Charles Bert: vocals, guitar
Ethan Jones: bass, everything else
James Werle: guitar
Saundrah Humphrey: violinist emeritus
Kevin Emerson: drummer emeritus
Math and Physics Club began as a basement project for longtime friends Charles Bert (vocals) and James Werle (guitar), but in the summer of 2004 the band coalesced around the additions of Kevin Emerson (drums), Saundrah Humphrey (violin) and Ethan Jones (bass).
After recording a four-song demo in James’ basement, the band sent a copy to Santa Barbara-based pop label Matinee Recordings and soon signed on. They released their first EP ‘Weekends Away’ in early 2005.
Meanwhile, John Richards at Seattle’s influential KEXP radio station also got a copy of the demo and began spinning it on his morning show. Local music blog Three Imaginary Girls also began touting the band and helped build a local following even before the full lineup had played its first show together in December 2004.
In spring 2005, MAPC played several West Coast shows with The Lucksmiths, then scored an opening slot at the massive Sasquatch Music Festival. The band released its follow-up EP ‘Movie Ending Romance’ in July, and finished off the summer with a packed set at Seattle’s Bumbershoot festival. Not a bad first year!
They released their self-titled debut album in October 2006, working with local producer and KEXP in-house engineer Kevin Suggs (The Walkabouts, Smoosh). To promote the album, the band made its first trip to New York for a short tour including a set at Popfest New England, then returned home for a sold-out record release show at The Sunset. The album was crowned “Best Indiepop of 2006” by Popmatters, among other end-of-year lists.
By 2007, several band members had become new parents which left less time to devote to the band. Though they still managed to release a third EP ‘Baby I’m Yours’ in the fall of 2007, they only played a few shows in 2008 and none in 2009. Saundrah left the band during this time and moved to Denmark, and later Kevin also officially left to focus on his writing career (though he has continued to record with the band).
In the summer of 2009, the remaining three members (Charles, Ethan, and James), started work on their second album by trading recordings over email. This time they enlisted producer Martin Feveyear (Presidents of the USA, Mark Lanegan) and began recording at Martin’s Jupiter Studios in Seattle. The resulting ten track album titled ‘I Shouldn’t Look As Good As I Do’ was released in June 2010. The band also returned to the stage for a short run of shows including their second appearance at the San Francisco Popfest. Chris MacFarlane (Iji, Patience Please) was enlisted to fill in on drums.
In 2011, MAPC played its first international shows with a short UK tour and a well received set at the Indietracks music festival in Derbyshire. The tour reinvigorated the band, and soon after they began writing what would become their third album. This time they decided to record at K Records’ fabled Dub Narcotic Studio in Olympia with Bob Schwenkler at the helm, and with Ethan co-producing for the first time.
The album’s first single ‘Long Drag’ was released on Matinee in the summer of 2013, followed by a ten song album titled ‘Our Hearts Beat Out Loud’ in November 2013. Both releases featured cover designs by noted Brooklyn artist Tae Won Yu (Kicking Giant, Built to Spill). The album garnered more excellent reviews from the indie press and placed in a number of end-of-year lists, including Popmatters’ #2 indiepop and a surprising entry at #29 in Yahoo! Music’s top albums of 2013 – just ahead of Paul McCartney.
2014 marks the band’s 10th year together.