Jammerzine has an exclusive interview with Keith Murray, frontman for the multi-faceted rock juggernaut known as We Are Scientists. And, on this day (which I call year 1 Anno Dominance) we have the release of their latest outing ‘Lobes‘.
To listen to ‘Lobes’ is to listen to an experience. That timestamp in your mind that just let you know you listened to something meaningful. Dashes of snark and feelings of fucking awesome mixed with moments of clarity.
How else can you describe ‘Lobes’? Or We Are Scientists, for that matter? How can I even say that this is where ‘Huffy‘ left off? I can’t because, well, it isn’t. Does this band live in linear time? You get that original W.A.S. sound, of course. But you get that personality. Everyone involved is mentally represented. And the result? We get subtle rebels of raucous dropping ten tracks of immersive attitude done in such a way that, after you read that last part, you wonder if they could tour with Pantera, but no. Not all rebellion is done with the guitar. Sometimes it’s done with personality and feeling. Just know this; when We Are Scientists give you the musical finger with that charm-boy smile, remember to smell that finger to find out where it’s been.
And, in today’s interview, we get a hint at where that’s been with this fun conversation/interview with Keith as we talk about ‘Lobes’, We Are Scientists, where it came from, where it’s been, and where it’s going.
Check out our other features with We Are Scientists HERE.
About We Are Scientists & ‘Lobes’
American rock band We Are Scientists debuted in the early aughts with the angular post-punk edge of With Love and Squalor, later evolving to incorporate polished synths and expanded atmospherics on efforts like 2016’s Helter Seltzer, 2018’s Megaplex, and 2021’s Huffy. Although modestly popular in America, they were a hit in the U.K., where the group’s sound — part post-punk revival and part indie rock with a touch of ’80s synth pop — drew parallels to contemporaries like Editors, Franz Ferdinand, Interpol, and the Killers.
Formed on the West Coast by three California-based college students, We Are Scientists officially took flight after frontman and guitar Keith Murray, bass player Chris Cain, and drummer Michael Tapper (who replaced founding drummer/vocalist Scott Lamb) relocated to Brooklyn and began building a small but devoted following. After releasing three EPs and one independent album — Safety, Fun, and Learning (In That Order) — the group signed with Virgin Records and released their major-label debut, With Love and Squalor, in early 2006. The effort peaked at ten on the Billboard Heatseekers chart and eventually was certified gold in the U.K.
In 2008, We Are Scientists — reduced to a duo comprising Cain and Murray after Tapper parted ways with the group — put out their second full-length album, Brain Thrust Mastery. Produced by Ariel Rechtshaid, the set included the singles “After Hours” and “Chick Lit.” As before, the record found popularity in the U.K., where it debuted at number 11 on the albums chart. The band toured heavily in support, playing a number of European festivals and opening shows in America for Kings of Leon. As We Are Scientists prepared to record a third album, former Razorlight drummer Andy Burrows joined the lineup, and the revised band unveiled itself with the release of 2010’s Barbara. That year, founding members Cain and Murray also appeared in their own series of comedy shorts, Steve Wants His Money, which aired on the Internet and ran in segments on MTV.
In late 2012, the band entered the studio in New York with producer Chris Coady (Beach House, Gang Gang Dance, Blonde Redhead) to record sessions for their fourth record. Burrows relocated to the city from England while he worked with Murray and Cain to write and record tracks for the album. Titled TV en Français, it arrived in early 2014 on 100%/Dine Alone Records and featured appearances by Rose Elinor Dougall (Mark Ronson) and Tim Wheeler (Ash).
In 2016, We Are Scientists returned with their fifth studio album, Helter Seltzer, produced by Max Hart (of Katy Perry’s band). The effort charted in the Top 50 of the U.K. and Scottish charts. Two years later, they delivered their sixth effort, the polished Megaplex, also produced by Hart. The album featured the singles “Heart Is a Weapon,” “Not Another Word,” and “Your Light Has Changed.”
Following the 2020 launch of their own Dumpster Dive podcast, the group returned with the full-length Huffy in 2021. Although 2021’s Huffy returned to a guitar-driven sound, forthcoming Lobes, the band’s eighth studio album (out January 20th), is their synthiest, electronic beatiest collection yet. So, really, who even is We Are Scientists?
Founding We Are Scientists members Keith Murray (guitar) and Chris Cain (bass) have played with guys like Adam, Michael, Andy, Danny, Chris, Matt, and Gary on drums, but for over five years now have had Keith Carne, who looks like he isn’t going anywhere.
The band’s previous singles “After Hours,” “Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt,” “The Great Escape,” “It’s a Hit” and “Chick Lit” all have charted in the US/UK and the band have appeared on US late night talk shows, The Late Show with David Letterman, Conan and Carson Daly and performed at Coachella, Sasquatch, and All Points West festivals. In the UK, the band played the Reading and Leeds main stage and Glastonbury Festivals among other world-wide touring.
The release of Lobes will be celebrated with a very special hometown show at Brooklyn Made on January 20, 2023, followed by touring in the U.K. and Europe beginning in February.
Images by Dan Monick.