Brooklyn based producers Adam Deitch and Borahm Lee are recognized as extremely accomplished musicians and producers in their own right, but when blending their musical expertise into the two man project that is Break Science, rules are shattered into a no holds-barred, genre-bending style that’s at the forefront of electronic music’s evolution. Amidst an electronic scene that increasingly consists of formulaic music structures and overused, reverberating sounds, Break Science stands on their own pedestal by integrating a multitude of styles that pack an extraordinary, innovative punch. I sat down with Adam and Borahm before their headlining show in New York City’s iconic Bowery Ballroom to discuss their artistic visions, the Pretty Lights Music culture, and street skateboarding, among other topics. Read through our conversation below and keep scrolling to vicariously experience the legendary evening in all its moment-by-moment glory!
Julian: So I have to ask, how’s it feel to be headlining Bowery Ballroom in your hometown?
Adam: It feels great, there’s a big buzz around it. We got a lot of presales and we think it’s gonna sale out. To play in your hometown, we’ve all experienced that with musicians being in New York for a long time, the city is really fickle. Every time you have a packed house at a famous venue like Bowery Ballroom, you can’t even sleep the night before. It’s really exciting, I got up early went to bed late. I am ready to do this, it’s a really good feeling.
Borahm: This is a special venue too, it’s probably one of the best in the mids. It’s not small but it’s definitely not too big, like everywhere you go you’ll be close enough to see what’s going on. It’s a great venue in a great part of town.
Julian: Can we expect any surprises to be played out tonight?
Adam: We’re real excited, because the visuals go along with the music really well now. We’ve gotten deeper into the production of the show. We’ve also worked ourselves into the screen, so you can see Borahm playing keys and me playing drums with the visuals mixed in. So it’s not either watch the visuals or us playing, it’s both.
Julian: And how do you go about finding the right vocalists for your productions?
Adam: We’ve established a lot of relationships with emcees and singers over the years, just with playing and meeting with people over the years. We have a bunch of people on the back of our minds that we want and always wanted to work with. We’ll make a track, then we’ll go, “This one, it’s Redman” or “This one, it’s CX,” you know we just know it. It happened with Danielle Parente, who’s a singer from New York, and she’s been bubblin’ for a while in New York. She’s got a really gritty, soulful voice. Someone shared one of her songs on Facebook, I met her blindly, I was just like “Hey what’s up I’m Adam from the band Break Science we love your voice, it’s very chanty could you send me an acapella of that new song you just dropped?” She was like “Wow I’d love to, I’ve heard your music.” So it just kind of worked out online like that. So that was the one time where we didn’t actually know the artist and we reached out. So it can happen any way.
Julian: Being artists on the Pretty Light Music label, and it’s my personal favorite and most inspiring label that I’ve been following, what do you think gives the label such a unique and devoted following?
Adam: We have a very cool following, the fans are just really chill! You meet them and you know, they’re into cool music that’s hip-hop based, electronic, just next level music. So the music really speaks for itself. No one ever gets in your face, I just love the fans of this genre and the label. People have been super respectful and cool, and they know how to get down and put their hands up, they know we want that hip-hop response, that Wild ‘N Out, Wu-Tang live style with people dancing and enjoying the show.
Julian: That’s really what it’s all about. I saw the Pretty Lights live band play at Roseland Ballroom back in October, it was definitely one of the most organic and innovative live electronic sets I’ve ever witnessed. How do you think playing with Derek and the live band has brought change to your live instrumentation focus with Break Science?
Borahm: You know, Adam and I will always be the band. This is the foundation. We love playing with other people, and we’ll always be open to other stuff-
Adam: We might even try to bring in a string orchestra one day..
Borahm: Yeah but without a doubt, being on tour with the Pretty Lights band has influenced us and we’ve spent a good amount of time every day with those guys just thinking about playing that music and it had a great effect. When we came back with Break Science, we were all that much more fresher minded approaching the stuff. But you know, Derek is just a genius with the way he produces music, and he’s paved a way for our whole genre. So through direct contact and all these other ways we’ve just learned about all these other production techniques as well. And there was a great band up there too. Eric Bloom, Scott Flynn, and Brian Coogan, they’re all really top notch musicians. Me and Adam are kind of in the middle where we really know how the mind of musicians work, because that’s who we are, but at the same time we know how DJ’s and producers think as well. So being out with Derek and having these other pure musicians there too, we know how to incorporate them, how to maximize the potential of great instrumentalists, soloists and stuff in this medium. Derek really took a risk, he had no idea how this would be perceived.
Julian: I read that you guys only rehearsed a few weeks prior to your Red Rocks debut.
Adam: Yeah, most of the time was spent dialing in the sounds of the presets. So we had to learn a hundred songs and we didn’t really spend much of that time learning those songs. By the time the band was wrapping up the tour we were really on fire.
Julian: Was there a specific moment in time where you remember creating and playing music was something you wanted to solely focus on as your career?
Adam: We both grew up in musical families, Borahm’s mother is in classical music and opera. My parents are both drummers, so we kind of both got into it before we even knew that we wanted to do it.
Borahm: Before we had a choice. [laughs]
Adam: So I kind of ended up leaving it for a year or two and then coming back and loving it. I got really into skateboarding, and just left the drums alone, and would just skate around New York for a couple years. And then I came back to the drums after I had an injury, and I was like, “Ok this could be fun.” I had to leave it for a while before I could come back.
Borahm: Skating probably affected your drumming and coordination in a positive way with improvisation, and if you fall on a skateboard you get messed up.
Adam: Yeah and just the culture of skating and New York street skateboarding, that affected my music preferences. I was part of the hip-hop skater kids, we weren’t the punk-rock skater kids before us. The older kids were more into punk rock and that’s cool too but punk rock to us was the real deep New York Pete Rock, Diamond D, Gang Starr. The underground New York hip-hop stuff from the later 80’s to early to mid 90’s, that was the shit that made us want to skate. Coming back from that skating scene to the drums helped me realize that I am a musician.
Julian: Now that your winter tour is winding down, what does the rest of 2014 have in store for Break Science?
Adam: More festivals for the summer, continue releasing and making new music, prepare for Fall shows.
Julian: Is there anyone you have your eye on right now, that you’d like to bring along with you for any future tours or to collaborate with?
Borahm: We’re not releasing any secrets just yet, but there’s definitely a lot of stuff on the horizon and on our plate right now.
Julian: Great, I look forward to what’s ahead! Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with me and the readers at Taste The Drop! You guys are gonna kill it tonight.
Adam & Borahm: Thanks man, good talking with you!
Starting the evening to a groovy start, Pretty Lights Music’s own Paul Basic took the stage to loosen the floor up with funky tunes and vibes. As the dance floor packed in, I noticed the Pretty Lights family was out in full force, with hat pins galore and dance circles dropping low to the groovy sounds. When Basic dropped “Reach Higher,” his collaborative track with Pretty Lights, there was no denying the entire room was captivated into an otherworldly electro-soul realm.
My anticipation grew as the time drew near for Break Science’s set. The air was absolutely electric and it reached its tipping point as Adam and Borahm took the stage shortly following 11PM. Playing through a myriad of tracks from earlier releases, including EP’s “Twilight Frequency” and “Monolith Code,” the duo blasted the speakers with earth-shattering energy that left every human in the building moving in ways they didn’t know possible.
The duo showcased their respective instrumental talents with Adam belting out his thunderous breakbeat style on drums and Borahm effortlessly gracing the keys with seasoned trip-hop/soul grooves. Following the first hour of the set, Break Science began dropping tracks from their recent acclaimed release, “Seven Bridges.” Multiple surprises were in store as the duo brought out vocalists and instrumentalists to enhance the duo’s inventive live sounds. Danielle Parente graced the stage to chant “Way I Feel,” CX brought the slick raps for “Trapeze” and “40 Days Interlude,” and seasoned horn players belted the rhythm to “Brain Reaction,” among other tracks. The hometown throw down was rocking in true force, and the night felt like an unprecedented celebration to raw, organic instrumentation fused with hard-hitting electronica.
Accompanying the sounds was a giant backdrop of ethereal visuals that synced in with the music’s trippy, mesmerizing draw. All my senses were being catapulted into other dimensions and I couldn’t stop my jaw from dropping to the floor. The duo eventually brought the night to a perfect ending with their remix of Pretty Light’s “My Only Hope.”
Once the lights came on to signal the show’s end, the floor recollected themselves from the night’s sensory overload by commemorating the show with old and new friends alike. Arriving to the Ballroom not knowing a single soul, I found myself sharing hugs and high-fives with groups of new-found friends that felt like we’ve known one another for years. As I departed The Bowery Ballroom with remarkable memories and people who shared my distinguished love for Pretty Lights Music, I basked in the surge of creativity and inspiration this next frontier of music has reinvigorated down to my core.