INTERVIEW

Science! What was all that about at school then? Atom particles one day, re-wiring a plug the next and then gutting a frog, before heading off to an equally pointless double period of PSE. Sure, its saving grace was the chance to burn stuff and see how many test tube racks you could edge into some poor fucker’s ‘record bag’

Science! What was all that about at school then? Atom particles one day, re-wiring a plug the next and then gutting a frog, before heading off to an equally pointless double period of PSE. Sure, its saving grace was the chance to burn stuff and see how many test tube racks you could edge into some poor fucker’s ‘record bag’, but other than that it really was a taught subject flailing in the art of cool.

The teachers – sorry, doctors – would usually wear tweed, sport moustaches – neither in an ironic fashion sense may I hasten to add – and were clearly hated by their friends for being ‘know it alls’.

And so, when reading the name, ‘We Are Scientists’, you may well panic to turn the page before you’re quizzed on the differences between acids and alkalis. Luckily for us, themselves and the small town scene of New York City, ‘WAS’ to their friends, enemies and equals, share very little with those long forgotten lab sessions. Okay, so bassist Chris does sport a moustache and we’re not saying that any of the three graduate members aren’t partial to pulling on a tweed blazer now and then. But that’s about it!

Three pals since their uni days in California, singer/guitarist, Keith, drummer, Michael, and bassist, Chris, could have all been actual scientists, should they have wished it. A witty, eccentric and intelligent trio, they boast between them diploma certificates in Engineering, Economics, Languages and Literature.

If you’ve already visited www.wearescientists.com you’ll be aware of the bands sharp and surreal sense of humour. Tongue in cheek stories about forming because of crushes for each other and confessions of Keith and Chris both being 52 year olds, whilst Michael is the tender age of 45, point to Monty Python-esque imaginations. “I was pretty into my Python,” confesses Keith. “I’m not sure about the other guys but I think they definitely have a familiarity to Monty Python. But I definitely have been a very large Monty Python fan.”

After throwing their mortar boards in the air and enjoying their last frat house parties in the Californian sun, We Are Scientists upped sticks and traded the beaches of the West Coast for the smoke of the East. The destination was – where else but – New York City and it is a city they feel more at home in than ever. “We definitely consider ourselves more of a New York band than a California band,” says Keith. “We never really were a band in California. We went to university there and didn’t really play there. We formed the band right before we moved away.”

It’s a move that instantly registers when listening to the bands evolving sound. Crunchy and raw, it shares the energy and edge that The Strokes and Yeah Yeah Yeahs possess and the over produced surf punk bands of Sum 41 and Blink 182 lack. Aware that the ‘dancy’ element of their music is a common theme in today’s market, thanks to Franz Ferdinand’s contribution to the music world, the band confess to keeping the growing trend in mind to avoid being rammed into a pigeon hole. “There’s definitely been times when we’ve written a song that has initially been ‘dancy’ and in knowledge of the fact that dance songs are being produced a dime a dozen, we have tried to change the dynamic a little to be less ‘disco punk’ or whatever it is people are calling it,” reasons Keith. “But it’s much more fun to play songs that people can dance to while your performing, instead of people standing around talking.” And dance they do. We Are Scientists’ live shows are an element that the band still consider their top priority, writing new material with its stage presence forever in mind. “‘Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt’ is one of my favourite to play now because of the anticipation of people going mental when we play it,” notes Keith. “The most energetic songs have the longest lives for us. We’re still very much a live band.”

But despite NYC and it’s disco punk having a healthy influence on the band due to it’s demanding scene – “there’s so many amazing things happening, you need to step up your game just to show up on the radar in New York,” as they put it – the UK has influenced We Are Scientists no end. Self confessed David Bowie addicts, Keith marvels at The Thin White Duke’s back catalogue. “We’ve been listening to his ‘best of’ which is pretty career spanning and it’s amazing to listening to the scope of the stuff that he was doing.” Pushed for a favourite Bowie track, Keith goes for ‘Space Oddity’, if only because it’s the first on his CD and the only one they ever hear properly in their van. We go for ‘Suffragette City.’

But it is not just Bowie who provides us with something to rave about. Touring buddies and fellow ‘disco punks’, Editors, are high on WAS’s iPod play list, as well as the lesser known Rolland Shanks; a London group of art students who don’t consider themselves musicians as such but more like artists who play music as one of their art forms. “I personally feel much more musically connected with England.” Keith elaborates. “Most of the bands I listen to are British. I think New York seems a little closer to an English sensibility, musically, than the rest of America does. I never listen to American mainstream radio at all, whereas here I find British radio quite enjoyable.” And how about our glorious English countryside? “Well, the first time we came here, we didn’t know anybody. Every town seemed to blur into one. I hesitate to say it was depressing but we were just in Travelodge’s every day and travelling between unknown towns. This is our fourth tour. It was around the second or third time that England became a riotous time for us.”

‘With Love And Squalor’ is in stores now. If you’ve already reached into your pocket for a copy, you’ve no doubt been pestering your local DJ to spin a couple of tracks to freak out to. If you’re yet to be a proud owner, you’re missing a trick of‚” well‚” New York proportions.

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