Welcome to another Music Monday brought to you by the CLN Editorial team. You’re in for a treat this week as our team interviewed band member, Dylan Layton of the Science Project Band for the scoop on their latest album release in honor of Red Dirt music pioneer and Oklahoma Music Hall of Famer, Tom Skinner.
The Science Project Band is currently made up of four musicians that have decades of combined experience playing with each other, as well as other groups. Don Morris started the Science Project Band with Tom Skinner and has also played with Brandon Jenkins, Martin Delray, and the Red Dirt Rangers. Rick Gomez has played with many notables, including Roy Clark and the Hee Haw Band. Brad James has played with local jam favorite Medicine Show, as well as Stoney Larue and Brandon Jenkins. Dylan Layton plays with several groups currently and has played with Brandon Jenkins and Steve Pryor.
CLN: In your own words, describe what it’s like being in the music industry?
Dylan: Personally I try to be in the music “industry” as little as possible in my role as a band member. Though it is a necessary evil, I prefer to focus on improving my craft on guitar and bass and creating music with the groups I’m involved with. I’m sure the rest of the band would answer similarly. Tom Skinner was also the type of musician who just wanted to create great music and entertain the people, without much care for fame and fortune. That said, being the Treasurer for Horton Records, it has been enlightening and educational being involved with a project to this degree.
CLN: Can you tell us a little bit more about the band’s music style?
Dylan: Though Tom Skinner is considered one of the founders/godfathers of Red Dirt Music, even he would have told you that Red Dirt was originally more of an umbrella of like-minded musicians that spanned several genres. I think Americana is probably the most accurate description for the uninitiated, but the band might delve into folk, rock, country, and even a little jam band over the course of a night.
CLN: Are you currently working on any new music or have done so recently?
Dylan: Getting the “First Set” record out to the people is the focus currently. If the record is well-received there are plans to work on a “Second Set” record that will include several artists that have been part of the special guest second set that has been a staple of the live performance since the beginning. And Don Morris always has new songs just waiting to be heard.
CLN: What does the band’s process look like for creating new music?
Dylan: Don Morris is the principle writer, and typically he will bring new songs to the band at one of our Wednesday performances at Colony. The rest of us work out our parts live in real-time. Everyone in the band has a great ear, and we are known for being able to learn songs quickly in real-time, so this process works well for us. By the time we are set to record there might be specific parts worked out independently, but everyone in the band has a great knack for coming up with something appropriate as we are recording.
CLN: What is the band’s favorite thing about performing and recording?
Dylan: I’m not sure I can speak for the whole band, but for me, the interaction with other musicians, especially in an improvised situation, is what I live for. I’m so glad the core four musicians were able to record this record in the same room and at the same time so we could capture some of that magic interaction that only happens with playing live.
CLN: What does the album “First Set” mean to the band as a whole?
Dylan: This is the first recording the band has made since Tom Skinner asked Don to keep the band going after his death. And though there were a few Tom Skinner records over the years, the pandemic live music break really allowed for this, the first proper Science Project Band record, to be made. We are thrilled to have something folks who have enjoyed our music over the years, as well as new fans, can enjoy at home. And personally, I’m thrilled that Don Morris has a record he can be proud of. Tom Skinner started the Science Project Band with Don Morris over 20 years ago and was a great mentor to so many musicians/songwriters. We are happy to honor his legacy with this record.
Thanks for tuning in for today’s Music Monday. If you’re interested in being featured or have a story you’d like to share, please reach out to our Editor for availability.
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