Careers in Science: an experiment in sound

It took Moncton native Eric Bourque leaving the Hub City to get him to come back again. While that might sound a little dramatic (and not entirely true, as though Bourque left the city on bad terms), you had best think again. A former member of Moncton punks Knife Party, Bourque left the cozy confines of Atlantic Canada more than two years ago to enroll in an audio engineering course in Toronto. Now a graduate of the program, Bourque is returning to Moncton to perform a show on Saturday evening with his new band, Careers In Science.

Formed a little over one year ago, the band has been steadily building their name in the bustling Toronto music scene. The group independently released their seven-song debut EP, Whateverwolf, this past January.

Citing collective influences that range from Devo to Black Flag and The Replacements, Bourque met up with bandmates Dave Proctor, Callum McPhee and Will Prosper after having heard that the trio was interested in starting a Big Black cover band.

“I heard about these guys that had wanted to start a Big Black cover band, and though I knew I probably couldn’t do that, I wanted to meet them anyway,” Bourque says.

Sounding like The Strokes but with a considerably more punk attitude and a vocalist who really drives the band’s songs, Bourque recorded and mixed the group’s EP in his Toronto apartment.

“If you ever want to get really sick of your own band’s material really quickly, record and mix your own EP. I defy you to find a better way,” he jokes.

Having played in bands for several years now, Bourque playfully dubs Careers In Science as sounding like “the struggle against growing up” and admits that while he is still committed to playing music, life responsibilities are also finding their way into the darkest reaches of the group’s material.

“All of our songs are riddled with anxiety and uncertainty about what comes next. We’re all in weird places where we did the whole ‘never grow up’ punk rock thing and now we have student loans and girlfriends who don’t think my Doctor Who obsession is as cute and endearing as I do.”

Asked whether he can see himself relocating to Moncton on a permanent basis, Bourque is hesitant to say yes, acknowledging there is more than a few perks to calling a city the size of Toronto home.

“I have a nice little life built up in Toronto and things are going well. I do miss Moncton, the people mostly, but I am finding more opportunities for myself in Toronto,” he says.

“In Toronto, you seem to be able to play around a lot easier. There is always a cool dive bar that will host you and if you use your cunning, it can be fairly easy to hop onto a nice bill with a cool band that will help get you some new Facebook ‘Likes’, or whatever constitutes success nowadays. The catch is though, with eighty-plus shows around town on any given night.

It is simple to fall between the cracks of anyone caring about what you are doing.”

Whateverwolf, the debut EP from Careers In Science can be previewed and purchased on the group’s Bandcamp website, located at careersinscience.bandcamp.com.

Article published in July 22, 2011 edition of the Times & Transcript