The Great Escape

Can you swing a dolphin by its tail? We Are Scientists Can – Ruth Ní Leannachaín speaks to the band about their new record and latest tour.

There’s something about We Are Scientists that draws attention, whether it’s their humour or their ability to roll out the perfect Indie hit and after 13 years on the music scene the band are still as popular as ever. Considering it’s now been three long years since We Are Scientists’ last album release, Barbara in 2010 it comes as no surprise that upon announcing their latest 7 inch Something About You and a subsequent tour, the band’s fans were out in force. Despite bassist Chris Cain claiming their new album will be “a somewhat worse record than Barbara” with two new labels and a recently released 7 inch (Something About You) that displays a freshness combined with the signature WAS sound, it seems the band is only getting stronger.

Motley met We Are Scientists hot off their extensive UK tour which saw them play sold out shows the length and breadth of the country before embarking on their first festival appearance at Indiependence, a set which saw the band dip mainly into their back catalogue of hits and attracting a large crowd to the main stage. Chris claims the band has visited Cork on a few occasions but when asked to elaborate by Keith responds: “I believe it was an old Irish town in a venue which held between 200 and 1000 people…I’m pretty sure the last time we played Cork Gary from Snow Patrol was there.” Considering We Are Scientists hectic touring schedule in the past, often seeing the band tour for twenty months straight, they could be forgiven for disremembering many of the cities they played, but after a three year break they seem enthusiastic once again to release the album and get on the road. Chris says they are hoping for a release in the first quarter of next year as well as an EP release in early October and joking that instead of fans approaching the band, they have been approaching would be fans. “We were mingling out there – we were accosting people, come to our show tonight!” says Chris.

Despite the band’s busy month, they are in high spirits and their signature banter is still very much intact, with the conversation soon moving toward Orca Whales. “I imagine with all the killings at SeaWorld, the Orca word for ‘Kill me’ must be ‘Jump Juju!’ It just makes sense” says Keith. “I think my Orca name would be Jump Juju!” And despite being named as one of the world’s sexiest vegans he admits he’s very bad at it. “I don’t eat meat but I’m not a vegan. Being a vegan sucks, the baked goods are just too bad” with Chris adding jokingly “He also hates animals.” “Oh yeah, if there was an animal back here I’d say scat! And if it didn’t I’d punch it right over that fence.”

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We were mingling out there, accosting people, come to our show tonight!

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Banter like this is not uncommon for the band who have said previously that they don’t like discussing their music particularly seriously, leaving interpretation instead up to their listeners. Along with an joke advice column on their website and a section where the band reviews food, beer, Katy Perry concerts and anything else they feel like, it was the popularity of their YouTube channel that saw Keith and Chris’ humour recognised leading them to write and star in their own internet mini-series, Steve Wants His Money. The show follows the band as they attempt to raise money for Steve despite them claiming that they are a band not a ‘payback charity.” The series, released back in 2010 is something Keith accredits as one of his favourite memories. “I really like this one bit in Steve wants his money where I really had nothing to say, Chris has this long Dawson’s Creek based monologue that was really hard to remember” Keith explains. “I just stood around dropping DVD’s for an hour.”

While Steve Wants His Money was a hit with fans, it’s their music videos which have really made their sense of humour famous. With both members previously suggesting that videos that tell the story of the song have never really interested them; their subject matter has instead included double dates, multi-personality disorder and Chris becoming a werewolf. With such elaborate plot lines I asked what the most difficult video to create was. “Chick-Lit was pretty brutal to film” Says Chris, referring to the cowboy themed video which sees the band film on large horses on location in Ireland, rounding up small dogs. “That was pretty rough. It was scary because the horses were huge and neither of us is very good at riding horses so they could have killed us.” With Keith adding “I tried to punch one over a fence which was hard…it was a lot heavier than I thought, I thought it would be like a dolphin or something, I’m from Miami so I’m used to getting dolphins and swinging them around by the tail.” So what was Ireland like to film in other than the huge horses? “It was wet and freezing fucking cold” says Chris, “And it had snowed the day before so the ground had turned to mush. I had to shave in a lake at one point in my skivvies and it was ice cold” explains Chris before Keith interjects “I think I saw people fill the lake with ice before you arrived, they knew you were coming.” Luckily for the band, the video was a hit with over fifty-five thousand views on YouTube and well worth the suffering. And what about their favourite? “I don’t Bite was super fun because it was so easy” says Chris, “Keith’s favourite is probably Rules Don’t Stop Me” Keith agrees “Yeah, Rules Don’t Stop Me was filmed 10 blocks from my house, so that was the best!”

So, with a back catalogue spanning over a decade, is picking between songs like picking between children, or do the two frontmen have favourites? “It’s not hard, because some of the suck” says Keith, “the children I mean, all of our songs are good. That said, the 4 songs I’d take to Disney Land are ‘Make it Easy’ from our new album, and a song called ‘Return the Favour’ also from our new album, ‘Lethal Enforcer’ from our second album and ‘Foreign Kicks’ from our third album.” And Chris? “I like a song called ‘Overreacting’ from the new album that Keith won’t even talk to; he barely recognises it as a child at all. Luckily Uncle Chris is raising that one to be a prince.”“A prince like gnome that lives in his own little world and is incapable of interaction” Adds Keith.

As time runs out, the band give their final piece of advice for young musicians, “Well, if it’s music you decide to do make sure you get signed to big old label who’ll throw money all over you, that makes is easy.” And with that Keith and Chris leave to prepare for their set on the main stage before the long drive to Belfast to officially finish their tour. “I hope you got your scoop” are Keith’s parting words, and it seems pretty clear that if there’s any scoop here it’s that 2014 might just be the best year yet for We Are Scientists.