In modern-speak, "soft science" refers to non-physical sciences, i.e. psychology and sociology. Biology, chemistry, the meat-and-bone stuff is considered "hard science."
In 2014 Savannah, Soft Science is also a startup indie record label, releasing its inaugural vinyl product — a pair of marbled-vinyl 45 RPM singles — this week. And celebrating the event with a live performance at Hang Fire.
Founded by photographer Skip Terpstra and SCAD filmmaking senior Gus Muller, Soft Science Records has already dipped its toe into retail waters with 2012 cassette-tape singles by Sauna Heat and Triathalon.
The Jan. 9 release includes vinyl from Savannah garage rock twosome Wet Socks ("New Crush," on red and black vinyl) and Thee Holy Ghosts, a snotty surf-punk band from Gainesville, Florida ("On My Own," pressed on blue and black vinyl), plus a three-cassette reissue of local synth-pop pioneer Jeff Zagers' three albums Chu's Blues, Fold; The Tale of Table and Key Conduction.
Pressed in Nashville, the singles (there are 400 copies of each, making it a true limited edition) began as Savannah-made digital files (recorded by Peter Mavrogeorgis at Dollhouse Studios) Once shipped off, says Muller, they go through several lengthy "tiers" of production.
"One of the tiers that took us a while was the test pressings," he explains. "Basically, you get a sample of what it is, and you have to listen to that, and make notes, decide if that's what you want to press. We got that back and were kind of like blown away. We listened to it way too many times. It took us about a month to say 'OK, let's do this one.'"
Terpstra and Muller — the latter is also part of the local promotion company Safe//Sound - have been collaborating on music videos for several years (they did Oberhofer's "ooO0oOo," for example).
"Skip approached me about starting a label," says Muller. "I was like 'That's a lot of work. I don't know if I'd be into that.' I kind of thought about it for a while. I'd been promoting shows for a while, so I know a lot of touring bands, and a lot of local bands.
"And then I thought 'You know what, it would be awesome to make a Wet Socks record. It would awesome to make a record with this band Thee Holy Ghosts. So let's give it a shot.'"
The two members of Wet Socks, Hunter Jayne and John Zimmerman, are also students (Jayne is also one of the guitarists in Triathalon). "The way we operate right now is we're all buddies," adds Muller.
It all comes together Thursday night, Jan. 9, at Hang Fire. The Soft Science Records release party — sponsored, of course, by Safe//Sound — will feature live performance from Wet Socks, Thee Holy Ghosts, Zagers and White Treasure (T-shirts and other swag will be for sale, as well).
White Treasure is the stage name adopted by Brooke Schwartz, a writer and musician, and the former frontman for the Savannah hardcore band Slave Grave.
White Treasure is Schwartz's "doom rap" hip hop project. "We've done a few house shows with him," Muller offers, "and it's always been a really amazing performance."