Imagine this: You’re hanging out with Adam Deitch
and Borahm Lee
, the Denver musicians behind livetronic group Break Science
, when Deitch plays some new music the duo has been working on over the past couple of years. It’s not necessarily a listening party, but a casual kickback among friends. The tunes are there to serve as more of a background soundtrack, but once the infectious grooves find fresh ears, the get-together turns into an unexpected sneak peek at the new Break Science EP, Mecha Flora
, which is out now.
Deitch says that while working on the album, he essentially created this kind of focus group among friends. At the time, the album had ten tracks; those were eventually whittled down to six. The latest Break Science offering is the first since 2018’s Grid of Souls
, and was a byproduct of local supergroup BTTRFLY Quintet
, which Lee is also part of.
“We obviously had to take a break performing as Break Science because of the pandemic. During the pandemic, we started playing piano and drums more together and started BTTRFLY Quintet, which satisfied our jazzier, funk styles of playing. Somewhere in the midst, the Mecha Flora
album was birthed out of that,” explains Deitch, a Grammy-nominated drummer and founding member of funk band Lettuce.
Known for its energetic live sets, particularly at festivals, Break Science isn’t afraid to crank up the beats and deploy in-your-face bass. But Mecha Flora
is a different animal, according to Deitch and Lee, given the time it was created. And the two admit that they were a little nervous about getting back together to make music after the lockdown stage of the pandemic subsided; there was even a point when they pondered the end of their musical careers.
“There was a second when [the pandemic] was happening that Adam said, ‘You know, we had a great run, and if we never play again, we still have a lot to be thankful for.’ It was real compassionate. He was feeling a lot of compassion for bands that were blowing up at the time or didn’t reach it yet. The fact that we had gotten to play all of these awesome shows and other bands haven’t, we felt the sorrow for them, and we expressed that. Luckily, it only lasted two years, or whatever the fuck it was,” says Lee, who is also known for his work in Pretty Lights’ live band.
Recalling the uncertainty of the situation, Deitch is grateful for how everything has turned out since then.
“I did think it was over for a minute, but there were little glimmers of hope,” he says, adding that he was initially hesitant to go back to seeing live music. “But we’re back. It’s great to be back — all the love we’re getting from the promoters and festivals and the fans who love the record. Whether we had a record or not, we have a lot of fans who stuck with us and trust our musical output and how we treat live concerts. We’re thankful for all of that.”
The result of the uncertainty and isolation of the past few years is a more comprehensive, laid-back album that is fundamentally different from Break Science’s previous output.
“I think it was more of an emotional or energetic sort of difference than the other albums that we’ve done. It had to do with more of just finding a chill place," Lee says. "Being at home, too, and not as much thinking about crowd-rousing as much as finding a musical, peaceful vibe. Definitely some dance and sonics, but I think what was different for this record than the other ones was it’s more of a chill record, just to be simple.
"I would say we wouldn’t perform all of the songs live," he adds. "Some songs are just for the record.”
Most of the tracks were initially recorded in a day, Deitch notes. The duo also worked with Lily Fangz
and Niko Is
for a couple of songs.
“It’s definitely leaning toward the chiller side. We’re happy to present that side of ourselves. We’re not all about big bass, heavy stuff, even though we’ve made a lot of that stuff. This just shows a different side of our personality, for sure,” Deitch says. “It’s not really a singles-based record — it’s a whole vibe. During the pandemic, after we started having people at our house again, I started playing it a lot for people who were coming over. I would leave it on low and just play it all the way through. That’s when it was ten tracks. We ended up just doing an EP of our six favorite ones, but originally it was a ten-track mood piece. People really dug it as a whole, so it’s not based on singles, in that sense.”
Break Science is back to performing live, too, including the upcoming Mecha Flora
release show on Thursday, February 2, at Meow Wolf's Convergence Station
and Mikey Thunder
are providing support. Similar to its sound, Lee says the group’s live experience is shifting a bit this year, as well.
“It’s morphing. It’s changing. For these shows coming up, we have a bass player playing with us [Hunter Roberts, also of BTTRFLY Quintet]," Lee says. "Always being a duo based in keys, we’re really looking forward to having a bass player for some of these shows, which we haven’t done much of. Me and Adam have played a lot with [Roberts], just not as Break Science. It’ll open up a lot of things musically for exploring and not relying on a computer as much and getting into some more pure playing."
Or as Deitch puts it: “We’re approaching this live thing completely different from everybody else.”
“I feel confident in saying that, because we’re musicians first. And we’re known as an electronic group; we’re not known as a live band. Break Science shows up and makes everybody dance and gets the club popping,” he explains. “But we’re musicians first and played in bands first. We’ve toured with artists our whole lives. Having a bass player like Hunter allows us to do what we do with Break Science and have that big-club feeling for certain songs, and then maybe break it down and get into some other stuff that’s more of like a trip-hop or improvisational thing, then circle back to something with a lot of 808 bass. We’re giving you a full sonic spectrum of live dual-electronic that we’ve been conceptualizing since we started in 2008 or 2009.
“We take pride in giving a unique experience to the concert-goer," he continues. "They’re not going to hear what we’re doing using the live instruments with the tracks anywhere else. We look forward to doing that, especially as this album rolls out and we get busier during the spring and summer.”
And Convergence Station
is just the spot to celebrate the album's release. “We love that place. [It's] a great, cool venue, so we’re stoked to kick it off over there,” Lee says, adding that there may be a guest appearance, too.
The immersive venue is sure to provide some inspiration as well. “That place is very special. Just walking around Meow Wolf, just being able to go in there and experience all those colors and feel the vibe from all the art, then play a show after seeing all that? It just affects the music and makes it way better and weirder," Deitch says. "I like it."
But dropping the album at Meow Wolf before hitting the road for some Western Slope shows is just the beginning for Break Science's 2023. The electronic-music pioneers will be in Florida and Illinois for festivals before summer hits. After that, Deitch teases, fans could be treated to more Break Science originals.
“We've got a lot more music in store. We have some exciting upcoming collaborations later in the year,” he says. “It’s going to be popping.”
Break Science, 8 p.m. Thursday, February 2, Meow Wolf, 1338 First Street; tickets are $25.