INTERVIEW: We Are Scientists
By Carla Washbourne on July 31, 2012 in Music
The Stockton Weekender is almost upon us! From Friday 3rd until Sunday 5th August some of the best bands in the North East will be taking to the stages and joining them will be big big names, from The Pogues to Willy Mason. I caught up with We Are Scientists, who will be gracing the Main Stage on Saturday 4th, to see just how excited they are about their auspicious appointment.
CW: Whereabouts are you at this very second?
WAS: In London! In a hotel! Fresh from the shower! Clean shaven! Hair combed!
CW: What have you been up to for the last few days/weeks/months?
WAS: Showering, mostly. Staying clean. We also recorded the bulk of a new album that’s going to redefine popular radio in 2013. Or at least that’s going to entertain some people. Let’s say 100 people, as a safe minimum.
CW: It looks like you’re gearing up for a long summer of UK shows – how have you prepared yourself for the UK festival circuit?
WAS: Actually it’s a modest 2 weeks of shows — not too bad compared to what more daring bands bite off. Our preparation has included plenty of calisthenics; lots of listening British radio and watching British TV, in order to make sure we’ll understand people when they talk to us; and endless visualization and meditation.
CW: Are you getting more accustomed to your popularity in the UK and have you worked out why audiences still seem to be convinced that you are, in fact, British?
WAS: I think that there’s a strange confluence happening where just as we’re getting comfortable with being viewed as British — just as we are, in fact, starting to ‘think of ourselves as British’ — audiences are starting to realise that we’re not British. So everyone, including us, is probably in for a period of uncertainty and discomfiture.
CW: Are you excited about playing the Stockton Weekender in August? (and, for the record, have you ever been to Stockton before?)
WAS: We have — I’m almost certain — played the Uni in Stockton. (Apologies to all the relevant authorities if I’m wrong.) And my (possibly invented) memory of the area is very positive. Sunsets, rainbows, verdant greens, rolling hills, fierce fauna, a kindly populace with elevated sensibilities… does that sound like Stockton? If so, bring on Stockton Weekender!
CW: With intriguing acts like Britpop heavyweights James and The Pogues on the bill, is there anyone you are particularly excited about sharing the stage with?
WAS: Would LOVE to have caught James. I used to be obsessed with Laid when I was a lad. But they’re on a different day than us and basic pride demands that one NEVER go to a festival on a day when one is not playing, if one is in a band playing the festival. Just kidding, of course — that’s not a rule. But I believe we do have a show in some other, lesser locale on the day James is playing.
CW: On that train of thought…you’ve toured with some very big names over the last few years. Are there any particular shows which stick out as really memorable?
WAS: Playing with REM at the Plaza de Toros de las Ventas in Madrid was amazing. We went on-stage with them for their last three tunes, including a cover of I Wanna Be Your Dog. Hot stuff. I wore Mike Mills’s priceless Nudie jacket — unauthorized by him, as a sorta-prank organized by the tour manager. Mike wasn’t entirely pleased. I took very good care of that jacket, and handed it right back to him the instant we stepped off stage.
CW: Have scientists ever questioned your qualifications?
WAS: To their great embarrassment, yes, a few times.
CW: This isn’t the first incarnation of the band, but you definitely have the knack of keeping it together. Do things just carry on smoothly evolving around the Keith-Chris core?
WAS: The Keith-Chris core is like a planet. Around and upon that planet evolve a biosphere, an atmosphere and weather cycle, over time a succession of climatic “ages”… always, though, there is the rock in the center.
CW: Was there a moment when you felt everything started coming together for WAS, or do you still feel you are very much ‘on the way up’?
WAS: We certainly remain ambitious for the band — there are things we still hope to accomplish. The prevailing feeling at this stage, though, is one of gratitude and good luck and contentment that we’ve been able to make a career out of something so pleasurable and rewarding. Still hoping to marry A-list actresses, though.
CW: You guys are prolific musicians, but also writers, comedians, creators of awesome music videos and sought-after agony-uncles. How do you manage to balance all the genres?
WAS: I’m not sure we do. We’re top-of-the-line musicians, for example, but only modestly effective comedians. And while our ‘agony uncle’ advice is much-sought, it’s not very good. Many have died following our advice; many more have settled irretrievably into an existence of poverty and isolation.
CW: What are you up to after this summer’s high jinks? What are your next big plans?
WAS: Gotta finish this album! Gotta name it, and get it out! Gotta make more funny videos to show to our grandkids! Gotta get some grandkids! Gotta marry A-list actresses if we’re ever gonna get those grandkids!
CW: I hear there may be a new album in the pipeline slated for release next year. Can you illuminate us anymore?
WAS: See previous comments, wherein relevant nuggets of intel concerning this matter are squirreled away.
- PREVIEW: Stockton Weekender