Art of Fighting - Myths and Mysteries

Melbourne band Art Of Fighting have been together for an entire decade now sharing with us some amazing music and achievements along the way. With the release of their third full-length album Runaways, Ollie Brown their lead singer and guitarist says that the decade " has seemed both long and short in some senses. Mostly big events and particular tours stand out" but for Ollie, more than anything the evolving band has only become more them selves along the way."


" It's hard to explain" he tells me over the phone from Copenhagen, " As a band we now have confidence as musicians and are more comfortable with the duality between live and studio music". Moreover, Ollie asserts that Art of Fighting have effectively learned to "focus in rehearsals". It's safe to say that this group has found a beautiful balance between music and day-to-day ordinary life and doesn't let one have greater power over the other and their years together give testament to that.


Ollie remembers looking objectively at being a musician and concluding that it would be a "tough life". But these days it's what he does with most of his time. He admits it is hard to separate the personal and work aspects but " would never change a thing".


As a teenager he was heavily into the grunge scene listening to bands such as Nirvana and Sonic Youth moving into other bands like Pavement and Red House Painters a bit later on. He used to like going to pubs to see abstract bands, always finding them very interesting. His father was a Jazz drummer who played New Orleans style Jazz and Ollie recalls that he used to go and help set up at festivals. These days he listens to bands like The Junior Boys and The Knife, admitting he is a bit of an electro pop stage at the moment, though he is " always listening to a bit of everything".


The aspects of making music that most excite Ollie are the definitive moments like " In rehearsal with a new song and it clicks and everyone gets it and a new song is born." That, and the " realisation of ownership" that comes when a new song is born into the world. Life as a musician has its appeal too. He loves the " general lifestyle" indicating the opportunities that it affords him, for example the ability to be able to travel and see amazing places and get their music heard on a larger scale internationally. As a musician Ollie finds that he has to " turn on and turn off". He admits to being quite obsessive - he decides "R ight. Now I am going to work." And explains that " If I've been working on a song I won't get it out of my head all night". In the nicest way possible he describes his music as a "day job" at times. But this is only because he takes his work so seriously. The structure of doing studio work can be very prescribed but it's how things get done in the most efficient way possible with an end result that is foreseeable to an extent and well planned out.


With the tour for Runaways this September the band has been thinking about trying a few new things in their live shows. It's their biggest tour yet and Ollie mentions that they would like to play a couple of songs a bit differently to how they are normally delivered just to " mix things up". Having said that he adds " Or we could go a completely different way. Don't hold me to that. Who knows?" But going on tour brings with it a change of lifestyle for a period of time. Ollie points out that the thing he loves about going on tour is that " all responsibilities cease to exist. It's dreamlike". Everything is organised for them and all they have to do is follow the plan. The thing he hates most about touring is that when he gets back home all of those forgotten responsibilities come flooding right back into his life.


For Art Of Fighting, winning an ARIA award for Best Alternative Release in late 2001 for their debut album, Wires was a " crazy surreal thing" as Ollie describes. " It came out of nowhere, we honestly didn't expect it". Which was obvious as the band was overseas at the time. Though winning this prestigious award the band didn't change too much. It was a natural progression for the band and could only be viewed as a good thing. " It galvanised us to take it more seriously" and left them with the knowledge and excitement that they would be able to reach a wider audience. Releasing their second album Second Story in 2004 enabled the band to tour overseas in 2006 with a much more developed sounding work.


Crediting MySpace as a useful free marketing tool it has made the band "more visible" than just having their own website. Ollie encourages it as being " Really convenient for people. It's like choose your own radio". You can see all of the bands updates and details for their upcoming Mysteries Tour schedule on their site and check out a few new songs off the Runaways album. After the tour this awesome foursome of the musical world won't be taking any breaks as such. Ollie makes it clear that " It's never full on. It keeps cruising on. Everyone has families except for me now". They tend to take a bit of time between records so they won't be heading straight back into the studio but the writing and playing process is always there in thebackground. They all take their lives outside of the band "very seriously", and in all honesty this arrangement seems to be working wonderfully well for them.

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