Living within the moment with Bachelors Of Science


File under: positivity. San Fran trio Bachelors Of Science have returned to our collections this summer with Within This Moment

Their fourth LP, it’s a purposefully uplifting experience designed to take you away from the tensions of the times and weirdness of life right now and lose yourself in the music.

The result of their longest creative periods between albums – during which the trio experienced a whole range of highs and lows themselves – Within This Moment is loaded with a whole series of collaborations such as Pat Fulgoni, Ben Soundscape, Maria Remos, Spikey Tee, Marianna Ray, Soultrain Locomotive and Robert Manos and is carved in such a way that you’re compelled to listen from edge to edge. One of their most consistent and dynamic LPs to date, we called them up for a moment or two…

It’s been a very long time since The Space Between. The longest you’ve ever had between albums. Did the extended time between albums have any influence on Within This Moment? 

Phil: First of all thanks for having us on – great to share a bit about the new album. Right after Space Between we were working a lot on our label CODE Recordings with some releases and remix series, but it wasn’t long before we started coming up with new ideas that eventually made it on the album. A lot of tracks go through different progressions – so we might have the core of an idea, put it on the shelf for many months, then come back to it and decide it needs some vocals, a new layer, new bass sounds etc. Sometimes we even scrap key ideas for new ones as the tune evolves.

Luke: When the pandemic hit it gave us some extra space to work on the mixdowns and really get the album together. Certainly, the themes and the story in the album were influenced by all that we’ve been through over the past seven years, both personally in things like moving cities, losing loved ones and, as a global community, with all the madness going on in the world.

Yeah there definitely a focus on channelling some positivity amid this. Mindfulness seems to be a key theme. How important is that for you? 

Phil: It’s really a relatively new thing for me personally. We’re all under a lot of day-to-day stress and pressure and knowing what you can and can’t control – letting things go – being present – being ok to say no – they’re all techniques that help one cope through different situations in life.

Luke: It really sets the tone with the opening title track Within This Moment, but there’s also a bit of a story throughout the album. There’s places where you need to find strength, such as Energy – there’s moments of reflection – there’s moments of darkness, but you find your way through it all by being mindful of what you’re going through, and frankly with the help of friends, community and this music we all love. Which is why you end up with tracks like Brighter Days and Won’t Turn My Back On You.

What’s the best advice you’ve learnt for those seeking a bit more of a peaceful mind?

Phil: It’s ok to not be ok – it’s ok to say no – just recognize the space and situation that you’re in. Take a few moments to detach and center yourself if you’re able.

Luke: Taking time for self-care is really important. That could be a simple as carving out time to exercise, taking intentional breaks, treating yourself to something you enjoy, or even just remembering being kind to yourself when you would normally beat yourself up about something.

This is a very positive and emotional album isn’t it?

Phil: It is. A big part of it is the power of music – music’s ability to convey a feeling and be a release is why many of us are so drawn into making music.

Luke: And why we love enjoying music as fans too.

Phil: Exactly. There’s incredible power and emotion there and we wanted to deliver an album that would hopefully bring that to the listeners. Many of the songs were written at certain times over the past seven years – be it the feeling of reflection on a New Years Day, to a time of global protest, to losing someone close. We channelled these moments into these songs so that others that might be going through something similar can hopefully feel that connection and support too.

Luke: As D&B and music fans we have a shared experience and history. We feel a real connection through the music to those who share this passion and culture.

There’s a very strong sense of human connections throughout the album. I know a lot of the sessions were done in person… It’s really important for the creative process to have those real life connections isn’t it? 

Luke: Definitely. This is our most collaborative and vocal-based album to date and we’re fortunate to have worked with some amazing talent in the studio.

Phil: Whenever possible we try to work with collaborators in person because it’s not just about the session, it’s about hanging out, getting to know them, and forming a deeper connection. It means that you can bring out their character or that session more in the music.

Luke: I feel the vibe is really enhanced that way and can be felt whether consciously or subconsciously on the other end of the speakers.

I’m going to highlight some of my favourite collabs… Tell us about Spikey Tee. Man’s an absolute legend. I hear that came together by pure coincidence, right?

Luke: He was in San Francisco at the time and we knew him through years of doing shows together in the scene – really admired his work too.

Phil: It was one of those special nights where we had a track that we’d been working on that had a vocal sample in it, but something wasn’t quite right with it. We shared it with Spikey and he just brought this amazing soulful – love song vibe to it. He wrote it on the spot. One of our favourites on the album.

Likewise Pat Fulgoni. Tell us all about the collaborations with him and the two tracks he appears on…

Phil: Yeah big ups to Pat!

Luke: We actually met in Bristol. I was with our dear friend Ben Soundscape – who is the only non-vocal collaborator on the album. We were all hanging in the studio. We wrote Different Eyes and recorded Pat on Stomp the same night. Stomp is this big protest-bluesy-feeling song and we really wanted this kind of ‘punk meets blues’ sound, so it was a perfect fit for Pat given his voice and his own deep history of political activism.

We can’t leave people out so please big up other collaborators and any significant moments along the way… 

Luke: Big ups Marianna Ray of course who killed it on Far Away! This one was done remotely. She sent a demo over with just her and a guitar. We were blown away with her soulful melancholy delivery!

Phil: Maria Remos, who features on Energy, we had worked with her on our very first CODE Recordings single Morning Sun, so it was great to have her back. She’s a true gem and a dear friend we adore.

Luke: The Soultrain Locomotive collaboration was born out of meeting in Berlin while performing at a show. He was on our last album too. He’s such a great guy. One of my absolute favorites in the scene. He usually does a lot of dancehall vibes (and does it incredibly well) but once confessed that for some reason when we get together we bring out a deeper soulful side of his style. I thought that was such a cool vibe and compliment!

Phil: Last but not least big ups Robert Manos! He’s a legend we’ve admired for many years so we got a bit fanboy when we ran into him at Sun n Bass … we told him about the project and he was into it, so it’s a real pleasure to have him on the album. He really delivered a special moment of longing and reflection.

Season Of Aries is possibly one of the best skits I’ve ever heard on an album. Is that actually Aries chatting? It’s such a beautiful piece of spoken word.  

Luke: Yes that is actually Aries! It was taken from an interview he did on a livestream with TC during lockdown. I heard it and got the idea almost instantly. I hit him up told him how much that moment of the conversation meant to me, asked if it was ok to sample it, and he said “sample away!”

Phil: We wanted some interludes to break things up a bit, and the message he conveys about the connection to personal emotion and music-making really conveyed all the themes we wanted in the album.

Luke: The other interlude Noise Complaint I sampled a real life answering machine (remember those?) It was recorded in my old flat on the Haight District of San Francisco in around 2005! My ace DJ Phleck and I were roommates back then and had a neighbor named Karen (oh the irony) and she left these messages on our machine all the time! One time I remembered to record it into an SM58. 18 years later I had the idea to use it in an interlude. Crazy shit but I think it really works and captures a real moment in time!

Brilliant! I wondered if it was actually a real life answer machin message! So give us an album high. A moment where it all felt like it was coming together and everything was as close to perfect as one can get right now…

Phil: Honestly I think a recent gig we did in San Diego was a highlight! The album had just been out a few days and while we’d been testing these songs on the road over the past years, we were looking out and you could see all these people singing along with the lyrics, it was just such a special moment to see that people have already connected with it. We have a really special vibe with San Diego. Bio update the SD Union crew!

Luke: Yeah the response to the album has made it all feel real finally. We’ve been cooking for a while now so to finally get reactions from folks has been pretty emotional if I’m being honest. Also support from folks in the industry like yourself and artists we love is an amazing feeling.

Now give us an album low. A moment when it felt like it would never come together…

Phil: There was point where we’d set ourselves a deadline to wrap up the project and release it. People had different opinions on whether the tunes were done or not in the mixdown process, we were feeling pressured and rushed but also eager to get it out.  But we had a chat and basically said ‘why are we rushing on such an important project … it should be done when it’s done … and it’s important to put that final polish on things’.

Luke: It was the right call, we took some extra time and did several rounds of mastering with Teebee (big ups Teebee!), and upon reflection wouldn’t change that decision.

You guys are album to the core. No matter how hard they get and how many moving parts and all kinds of logistics… You keep coming back to the format. What is it about albums that keeps you coming back to them? 

Luke: We like the fact that an album tends to tell a bigger story more than a particular tune or even an EP.

Phil: With an album we can wrap up a lot of experiences into a package and we’ve always been pretty experimental with our style of drum n bass. It’s not just liquid and soulful, there’s jungle influences, stripped back steppas, big room D&B, even some breaks on this album. Putting those out 1×1 would feel a little confusing, but when they’re together as a package you understand the different sides of our sound.

I believe you’re also creating a Dolby Atmos version – tell us about that! 

Phil: Yup, that’ll be forthcoming soon and is something Luke has been working on as part of his work with Dolby. It takes all the different layers and stems of a track and you’re able to really control the direction of each sound and center the listener with in the music in a really unique way. So a pad might swirl around you, while percussion might criss-cross. Everything is so spread out and has a much bigger sense of depth. It’s just a really immersive format that we’re excited to explore and we were one of the first acts to try out the format back nearly 9 years ago!

Luke: Yep. Can’t wait to get that version out! Any day now.

Let’s sign out and live within a moment… Tell us your favourite moment in the last year.

Luke: We all share a mutual enjoyment of playing billiards. We’ve all been friends for something like 20 years now. At the same time, we’ve moved to different cities and all have our own lives. So getting time together with all of us – including the 3rd member, Chris, who’s not here today and our MC – Emcee Child – is pretty rare. So family time around the pool table between sessions or on tour is always a highlight.

Phil: Thankfully we all got together recently and following a photo shoot did what we call the “B.O.S.I.” – the “Bachelors Of Science Invitational” … which is essentially a day-long billiards tournament mixed with some music and taking the piss. To have everyone back in the room and just fall back into that rhythm and jokes and laughter was magic.

Luke: Best day ever

Love it. Tell us your favourite moment in the last 10 years. 

Phil: For me, travel with friends – I’ve been lucky to go to Bali, Croatia, Sardinia. When we go somewhere new and are really able to detach, I just find that I thrive off that for years.

Luke: Definitely travel with family and friends as well. After two years of travel restrictions due to covid it’s been so great to get out and about again recently!

Now tell us your favourite moment in drum & bass full stop!

Phil: Lol …. Wow you’re really throwing some curveballs here Dave! Heheh … I think we’d all have different answers to that too! There’s two that stick out for me – one was the first time I went to the Junction in Cambridge to see LTJ Bukem as a teenager. The second was finishing the first ever D&B song we made, deciding to cut it on dubplate and give it to High Contrast who had just released “Return of Forever” and happened to be playing at The Top in San Francisco. We handed him the dubplate to try and get our name out there, he listened to it, decided to play it right there and then – crowd goes wild, I went wild, the rest is history.

Luke: this is gonna sound corny as hell but this album feels like the top for me right now as an artist. Sun & Bass maybe my favorite as a fan as well as a top gig as a performer.

Brilliant moments. What else does the world need to know about Bachelors Of Science right now?

Luke: Come check us out on tour! We’re doing a string of gigs stateside in Hawaii, California, Colorado, and more. We’ll also be at Sun & Bass this year doing a set and soaking in that Sardinian sun.

Phil: We’ve also got vinyl of Within This Moment for sale on Bandcamp and that should begin shipping a few months from now. Appreciate the support and love from our fans, and big ups UKF for featuring us!

Bachelors Of Science – Within This Moment is out now on CODE Recordings: https://smarturl.it/WithinThisMoment

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