The Love Experiment
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The Love Experiment

Boston, Massachusetts, United States | SELF

Boston, Massachusetts, United States | SELF
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"Artist Interview-The Love Experiment"

With twelve band members, a two-person camera crew and an on-air host, the space in the WERS studios was somewhat tight during the Love Experiment's in-studio performance. But that didn't stop the band's jams from swelling to a soulful nirvana during Monday night's Secret Spot. Led by drummer Charles Burchell, this ensemble of jazz students from Berklee College of Music and the New England Conservatory of Music sent a smooth but fiery energy along the 88.9 airwaves.

The Love Experiment's jazzy neo-soul is deeply rooted in what Burchell calls "the healing power of music." Born and raised in New Orleans, he experienced the results of Hurricane Katrina firsthand, both the devastation and redemption. "When I came back to New Orleans after the storm, I started playing jazz and going out to hear people," Burchell recalls. "I saw just how powerful the music scene was in getting people's spirits up and revitalizing them."

photographs by Katii TornickAfter he arrived in Boston, the abundance of willing and talented musicians Burchell found here allowed him to take his own turn at this power. When the group started out, "The Love Experiment" was but a hastily-devised temporary name, meant to last only until the band decided on a permanent moniker. But as Burchell began writing songs for the band, he soon realized that many of his lyrics dealt precisely with love and the complexity that accompanies it.

"Whether it be between a boyfriend and a girlfriend or a parent and a child, sometimes love is a very uncertain thing," Burchell says. "It's just a very experimental process so the name actually began to make a lot of sense." The first song the Love Experiment brought to WERS, tentatively titled "Girl," tackles this subject with seductive vocals and a pulsing groove.

Such grooving plays a major role in the Love Experiment's immediate effect: on "Dance Joint" (another working title), heavy bass and popping drum-work ensure the syncopated track lives up to its name. Along with the urge to dance, though, Burchell hopes the music will inspire a sense of solidarity over shared experiences. "Whether it's happiness or sadness," Burchell describes, "hopefully I can connect with somebody out there who might have experienced the same thing."

Photographs by Katii TornickTheir music's unifying power is evident in the group's dynamic, as well. "Living My Dreams," the band's closing jam at WERS, begins with a smooth shuffle before breaking down into funky coda of alternating solos and weaving vocal harmonies. Each member's distinct flavor melds together for a complete and refined sound. Though Burchell pens almost all the band's music, the finished product is undoubtedly a group experience. "I write down what I feel," he says, "and these wonderful musicians help interpret it and make it come alive."

Ultimately, Burchell aspires for the Love Experiment to achieve the kind of thing he witnessed in New Orleans. His involvement in the Tipitina's Internship Program especially influence his endeavors in Boston. "[The program] helped kids like me to be professional musicians," he says. "They put us in studios… and showed us the ins and outs of the music business." Each year Tipitina's also raised funds in order to buy instruments for local public schools. Through his music, Burchell hopes to raise awareness among students about the kind of opportunities in the arts and music that he was given.

photographs by Katii TornickAt times, however, the Love Experiment struggles to find a platform to jumpstart this mission. Because the band members, as well as most of their fans, are under 21, many local bars and clubs are off-limits, making it difficult to expand their audience. Burchell says he has seen many young musicians face this challenge. "There's this void," he describes, "of musicians who want to play for people and people who want to hear,but there's nowhere really to do it." College shows and parties somewhat alleviate the problem, but not to the extent necessary to make the sort of impression that the Love Experiment craves.

Perhaps some more recorded material will remedy the situation: The band expects to have their debut release, The Love Experiment EP, out sometime next semester, tentatively set for February. For now, the Love Experiment will have mostly to rely on their live shows. If they can consistently offer the vigor they brought to the WERS session, they'll do just fine.

More info on the Love Experiment, as well as demos and live recordings, can be found at www.Myspace.com/LoveExperiment.
- WERS.org


Discography

-The DemO (2010)
-Singles: When Love Goes Away

Photos

Bio

The Love Experiment is a Boston based band featuring some of the best young musicians from around the country who attend the New England Conservatory of Music and Berklee College of Music. The band is made up of all jazz majors who decided to cross genres and create a sound that is uniquely their own. Originally the band was conceptualized as something of a neo-soul orchestra with two stellar vocalists (Kim Mayo & Mia Friedman), a horn section, three keyboardists, and a rhythm section. However, the band lead by drummer/composer Charles Burchell, focuses on all original music and hopes to carve out its own niche in modern popular music. Influenced by the likes of Miles Davis, Jill Scott, Billie Holiday, Corinne Bailey Rae, Earth Wind & Fire, Erykah Badu, The Roots, Flying Lotus and John Coltrane Burchell set out to write music that was reflective of his and others experiences with love as well as make people dance. Burchell, a New Orleans' native, is familiar with how music has the power to heal people as he saw the music community of New Orleans do after Hurricane Katrina. He hopes that with this music he and the Love Experiment present he can share that same healing power with the world. Though young (January 2010), the band has already gained a following amongst students at Harvard University, Emerson, Berklee, and NEC. The band is known for their highly energetic shows that immerse listeners in dreamy electronics, electrifying solos, and powerful hip hop, soul, and dance beats. After a series of successful shows the band released a two song demo and has plans to release an EP in the spring of 2011.