Art vs. Science are a three-piece dance band from Sydney, Australia formed early in 2008. The group consists of Jim Finn on vocals and keyboards; Dan McNamee (styled as Dan Mac) on vocals, guitars and keyboards; and Dan 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.
Art vs Science formed in Sydney in early 2008, after Dan McNamee attended a Daft Punk concert in 2007 and convinced his former high school friends, Jim Finn and Dan Williams, to form an electro-pop dance band. The trio having previously played for a number of years in a rock band, Roger Explosion, together with Finn's brother Tom. As Art vs Science with 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.
The band gained wider recognition by winning radio station, Triple J's Splendour in the Grass Unearthed competition. 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" receiving significant airplay, with "Flippers" reaching No. 44 spot in Triple J Hottest 100, 2008.
Art vs Science’s debut self-titled extended play, Art vs. Science, was recorded at Big Jesus Burger studios in Surry Hills with producer Simon 'Berkfinger' Berckelman (Philadelphia Grand Jury) and released in May.
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.
t reached No. 6 on the iTunes download charts (No. 1 iTunes Dance charts), peaked at No. 32 on the Australian Singles Chart and has since been accredited gold record status. The band undertook its first headline national tour in May 2009, which completely sold out. The band then undertook an extensive national tour, designated as "The Eiffel Tour", in August 2009 which also had several sold out shows.
They were nominated at the ARIA Music Awards of 2009 for 'Breakthrough Artist Single' for Art Vs. Science. 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 song "Parlez Vous Francais?" was added to rotation at community radio, Triple J and Nova 969. The song was voted in at No. 2 on the Triple J Hottest 100, 2009. The video for "Parlez Vous Francais?", directed by Alex Roberts, was also 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.
"Hollywood" was featured 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 Australian singles charts. The song Magic Fountain, also reached No. 9 in Triple J Hottest 100 for 2010 announced on Australia Day 2011.
At the 2010 ARIA Music Awards the band received three nominations, 'Best Dance Release', 'Best Independent Release' and 'Best Video' for Magic Fountain. As from October, Art vs. Science were recording their debut album in Queensland with producer Magoo, and expected it to be released in February 2011.
The band's next song, "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 2010. At the same time the band was named as one of the support acts for The Chemical Brothers Australian tour in March 2011. Art vs. Science signed with Kobalt Music Australia, the label's first local signing. Their album, named The Experiment, was released in Australia on 25 February 2011.
Art vs Science have the support of Australia's national youth radio station Triple J and are widely acknowledged to be one of Australia's best live acts though the band's album reviews have been somewhat polarising. Rolling Stone awarded the album 4/5 stars, saying that the 'debut album from festival favourites perfectly captures their intense, slightly crazy live spirit'. Blog Polaroids of Androids were less than kind Website 'The Vine' praised the band and the album, saying '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 4/5 and Album of The Week status.