ScientificLifestyle - Biography
From the lilting, sophisticated jazz-pop tack of “Chinatown Swan” to the vital, melodic keyboard lines that drive “Glee Slipper,” L.A.’s ScientificLifestyle creates an alluring and sensual experience on its new EP The Arrow. The follow-up to its acclaimed 2006 debut album, Modern Sounds for the New Era – which All Music Guide heralded as “breathtaking” in its 4-star review – finds this exotic, groove-based trio taking a great leap forward with a less-is-more approach.
Built on the creative axis of producers/musicians Zach Grace and Darius Holbert – with respective backgrounds in electronic music and gospel/blues – and coupled with the soul and jazz charms of adept chanteuse Nicole Porter, SciLi continues to hone in on its own uniquely cohesive musical brand with The Arrow. After delving into heavier, alt-rock-styled material on the debut, Holbert, who has worked with artists as diverse as Wu-Tang Clan and Sophie B. Hawkins explains, “We really tried to stay closer to the groove-driven influences this time out. That’s not to say we’ve completely relieved ourselves of our rock leanings, but the narrower focus just makes more sense.”
“I think it naturally lends itself to my vocal style, which comes from soul and jazz,” says Porter, who is easy on the eyes, has a lengthy theatrical background and, curiously enough has performed with both Jane’s Addiction and Aerosmith. Yet her fit with Grace and Holbert’s artful, velvety concoctions are nothing short of ideal, pointing The Arrow straight at the hearts at the same cultured music devotees that gave Imogen Heap and Portishead lift off.
Reconstructing the artful, Paula (Dido, Elton John, INXS, New Radicals) Jones-assisted Modern Sounds for the New Era and its brilliantly immediate emphasis track “A Fraud” for The Arrow has again reaped winning results. Re-teaming with Jones in a tracking and mixing role, ScientificLifestyle’s sonic end product is unlike any other outfit in pop.
It’s a notion enforced by the EP’s aforementioned, suggestively charged “Chinatown Swan,” which finds Porter reminding her subject, “She can turn you on.” When the mood shifts to the glistening “Glee Slipper,” Porter asserts, “Thoughts of you fill me up all through the night” as melodic keyboard lines define the song’s urgent but urbane allure.
The arguable standout is “Or,” which reminds us that a quirky, electronic pop number can be airwave ready without being an innocuous, vapid insult to the listener’s intelligence. If given the chance, this contagious, inventive and deserving anthem would be thumping out of a million MP3 players.
Equally distinct is way the trio morphs into a quartet – sans non-touring member Grace – for live performances. “I actually don’t perform live with the band,” Zack concedes, of his untraditional role in the group. “So as songwriters we’re a trio and for live work we become a quartet.” At one point a six-piece, with two guitarists and a bass player for live responsibilities, Grace says SciLi “found that we got better mixes when we stripped down our approach.”
For Zach, who previously worked as an A&R rep, comes from an electronic production background and was responsible for the Billboard chart topping hit “Beautiful Outside, he understands the stigma affixed to many electronic-based acts. “A lot of electronic bands seem to be, um, pretty poor live. You know, ‘Hit the button on the laptop and let the computer do the show’,” he laughs. “The thing that we’ve always done with this band – because we all come from different perspectives – is work with a lot of styles and not emphasize electronic over everything else.”
That philosophy forged this unlikely partnership a few years ago when a mutual friend helped align Grace’s programming talents and guitar lines (bolstered by a master’s degree in music from NYU) with Holbert’s composition background and highly respected session and studio work. Soon after, Porter joined forces. Within a year of its inception SciLi had its first record completed. Boasting Jones – who lent her vision – and players like drummer Frank Ferrer (The Psychedelic Furs), guitarist Ben Kishaba (Jude) and bassist Joe Dunne (Ben Taylor), Scientific Lifestyle was championed for its vast musical scope.
Still the core trio felt challenged to bring cohesion to their sound. When it came time to write for the new EP, the key driver was to unify its sound and ensure its live presence. “Our first record was predominantly a studio project. We played out some, but it wasn’t until we had the first record finalized and worked through it in a live setting that we knew what we could be,” says Darius.
“With this record, we made sure everything was played out live before we recorded it,” says Zach. “Which is tricky when you’re doing electronic stuff. In addition, I’m mainly a guitar player. So I played on the original demo versions and then I handed them off to the band’s live guitarist. Because I know how important it is for the song to take shape and feel as it would live.”
And if Zach and Darius are the musical impetus beneath Scientific Lifestyle, it’s Porter who is given the ultimate veto power on whether a tune lives or dies with the band. “I’m basically the judge,” Nicole admits proudly. “They bring their ideas together and present them to me and then I sort of decide if it flies.”
“Flight 273” – clearly given the green light by Porter – just may be the perfect sonic exhibition of SciLi’s abilities. Beginning with a clever, infectious rhythmic stamp, the track achieves lift off with the singer’s charming, convincing delivery. Escorted into the air with the powerful hybrid of grooves and electronics, it affirms that Scientific Lifestyle are shooting skyward with The Arrow.
Nicole Porter: Vocals
Darius Holbert: Keyboards, Backing Vocals
Jonathan Fessenden: Guitar
Ric Rocc: Drums
The Arrow EP (Release Date: July 26, 2007)
ScientificLifestyle's record "Modern Sounds for the New Era" has been added on over 180 college radio stations across the United States and Canada. The band's first single "A Fraud" has been programmed on Yahoo LaunchCast's Alternative Station. “A Fraud” was GarageBand.com’s “Song Of The Day” on April 21st, 2006. On May 10, 2006, “A Fraud”, “Paper Doll”, and “Masterpiece” entered the top ten chart of most sideloaded tracks on Live 365.
[+ Show ]
ScientificLifestyle's "Arrow EP" was in rotation on over 180 U.S. college radio stations during Spri...ScientificLifestyle's "Arrow EP" was in rotation on over 180 U.S. college radio stations during Spring, 2008.
April 25th, 2008
[+ Show ]
DMX programmed six ScientificLifestyle songs (“Flight 273 (Paul Martin Red-Eye Remix)”, “La Rochefou...DMX programmed six ScientificLifestyle songs (“Flight 273 (Paul Martin Red-Eye Remix)”, “La Rochefoucauld (ReJones No Voice Remix)”, “Chinatown Swan”, “Masterpiece”, “La Rochefoucauld”, and “Right Inside These Headphones”) on their Groove Lounge Station, which reaches millions of listeners.
August 3rd, 2007
[+ Show ]
ScientificLifestyle taped a radio interview for the nationally syndicated Westwood One. http://ww...ScientificLifestyle taped a radio interview for the nationally syndicated Westwood One.
Aug 1st, 2007 issue / Section: Discs (Audio)
[+ Show ]
Dig It. This indie-punk-experimental trio has taken their creativity and put it into the form of a ...Dig It. This indie-punk-experimental trio has taken their creativity and put it into the form of a roller coaster ride within music on their latest release, The Arrow EP. Slightly reminiscent of the kickass female vocalists that were able to take our most personal fears and tragedies and sing of them in a way that made us all feel empowered, Scientific Lifestyle do have the potential to affect us all in a fantastically fun way. Listening to their music is like spinning on a merry-go-round in your favorite playground. It’s boisterous. Listen to “Glee Slipper” and you’ll see what I mean. The combination of a steady drum beat and a mellow guitar to accompany awe inspiring keyboard solos makes for an exceptionally well executed musical experience. In addition the upbeat “OR” has a great gravitational pull attached to it as well. Although the trio slows it down a bit with “Chinatown Swan”, it seems that the definitive sound of this group is one of completely uninhibited fun!
In a Word: “Glee” – ful
10 Songs To Download (Stuff Magazine)
[+ Show ]
ScientificLifestyle's song "Flight 273" is listed as Number Four on Stuff Magazine's "10 Songs To Do...ScientificLifestyle's song "Flight 273" is listed as Number Four on Stuff Magazine's "10 Songs To Download" list (August issue, 2007).
Stuff gave the song this review:
"Intoxicating vocals take the edge off this high-flying shocker."
June 28th, 2007
[+ Show ]
ScientificLifestyle taped a radio interview for the nationally syndicated Premiere Radio Networks. ...ScientificLifestyle taped a radio interview for the nationally syndicated Premiere Radio Networks.
July 24th, 2007 / Talk about MUSIC Section
[+ Show ]
ScientificLifestyle embodies an enviable musical aesthetic. It’s stripped down, void of studio decep...ScientificLifestyle embodies an enviable musical aesthetic. It’s stripped down, void of studio deception, existing in an environment where the songs sparkle with spontaneity.
May 4th, 2007 / Concert Reviews Section
[+ Show ]
I'm not sure what caught my attention about this band. Although it is very much a style I would love...I'm not sure what caught my attention about this band. Although it is very much a style I would love to cover on this site more often, it isn't the kind of thing I normally get too excited about. But there was something about this band that made me curious enough to go check them out. Well,
by the time the band hit the stage I was tired and pretty much ready to just go home. Then the band started.
The keyboardist reminded me of people like Jerry Lee Lewis or Little
Richard in both stage presence and sound. The energy from him alone was enough to wake up everyone in the room as well as bring way more people to the back area where the stage was. This is a band that draws attention to
Singer Nicole Porter isn't the typical busty Playmate with no brains that
seem to be fronting way too many bands like this recently. Sure she is
very attractive. Yeah, she has a Œslither' that grabs the attention of every guy in the room. It¹s just nice to see a lady that has the smarts and talent that she doesn't need to tramp it up. Her voice is the perfect bluesy and sultry vibe that fits the music. With just a little work her slither could evolve into something as legendary as the Axl Rose snake dance. My only real
complaint was that she has a mic stand up with her that she almost
never uses. It just gets in the way and holds her back.
Now most drummers blend into the background, but not this guy. Ric Rocc is one of those rare drummers that have a flair and charisma that some how competes with the other band members closer to the front. Between the three of them the band has a very electric stage show that even this old metalhead
Now I'm not sure how long the band played, but I think the regular set was about an hour. I only know this because when the band mentioned it was their last song I looked at my watch. It was one hour after their start time. Then
the band went into a jam session with a few members of other bands that played that night. This portion of the show would have been an
afterthought if it wasn't for this really dorky old guy dancing a few feet in front of the stage. Ok, trying to dance. This guy would have made Al Gore look like something from Soul Train. It was painful to watch, but I couldn't look away. I know jokes about how white guys can't dance are way over done,
but this guy was the exaggerated example comics want you to imagine when they make those jokes. To be clear, he was not at all part of the band. Just a really drunk (I hope) loser wishing he could get laid.
Now I have to admit that me and the wife left after most of the band
was rotated out for members of other bands that played that night. They just kept on jamming soulful blues until well after we left. I know the band played to way more people then last time they hit this city. I know that there was a few from that show and I know many of the people that saw them last night will return again next time they come. This is a band that
will quadruple their audience every time they come through a town. So before they get so big you can't see them from the front row seats, check them out and enjoy. Mark my words, they are the next big thing!
Album Review by Jo-Ann Greene
[+ Show ]
“Eclecticism isn't necessarily a good thing. Oft-times it smacks of indecision, or worse, points at ...“Eclecticism isn't necessarily a good thing. Oft-times it smacks of indecision, or worse, points at a band making a desperate stab at being all things to all markets. Few groups can repeatedly cross genre lines with impunity. However, ScientificLifestyle not only blithely skips across these boundary lines, but creates such amazingly organic hybrid sounds that it barely seems like they're pushing the envelope at all. That's quite a trick, and the trio pulls it off with panache on their debut album, Modern Sounds for the New Era. Building from the bottom end up, producers and instrumentalists Darius Holbert and Zach Grace ground the rhythms in funk, some boasting guest player Joe Dunne's big, fat basslines, others are subtler, more supple creations. Of course, funk lends itself to a variety of musical avenues, and the pair follows them all, back into the snazzy sounds of the '70s and the likes of the wonderful world of Parliament-Funkadelic, and even further back into the soul of the late '60s (with fabulous cheesy keyboards to conjure up that era). Fast forward a few decades and you can ride those same funky sounds straight into the techno clubs, via jungle-fied beats or across the more ambient, dub-flavored style popularized by Adrian Sherwood, Tricky, and others. Funk crossed into the rock world as well, and SciLi plot that course as well, with the guitar licks encompassing the entire spectrum from hard-rocking to atmospheric blues. Vocalist Nicole Porter, however, is funk free, but just as eclectic as her bandmates, agilely moving from bluesy soul to sweet pop, and all the way across to country. Electronica that rocks, funk with a red-necked heart, pop with soul, SciLi flips styles as easily as hotcakes. Others have attempted similar feats, but what makes the set special are their incredibly strong melodies, which linger long after the astonishing arrangements fade away. This is what sets the trio apart from the rest of the electro-wizards on the scene today. All in all, a breathtaking debut.”
ScientificLifestyle - Modern Sounds for the New Era (Mean Red Music)
[+ Show ]
“Theater-trained frontwoman Nicole Porter’s elastic vocals and streetwise sass sharpen the catchy po...“Theater-trained frontwoman Nicole Porter’s elastic vocals and streetwise sass sharpen the catchy pop hooks of numbers like “Crazy” (“You say you make me crazy/ Try not to flatter yourself”). But the production’s the thing here, with synthesized strings, electronic bleeps, percussive sound effects, even a touch of loopy 70’s-era jazz combining to create what the band’s dubbed “rocktronica”. Imagine Garbage jamming with Gwen Stefani at a B-52’s concert, and you’ll get the general idea.” - March 23, 2006
The band plays 45 minute sets two to three times a week. No cover songs.
Typical Set List:
1. Chinatown Swan
3. Glee Slipper
4. Flight 273
7. La Rochefoucauld
There are no upcoming dates at this time.