We Are Scientists released their fifth studio album “TV en Français” back in March, and the exuberant refinement of their melodic, post-punk influenced anthems was worth the four year wait. The New York indie rockers recently revisited Los Angeles to support The Rentals on tour, and before their explosive set, Lyynks Music sat down with Keith Murray and Chris Cain backstage at the Fonda Theatre for a chat during Ozma’s soundcheck. We Are Scientists have a reputation for dropping hilarious videos that take our breath away, and in person they didn’t disappoint. Seriousness was not part of the agenda as we talked about a random assortment of topics ranging from Destro’s metal head to celebrities that are (allegedly) secretly bald.
Lyynks Music: So I understand your band name came from being mistaken for scientists by a U-Haul guy. Ever get mistaken for any other professions now? Or any other bands?
Keith Murray: Our current drummer, Keith Carne, got mistaken for me. We had a lot of intra-band confusion.
Chris Cain: Not so much now. I think because he let his hair go more indie rock, but when he first started playing with us a year ago, he got mistaken for Paul Rudd quite often. He really was quite a Rudd-ringer. A simple hair shift and more stubble and now he’s not really so Ruddy. Paul Rudd only has that one hair cut because he can only afford one wig. You may think Paul Rudd makes a lot of money, but he doesn’t.
Murray: I heard it was just that it’s the only wig that looks convincing on him, so he sticks with it. I think he can afford more.
Cain: What’s not in doubt is that Paul Rudd wears wigs and is as bald as a cue ball.
Is bald beautiful?
Murray: Sure. We’ve all seen “Star Trek: The Next Generation.”
Cain: Yeah, and Ed Harris. Well, bad example. So there’s a counter-example.
Cain: Yeah, Mister Clean’s great. True motherf—er. Yeah, I don’t think Paul Rudd has anything to be ashamed of. It’s actually pretty despicable that he chooses to hide his very nature.
He’s scamming the audience?
Cain: And to negative effect. He would be embraced by, I think, a much broader audience.
Murray: Or at least the bald community. Which is bigger than his current audience.
So who’s your favorite fictional mad scientist?
Cain: Destro, probably.
Murray: Destro’s not really mad. He’s pretty collected. Cobra Commander’s the crazy one.
Cain: I guess just in that he creates doomsday devices regularly. And that’s often what mad scientists are.
Murray: I always thought it was that they were crazed, like Victor Frankenstein was consumed by what he was doing.
Murray: I think he’s invested. He enjoys a good invention. He just seems annoyed when Cobra Commander destroys stuff, but mainly because the plan failed, not because that thing was his passion.
Cain: I think he would come off as essentially a cold blooded, evil scientist.
Murray: I feel like he definitely only makes things as a means to an end, not because he’s obsessed.
Cain: At least in the real world, his ends would be considered crazy.
Murray: I guess so.
Cain: It depends on how mad they have to be.
Murray: Come on, he’s always just after insane wealth. Are bank robbers considered crazy?
Cain: Or Lex Luthor. Lex Luthor’s not. Well, at least in the comic books [Destro] was a lot more nutty.
Murray: He has a big ol’ metal head. I guess I’m forgetting that. That dude’s bats—t crazy.
Speaking of Lex, in the comics, he’s actually in the Justice League now.
Murray: Wait, I want to get back to Destro’s head for a minute. What is it? What is that thing?
Cain: It’s covered in metal.
Murray: But how? How does he talk? In the comic books, is it just a mask?
Cain: I don’t think so.
Murray: Or is his head mobile?
Cain: Maybe he’s liquid metal. T-1000-ey. Just his head, though.
Murray: I guess we never see the rest of his body. I’d like to see him strip down to take a dip.
Cain: Maybe the only parts of his body that are flesh are his hands?
Murray: He’s wearing gloves, isn’t he?
Cain: I don’t know… nevertheless, I postulate that Destro has flesh hands and the rest of him is liquid metal.
Murray: That dude’s crazy. He’s a mad scientist. Definitely Destro.
The twist is that he’s like King Midas. Everything he touches turns to metal.
Cain: Oh right, and only his hands have the curse, so they afflicted the rest of his body.
We Are Scientists have toured the U.S., Europe and Australia extensively this year. Pick up any interesting souvenirs while on the road?
Murray: You collected reserved signs, like reserved table signs.
Cain: I have eight or ten reserved table signs. I also have about 25 “do not enter” or “please make up the room” signs. It’s not like I take every one; I only take the kind of cool or interesting ones.
“TV en Francais” has been out for a while now. It came out in March, and here we are six months later. So I was wondering, what’s something that journalists and reviewers missed the first time around?
Cain: There’s a hidden track in which we do the three witches from Macbeth scene. Double, double toil and trouble. And no one ever comments on that or listens all the way to the end.
Murray: Or they don’t listen to the 25 minutes after the last song.
Cain: Or they don’t listen past the first song. It’s hard to know.
Is it hidden under the label like with Jack White’s latest?
Cain: On the vinyl, it’s hidden. You have to scrape off the surface of the record, so you lose the other music. But on the CD, it’s just hidden. You have to sit there for 20 minutes or fast forward.
At Lyynks Music, we recently published a list of musical instruments and artifacts we want 3D printers to replicate for us. What would you like to see printed?
Cain: Maybe Wayne Coyne’s head. I would throw axes at it.
Is he wearing a headdress?
Cain: He could be. That would be my beginner target. And once I get better I would forge a new, different look. One [of] him with a lot of curly hair. Then I’d do one with close, cropped hair.
And then maybe a bald one?
Cain: Yeah, the Paul Rudd look.
So on your 2007 university tour, your opening act was, well, you as a self-help seminar. Think it changed any lives?
Cain: Our lawyers have advised us not to talk about that.
Murray: I mean, “changed”… if that’s a euphemism for the state of living that people were…
Cain: Changed their biological state.
Murray: Yeah, changed their life amount state.
Any final remarks regarding the album or anything else?
Cain: Just really want to push all the fans out there to our MySpace page. Really push that.
Any reward for the most glittery comment?
Cain: Yeah, we’d be willing to try that, to pioneer such a program.
We Are Scientists are co-headlining a tour with indie rockers Surfer Blood in the fall, and will release new track “Distillery” as part of a split 7″ single for the jaunt.
Photo by Frank Mojica