Music & clubs

A chat with… We Are Scientists

INTERVIEW. The nerdy-aber-sexy power-pop duo bounce from self-help lectures to stage. Stay up after hours at Lido on Mar 24 at 8pm.

Formed at Pomona College in the late 1990s, the band settled on the configuration of vocalist/guitarist Keith Murray (right) and bassist Chris Cain (left) and hit big with “Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt”. Stay up after hours at Lido on March 24.

Keith Murray: It’s slightly nicer here than it was in New York.

It’s a wild Monday night.

KM: [Laughs] Exactly! I always have a really good time in Berlin, but I never know where I am, or where anything is in relation to anything else. Every once in a while I think I recognise something, but I can’t be sure.

Chris Cain: We’ll never know what it’s like to raise a family in Berlin.

Exberliner just interviewed Stephen Malkmus; he lived here for a while. It sounded like he just sort of pottered around.

KM: Made snarky comments in general?

CC: [Sneezes] Sorry, I’m allergic to Pavement.

It’s not quite Spinal Tap levels yet, but you’ve gone through a couple of drummers, settling now with Andy Burrows.

KM: Or have we?

CC: He’s actually not going to be our live drummer this year. He’s still an official We Are Scientists affiliate, but we have a different new guy drumming this spring. It may have officially reached Spinal Tap proportions.

KM: Without their deaths. Not all of our guys have died. Every one of them has choked on vomit though. Not fatally, but to a percent.

How are those cats from the With Love and Squalor cover?

KM: The album cover were cats that were born in my old apartment at the time, and they’re definitely all dead. I don’t know where they are but none of them were fit to survive. But the cat that we most often exploit in our industry is his cat. He’s flourishing.

CC: As well as a slave cat can do. His dreams were crushed a long time ago. He’s not particularly bad off. His most recent thing was, we were trying to force feed him yoghurt for a magazine photo shoot and he didn’t like that much. A couple of months prior we were closing him repeatedly into a briefcase for a film. We did it a bunch of different times and he didn’t mind that at all; he was purring most of the time. Weirdly, being fed the yoghurt pissed him off a lot more, and he likes yoghurt. Very strange. Cats are unpredictable. We could talk about this all day.

When you were touring 2008’s Brain Thrust Mastery (Virgin) you did some seminars.

CC: We did yeah, self-help seminars. A lot of people who took our advice ended up ending their own lives. So those were not successful. We didn’t have any kind of insurance or anything, but as we were not licensed professionals, we weren’t making any claims to expertise. So, actually it didn’t qualify as malpractice.

KM: And we weren’t paid for those.

CC: They were unpaid, they were promotional in nature. And it was all by way of friendly advice [Laughs]. It was never contextualised as expert opinion.

You’ve also got an advice column on your website.

CC: There was some girl who asked us a fairly direct and earnest question about hair extensions, and she clearly just had no idea what the fuck we are. She thought we were some kind of practical science website. We wrote a 10-page response to her.

KM: Never heard back from her, did we?

CC: She ended her own life.