Collage by Ethan Jones

Math and Physics Club:

Charles Bert: vocals, rhythm guitar
James Werle: guitar
Ethan Jones: bass, guitar, piano/keys
Kevin Emerson: drums
Saundrah Humphrey: viola


Math and Physics Club began as a basement project for childhood friends Charles Bert (vocals) and James Werle (guitar) in the late 1990’s. By the summer of 2004, the band coalesced around the additions of Kevin Emerson (drums), Saundrah Humphrey (viola) and Ethan Jones (bass).

After recording a four-song demo in James’ basement, they sent a copy to Santa Barbara pop label Matinee Recordings and soon signed on. They released their first EP Weekends Away in early 2005.

Meanwhile, KEXP DJ John Richards also got a copy of the demo and began spinning it on his morning show. The exposure helped build a local following even before the full lineup had played its first show together.

In spring 2005, the band played several West Coast shows with labelmates The Lucksmiths, then landed an opening slot at the Sasquatch Music Festival, headlined by Kanye West and The Pixies (the band was definitely not allowed anywhere near the backstage area). They released their follow-up EP Movie Ending Romance in July, and then finished off the summer at Seattle legendary Bumbershoot festival.

Somewhere in Connecticut, circa 2006.

Somewhere in Connecticut, circa 2006.

Their self-titled debut album was released in October 2006, working with local producer and KEXP engineer Kevin Suggs (The Walkabouts, Smoosh). To promote the album, they made their first trip to the East Coast for a short tour, including the New England Popfest.

By 2007, several members had embarked on parenthood, leaving less time to devote to the band. Still they managed to release a third EP Baby I’m Yours that fall, but only played a few shows in 2008 and none in 2009. Saundrah left the band during this time and moved abroad, and later Kevin also left to focus on his writing career (though he continued to record and later perform with the band again).

In the summer of 2009, by then all living in different cities, Charles, Ethan, and James started work on their second album by trading recordings over email. They enlisted producer Martin Feveyear (Presidents of the USA, Mark Lanegan) and began recording at his Jupiter Studios. Their album I Shouldn’t Look As Good As I Do was released in June 2010.

Big Ben selfie

London, 2011.

In summer 2011, MAPC played its first international shows with a short UK tour that included the Indietracks festival in Derbyshire, England. The tour helped reinvigorate the band, and soon after they began writing what would become their third album. They set up shop at K Records’ fabled Dub Narcotic Studio in Olympia with Bob Schwenkler at the helm, and with Ethan co-producing for the first time.

Their single ‘Long Drag’ was released in the summer of 2013, followed by the full length album Our Hearts Beat Out Loud in November. Both releases featured sleeve designs by noted Brooklyn artist Tae Won Yu.

MAPC re-emerged in 2016 with a collection of EPs, b-sides, rarities, and unreleased songs titled In This Together, featuring a new single called ‘Coastal California, 1985’ recorded by Jackson Long (BOAT, Death Cab for Cutie). The album was released on CD on the band’s long-standing label Matinee, and on LP on UK-based Fika Recordings.

In spring 2017, they recorded their fourth full-length album with Pacific Northwest grunge luminary Chris Hanzsek in the wilds of Snohomish, Washington. Lived Here Before was released on January 26, 2018.

The band played what would be their last shows in Australia in November 2017 with a short tour supporting Melbourne’s Last Leaves (ex-Lucksmiths).

James passed away after his battle with cancer in September 2018. The remaining members paid a final tribute to him in the form of a 7″ single featuring Indian Ocean (The End of Everything) b/w In Dreams in December 2019.

Melbourne, Australia, 2017