Miracles of Modern Science aren’t the sort of band who can be easily shelved alongside most of the oh-so-hip acts that populate your average indie bar or club in Greenpoint on any given night. Consisting of an upright bassist, a mandolinist, a violinist, a cellist, and a drummer, Miracles of Modern Science focus their string-heavy pop music on subjects as diverse as technology’s effect on our brains and outer space, and act as a nerdy antidote to the sometimes shabby and sloppy bands of Brooklyn. Joshua Hirshfeld, MoMS’ mandolinist, was happy to answer a few questions about how both the band and Greenpoint stand out from the norm.
What are your names and roles in the band?
I’m Josh Hirshfeld — I play mandolin and sing backup vocals. We also have Evan Younger on upright bass and lead vocals, Kieran Ledwidge on violin, Geoff McDonald on cello, and Tyler Pines on drums.
Describe your sound in five words or less.
I’ll do it in two: orchestral rock.
Any releases that curious listeners can check out?
Our newest EP, MEEMS, came out in February, and we’ve pretty much been on the road since then spreading the word about it.
Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in Brooklyn?
We’ve been in Brooklyn since around June 2008, give or take a year for a couple of us, but we hail from all over: I’m from Newton, MA, right outside of Boston. Evan is from Charlottesville, VA, Geoff is from Philadelphia, PA, Tyler is from right outside of San Francisco, CA, and Kieran is here all the way from Sydney, Australia.
How did you guys meet?
We all met as students at Princeton University and moved to Brooklyn together after graduating.
What are your favorite venues to play in the Williamsburg/Greenpoint/Bushwick area and why?
It’s been a minute since we’ve played there, but I enjoy Glasslands. It’s been cool seeing them upgrade their sound setup over the years. It felt pretty rugged and DIY when we first played there in 2008, but it has gotten a lot more substantial. I also loved Coco66 in Greenpoint before it shut down.
What’s your favorite thing about Greenpoint?
For me, it’s one of the few neighborhoods in New York that feels like it isn’t really part of a big city. When I first moved to Brooklyn, Greenpoint seemed so removed compared to where I was living in Williamsburg. Now that I’m an elderly 27-year-old, it still feels that way, but that’s exactly why I like it!
With so many bands in this particular part of Brooklyn, what can/do you do to stand out?
Our greatest strength in that regard is our instrumentation, which you wouldn’t expect to see on stage at a rock club. But even then, there are so many bands here doing so many different things, our instrumentation is less of a surprise around here. We definitely get more “I didn’t expect that…” comments when we’re on tour.
Will Greenpoint ever become the music neighborhood that Williamsburg and Bushwick have? Is it already going that way?
I’m not really sure — but I kind of hope it doesn’t. It’s nice to have Greenpoint as a temporary escape from the constant activity of those other neighborhoods. That said, with Coco66 gone, I’d welcome another venue is Greenpoint!
What are some preconceived notions about the Brooklyn scene that you would like to do away with?
When a trend starts to get national attention — chillwave is what comes to mind — people might think that’s all that’s coming out of Brooklyn, that it’s a homogenous scene. I think a closer look would prove otherwise.