Backstage with Break Science
Adam Deitch and Borahm Lee are seasoned producers and touring musicians who, between the two of them, have worked with names like Kanye West, Justin Timberlake, The Fugees and many, many more. The New York natives have come together to form Break Science, a musical amalgamation with electronic, hip-hop, jazz and soul influences. Their sound is reminiscent of RJD2, which allowed them to fit seamlessly as the opening act for Pretty Lights on his 2013 tour. Deitch and Lee were cool enough to let us hang out with them backstage in their greenroom right before they took the stage in New York. We got to witness firsthand what it’s like for the band to prepare to perform in front of their fans—a delicate process that includes a lot of weed, alcohol and jumping on couches.
Break Science: Have you ever seen "2001: A Space Odyssey"?
Milk Made: A long time ago.
BS: Well, in the film, there are a lot of objects that represent a huge change in history—history as a whole or history for just one person; whether it’s the bone in the hand of a monkey or a strange, black square object that’s been dropped down by aliens. It could be viewed as a symbol for God or just a symbol of worship or whatever…you can interpret it many ways, but it’s just a symbol for change or a new level of consciousness. Music is in that same stage at the moment. There is a huge shift in the sound and the way things are being done, and all we are missing is a symbol of that. That’s where the idea for naming our album Monolith Code came from. A monolith is a symbol for change. We want our music to be that.
Deitch and Lee used their eclectic musical backgrounds as musicians and producers to help them create an undefinable sound that was built on the foundation of European electronic dance music, but is sculpted by American hip-hop and jazz music. This makes their music both exciting and hard to explain.
BS: Just like Derek from Pretty Lights, we are trying to dig a niche out for ourselves in the electronic music world. People still try and define us and pigeonhole us as dubstep. We love dubstep, and dubstep definitely has a big influence on our music, but that’s just one flavor. The more you listen to our music, the more you see that we take elements from all over the place. We love some dubstep; we love jazz; we love hip-hop; we love base music. The people that do like our music and do get our music are just like us. They just love awesome beats and wanna dance and can’t find good music in every genre. That’s what’s cool—we didn’t invent all these types of music, we just took everything we loved and made it all make sense together. That’s our niche. That’s the corner we are digging out for ourselves in the music world.
This brave new frontier is understood best by seeing Break Science’s act live. Rather than just standing behind an array of records, keyboards and beat-making machines, they perform as a band, with live instruments playing on top of recorded electronica.
BS: To know who we are you have to see us perform live, or you won’t really get it. We’re up on stage doing 20 things at once. We’re moving from instrument to instrument; playing keyboard with one hand and bass lines on the other. We’re up there playing the drums over the tracks. We’re mixing as we’re playing. It’s electric. It feels alive. We both feel like we were born to be on stage. We love it. It’s where we feel the most like our natural selves. There is nothing in this universe that can replace the feeling of getting on stage and performing for the people. It’s why we spend so much time in the studio working on making something perfect for the people to get down to.
As the band performs, walls of multicolored lights and explosions of steam shoot out from the front of the stage, turning the Break Science performance into full-blown visual experience ripe for a crowd under the influence of EDM.
BS: That’s actually the only thing I ever bum out about. We are touring and we’ve got this amazing light show going on—especially when we were touring with Pretty Lights. I see photos from the show and I am just like, "WHOA!" We’re totally missing how incredible this show is because we are busy on stage working. It’s seriously just like….
At this part of the conversation, the two band members begin to talk over one another, using their hands to paint big pictures in the air and using their mouths to spit out epic laser noises as they explain the sheer awesomeness of the laser light show. They sound the way two of their fans might as they explain their show. They’re both genuinely excited about the entire experience that they have created with their live performances. This didn’t come overnight. The musicians explain what it took for them to get to where they are.
BS – Lee: Music jobs just started happening naturally in the beginning. When I was young I was in bands and playing music and then I would get a gig here and there and make a little bit of money; and then the gigs started happening more and more often as time went on. It’s not like I ever had to make some serious career choice and think to myself "Well, I guess I am going to take a leap of faith" or anything like that. I just kept doing what I was always doing and it led me to where I am. So when people ask me how to make it in the business I just tell them: If you just keep working on making yourself bigger and better constantly, and you get to work without trying to look too far ahead into "what could become," you get so focused on making good work that one day you wake up and you are just like "Oh, I’m already doing it…I’ve been doing it." You don’t get plucked out of a crowd to get to the front, you know? You gotta slowly push your way to the front.
BS – Deitch: For me…I was going to go to college to study psychology. I went for a year but all I ever did is play piano. I just didn’t like doing anything else. I couldn’t see it really going any other way for me. You just gotta do what you are doing no matter what. Don’t focus on money. Don’t focus on fame. You can make music in any situation you’re in. Any situation. Any of those jazz cats that were broke and addicted to heroin can tell you that. Making more money should just mean you’re making more time to make more music and make it better. That’s it. If you really love to do it though, you’ll always find an outlet for it. You’ll always make music if you love it. If other people love it too, that’s great, but if you love making music, that won’t stop you if they don’t always love it.
Deitch slices his hand through the air like an axe coming down on wood.
BS – Deitch: End of story.
You can find free downloads to Break Science’s EPs and tracks, as well as videos of live performances, by going to their page on Royal Family Records.
Photography by Adriana Rivera