Interview: Chris Cain of We Are Scientists

By on Thursday, 21st July 2016 at 11:00 am
 

The ever hard-working duo of Chris Cain and Keith Murray, better known as We Are Scientists, are back at it again. Having just released their fifth studio album ‘Helter Seltzer’ in April, they’re hitting the road. Hard. With dates completed in the UK and American already, they’re embarking once again to the fair British shores for a few small festival dates before a much larger and focused album tour in October. One of the festival dates coming up is at LeeFest, based in Kent (the one from the advert on TV for UK readers), one of a small explosion of smaller festivals appearing over recent years. We managed to get a phone call with Chris (pictured left at top) during this hectic season, where he spoke to us about the difference between playing to smaller festivals than larger ones. Also discussed was the new, slick We Are Scientists look and the new album artwork that is, shall we say, for your own interpretation.

Chris Cain has one of those voice that kind of lends itself to being father-like but also an air of humour, which is just one of the reasons why a We Are Scientists show is one of the best investments you could make. As previously mentioned, they are returning to the UK for a run of those quaint, smaller festivals before embarking on a larger tour later in the year. On the subject of the differences between those behemoth festivals that shadow the festival season, compared to those smaller, metropolitan festivals that are sprouting up everywhere, Cain muses, “A smaller festival shares some characteristics with a club show, where you know you feel more of a connection with the audience. And ultimately, that’s our preferred type of show, where it’s a few hundred to maximum a couple of thousand.” Elaborating further, he offers, “once you get into [playing to] 20,000 people, which we’ve played a handful of times, it’s cool, it has its own thrill to have that many people doing anything in sync with each other, with the energy there, that’s the only good thing about larger festivals.”

We all know that atmosphere at festivals is the most important part. It’s why we attend them as music fans. There’s a certain feeling that can only be found when surrounded by several thousand of your fellow music fans, rather than a concentration of specific band fans. Cain says, “It’s that specific moment and that vibe. There’s so many other things that you lose when you play to that many people. And I also think as an audience member, there’s so much that kind of disappears, although that crazy energy of being in sync with many thousands of your fellow man is pretty cool. Luckily we have both in the world.”

The rise of smaller, city-based festivals has definitely increased the ability for bands to both tour while gaining new fans, as well as bringing an atmosphere otherwise reserved for large fields to towns that would normally go amiss. These smaller festivals are certainly more suited to We Are Scientists, as Cain mentioned. “City festivals are cool because you’re still playing in a club, but you have this sort communal spirit of a festival where a bunch of people are out for a couple of days to listen to music and that’s kind of the focus of everyone’s lives which gives a kind of a festive atmosphere than a single club show can provide.”

big We Are Scientists Helter Seltzer cover

‘Helter Seltzer’, the reason behind all these shows, features artwork that is particularly, we’ll go for inexplainable, even by Cain himself. “I’m not sure I can completely claim to understand the artwork, it was a very much a collaboration with our artist who is a weird New Zealand recluse who I’ve never met face to face. He did our last record as well, he makes all of our merch designs and he re-did our Web site for this record. Very talented, a drawer as well as a builder of Web sites, but also very crazy, strange fella with highly peculiar tastes. So this album artwork was very much his reaction to the music.” The best advice we can give is to listen to the new record whilst staring intensely at the artwork. Without blinking. If you manage to make any sense of it, leave a comment here or send us a postcard.

Moving onto their current live show. If you haven’t seen We Are Scientists before, then you are greatly missing out. And this time around you’ll notice they’ve suited up, making the well-oiled machine that is We Are Scientists an even smoother watch. “It was kind of an arbitrary decision, we had a friend take some photos of us, because we needed press photos around the time we were announcing the new album and we decided to wear those outfits, just all black.” For some reason this look seriously suits the duo, ridiculously so. Cain continues, “then we really liked how the photos turned out and thought, ‘are we really going to pack five black outfits?’ So we decided we would. It kind of hasn’t been as much of a laundry nightmare as I thought it would.”

There is literally no reason to not catch We Are Scientists on tour this year and if they aren’t coming to your town, get some friends and travel. They’re worth it. Catch them at Kendal Calling this weekend in the North, followed by their appearance back in the South East in Kent for LeeFest Presents: The Neverland 2016.

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

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TGTF is edited by Mary Chang, who is based in Washington, DC. She is joined by writers in England, America and Ireland. It began as a UK music blog by Phil Singer in 2005.

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