by Sarah A. Peterson
They sure have come a long way since high school.
It’s been five years since Kings River Life first interviewed the members of Central Valley hard rock band Sounds & Sciences. Since then, not only has the group expanded (from four members to six), but so has their fan base.
And with last month’s release of Provenance Pt. 1 EP, the future looks bright for lead vocalist Justin Simmons, guitarist/vocalist Andy Benavides, lead bassist Anthony Polanco, drummer Tyler Huebert, guitarist Carlos Cazarez, and bassist Malachi Robertson.
But they will never forget their roots. “When Sounds & Sciences began, three of us were seniors at Dinuba High School,” lead bassist Polanco says. “Our drummer Tyler went to Immanuel High School in Reedley; we met him at a show they put on in their venue there, and we all started writing together.
“The four of us graduated in 2009, and we wrote for a year before we released any music. Then we released our first EP The Sapling with a friend out of Dinuba and started playing shows.”
Coming up with the band’s name was a group effort. “Andy, Justin, and I were sitting in creative writing class our senior year of high school,” says Polanco, “trying to come up with a name; we must’ve hashed out a few hundred of them. So we split hairs on a few ideas and sewed the name together from a textbook literally called The Science of Musical Sound. It was about how sound is made, its characteristics, and what makes sound into music.”
All six members of Sound & Sciences come from musical backgrounds. Polanco and bassist Robertson grew up playing multiple instruments, and lead vocalist Simmons was in choir and madrigals in high school. Guitarists Benavides and Cazarez studied guitar formally before joining the band, while drummer Huebert was self-motivated from the very start. “Tyler practiced for many years,” Polanco says. “He came into the band probably the most polished at his instrument.”
And when it comes to their musical influences, diversity of taste has always been the key. “There’s six of us, so it’s hard to define our singular influences,” says Polanco. “One thing that we all come together on is our desire to produce the most original and genuine-to-us music that we possibly can. We’re lucky to be able to do what we love on a public scale at all, and we love creating. The end-product is always going to be enough for us, but the blessing is in the connection with the people who hear our music.”
The band’s song-writing process is one that involves input from the whole group. “The most important thing to remember when songwriting is the song itself,” Polanco says. “We wrote The Sapling, four of us together in one room, repeatedly playing it out in real-time until we had it tacked out. Then for the Provenance Pt. 1 EP, we moved on to having the guitarists write material at home, then bring it to work with them to work it out before we took it to the studio.”
Since the release of the Provenance Pt. 1 EP, Sounds & Sciences has played at Strummers in Fresno with Visalia’s metal band Catharsus, as well as at Cellar Door in Visalia. “We’re currently booking a string of shows for the end of spring and early summer,” says Polanco, “and we’re really excited about the responses we’ve been getting from people on these new songs. People are actually buying the record after we play; that’s as good a sign as any that they like what they hear, so we’re gonna keep playing it.”
And as for the future? “The Provenance Pt. 2 EP is already half-written and some of it has even been recorded in the studio already,” Polanco says. “Hopefully it’ll be done and out by the end of the year. We’re really grateful and appreciative of everyone’s support through the years and in our new Provenance endeavor; we do our best and invest all that we have into creating this music and catering it as effectively as possible.
“And despite the best attempts of all six of us, we live in a very small market for music in California, which is why we feel so blessed to get the support we do when we play. And we think there’s definitely something special about the Valley and the live music culture here. It just needs a little tending to, a little stoking.”
For more information on Sounds & Sciences and their upcoming shows and projects, please visit their Facebook page.
Check out more local band & musician profiles in KRL’s music section.