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ScienceNV

Interviewed by Gary Hill

Interview with ScienceNV from 2018

MSJ:

It's been about four or five years since we did an interview with you guys. What's new in the world of ScienceNV?

Jim Henriques: Last Album Before the End of Time was a nodal point for us as an ensemble. We had been working together for about eight years at that point, and there was a decided qualitative leap forward, thus The Quest for Prester John. It’s been our obsession for the last four years, and although there’s been a lot going on with friends and family, it really made us focus a lot more on what we wanted to accomplish artistically.
MSJ: What can you tell us about the new music you guys have been getting ready for release?
Jim Henriques: It’s a  huge departure! I initially proposed the idea for a concept album, using the legend of Prester John as a vehicle for stories about passion, devotion, disillusionment and personal redemption. I also really wanted to use lyrics this time, which will be a first for us.  The whole idea was pretty inspirational. We came up with all sorts of sketches, and many of them blossomed into some wild and wacky stuff; our favorite. We’ve basically been working on this project for four solid years.  It truly is a diverse group of prog rock pieces, everything from intense fanfares, to intimate ballads, to grandiose symphonic sagas - but still no cowbell. This new project features an over-arching theme, vocals from many guest artists, and is so voluminous that it’s spread over two volumes. and will be released as a double album We’re all very proud of the result.
MSJ: What's the best thing that's ever been said about your music?
Jim Henriques: We’ve always liked the Prog Planet review of Last Album Before the End of Time: “Top drawer instrumental prog /space rock” So kind! Also a comment by Charles Martel from his review of Last Album Before the End of Time: he appreciated how we deftly avoided “all sorts of pretentious wankery” in our music. And, there was this from SonicAbuse about one of our tracks on the same album: “…arguably what would happen if Bugs Bunny decided to write a jazz piece with Yes over a bottle of Absinthe.” Need we say more?
MSJ: What's ahead for you?
Jim Henriques: Rich and I are retiring from our day jobs, so that, in and of itself will require a recalibration on both of our parts. We are still recovering from our marathon Prester John project and haven’t even talked about what might be ahead – not even informally over drinks. We haven't any idea of what we might be in store for us next.
MSJ: What was the last CD you bought and/or what have you been listening to lately?
Jim Henriques: I've been listening to Haken, courtesy of our drummer Rich, who’s really into them. Haken all have great chops but their virtuosity is in service to their art and never distracts from it.

Dave Graves: I've gotten hooked by Saint Vincent’s new album. it is dense with detail – almost proggy.

Larry Davis: I have been listening to The Winery Dogs and checking out the bowed guitar playing of JÓnsi Birgisson with Sigur RÓs.

MSJ: Have you read any good books lately?
Jim Henriques: I have been reading The Uplift Saga by David Brin (scifi) and The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion by Jonathan Haidt.

Dave Graves: I'm into Wool, by Hugh Howley.

Rich Kallet: I like The Mind in the Cave by the Paleo-anthropologist David Lewis-Williams.

Larry Davis:  I have been reading The Transhumanist Wager by Zoltan Istvan and The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss.

MSJ: What about the last concert you attended for your enjoyment?
Jim Henriques: Mine would be a choral concert at his Alma Mater, California State University Fullerton last month.

Rich Kallet: I went to see the San Francisco Opera Company’s production of Pucinni’s Turandot, which I found incredibly powerful with beautiful stage sets. In contrast,

Dave Grave: I enjoyed Saint Motel at the Fillmore in San Francisco.

Larry Davis: I saw Tony Levin and the Stick Men and The Neal Morse Band with Mike Portnoy on drums at the Regency Center in San Francisco.

MSJ: Do you remember the first concert you attended?
Jim Henriques:  My first was Steppenwolf, where keyboardist Goldy McJohn was so blasted that he fell back through the amp stack.

Rich Kallet:  Mine would be Yes, the Close to the Edge tour in Syracuse.

Dave Graves: For me it was Yes on the Relayer tour.

Larry Davis:  That would have to be Robin Trower and Wishbone Ash at the then Winterland in San Francisco. Wow, if only the apartment walls that now stand on the old Winterland site could talk!

MSJ: Are there any closing thoughts you would like to get out there?
Jim Henriques: I love the democratization of music via downloads and streaming, but when we want to actually listen to music, MP3s don’t cut it.  In the past few years, Dave has made a point to give A/B comparisons for folks, and the difference between an MP3 and a CD is always impressive.  Doesn’t matter what genre of music: people are always startled. Besides, streaming wears on the ears after about thirty minutes.  So, we advocate actually listening to music; it’s not just background noise! However, we do recognize that streaming is the new paradigm, and (as before) we will offer our new release in all formats including CDs and through some of the best online stores and streaming services available for those who prefer.
MSJ: This interview is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2018  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.
 
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