Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Indietracks interview #21: Math and Physics Club

Seattle's Math and Physics Club are Charles Bert, Ethan Jones, and James Werle. Since 2005, they've recorded two LPs, three EPs, and a handful of singles for California-based Matinee Recordings. Their 2010 album, "I Shouldn't Look As Good As I Do" is another sparkling collection of short, breezy pop songs inspired by indie bands of the 80s and 90s and classic singles of the 60s and 70s. The band will play on the indoor stage on the Saturday evening of Indietracks. Charles from the band joined us for a chat...

Hi Charles, tell us about an unusual place the band's played a gig in the past

We played a show with Calvin Johnson and Tender Forever at an all-ages club in Seattle called SS Marie Antoinette. It was dead winter and there was no heat. You could see your breath inside the building. I remember having trouble finding the place because there were no lights, no signs, no windows – it looked like a condemned building. I kept driving by thinking, “OK, it should be right here…” But it was actually really fun, and getting to play a show with Calvin was worth a few frozen fingers.

Do any band members have any particular skills, hobbies or claims to fame you wish to share?

James dabbles in carpentry. He’s quite good, always building or remodeling something. Kevin writes kids fiction for Scholastic (and starred in this odd Swedish insurance commercial). And Ethan starred opposite Mirah in a student film called “Love is Stupid,” and claims to have taught Carrie Brownstein her first guitar chords in high school (I’ve yet to verify this with Ms. Brownstein, however.) I’m also pretty sure he knows all the words to Wham Rap! I can’t compete with that.

What's going to be on your compilation tapes as you travel down to Indietracks?

Whenever we’re in the car together we always end up listening to classic rock on the radio, so this time I’m coming prepared with a proper mix. It’s a delicate balance – it can’t be all “Don’t Stop Believin’” and no “Open Arms.” James loves Springsteen, so I’ll have to factor that in, but I’m a sucker for Bon Jovi.

Do you have any surprises planned for the Indietracks festival?

It will be a reunion of sorts with Kevin back on drums and Saundrah traveling from Denmark to join us on violin for the Nottingham and Indietracks gigs. We haven’t played with our original lineup since 2007, so I’m really excited to have us all together again.

What attracted you to play the Indietracks festival?

We’ve played a few popfests in the States which are always fun, but Indietracks seems like a completely different level of awesomeness. I think it’s really cool how the festival has stayed small, resisted sponsorship, and isn’t curated by some random tastemaker. It’s like the ultimate backyard indiepop show put on by your friends.


  1. Yay... see you on the road, MAPC! :D

  2. Well, we were both learning but I happened to know more chords at the time. I certainly have no claim on what she's done with it though! That's all her. - Ethan

  3. And anyway, it was just a time or two after school. It's all true about Wham Rap, though. - Ethan

  4. Stop being modest, Ethan. You practically wrote Dig Me Out!