‘Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt’ was arguably the song that put them on the map back in 2005, but We Are Scientists are back with a brand new record called ‘Helter Seltzer’. We Are Scientists are Keith Murray (vocals, guitar), Chris Cain (bass) and Keith Carne (drums, since 2014) from New York. Keith and Chris formed the band in 2000 knowing each other since college. They were joined by Michael Tapper on the drums until he left the band in November 2007, suffering from the band’s steady touring habits. He decided to move to Los Angeles with his girlfriend, while Chris and Keith stayed in New York. The sound of We Are Scientists is often described as Indie-Rock, Alternative Rock or Post Punk – we’d say catchy rock-notes with sincere lyrics and that certain something!
It was another Berlin night and we had the chance to see the guys performing live on stage in a sold out venue in Kreuzberg (Privatclub). Alongside with songs from their new release ‘Helter Seltzer’ they were playing some of their well-known hits like ‘Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt’ and ‘The Great Escape’ lifting the roof with a great crowd. After the fantastic show we had the pleasure to meet and chat with Keith and Chris about their music and style and we also took some fancy Polaroid pictures of those two lovely lads.
Who are you?
We’re We Are Scientists – Keith and Chris, a couple of college buddies who, upon graduation, decided to do away with our valuable university degrees go strum guitars.
Why did you name the band We Are Scientists?
We were called We Are Scientists by a know-nothing nincompoop in San Francisco, CA, who guessed from our musculature and dress code that we worked in the sciences. We were so disgusted by his pig-ignorance that we promptly left California and moved to New York City, where skinny dandies are regarded as hipster elite. Nobody ever called us a scientist in New York. Indeed, we’ve been thriving there for going on sixteen years, now – but we kept the name as a badge of honor.
What is your music about and how would you describe your style (of music)?
It’s hard to say what our music is “about,” except to suggest that it’s about seeing what happens when all of the aforementioned influences get mashed together – what happens when Cyndi Lauper sings a Marilyn Manson song, or vice versa? Our lyrics are generally about either romance or alcohol – very often, they focus on the self-doubt that’s inspired by indulging in one or both of those intoxicants.
What is your latest album ‘Helter Seltzer’ about and why did you choose a smoking cat for the cover?
Our album cover sort of incapsulates those vibes without trying to specifically illustrate them. The odd collection of fantastical elements – a giant bejeweled hand, a trio of naked acrobats, a smoking cat – all conjure a sense of the romantic, the enticing, the mysterious, to us, and those are the feelings we like to explore in our songs.
In which way are you influenced and inspired by other artist? What’s on your MP3/iPod?
Our music was heavily influenced by the music coming out of our neighborhood in the early 2000s (The Strokes, The Rapture, Yeah Yeah Yeahs), as well as by era-spanning rock bands (Velvet Underground, Pavement, Fleetwood Mac, Billy Idol, Weezer, Smashing Pumpkins) .
Imagine if you could choose another decade of music and fashion, which one would it be?
I can’t really say that there’s any specific era of music or fashion that we really revere above any other.
What means fashion to you?
We both like to look fairly effortless in our deployment of fashion, but I think that living in NYC has given us a skewed sense of what that means.
How would you describe your style?
Outside of New York, we probably look like our fashion sense is quite deliberate and demonstrative. Chris is generally the nattier dresser, between us, whereas Keith usually favors a more shambolic look, but both of us like well-tailored, slim-fitting clothes.
What influences you in the way you dress? Indispensable piece of clothing for you?
Upon the completion of Helter Seltzer, we agreed that the album deserved a more grandiose fashion presentation than we’ve generally employed in the past. Thus, we’ve been wearing matching, all-black, slim suits when we’re on the job. It gives our shows and media appearances a nice sense of “occasion,” we think – that dressing up to do our job makes the whole enterprise feel a bit elevated and formal, in an appealing way. In any case, it’s a lot of fun to put on a costume to go to work. We’ve also gotten into pins – we sell enamel cat pins at our merchandise booth, and we each have a personalized lapel pin for our onstage outfits. Chris wears a representation of a lit match and Keith has got a champagne bottle. They’re both pretty indispensable pieces of accoutrement, for this tour.
Thanks a lot for your time and for the interview guys!
xx Jules & Christian