We Are Scientists: ‘We wanted to combat the general air of solitude with this record’

We Are Scientists are back with a new album (Picture: Danny Lee Allen)

With many of us starved of a sun-soaked holiday this year, you may get a pang of jealousy watching We Are Scientists courier a briefcase via scooter, canoe, plane and jet ski around the stunning beaches and walkways of Miami in their latest video.

But the band – Keith Murray and Chris Cain – are keen to stress that it was still work. Unless you count the jet ski part.

‘Making videos is usually just an exercise in pretending you’re having a good time during a very miserable couple of days of shooting,’ Keith told ‘This was less so that. We definitely had a much better time than usual, but making a video is still very annoying, so there was some forced happiness on camera. When we yelled action, we had to remember not to look beaten down when we’re walking down a beautiful beach.’

‘Except when we were jet skiing,’ Chris added. ‘Then, we didn’t have to remind ourselves. We might as well not have had the cameras there.’

All that hard work was to accompany Contact High, the boys’ comeback and second single from their upcoming seventh studio album Huffy. Describing the track as ‘unapologetically sappy’, it’s a taster of things to come from the ‘more rambunctious’ than usual record. Chris joked: ‘We’re often accused of morosity and brooding… not the case on this record. We got it all out at home during the pandemic.’

Huffy was in the works before the pandemic struck, meaning curiously prescient songs like I Cut My Own Hair were actually written way before we’d all be cutting our own hair in our bathrooms. While many artists were left unable to make it to the studio or perform, We Are Scientists kept working on the record from their New York apartments, and during this time, dropped ‘a lot of money on music stuff’.

’It felt like a legitimate purchase. We had a good tax-free excuse to spend a lot of money,’ Keith said, after announcing to Chris he’d bought a new assortment of pedals. Chris added: ‘There’s that old adage about finding a job you love so you’ll never work a day in your life. I think for us, we did an even more important thing, which is find a job where we will never spend a dollar.’

Working on music they’d planned before the world shut down meant that Huffy isn’t exactly pandemic influenced in content, but Keith and Chris suggested that the album is more upbeat than it could have been because of the situation they found themselves in.

Keith said: ‘I suspect that the songs that we chose for this record probably leaned more upbeat because we wanted to combat the general air of solitude and being trapped indoors. There were many, many other songs in contention and we chose the spunkiest ones for that reason.’

They also had longer to mull over certain aspects, with Chris saying they ‘definitely did a lot more stewing on production minutiae than we would have been allowed had things gone more normally’. So even the physical album has got a makeover.

In great news for anybody who collected Panini sticker books for any tournament going as a kid, Huffy’s album artwork comes ‘next to naked’ with a sticker bundle, so fans can fully customise their cover. Considering the popularity of collectible album covers, it’s surprising the sticker book-cum-album artwork combo isn’t all the rage already.

Admitting they can’t remember how they came up with the idea, Chris said: ‘I guess the muse delivered it to us, and I don’t mean Matt Bellamy and that gang. They had nothing to do with this. If I had one criticism of Muse, it would be that they left behind the simple pleasures like a sticker on a piece of cardboard, in favour of all their robots and lasers.’

‘Yeah, Muse are always singing about the terror of living under Big Brother’s overwatch, and they go ahead and just assign you an album cover?’, Keith said. ‘I dunno guys, we’re true egalitarians. We live in a true democracy where everyone can make their own album cover.’ Predicting the sticker album format will catch on, he added: ‘This won’t be the first or last time We Are Scientists have been musical mavericks.’

While the sticker bundle might be enough to draw you in, We Are Scientists promise that Huffy is heavily guitar based, making it ‘a very good touring record’. Keith said: ‘It is nice that this time worrying about how we’re going to play some of the songs is less of an issue. We can play all these songs now – when I say we can play them, we haven’t really learned them, but I know we can do this.’

Keith and Chris are touring Huffy later this year (Picture: Danny Lee Allen)

After nearly two years away from the stage, We Are Scientists are returning with a tour this year, hitting the UK and Ireland in November and December before touring Europe next April. It’s long overdue for the band, who had planned to tour in 2020 but, like many other artists, suffered necessarily pushed back dates. As venues open back up again, they’re unsure what a We Are Scientists gig will look like later this year, but they’ll be giving it all they’ve got.

‘I think people will be excited to be there, but there’ll be some trepidation. I think it’ll tip the balance into pure excitement to be at a live show. It’s our job to tip the balance in that direction,’ Keith said.

‘We were at a friend’s show just last week, and there was a band on before, they were random dudes to me and they were playing a style and temperament of music that I wouldn’t normally play much mind to. It was kind of jazzy and bland and low energy. But I was riveted,’ Chris laughed. ‘I was like, my god, look at those people making the noise from the stage.’

‘Imagine if these guys had our songs!’

Huffy is out on October 8, and is available to pre-order here.

Tickets for We Are Scientists’ UK and European tour go on sale on Friday at 9am.

We Are Scientists tour dates

10 Aug – Brooklyn Elsewhere Rooftop
24 Nov – Sheffield Leadmill
25 Nov – Leeds Brudenell Social Club
26 Nov – Hull The Social
27 Nov – Manchester Academy 2
29 Nov – Dublin Whelan’s
30 Nov – Belfast Limelight 2
1 Dec – Glasgow St Luke’s
2 Dec – Liverpool O2 Academy 2
4 Dec – Nottingham Rescue Rooms
6 Dec – Birmingham O2 Institute 2
7 Dec – Bristol Trinity
8 Dec – Brighton Concorde 2
9 Dec – London O2 Forum Kentish Town

1 April – FRANCE Paris Le Petit Bain
2 April – NL Maastricht Muziekgieterij
3 April – BELGIUM Antwerp Kavka
5 April – NL Amsterdam Paradiso Noord
6 April – GERMANY Cologne Luxor
7 April – GERMANY Nuremburg Z-Bau
9 April – AUSTRIA Vienna Grelle Forelle
10 April – SLOVAKIA Bratislava Nova Cvernovka
11 April – CZECH REPUBLIC Prague Futurum
12 April – GERMANY Leipzig Werk 2
13 April – GERMANY Berlin Hole44
14 April – GERMANY Hamburg Knust

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