We Are Scientists
We caught up with Keith Murray, frontman of New York band We Are Scientists, to find out how the NME Tour is working out for them and their plans for the rest of this year.
So, the NME tour is what you are doing right now, you started in Dublin and you guys are in Norwich today. How are you finding the tour so far?
Hey isn't Alan Partridge from Norwich? I love Steve Coogan's work. Alan Partridge is to Norwich what The Office is to Slough, right? The tour is great, we're a band who have toured with many other bands - so being a part of this type of line up is something we're used to.
Is a line-up such as the NME Tour line-up full of huge egos?
We as a band, who has toured with many other bands, always have an idea in our minds, when we're about to meet other bands whom we've read a lot about and who have done very well. You always prepare yourself to be suddenly thrust into a world of incorrigible assholes but with us it has actually never happened. I don't know why that notion remains, that people who have done well and gotten some level of respect and adulation for what they do would change, or would have been destroyed by the success.
I think, certainly in the case of Arctic Monkeys, their situation being so extreme, the fact that they're as down to earth and as normal as they are, is amazing and almost seems like some sort of personality deficiency. They are tremendously down to earth, while still being well aware of what is happening around them.
I feel gracious for this tour, looking back on last years NME tour, the bands that played went onto big things.
As a band your home is New York – do you missing being there – when you're on the road for long periods of time?
We all met at University in Los Angeles, California but never functioned as a band on the West Coast. I don't know if we consider ourselves "of the New York scene" as we pretty much practiced in obscurity for the bulk of our career, as I'm sure most bands do. Once we started gaining any kind of real recognition in the US we started this crazy UK campaign that was launched by Steve Lamacq last April.
Since then we have spent 85% of our time in the UK. I think a lot of Americans actually think we are a British band.
I really miss my girlfriend and other friends who live in the States. But on the other hand we are making lots of friends in the UK which really helps with the home-sickness, because we get to see familiar faces when we are on tour.
You have been together as a band for five years now, over those five years what has been your personal highlight?
Playing the Bowery Ballroom in New York City was definitely one of the highlights for me. Up until that point we hadn't really played venues of that size, as a support band or otherwise. Although in the UK we have been playing 1000 to 1500 seat venues.
So to go back home to New York and finally play a venue that is seen as a cornerstone of the New York scene, and where we have seen so many great bands ourselves, was a big thing for me. The fact it sold out really quickly was the cherry on the cake for us.
I tend to be quite cynical about the facts of our success. When I found out we were booked to play Bowery Ballroom I was incredulous as hell and declared that our management was determined to embarrass us, and then it went and sold out in a week and a half.
How did you get into music – do you come from a musical family?
I don't necessarily come from a family that produces much music but my family, as a whole, is very into music. As I was growing up, there was always music playing around the house. My parents were hippies back in the sixties and maintained a love for all that kind of stuff Crosby, Stills and Nash; The Band, Janis Joplin and The Beatles. This kind of music was always playing in our home. Plus my sister was into a lot of the "hair metal" bands from the eighties and that stuff also made it onto my record player. That stuff was just all part of growing up in my family.
What is next for We Are Scientists?
Essentially we are on tour for the whole of this year. We start a headlining tour of the UK in April, before then we have some gigs around Europe with The Kaiser Chiefs. We then go back to the States for South by Southwest (SXSW) and a brief headline tour in the US.
Did you play Southwest (SXSW) last year?
We did and that is where we truly emerged as a real band. The show we are playing at SXSW this year is kind of a showcase of the bands that blew up at SXSW last year, which is three bands, Be Your Own Pet, She Wants Revenge and us. We intend to play some UK festivals too, we performed at The Carling Reading/Leeds Festival last year, which was cool, and it would be great to play more UK festivals this year.
Catch We Are Scientists live this year!
THE CONTINENTAL CLAMP-DOWN TOUR
Supporting Kaiser Chiefs on shows with an "*" - the others are headline.
Sat Feburary 18 2006
Antwerp, BEL / Petrol
Sun Feburary 19 2006
Utrecht, HOL / Ekko
Mon Feburary 20 2006
Cologne, DE / Underground
Tue Feburary 21 2006
Berlin, DE / Magnet
Fri Feburary 24 2006
Madrid, ES / Moby Dick
Sat Feburary 25 2006
Barcelona, ES / Razzmatazz*
Mon Feburary 27 2006
Clermont Ferrand, FR / Cooperative De Mai
Tue Feburary 28 2006
Paris, FR / Bataclan*
Wed March 1 2006
Amsterdam, HOL / Heineken Music Hall*
Fri March 3 2006
Fribourg, SW / Fri-son*
Sat March 4 2006
Zurich, SW / Abart / New City and Venue
Mon March 5 2006
Vienna, AU / Flex
Tue March 6 2006
Munich, DE / Mufthalle*
Tue March 7 2006
Frankfurt, DE / Festaal*
Tue March 8 2006
Hamburg, DE / Molotow / New Venue
Tue March 9 2006
Copenhagen, Denmark / Vega*
Tue March 10 2006
Oslo, NO / Rockerfeller*
Tue March 11 2006
Stockolm, SW / Debaser
SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST
Sat March 18 2006
Austin, TX / Buffalo Billiards / South by Southwest