It’s easier to be weird in the UK’
PUBLISHED: 12:35 23 February 2006 | UPDATED: 11:33 04 May 2010
NEW York s We Are Scientists have launched a full-scale assault on Britain over the last six months, kicking off a small venue tour last year before graduating to the much-hyped NME Shockwaves Tour alongside Maximo Park and Arctic Monkeys. IAN RAY caught
NEW York's We Are Scientists have launched a full-scale assault on Britain over the last six months, kicking off a small venue tour last year before graduating to the much-hyped NME Shockwaves Tour alongside Maximo Park and Arctic Monkeys. IAN RAY caught up with singer and guitarist Keith Murray, pictured centre, last week to talk about the trio's critical success, favourite guitars and of course, that band from Sheffield.
How has it been on the NME tour?
It's been amazing - it dawned on me yesterday that in only two days it will all be over. It's seemed like it would go on forever.
Who have you enjoyed watching each night?
We definitely have made a concerted effort to watch every band on the tour. We've seen the Mystery Jets and the Arctic Monkeys the most from the side of the stage.
The Arctic Monkeys have had an incredible amount of hype and support on the tour, has it been difficult performing alongside them?
I do think there's something very populist about what's going on with them. They have a way of getting the crowds excited, and that's been bleeding over to the other bands.
It must have been a boost to read review of the tour in the NME naming you as the best band?
It's obviously a very flattering assessment. We don't view it as a competition because we've all got so close, but it's impossible not to read that sort of thing.
Do you remember kicking off your first British tour at The Portland Arms in Cambridge?
That was in the pub, right? That show got me so worked up I broke my guitar. My Fender Jazzmaster - it's amazing. I got it fixed when I was back in the states.
Do you subscribe to the commonly-held view that the British are quicker to catch on with new acts? Obviously I'm a little biased....
I think the way the media works in England helps. You have national radio... and ...
A national press?
Exactly - it makes it easier for bands that would be indie in the States to be massive over here. It's definitely easier for weirder bands.
Success seems to snowball very quickly here, how have you dealt with your rapid success?
We haven't had the same instantly explosive success as the Arctic Monkeys but it's happened more gradually. After that show you were talking about, we've got from there to here in six months, which has been amazing.
I'm not asking you to draw comparisons, but would you rather have slow-burning critical success or have it thrown on you like the Arctic Monkeys?
It seems that the former is more appealing - that's the only way to have a more sustainable career. The Arctic monkeys seem different though. Their music isn't angling towards a certain market, and there's something vaguely timeless about them.
Tell me about the origins of your album title, With Love and Squalor.
It's taken from a short story by JD Salinger. There's a dichotomy in the language. The words seem to be opposite but they often co-exist. We just liked the phrase.
Are you working on new material?
More and more we have started thinking about the next album. Little dribs and drabs of ideas.
How does it sound so far?
Amazing! (laughs) Usually the idea I had for a song is disposed of when we work as a band and in the production. It's going to be important for us to change the sound with the next album.
INFO: We Are Scientists will be at The Junction, Clifton Road, Cambridge on April 11. The gig is SOLD OUT.