2006 was the middle of the indie craze that swept through the music industry, with the powers that be trying to recreate the magic bands such as The Strokes brought to the forefront of popularity. This was also the year that three young men under the moniker We Are Scientists released their debut record ‘With Love & Squalor’. Pushing themselves to the forefront of said movement with hit singles such as ‘Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt’ and ‘The Great Escape, songs that still to this day are synonymous with the mid 00’s and played at indie discos around the country.
Now releasing their fifth official album, the band have grown and survived around an industry that is imploding in on itself. The advent of digital music and streaming has meant that unfortunately the halcyon days are very much over, for now anyway. Speaking to one half of the duo, bassist Chris Cain, it’s evident that this change that has hit everyone hard has actually brought out the best in We Are Scientists.
Chris elaborates on the past decade, “I think things were at their very darkest 5 years ago when all the old school revenue had dried up and no new models had started succeeding and everyone was just taking everything for free…”. Though this trend, certainly not ideal, has made people more aware of their execution of projects, as he continues referring the recording process change over time for the band, “I think we’ve got a lot smarter and more comfortable with recording specifically. We, for some insane reason, made our first three albums in Los Angeles, like somehow got it into our heads that that’s where you need to be to record albums and I still have no idea why. And finally, on our last record ‘TV En Francais’, we were like “why don’t we just record in the town we live in, where our families live, where we have our apartments” so we started doing that, that was a big change and it was a good one.”
“We followed that trend on this record, and one great thing about that is you can, there’s no timer I guess, there’s nothing ticking away,” (It’s worth noting at this point that an actual time goes off in the background) “no…actually there is an alarm going off. A timer. I timed it. Listen to this….I’m back. Hear that. *holds timer to phone* Amazing. That’s the kind of special effects I bring to a phone interview.” The comedic side to We Are Scientists is so natural and unforced there’s no doubt that without them the music industry would perhaps be a much more dull place. Continuing Cain explains, “So, we recorded this record, it took like four and a half months which we never would have been able to afford to do the way we used to do recording, it would’ve cost us a fortune, so we’ve got much more adaptive to kind of just getting into a comfort zone and it allows us to spend as much time as we want with the songs and just get them right in a way that I don’t think we used to. It’s good, it’s very good.”
As these changes have been happening to their career, so has fatherhood. Being a musician and a parent is no way feat, with you attention being wanted by not only your kin but fans and executives. On the inevitable distance that he finds himself from his children Cain offers “It’s very tough to be away from your kids, with travel of any kind I think, so anyone who travels a lot knows what this is like. Then again, there are many far worse jobs in terms of that, you know that, my brother in law, my sisters husband is in the army and he went to Afghanistan twice on 6 month tours and not only is that a longer time away than I ever have but it’s a far worse way to spend your time from home so I have a very hard time complaining, even to myself, but it is certainly quite challenging and it’s also a little bit sad to me that my son is so good at dealing with it. he’s lived with it since he was born so he doesn’t know any other way, it’s just dad travels every few years, there’ll be a 3 or 4 month period when I’m gone and you know every few months I’m gone for a week or two he’s completely used to it and doesn’t complain and doesn’t seem to find it abnormal.”
The approachability that We Are Scientists have only aids their appeal to the wider market. Anything they talk about or discuss is void of any egotistical or vain apathy, though it’s hard to deny the perks of the job, “I think the experience of playing live to a room full or a field full of people is probably the single most valuable thing to me that’s come from it. I guess after that, travel. Just getting to visit so many places that I would never have seen otherwise. but yeah, actually playing songs to a bunch of fans who know the tunes and are dancing along, singing along, it’s certainly unlike anything else that I’ve experienced in my life”
For any band to reach their fifth album, with people still caring, is no mean feat. The fact We Are Scientists have done this, and not only survived but evolved, taking their initial rough and ready sound and turning it into an erupting and inspissated beast. A band like this should not be taken for granted, they are a unique experience, one that features both a tongue in cheek approach to life and well crafted songs that just won’t leave your head.
This We Are Scientists article was written by Steven Loftin, a GIGsoup contributor