There’s something almost ironic about taking a band of free-thinking musicians who express their ideas organically and calling it Science Factory.
Yet there’s no doubting the sincerity of the unique fusion of sounds Sam Favata, Bernie Kenerson and Dan Brady have been creating together for more than a year in Brady’s Murrells Inlet home.
“As many people as I had written music with and produced for I had never quite felt the connection as I do with this,” says Brady, the group’s DJ.
If you go
Science Factory with Planet Rock and J-Sneez
When | Saturday 9 p.m.
Where | Drink!, 503 8th Ave. N., MB
www.drinkmbsc.com or 916-BARS
Featuring his mixing, Favata on guitar and Kenerson blowing his EWI — short for Electronic Wind Intsrument — this blend of jazz and electronic music will be on display Saturday as the band performs at Drink! in downtown Myrtle Beach.
It’s a one-of-a-kind arrangement that has made Science Factory’s sound hard to pin down while allowing each member to grow substantially and explore new levels of productiveness that could only be accomplished through a perfect storm of creative influences and outlets.
“We don’t have a specific agenda other than just ‘let’s just create music together’ and just do what feels right and natural rather than put a definition or a label on it,” says Favata.
Myrtle Beach Music: From left, Bernie Kenerson, Sam Favata and Dan Brady perform a live jam in Brady's Murrells Inlet home studio
Science Factory is fused from a shared love of music that connected three men of differing outlooks.
“With our range of ages and backgrounds, we really cover the full scope of electronic music from its origins to it current form represented right here,” says Brady.
He, a noted DJ who has performed all over the U.S. and U.K. as Mixmaster Doc, has his foot firmly planted in the world of drum & bass music. Originally signed to 31 Records, one of the best-known labels in the genre, he currently works with San Diego-based Peer Pressure Recordings with which he just released a new album “The Mayko EP” on Monday.
Favata, a guitarist who plays in numerous local bands including Wicked Gift, Electric Love Gun and a Talking Heads tribute act called Slippery People, comes from more of a rock point of view. Hoever, even with a more traditional tilt, he still carries a strong appreciation for synthesized sound and a list of influences that ranges from Fela Kuti to Frank Zappa.
Kenerson, a long-time area player, has made a name for himself as one of the most established players of EWI in the world. With multiple solo releases under his belt and influences heavily steeped in the jazz sector, the senior member of the group also brings a stability and mentorship
But despite these disparate influences, when Brady and Favata met roughly three years ago working at a music store, they immediately felt an attraction like two oppositely charged atoms.
“I saw it like a vision from Heaven,” said Brady. “I needed a job and went into this music store and got to talking to Sam about all his influences and just knew it was rare to find that open of a mind.”
After working together for awhile Favata asked Brady to sit in and jam with one of his bands. However, when the time came to play, none of Favata’s band showed for the session, except Kenerson whom he had met playing jazz at the Jasmine Supper Club.
“We were just sitting around jamming and waiting for people to show up and it just kinda clicked,” said Favata. “We thought ‘This sounds like a full band.’”
Even with the undeniable chemistry, it took a few years and Favata’s move to and from Charleston before the band began recording together about a year ago.
The science of creation
Much like everything else about the band, the way Science Factory creates its music is different.
“With the instruments in the band, it makes us conceptually different than most bands,” says Brady. “I think of music in a mathematical, scientific sense sometimes more than in an artistic sense.”
Using this empirical outlook Brady takes pieces of the music Kenerson and Favata record live and cuts it up it into something that often becomes more than just the sum of its parts.
“Out of our studio sessions I’ll sample and create something out of that and bring it back to the group and everyone will finish it,” he says.
It’s this collaborative process that leads to a continuity that the men say is unlike anything they’ve ever experienced.
“Sometimes we’ll be jamming and so in the groove and I’ll have to stop and think ‘Now which one of these sounds am I making again?’ That’s a really special place,” says Kenerson.
Brady likens the on-demand quality of having live musicians to sample to Pandora’s Box of sound that is impossible for him as a DJ to shut.
“I’m privileged enough to have very talented, multi-instrumentalists here. So we can sit down and say ‘let’s do an African Zimbabwe thing’ and boom, it’s done just like that,” he says. “But really I like to think of it almost like a hip-hop DJ replacing the drummer and bassist in a jazz group. A jazz group that’s all electric.”
Myrtle Beach Music: Science Factory at work in their lab
The factory at work
The way the band makes music isn’t the only cutting-edge process up the sleeve of Science Factory. The band is also using non-traditional avenues of distribution.
By stockpiling the studio sessions and other music they make, they are creating a library of sounds that can be heard all over the world.
“It was just like ‘Hey, if we’re making all of this great stuff, why not make it part of what we’re going to distribute.’” said Brady.
Using sites such as Beatport.com, a leader in electronic music downloads, the group offers their music in pieces that can be downloaded and remixed by DJs and club music enthusiasts.
“Most of us in the electronic world like to get in and cut stuff up ourselves,” said Brady. “We figured why not give it to them and let them turn it into a song.”
“It’s like we really are a factory and that’s what we’re here to do. We’re here to make beats for you,” adds Favata.
In addition to a steady stream of digital sound packages, the band plans to have its first official digital relaease on iTunes by the first of the year and is working toward a physical album with Brady’s Peer Pressure label by summer.
Bringing it together on stage
The final piece of the Science Factory puzzle is bringing the magic of its studio sessions to the band’s live performances.
“The live show is still pretty experimental,” says Favata. “We’re just now getting to the point where we’re putting a lot more narrative into what we do live.”
The band says they are looking to incorporate more theatrical elements, stage props and themes into what they do live.
“The next thing is us designing shows where it’s not us with five other bands on a Friday night,” says Favata. “We to be more of an experience where we put on ourselves.”
Brady says the band has also been exploring listener participation in shows and possibly including dance and film into their shows. But regardless of where the band takes their live performances one things for sure.
“People are always into it wherever we go,” says Favata. “There will be some who get it, there will be a portion of folks who are really blown away by it and then at least some folks thinking ‘Huh. Now what was that all about?”