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Interview: Bachelor of Arts

Melbourne band Bachelor of Arts have just released their first album, titled Infinite Jest, and are currently on the road in support of it. Angus from the band was kind enough to take time out to answer some questions via email about the album, future plans, influences and Batman.

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Is it hard managing to make an album, tour, walk, eat, when according to your promo shot two out of the three members are missing heads? Is this a recent phenomenon? We seem to remember three heads last time we saw you.

Ah, we're kind of a combined being, so having one head means we're actually pretty normal.

How was the recording process for you guys? was it all pre-written and rehearsed before hitting the studio, or do you find room for a bit of improvisation once the tapes are rolling? Your music comes off as being quite precise and methodical, so it would be interesting to hear if there is any wiggle room once the songs are written.

For the album we were pretty well rehearsed aside from a tune called 'Creative Commons To Three'. More precisely, I had the verse idea but no chorus so we just worked it out as we recorded. That was a pretty fun experience for us and the end result really worked; a really big sounding Juno-synth thing that seems to spring from nowhere. A lot of the noise stuff we do is off the cuff and similarly we really like having room for the grooves to feel good rather than getting too mechanical about it. We definitely try doing takes at different tempos or laying back / pushing on certain bits once we get to have a listen back in the control room.

There seems to be a big backlash lately about the perceived apathy and superficiality of our generation, and we've noticed you address that in your bio and much of your material. The first single from the album is even called Apathy. It would be interesting to hear a few more of your thoughts on the matter as we definitely see it as a theme that is coming up more and more.

It seems that no matter what, there's an awful lot of people not asking questions. The amount of times people will stay at home and not come see a show or even take fight on a cause is remarkable. Perhaps apathy is built into the so called 'relaxed' Australian attitude. I'm not saying that we're always any different but it's definitely something which overhangs our time. The first single you mention has some of the most direct lyrics we've ever done. We even say 'Our generation is apathetic' which is rather direct for us.

We saw you in the now defunct Pitz warehouse in Marrickville a while back, where one of the crowd members was a small child sitting in a tyre. We think you may have even almost taken his eye out with half a broken drum stick at one point. Aren't kids funny? They do the darndest things.

I think I may have hit someone's mum with a thrown stick once as well.

Who, on the local front or otherwise, is influencing you at the moment? We guess you could draw comparisons to Ohana and some other bands that have come to prominence of late that have a mathematical approach to song creation, but maybe we're way off. Any bands we may have missed?

I wouldn't say we're mathematical. What we do might be precise but it's more about telling stories than adding numbers together. I mean, we mostly play with fairly core rhythmic ideas and essentially, what we're about is precision and energy. Similar bands along that front include our good friends Ohana, Swords from Adelaide and bands like Tic Toc Tokyo and Dead-Before-Death Gang in Melbourne. There's lots more really and even more so internationally, most of whom seem to be cropping out of North America. Dinowalrus and Apache Beat are definitely two bands you should check out.

How about artists that are way out of left field that you would cite as inspirations or guilty pleasures? I've been listening to Jeff Wayne's 1970's war of the worlds soundtrack lately, and its deliciously cheesily awesome.

Cool. I reckon that would be pretty ace - I bought a Hair soundtrack the other week. There's an amazing self-titled track by Impi (who are pretty obscure for my liking) if you can find it. Not too left field but been really liking Dead Prez for a while. I think I may have stolen some beats inadvertently.

Aside from the dates in late august, any more plans to tour more extensively? Any big support slots coming up?

We've already played some launch shows in Brisbane and Adelaide and are off to Tasmania tomorrow. Last night we supported These New Puritans which was brilliant; they're excellent folks and hopefully we'll be hanging out again soon. We're taking a break after the launches before heading overseas to tour the album and a split 7".

Two part question: a) Are there any web designers in the band? It's just a vibe im getting. 2) How boring are the olympics? Fencing? Seriously? That's a sport? iii) Who would win a fight between Batman and the entire Georgian (the country, not the state in USA) army? Batman right?

Two parts? I see three, regardless, let's not bicker on the matter.

a) Web designers? Have you seen our site? Ha! Kevin our bassist is a graphic designer though and I do a lot of design work for the band although I have no idea what I'm doing.
2) The Tour De France is much, much better.
iii) Probably Batman, yes.

What comes next after the album is well and truly out there? Back to the studio? Off on holidays? Relief work in Darfur? Armed bank robbery?

Touring the world. Seriously.

Thanks very much again to Angus from the band for taking the time to answer our questions. You can find the album Infinite Jest, released by EXO Records, in any decent record store south of Indonesia, and catch the band at any of the following dates.

Thursday, August 21: The Toff In Town, Melbourne w/ Tic Toc Tokyo + Dead-Before-Death Gang
Saturday, August 23: Bar 32, Canberrra w/ Guests (6pm early show)
Sunday, August 24: Hopetoun Hotel, Sydney w/ Ohana + Ghosts Of Television (6pm early show)

Filed Under
Articles
Bachelor Of Arts
Ohana
These New Puritans

 

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