The world of
progressive rock music is
full of some really intesting
musicans who don't seem to fit any
one category. That's how I'd describe
ScienceNV. To find out a little bit more about what makes the band tick...I asked them a few questions.
Rich Kallet: Jim and I met at the
It did not take long to figure out David and Jim would really hit it off. Our first jam session together was on Friday the 13th in February of 2004. That was the day that the cut Number 5 (Really Loud Noises cd) was born and we still have the original take on cd.
By the time The Aesthetic Condition
finished its second CD (Angels of War) in 2005, the four of us had been jamming together on Jim’s visits to SF. We decided to come
together to play at a private outdoor music festival in the
JL: How is it that you came to create the type of music you do? It’s not really the most obvious choice for a band these days.
Jim Heriques: I never sit down and say ‘Now I shall write the ultimate prog tune”. I write what I like to listen to or what is fun to play, and music with a bit of a challenge—prog—is at the top of the list.
Dave Graves: Well, for some of us, it’s not the only type of music we are working on. ScienceNV is a very original amalgamation of styles where our interests intersect. Rich is still very interested in Latin percussion; David and Jim have formed an ambient duo (AmbientBlack) to channel that particular genre, and David continues to write for classical ensembles as well. Larry’s musical background is steeped in jazz and blues. But one thing we all appreciate is variety and tasteful complexity, and progressive rock is, to us, an obvious choice.
Rich: That would have been back in high school in 1972 when the guitarist Eddie Hammel (Hammel-on-Trial) and some other upper classmate musicians who I greatly admired turned me and my friends on to YES, King Crimson and ELP. I was 16 and the first record I ever bought with my own money was Tarkus. In terms of rock music, that’s all I ever aspired to be as a drummer.
Dave: Some of us really enjoyed the 1970s prog bands, but not all of us. I think we backed into ScienceNV and decided this is what we want to play.
Jim: Yes, but not to the extent we thought. I knew about Dream Theatre and Spock’s Beard; for a while XM had a station that played old and new prog, but they cancelled it.
Dave: Not really! We are amazed at the size and depth of the community and its websites.
Band: There was a period of about 50 years where a handful of musicians were able to make a decent living off of recordings. That’s a pretty brief historical artifact – barely a fart in the wind. I love the idea that people can easily get a copy of ScienceNV recordings (at least lo-fi MP3 versions) but of course I would love it more that we’d get paid for most of those listens. I no longer lament this change in our social fabric; gifted and tenacious musicians will still be able to make a living today, just as musicians did in the early 20th century.
Larry Davis: I think an important contributing factor is the fact that the music industry failed to keep up with the evolving technology and ignored how customers wanted to access music. The tech savvy music listening audience did an end run creating an environment where free music was an expectation. Musicians that pay attention to their customers and provide music in a form and format the meets their needs will still be able to derive some revenue from their recordings.
Jim: It really depends on the piece. On Pacific Circumstances, Quadrapole was entirely improvised; Dave wrote the bulk of The Oraborus, and I wrote the bulk of The Devil in Witches’ Toes. Dave provided the thread for Billy Burrough’s Brain and I provided the threads for H1NV7 and Morning Jump and the band took them from there. Then for Conflicted Dave and I collaborated a lot.
Dave: There has been no consistent formula. For example, some of the pieces on our newly-released album started as riffs and we ended up writing some melodic lines to accommodate the riff (H1NV7, Billy Burrough’s Brain). Others were completely written out, with minimal improv (Conflicted, The Ouroborus Variations). Danse Macabre uses the full orchestral score and Quadrapole was completely improvised.
Jim: Nothing official. Give everyone room enough to stretch, have fun.
Dave: We really don’t take ourselves very seriously. That frees us up to do some pretty weird stuff.
Larry: We very much enjoy the creative freedom this allows. People have told us that the great fun we have making this music comes through in the recorded performances.
Rich: That is from Jim and David with my and Larry Jay’s complete blessing. I’m thrilled about our direction and the type of prog rock were creating.
Band: Jim, David and Rich have all
written and/or played classical music: orchestra, opera, etc. David in fact was a composer with the Berkeley Symphony for two
seasons and still writes full orchestral scores with a
Dave: Our albums have a considerable variety of music on them. Outside of prog circles, people usually find at least one cut that they enjoy, but rarely the whole darn thing.
Rich: Our performances have been very limited and in small, private venues
Dave: We’ve managed
to play live infrequently. We have two major impediments: day jobs and distance. With the exception of David, everyone
else has some day jobs that suck up a lot of time. And while most of us are up in
Jim: Not yet, but that’s OK with us. We can’t afford to take time out of our day gigs to travel much. We have talked about it, though; it would take massive planning.
Dave: Nope. But we’d really need to work our live act back up, especially the new studio pieces, if we were going to play at one of the festivals. Another problem is Rich injured his arm last year and is recovering from surgery.
Rich: We’ve begun preliminary work on our third cd. Unfortunately, I tore a tendon in my arm and haven’t been able to practice since July. So things are on a holding pattern. Hopefully, I’ll be back in the studio this coming Spring.
Dave: A third. We are already working on a 5-movement piece (The Ring Cycle) using planetary moon themes, and a neo-baroque piece that will have a string trio. And our faux classical piece for the upcoming album will be Mars.
Rich: That is a very cruel thought…but it’s certainly better than being Tom Hanks with that stupid soccer ball! 1-Dvorak: Serenades (+ Romance in A), 2-Puccini: Madam Butterfly, 3-Rahsaan Roland Kirk: The Return of the 5000 lb Man, 4-Gilberto Gil: Parabolique, 5-King Crimson: In the Court of the Crimson King
Jim: 1-The Who: Quadrophenia, 2-Kate Bush: The Hounds of Love, 3-Oingo Boingo: Only a Lad
4-Yes: Close to the Edge, 5-Genesis:Foxtrot
Dave: Yes – Close to The Edge – lot of themes, never tire of it.
Larry: Wishbone Ash – Wishbone Ash – (1970) made heavily instrumental rock interesting and one of the first bands to feature great dual guitar harmony work.