A Waxx Lyrical favourite, Big Scary stems from Tom Iansek (vox, guitar, piano) and Jo Syme's (drums, backing vox) reaction to being labelled as "artists", at its core the Melbourne outfit's second album 'Not Art' reflects upon the relationship between the artist and their art. And trust us when we say, "it really IS art."
Contemplating the artist's journey, their search for meaning and their interpretation and recycling of other's art to help them make sense of their own, or even how the art can take over the artist's life.
Said Tom Iansek, "In a nutshell, it's not that Not Art isn't art, it's just that creating art wasn't the goal of this album. Thoughts of creating something artful, even something original or catchy were removed from the process."
From the first tracking to the final master, Not Art was nine months in the making. Recorded and produced by Tom Iansek, and mixed by Grammy Award winning Tom Elmhirst (The Black Keys, Adele, Amy Winehouse) at Electric Lady Studios in New York, Not Art was shaped in between travel, work and touring their debut LP, 2011's Vacation.
Not Art sees the alt-pop outfit continue in a musical direction only hinted at on their seasonal EPs and debut album. Discussing the album making process for Not Art, Iansek said, "In a lot of ways I wanted it to be the opposite process to making Vacation. I (initially) wanted us to control the entire process from start to finish. I didn't want the constraints of having a certain amount of time in a studio and I wanted to begin recording unfinished songs to let them develop in their own time throughout the recording process."
While hip-hop has been cited as a major influence on Big Scary's song writing and production on Not Art, an homage to Joy Division, Phil Collins and The Smiths can also heard on the LP. With contributions from guest bassists Ted O'Neil (The Vasco Era) and Graham Ritchie (Emma Louise), gospel choirs and musical genius Tom Elmhirst, this amalgam of sonic influences have resulted in a stunning sophomore release showcasing Big Scary's own unique sound.
Discussing the artwork of album Not Art, Iansek said, "I saw artist Adam Stone's work at a photography exhibition in Fitzroy and I liked how the art of photography interacted with the object, and in particular a natural object, as it makes you question who the artist is in that work: mother nature or the photographer?"
"I also love how hyper-real the leaf looks, and how detached it is from its natural environment. I thought there were some obvious ties there with what we're trying to do with the music, i.e. taking elements from different genres and placing them on our own canvas, perhaps where they don't particularly belong."
- 1. Hello, My Name Is
- 2. Luck Now
- 3. Harmony Sometimes
- 4. Belgian Blues
- 5. Phil Collins
- 6. Twin Rivers
- 7. Invest
- 8. Lay Me Down
- 9. Why Hip Hop Sucks in '13
- 10. Long Worry
- 11. Final Thoughts, With Tom and Jo