Art of Fighting - King Hit

Wanna be king hit from the least aggressive band around? Art of Fighting chats to Sandra Moon.


SM: While listening to the CD " Runaways" I really felt as if the band were in the room. How'd you manage to get it sounding like that?


OB: When we recorded the album we were all in the one room, playing all of our main parts live on each take. The microphone positions too, captured a lot of room ambience as well. We've always been pedantic when it comes to the way our records sound, with Marty being a sound engineer in his own right, and all of us being fans of warm and direct sounding records. Our past albums have used quite a bit of analogue and digital reverbs during mixing to try and emphasise the space in the music.


SM: Each track is as delightful as the next with different aural textures: the trumpet, the piano for example. It's hard to choose a favourite as a listener. Which song is your favourite off the album?


OB: Well, I can only speak for myself in this regard as band consensus on anything always eludes us! But for me, it would have to be "Misty As The Morning", because it was such a hard song to write, and such a difficult song for the band to arrange, when we finally got there with it there was an immense feeling of creative satisfaction. I also really like the instrumentation on it, the natural fluidity we arrived at with the take we chose, and the fact that it seems to sum up what constitutes the aural intention of circa 2007 almost exactly.


SM: Was the process of writing and recording as delightful as the finished product?


OB: No, not really. It's a long and arduous process, with Peggy and I (the main songwriters) going to and from rehearsal with the songs, continuing to hone them. It takes us a very long time to write an album, and that mostly comes down to perfectionism. I spend most of my time as a songwriter wondering why on earth anybody would want to hear an average song, or a song too similar to one they'd heard before, so a song has to have something unique and worthwhile in it. That said, we do really enjoy making records together. Song writing is an awesome challenge, so it is a great pursuit. And it can be fun sometimes, especially when one of us is too drunk (normally me), or being hilariously grumpy (normally me).


SM: Why the title Runaways?


OB: Well, it was the only thing we could agree on after thousands of emails containing title suggestion lists. And we like one word album titles too. Then, of course, there are definite lyrical themes on this album of desertion, distance, getting out, travelling far away (or wanting to), and then reflecting on your rash decisions.


SM: Did you ever runaway or think of running away as a child?


OB: No, never ran away as a child. I had a happy childhood so it never crossed my mind. But when I hit my late teens all I really wanted to do was get on a plane/in a car and go somewhere to play some music. That's not really running away though, and there's another word for that: Touring. There's nothing like going out on the road with your black telecaster and your favourite clothes and leaving all your responsibilities completely in the dust.


SM: As an adult it's a little bit harder to runaway but if you had no choice and had to flee your house in an emergency what are three things you would grab before leaving?


OB: My guitars, my favourite clothes, and anything I might find in the liquor cabinet. They're the bare necessities for a quick break into a new life. Oh, and the sensible part of me would probably grab my mobile phone too. That's four I know, but I'm pretty quick on my toes when there's an emergency.


SM: What would be your Thelma and Louise style runaway dream car?


OB: The little car from the front of the record would be the most obvious answer. Actually, having done the artwork myself, I'm still not sure what type of car that actually is. Some kind of old-school convertible. That would seem to fit the Thelma and Louise vibe pretty well. If it were me driving it, it'd be black or silver.


SM: Dream runaway destination?


OB: Copenhagen. I like snowy, sophisticated, beautiful places. Actually it seems I run away to Copenhagen at least twice a year as it is these days. A lot of this new record was written there, and I have many friends there too. So it has a place in my heart. I suppose it's like a second home now, so it's not really running away is it? So, to really run away? Well, it would have to be somewhere in Spain.


SM: Is the "art" of fighting like your CD non aggressive and spacious, to intuit the emotions into a creative outlet and essentially not fight?


OB: Well our name doesn't really mean anything beyond the fact that it was once one of our songs, which itself was named after an obscure 90s Japanese videogame. It's taken on some meanings of its own though, the main one being the irony of the aggressive name and the completely passive music. But I think you are right that much of what our songs are about is the idea that searching your feelings on something and creating a forum for them will help to avoid conflict, personal and otherwise. But, really, it's just a name. It's always funny when people haven't heard our music and think we are some kind of metal band.


SM: What's next for the Art of Fighting?


OB: Well, doing some shows is the main thing. Our first concerts are in the UK and Japan which is strange to play there before back in oz is not something we've done after a record has been released, so it'll be interesting. Then, after these shows, hopefully more shows! Actually, I've gotta run away back to Copenhagen at some point too, to write some new songs.

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