A lot can happen in 10 years. Just ask We Are Scientists. When the Brooklyn-based band started playing in 2000, about 15 people attended their gigs. Now they’re huge in England, they’ve played Glastonbury, they’ve gone from a trio to a duo and they’ve lived through the music industry’s messy changes.
“We were the last band to get an old school-style major label deal,” says singer Keith Murray. “Now everyone is terrified all the time.”
Well, not everyone. We are Scientists may not be a household name in America, but in England Murray gets recognized in bars. That’s helped the band stay afloat in this uncertain music business.
“We keep ourselves going with revenue mostly from the U.K.,” he says. “We are more than a break-even band in the U.S., but we’re not worried about whether we’ll have enough money to survive.”
A lot of American bands are big in the U.K., but, if you didn’t know much about the group, you could mistake them for being British. They’ve charted well there, the NME writes about them as much as any English band, they had a TV show on MTV U.K. and their new studio drummer is Andy Burrows, from British darlings Razorlight.
Murray says their success was more of a right place at the right time thing than anything else. “We just fit in the mainstream then,” he says. “They were playing Arctic Monkeys and Killers.”
Their music has evolved over the years — they’ve gone from jangly dance rock to more lush, keyboard influenced sounds — but their latest, Barbara, harkens back to With Love and Squalor, their 2005 major label debut.
The record is filled with infectious dance pop tunes, think Franz Ferdinand or Arctic Monkeys, and even though the new new wave went out of style a few years ago, these songs would still fit in on any radio station playlist.
“The last record was the two of us and we wanted to expand our musical pallet,” says Murray, explaining why this album sounds more like their ’05 disc. “This one we recorded as a three-piece band, and that’s really why the record sounds like it does.”