Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

SoundCheck: The Science Of finds their beginnings in a pandemic

The Science Of - from left to right: Jon Dillinger, Robert Combs, Ashlee Henady, Lucas O'Dougherty
Courtesy of The Science Of
The Science Of - from left to right: Jon Dillinger, Robert Combs, Ashlee Henady, Lucas O'Dougherty

The Science Of will be on Studio Live Friday, January 14, 2022 at noon.

Over the last two years, we have heard from many musicians and bands who were pushed to the brink during the coronavirus pandemic. They often had to find new ways to continue what they were doing. But one band from the Joplin area has done just the opposite and was born at the beginning of this wild ride: Early 2020.

The Science Of is Robert Combs on guitar, Jon Dillinger on bass, Ashlee Henady on vocals and Lucas O’Dougherty on drums. I was able to speak with Jon and Ashlee in person at the studio with Robert on the phone. Robert says he found things different this time around.

ROBERT COMBS: Ok, so, me and Lucas had been in talks about starting a band for quite some time. And then as we started working on getting it started, the pandemic hit and kind of put a damper on things. So, we had to work around sending each other tracks via computer and it was definitely an odd process because I traditionally like to write with other people.

By the time we started recording, we had recruited Jon. He moved back to the area, did I know any bands looking for a bass player and I was like, “Yes, actually.”

JON DILLINGER: Worked out well. I didn’t have any idea or expectations I’d be playing with Robert again so, I was excited. We used to play together in a band called The Lonely.

By the time vocalist Ashlee Henady came to The Science Of, the pandemic was in full swing, giving her a unique way to start with a new band.

ASHLEE HENADY: So, they had all of these songs. They had pretty much the entire album done, from my understanding of recordings just in Drop Box sitting there waiting. And Lucas, our drummer, he worked with my husband and was just one day kind of off the wall, “Hey, do you know any vocalists looking to join a band? We’re trying to find someone. We’ve been having a hard time finding someone.” And my husband said, “Well, you should talk to my wife.” So, he pulled up my YouTube channel and played him some of my videos and Lucas was, obviously liked what he heard, so sent me one of the Drop Box recordings that they had and asked me to write something to it. So, I wrote the entire album, vocally, without ever meeting anyone and it was... yeah.

It required a lot of vulnerability, for sure, because I mean, there’s a lot of like, your personal experience that goes under writing lyrics and I didn’t know their backgrounds, I didn’t know their religious beliefs, I didn’t know anything, really, about them, so, I was like, ‘Well, I hope I don’t scare them away with what I’m writing.

DILLINGER: On the flipside for us, because we did see her stuff that she had on her YouTube channel, which is mostly covers and stuff with her performing with her church and so we unfortunately had the misconceived conception of who she was. And we were absolutely wrong, too.

JESS BALISLE: So, what were your reactions then, Robert and Jon, when you heard the lyrics that she had come up with for your music?

COMBS: Blown away. She’s a workhorse. I’ve worked a lot of singers over the years and just the fact that she could come up with something that vulnerable that quick, still just blows my mind.

And even though it was a bit of an odd start, the band has no regrets making it happen.

HENADY: I will say, though, one thing that this band really did, at least for me personally, was during the pandemic when everything was shut down and it was just like, everything seemed so hopeless, having this creative outlet and having these guys to just constantly chat with and like spitball things off of was really, really kind of a breath of fresh air. It was easy to take your mind off of everything that was going on in the world because you had that to kind of fall back on.

What does the future hold for The Science Of?

DILLINGER: I don’t know.

HENADY: I don’t either.

DILLINGER: We have lofty goals and aspirations, but we’ll see, just one step at a time. That’s all you can do.

HENADY: Yeah, I think, especially right now, in the day of TikTok, I think our biggest goal is just getting people to hear our music because there is so much being put into the world at such a rapid rate that it’s like you are like a grain of sand. Which, I mean, it’s always kind of been like that, I feel like it’s even more prominent right now. So, I think that’s a big goal for us. Just getting our music to people’s ears.

Jessica Gray Balisle, a Springfield native, grew up listening to KSMU. When she's not wrangling operations and compliance issues, she co-hosts live music show Studio Live and produces arts and culture stories. Jessica plays bass in local band the Hook Knives. She and her husband Todd live with their two cats, Ellie and Jean-Ralphio, and way too many house plants.