We Are Scientists just end the current song during soundcheck and are ready to answer some questions: "Let's find a nice place where we can hang out and have a beer", proposes Keith (Murray, singer & guitarist). Five minutes after Keith Murry (Lead vocals/guitar), Chris Cain (bass/vocals) and I find ourselves in a welcoming small restaurant next to Fluc- a place where the bartender is even willing to turn off the music for us.
FM5: You've been in Vienna several times already and you played in the past years a lot at the Flex- What is the one thing that you particularly like about Austria's audience in comparison to fans from other countries?
Chris Cain: They smoke more here.
Chris: There is a lot of cigarette smoking going on here, yeah. It is pretty much gone out of fashion in most of the other places we usually play. In Indonesia they still smoke the same amount as here! And in the US it has become like a strange little niche-hobby.
It's prohibited, right? In public places?
Chris: Yeah, it is prohibited indoors and also theoretically in parks but I've never seen people not smoking in parks…Anyway, that's our favourite thing about Austrians- they live free or die.
Keith: They indulge their passion for death!
Chris: They chose to live free, regradless of the costs.
And in terms of the show?
Keith: They are like among the more enthusiastic crowds but they have more dignity than a lot of people at other places do.
How was the perception of your fifth studio album Helter Seltzer so far? Are there any differences comparing the US and Europe?
Chris: When we made the album we thought that it would be more appealing to Europeans than the previous albums have been. We thought that the average radio listener in Austria/Germany/Italy/France might accept the album the way they had accepted the previous - not the case! Maybe it didn't find those listeners.
Keith: People seem to like "Buckle" a lot...
Chris: "Buckle" is our biggest song since "After Hours". I thought that "Too Late" was a good song for Germany/Austria but I don't think that we pushed the album very well here. Our label situation is a little weird and it didn't quite have this publicity it needed for a lot of people to hear it. It didn't get out the way it could have. [...] We still get people here [in Europe] who don't seem to know about Helter Seltzer- last year when we were touring on it people came to the show just for us, for We Are Scientists, but they didn't know about the record. They saw us standing at the merch and asked "Is that an old record?" and I was like "No, that's the new one!" In the US, the album got out there more, we did some TV. Yet "Buckle" did better as an individual song than anything has done in the last three albums.
Is there a reference from Helter Seltzer to the Beatles' song "Helter Skelter" ?
Keith [laughs]: Yes!! And also to the Manson's crimes!
What is your favourite song on the album and why?
Keith: "Buckle"- since it has been so well received it has become my favourite. I don't personally dislike the old songs, I don't care [listen] to them anymore..But when we play them live to people I really enjoy them. Still...maybe "Too Late".
Chris: For me, it's "We need a word" which i don't think ultimately as recorded turned out the way it could have done. I like the version we play live.
On the album it ended up being a little bit messy.
Life on tour- How do you manage to balance it with your private life?
Keith: Life is always hard to balance, I don't think that it's the fact of going on the road that messes things up. My wife defintely hates that we go on the road but she wants me to go on the road!
Chris: It keeps your relationship very fresh, it definitely does makes you appreciate the other person more. There are two common problems in a relationship that we avoid by our lifestyle: 1. Getting bored, then annoyed and finally going to detest each other and 2. Dependency- Even realtionships that go well can develop into a co-dependent thing. Then one or the other partner has a sort of a mid life crisis and starts asking himself- Who am I??...We are apart with some regularity- this is a recipe for success!
What is the first thing you do when you come home from, let's say, a longer tour?
Chris: I stay home for a few evenings in the row..in the same kitchen/bedroom for some days, ordering pizza, I have my TV in the living room, hang out with the family,...You don't go home and think I wanna go out!
If you could choose from all the bands in the world- which one would you love to share the stage with?
Keith: If Oasis got back together…actually with any Gallagher…even with the third brother who doesn't do any music- Danny Gallagher! And Weezer!
Which band has the biggest influence on your music?
Keith: When we started out we were influenced mostly by other bands at that time, especially in New York, but now…it's hard for me to feel any direct influence but I sense influence from bands from when we were kids back in the 90ies- Oasis, Nirvana, The Smashing Pumpkins. [...] Definitely not many new bands!
Chris: On this album one song was directly influenced by The Smiths.
This interview somehow fluently went into a nice two and a half hour chat with some (more) Austrian beers (which the guys, including the drummer Keith Carne and a friend of mine -who joined later- definitely liked a lot!), conversations about Neuroscience, The Avengers and probably also the meaning of
life. I barely can write it all down but let's put it this way: W.A.S. are a great down-to-earth band which is not afraid to be honest and plays dynamic, emotional shows!