Australian rockers The Art have been dividing their time between Sydney and the US, while working on new music, touring and playing as many gigs as they can. With a new album on the horizon, Loud caught up with the group in Los Angeles for a quick chat.
Q: You’ve been in the US for quite a while now, what have you been up to during the last 12 months?
A: During the last 12 months we released our latest album in Australia, which was pretty successful. We’re an independent band and it went number 14 on the ARIA charts which is a big deal for us. We’re a band that have sort of felt that we haven’t really received a lot of support from the Australian industry but it’s pretty cool that we got there… so we’ve just been touring and doing SXSW. Now we’re just focusing on our new record. We’re about 20 songs in. We’re trying to get up to 50. We just want it to be like, sort of our masterpiece. It’s in the vein of our last album in that it will be pretty eclectic. It should be violent and soft and beautiful too, kind of like making love. (Laughs).
Q: You’re back in Australia soon, what’s the plan while you’re around?
A: We like going home to where we’re comfortable and the plan is to get a whole bunch of material together and then bring it all back to America and record the album here. Kind of like the way we recorded our first album.
Q: Do you feel like you’re bigger in the States?
A: We’re actually pretty big in Japan. Our video was number two there not too long ago! We’re getting played on K-Rock in America though, and that’s huge for an Australian band.
Q: What’s your fan base like at home in Australia?
A: At home we have a very strong, loyal fan base but Americans seem more into our music. They love our shows. In Australia it takes a bit longer for our message to get across. It’s almost like in Australia you have to apologise for rocking! We’re big rock stadium wankers and we can’t help it. (Laughs).
Q: You’ve supported some amazing bands in your time!
A: In 2010, we felt like we belonged in stadiums. It was kind of like, ok this middle-aged man who runs this radio station hates us, cool, but Frank Black and Marilyn Manson love us and they asked us to tour with them, so it’s kind of like we’re pretty lucky to always have a channel in getting our music out there.
Q: Before you play a show, do you have any rituals?
A: We give each other a hug right before we go on stage and try not to get too drunk really. After the show, we take a nervous shit. (laughs)
Q: With your new material, is there any one band member who writes most of it?
A: There are co-writes between everyone in the band now. Some of the things we write ourselves, some things we write together. We all have our own ways. Azaria is definitely the most seasoned though, he’s what’s The Art is about and keeps us in check.
Q: Do any of you have side projects going on right now?
A: We all do. But for all of us, THIS is the band. KJ has an all girl band going on too. We’ll never have as good as friends as these guys though. We’re family. We’ve lived together, we’re the only ones who really understand each other and we look after each other too.
Q: Do you ever worry that people might look at you as a goth band or solely a punk band?
A: When we first started, we were less defined as who we were. We were signed to a major label that were telling us that we were too dark but then we came to LA and we got booked straight away. We’re just trying to be ourselves. We are a band that sort of appeal to metal heads but also to girls. We’re an eclectic mix.
Q: Will your new music be different to what you’re previously put out?
A: We’re just building on the same thing we’ve been doing all along which is just a reflection of who we are. We’re taking a few more risks but we’re really finding ourselves. The more we tour, the more we write songs. We all understand how each other work better than before now.
Q: Do you ever revisit your older songs?
A: Yeah, we do revisit some old songs. We’re writing new songs though so sometimes we don’t want to go back… we don’t want to go backwards.
Q: Are you at the point where you feel like you’re making a living from the music?
A: We’re at the point now where we can share one hotel room between us all with two queen size beds. We always have clean underwear these days. We did thirty shows in thirty days the last time we toured America. We didn’t sleep the whole time. We just drove and played. Now we’re trying to look after each other so we can continue feeling good about ourselves. It’s nice to have trivial problems like, how does the washing machine work, instead of, how are we going to fuel up the van?
Q: Where do you see yourselves in the next few years?
A: The Hollywood Bowl! (Laughs). We see ourselves main stage rocking in front of a million people, ideally. Or paying rent from our music. We’d like to see the band do its best work and have the opportunity to record records and tour again a lot. Hopefully the hipster electro fad will die down and rock and roll will become a bit more relevant. It’s up to other bands and us to make good rock and roll too, not just sit around complaining about hipster music.