 2009.
In July 2009, the band gained wider recognition after winning radio station, Triple J's Unearthed competition earning a gig at Splendour in the Grass. After playing gigs and festivals, including the Parklife Festival, Falls Festival, Good Vibrations and touring nationally with The Galvatrons, Art vs. Science received a 2008 Unearthed J Award nomination. Their songs, "Flippers" and "Hollywood" received significant airplay, with "Flippers" listed at No. 44 on the Triple J Hottest 100, 2008.
Art vs. Science's debut self-titled extended play was recorded at Big Jesus Burger studios in Surry Hills with producer Simon 'Berkfinger' Berckelman (Philadelphia Grand Jury) and was released in May on the Green label.
We recorded it all in one day, in one session, one mad day; locked ourselves in, with a lot of coffee and a lot of wine. We were set up in a room: it was all very minimal, no metronomes; just the producer screaming at us till we got it right.
--Dan Williams, 2009.
The EP peaked at No. 32 on the ARIA Singles Chart, and, in December, it was accredited gold record status by ARIA. The band undertook its first headline national tour in May 2009, which was sold out. In August, the group embarked on The Eiffel Tour across Australia. At the ARIA Music Awards of 2009 the EP was nominated for 'Breakthrough Artist - Single'. They also received two AIR Award nominations for 'Best Independent Single' and 'Breakthrough New Independent Artist' and won 'Best Independent Dance Album'. With their colourful mix of pop, French electro, and rock they won the Fasterlouder Festival Award for 'Best Local Act' in 2009.
The band's track, "Parlez Vous Francais?", was added to rotation at community radio, Triple J and Nova 96.9. The song was listed at No. 2 on the Triple J Hottest 100, 2009. The video for "Parlez Vous Francais?", directed by Alex Roberts, was nominated for 'Australian Music Video of the Year' at the 2009 J Awards. By the end of the year Williams had to give up playing drums in his other Sydney band, Philadelphia Grand Jury, in order to concentrate full-time on Art vs. Science.
Art vs. Science started to gain international recognition, following the inclusion of "Parlez Vous Francais?" on BBC 1 DJ Kissy Sell Out's cover-mount compilation on UK taste-making magazine Mixmag, airplay on John Kennedy's XFM's show and blog attention, courtesy of a remix package including tracks by Bumblebeez and Nadastrom. XFM also named the band one of the 20 Bands to Watch in 2010. In 2010, the group toured the United Kingdom in support of La Roux in March and then Groove Armada in May. Their track, "Hollywood", appears on the soundtrack of the basketball video game NBA 2K11. The band released its second EP, Magic Fountain, in August 2010, which reached No. 14 on the ARIA Singles Chart. The title track reached No. 9 on the Triple J Hottest 100, 2010. At the ARIA Music Awards of 2010 the band received three nominations, 'Best Dance Release', 'Best Independent Release' and 'Best Video' for "Magic Fountain". In October, Art vs. Science started recording their debut album, The Experiment, in Queensland with producer Magoo.
'Magic Fountain' was very fittingly played by the group in a set that took place directly adjacent to the large mushroom shaped fountain at the 11th annual Bonnaroo on 8 June 2012.
The band's next single, "Finally See Our Way", premiered on Triple J's The Breakfast Show with Tom & Alex on 22 November 2010 and made available on iTunes on 26 November. In March 2011 the group supported The Chemical Brothers' Australian tour. Art vs. Science signed with Kobalt Music Australia, the label's first local signing. Their album was released in Australia on 25 February 2011.
In early 2014, the band released a single entitled "Create/Destroy", as well as releasing a music video for a new song entitled "I Was A Child Once". "I Was A Child Once" is the result of an experimental collaboration and recording project open to the public, dubbed a world first. The project, named "Open Studio" was presented by Pedestrian TV and Ben Sherman, who opened a recording studio at Ben Sherman's Sydney Arcade flagship store for five days in February 2014. The completed video and song was published to YouTube on March 23, 2014.
Art vs. Science are supported by national youth radio station, Triple J, and are acknowledged as one of Australia's best live acts though the band's album reviews have been mixed. Rolling Stone awarded the album 4 out of 5 stars, saying that the "debut album from festival favourites perfectly captures their intense, slightly crazy live spirit". Polaroids of Androids blog were less positive Website, The Vine praised the band and the album, saying its "packed from top to toe with fist-pumping, bass-throbbing anthems, the cheek of Art vs. Science might be the only thing saving the kids from utter blandness". Music review website Mess and Noise gave the record a poor review saying, "The album could be easily dismissed as a one-note act making hay while the sun still shines on their blissfully brainless patch of land". Sydney's The Daily Telegraph proclaimed "this is Australian pop music to be proud of". Australian street press was unified in its praise of the album, with The Brag, Drum Media, Beat and Time Off all awarding the band 4 out of 5 and Album of the Week status.
Jim Finn - keyboards, bass, vocals,
Dan McNamee - keyboards, guitar, vocals,
Dan Williams - drums, vocals