We’ve been pretty heavy with the summer sounds sermons lately. And for good reason…
UKF Summer Drum & Bass Volume 2 has just been released and it’s been the hottest weeks of the year so far over here.
Another essential soundtrack for scorching days like we’re enjoying right now is Bachelors Of Science – The Space Between. Five years after their Warehouse Dayz album shocked our collective systems on Horizons, it’s been a long time coming.
Seeped in their trademark organic soul, sunny-side vibes and rootsy jungle dynamics, it’s the sound of a trio who know their sound intimately and take pleasure in polishing it to perfection and has already enjoyed hype from the furthest corners of our ever-broadening scene.
Perhaps most importantly, though, is the fact that it’s the story of an act that has taken great measures to do everything themselves… While most artists start DIY and eventually sign up to larger labels, Bachelors Of Science have learnt their chops on well-known labels and are now doing things on their own terms, in their own way.
“Horizons were amazing,” says Phil Collis, a third of the San Francisco-based trio. “They taught us a lot in terms of how the business works and getting connected. But we’ve built up a body of work and we’ve spent a long time taking ownership of our material. We’ve migrated our catalogue over to our own imprint Code Recordings and to put out our 3rd album on Code is really satisfying. We’ve done EPs on Code, but this is the first full on album with vinyl pressings and everything. It’s the biggest project we’ve done ourselves.”
Phil’s partner in vibes Luke agrees. Listing every role they’ve played in the release of the album, he begins to shock himself at the scope of their project.
“We’ve done every single thing DIY. It’s written, recorded, mixed and mastered by us on our own. We’ve worked with the distributors directly to get the vinyl pressed up. We’ve set up various studio sessions with instrumentalists. We’ve played instruments ourselves, which we’ve done for ages anyway. We’ve commissioned video producers and had a role in directing the music videos as well. This is the first time I’ve listed everything in an interview… It’s pretty crazy to look back and talk about it all. The only thing we didn’t do was the cover art. And next time we’ll make sure we have our hand in that too!”
The end result is a collection of tracks that can work seamlessly as a body of work and slay the dance. Ranging from the pensive, heads down timelessness of the album’s title track to the supersized skank up Back Foot Dub via the slinky, star-gazing halftime roller Kanto, Bachelors Of Science – The Space Between is their most consistent and accomplished album to date. And it’s already received praise from a wide range of notable peers. TeeBee, for instance, has said this…
“I haven’t heard anything like this since the 90s and it warmed my heart. This is the sound that made me get into D&B in the first place.”
“Yeah, the feedback has been amazing,” grins Phil. “Teebee’s comment was great because we didn’t think people with the harder sound would be into it as much. Doc Scott was another one. He came up to us in Fabric and complimented the album. It’s an honour to have the names we grew up with and respected giving us support like that. It means a lot.”
Easily the biggest, and most impressive, achievement of their career so far, Bachelors Of Science – The Space Between should be essential listening for all D&B heads this year. And not just the summer, but any time of the year; the trio have invested serious time into the most infinite minutiae including how the album will be digested in different scenarios, from club to car to every space between.
It’s all air molecules being excited by a force. Those molecules enter your ears, which then transforms and relates in your brain.
Mind you, their dedication to the finer points of production shouldn’t come as shock. The clue, after all, is in their pre-Googlian band name.
“The name came about pretty intuitively to be honest,” admits Phil, who actually has a bachelor of arts degree. “Once you get into production and mixdowns and mastering and synths you’re not just playing with instruments you’re dealing with everything; how stuff sits together, how you’re making different sounds, how everything works and affects things. It’s a whole other level.”
“It’s all science,” agrees Luke. “In the end all vibrations that come of a speaker and all sounds that are created – whether it’s with an instrument or with the branches of a tree shaking around – is all science. It’s all air molecules being excited by a force. Those molecules enter your ears, which then transforms and relates in your brain. Then there’s psycho acoustics which gets deep on a whole other level and peels away how the human mind associates and interprets those sounds.”
“For example, if people in the 70s who had vinyl and all analogue recordings jumped forward 40 years and heard digital sounds they wouldn’t enjoy them at all because everything is so compressed and crisp. It’s the same if you play an old record on an old system to a kid who’s only familiar with digital textures… They’ll think it’s dull. It’s really interesting when you dig deep into it. It influences us hugely when we’re in the studio working on a mixdown or EQing a different instrument we’re always thinking of how the mixdown will affect the individual in different scenarios depending where they’ll be listening to it.”
Here’s to science. Here’s to doing everything DIY. Here’s to another killer album from Bachelors Of Science.
Bachelors Of Science – The Space Between is out now: Limited edition vinyl / iTunes / Beatport / Junodownload