Bachelor Of Arts Interview
Bachelor of Arts play aggressive, minimal, jerky post punk with creative driving beats.I spoke to the super nice Angus from the band about Stanley Kubrick, travelling to Germany and the trials and tribulations being in an independent band.
How did you guys get together?
Bill and I were working on some ideas together and initially, Kevin our bassist and I were planning to start a separate, more intense project. We ended up merging the two ideas and replacing a lot of the keyboards and effects of the first phase of songs with more aggressive sounds. Pretty much BOA Mk1 – which exists now only as a few hundred demos floating around and a pretty amusing VICE interview if you can find it – is a completely different project to what we do now. It’s funny also that a label in Spain got onto us and released the demo over there a while back. I’m not sure what they think of how it’s all turned out so far.
You guys seem to incorporate a range of influences into your sound rather than having one from a direct era or scene. When it comes to writing do you guys go in with a specific sound in mind?
We write pop songs and that in itself is pretty much timeless in its aesthetics. Most of our songs these days are written together in the rehearsal studio but when it comes to more worked out individual ideas, we often record with very specific influences in mind, email them to each other then finally work them out and adapt them back in the studio. I wouldn’t say that we’re exclusive about maintaining a sound, especially considering our rebirth, however we are very keen to make sure that the songs we write best represent the group as we see it at the time. It happens quite a bit that we’ll agree a song is good but it’s just not right for BOA.
When you write do you go for the more traditional singer/songwriter feel starting with a guitar or are you more beat influenced
Definitely beat influenced; either that or repetitive patterns within the guitar or bass. Often we don’t really play particularly complex passages compared to some of the stuff we scheme about and it’s definitely a priority to streamline and refine but always have the parts working so that we can really go for it when we play live. There’s a few tracks on the album that fit into the whole noise movement too. We’ve always been pretty keen on that stuff; it’s a nice stab into the otherwise pop direction we’ve been going along. It’s funny calling what we do pop – it’s definitely within the loosest constraints of what you might otherwise associate with that word.
What movie do you think your music would best accompany and why?
2001: A Space Odyssey. The future, the past and some neat cryptic stuff that no-one truly can understand. Hmm, maybe it works in theory but probably not in reality. I’ve been checking out some Guy Sherwin shorts recently and it’d be exciting to work with a filmmaker of that direction; someone who is working intricately with light-space and visual rhythms.
Are film and books direct influences on your sound?
Yes; I tend to think that a group can’t help but be influenced by everything. I mean, we don’t exist in a vacuum. I live with two visual artists so there’s always a steady stream of stuff to get inspired by but I guess that overall, I tend to get influenced by the conceptualism of folks like John Cage or Kasimir Malevich more than anything else. It can be a bit hazardous. On the flip-side, Bill is very well read and tends to draw from some really interesting works. Our album Infinite Jest has a literary namesake if you hunt it down.
Where do you guys feel more comfortable, studio or on stage?
Ah, of course; the age old debate. Both have their merits. We began in the studio so it will always feel natural and we are lucky to be able to move so quickly in that environment. But really, right now, we’re about playing live. There’s a certain characteristic that music takes on when you have the luxury of it surrounding you.
What are some of the difficulties facing a young indie band?
I think mostly the attitude that by being in a band, you’re the most important person in the world. Sure, everyone is important but c’mon, really? My favourite groups are without fail, genuinely nice people who do what they do because they love it. The ones that succeed, if that’s something that matters to you, aren’t generally the ones that intend to from the outset. In fact most bands i really love come to exist by a series of chance accidents. It’s really easy to make art, it just seriously matters whether or not you’re doing it for the right reason for you.
Plans for the immediate future for Bachelor of Arts
At the moment, we’re really excited to be releasing our debut record Infinite Jest in Australia. Early next year we’re putting a split 7″ out with NYC band Dinowalrus in the US and also are doing another vinyl release with some more good friends from Brooklyn a few months later.
Are their any plans to take your music overseas?
Yes actually. After the album release and tour, we’re taking a few months off to work on stuff before heading overseas to play some shows and release the album elsewhere. At the moment we’re scheduled to be in Germany around February then off to a few more places after that. I can kind of see relocation working for the band at some stage along the line. Maybe, maybe not. We feel pretty embedded within Melbourne at the moment.
Now can you give me your best over the top NME style description of the band?
I believe a magazine writer once called us “Brash-In-Your-Face-Jerky-Post-Rock that makes you want to slam your face into a wall” – or something of that effect. I don’t really know what the NME would think of that. I mean, I don’t even know what I think of that really! We’re just making music; other people can work on the slogans.
Tour dates below chump-a-trons!