One of the most important scientific concepts is sound. We use sound to communicate with one another, to get virtually any task done. Sound allows us to react to footsteps coming towards us at a rapid speed, to a tree starting to fall nearby, and, of course, to music. While those first two would probably cause you to move out of fear, music causes you to move out of joy and love. Music is a science, whether our creepy high school teachers told us that or not. And it’s good that three musical scientists are currently figuring out how far sound can really reach within our pleasure pores, even if they’re only bachelors with bachelor’s degrees.
Bachelors of Science are a group of DJing veterans that have come together in one of the most diverse cities in America: San Francisco. Friends Chris Doe and Phil “Rene” Collis (both hail from the United Kingdom) have been doing their thing for roughly a decade. Eventually, they moved to the States, and their “name sort of formulated from certain San Francisco evenings.” Recently, though, they have added a third member by the name of Lukeino “Luke” Argilla, who plays “a little guitar, a little of this, a little of that.” Neither Doe nor Collis are inexperienced musicians, either. “It’s a new chapter for Bachelors of Science,” Argilla says. “We started hanging and working on tunes a bit more, and I became an official member as of last year.”
Doe was part of the underground movement in the UK back in the 90’s and has performed with a number of prominent musicians, which heavily influences his contributions to the music. “The hardcore era in the UK comes into play whenever I’m writing,” he explains. Argilla believes that the local SF art scene really drives him, as well as the city’s culture. The band enjoys electronic pioneers like DJ Shadow but also the soul of Marvin Gaye, the cut-and-paste styles of the White Stripes, Stones Throw Records and The Avalanches, and the epic nature of Radiohead. The trio work at cutting these styles up and creating a new electronic music experience.
“We tend to go with whatever the style or vibe is,” Collis says. “Everything has melded into one. Most drum and bass stays in one style, but we say whatever suits the track is what we’re going to make. We don’t care if it’s heavy, or dub, or indie.” The band enjoys sounding choppy and loose rather than polished like the majority of the other electronic music that exists. “We go through a process in making our tracks,” Collis continues. “We’re very patient. We’ll test our songs with other people and see the response from the radio and the club. Then we’ll take that feedback and adjust it.”
A number of Bachelors of Science tracks vary in their stylistic elements. The band remixed the Home Video song “Every Love That Ever Was” and turned it into a combination of indie-style vocals and a beat that sounds like Lemon Jelly. Then there are tracks like “Ice Dance”, which starts out very trance-y, but then everything gets shaken up with insane click drums. “Ripsaw” opens with evil, low-buzzing noises that could be compared to modern dub-step or to the Crystal Method. But then the beat speeds up intensely, rather than remaining slow, and the track turns into a fast-paced techno jam.
The trio are trying to expand their live show a bit more, rather than just doing DJ sets. Also, within the next few months, they will release a new EP on top of their other LPs, which are already in circulation (Science Fiction and Warehouse Dayz). What the band seems most concerned about, though, is the direction of electronic music (specifically drum and bass) is going. “It’s slowed down a lot now,” Collis explains. “It used to be 175 beats per minute, but it’s gone down now to about 170.”
Argilla elaborates a bit further: “It’s real down tempo now. Everyone has the same influences but is making something new with them…It’s gone so far now that it’s not drum and bass anymore. It’s still drum and bass to us, but people who don’t understand wouldn’t call it that.” Indeed, the line between most electronic subgenres is very blurry, but from the way the band talks about it, they are truly dedicated to the subgenre of drum and bass.
As the Bachelors of Science explore the sounds that drum and bass has to offer, they are definitely making some great music along the way. “We’re not just churning out what’s popular,” Collis promises. “We really resonate with it.” Doe knows this is his life. “We just want to make stuff and stay true to ourselves,” he explains, “make songs we like.” Collis goes even further: “I just want to be a band with an unmistakable sound, like Portishead. I don’t care how much we put out or do, as long as something comes out, it’s perfect and it’s something I’d want to experience.” These guys are living proof about the science of music. We want to feel, whether we’re listening or creating.
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