We Are Scientists Aim To Appeal To SoCal Masses


WE ARE SCIENTISTS play The Constellation Room Jul 14, HOB/San Diego Jul 15, El Rey Theatre Jul 16; photo Shervin Lainez

We Are Scientists’ Keith Murray (vocals / guitar) and Chris Cain (bass / backing vocals) are the bromance of the ages (along with their drummer of the week). The pop-punk, electronic band is fueled by eclectic albums, mind-altering music videos (that can resurrect bees), and, of course, sangria.

With the release of their videos, which truly capture the essence of the original Mystery Science Theater 3000 (with Joel Hodgson and not Mike Nelson, of course) for the songs “Buckle,” “Too Late,” and “Classic Love,” as well as a new album, fans have much to look forward to on their upcoming tour, that stops at the Constellation Room Jul 14, House of Blues/San Diego Jul 15 and El Rey Theatre Jul 16.

The band will also return to one of Murray’s favorite performance spots of the past, Spain. The place with the best beaches and best sangria… and the venue is great too.

“We have a show in Spain, which we’ve played in a couple of times, but haven’t been back to since maybe 2008 or 9, and it’s sort of hard to beat a Spanish island,” Murray said. “They tend to rise to the top of the favorite list. It’s pretty fun to play a show in Berlin where there’s a really great party and stuff, but there’s something really nice about finishing your show then drinking some sangria on the beach.”

Drinks aside, Helter Seltzer is an upbeat, yet soothing continuation of the band’s talent. The collection of songs can get stuck in your head, but in an enjoyable way that will have you humming the tune instead of bashing your head in.

“I tend to sort of spend the initial stages of writing just trying to create an incredibly blank slate and not go into it with any pre-existing notions,” Murray said. “Usually what happens is after writing 40 or 50 kind of marginally formed songs where just the seed is there, you kind of find out where your interests are lying.

“On our last record, TV en Français, I started the writing process really wanting to make a Lemonhead style college rock record, just kind of like jangly four-chord, three-dudes, pop-rock and it really didn’t turn out like that. I feel like that’s the only time I’ve gone with an inspiration.

“On this record (Helter Seltzer) it’s kind of a shotgun approach where you just lay everything out and sift through it and see A) Which songs are your favorite? and B) Which songs are going to fit together on a record?”

Even with no set intentions, Murray does find that sometimes having a backing idea is hard to avoid, such as the memory of an industrial metal band’s first album.

“I really got fixated on Pretty Hate Machine, which was the first Nine Inch Nails record,” Murray recalled. “I was like, the whole record should just have really fake-sounding drums, but we had live drums, so…(laughs). I guess this is like the evil twin of Pretty Hate Machine, although I guess Pretty Hate Machine would be the evil twin to our much more beautiful and polite record.”

With new work out that may or may not resemble Pretty Hate Machine (spoiler, it doesn’t, but it’s great), the band has more to choose from when creating their setlists. But even with a new album, We Are Scientists focuses on their work as a whole rather than sticking to the entirety of the new.

“I recognize that it is entirely up to us (setlist) but we do have the sort of nagging sense of responsibility to make the show as much fun for everyone,” Murray said. “We go supremely democratic and utilitarian, we’ll play our bets as safely as possible and try to appeal to the greatest sample of population.

“I think there’s a difference between doing what gratifies you and doing what you believe. I don’t necessarily know if playing all of Helter Seltzer in its entirety and then a few random songs that I happen to like, lends itself to the greatest show.

“If a ruler said, ‘The way that I think I would enjoy lording over this society is to outlaw any food other than ice cream because that’s what I want,’ everybody would eventually die and that reign would be over. So in some senses that ice cream-loving lord has to say for the good of the population and the length of my time in this position, let’s do what’s best for the masses.”

And appealing to the masses they do. We Are Scientists has no intention of slowing down, with Murray immediately going from one song to the next. Following the completion of Helter Seltzer, the band began work on new songs, although no set release dates have been made.