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Thousands of music enthusiasts crowded Coney Island for Village Voice’s 10th Annual Siren Music Festival over the weekend. Following the all-day event, the masses moved to the Music Hall of Williamsburg for a rocking after party featuring performances by Bad Girlfriend, Lightspeed Champion and headliners We Are Scientists.
We Are Scientists -- Keith Murray and Chris Cain -- are just kicking off their international tour for their recently released record Barbara. Niteside caught up with Chris Cain of the New York-based rock band to talk about pre-Brooklyn show nerves, their future television show and the band's Harry Potter connection.
How excited are you to be playing the after party for Siren Music Festival right here in Brooklyn, New York? It’s actually a little bit nerve-racking. There’s a combination of reasons. One is we always have a bunch of friends at this show, but the more intimidating thing about Brooklyn might be the feeling that everyone there is in a band. They can probably play your instrument better than you can. I have this paranoia that everyone in the audience is thinking, “These guys are not very good. I don’t understand why they get to play at the Music Hall of Williamsburg.”
Are you ever surprised to find out who’s in the audience? Usually we’re lucky enough to have some great bands come see us. Our friends Arctic Monkeys, The Editors, people like that. I think the only surprise we ever had was ... The kid from the Harry Potter films?
I think you mean Daniel Radcliffe. Daniel Radcliffe! That’s the one. He’s been to a bunch of our shows but we’ve never met him.
You guys should get on a Harry Potter soundtrack. That probably pays pretty well. Yeah we should definitely look into that.
What are your favorite places to play in New York City? The Bowery. Music Hall of Williamsburg. I love the Bowery Presents people. As promoters they are just way better than everyone else to work with, so any of their venues are great.
Any band you would love to tour with? Our agent called us to let us know that we were up to open for Weezer in New York. We said we would absolutely love to. And then we never heard back about it. Just another heartbreak. They are long time musical heroes of ours so it would be amazing to share a stage with them.
So you’ve put out three albums. Do you see your sound evolving with each one? We just try to write We Are Scientists songs. They seem to be evolving. We don’t feel like we’re putting out the same album over and over again, but at the same time we’re not exiling are current fans. Just doing our best to avoid the “What were they thinking?” moment.
Any albums that your fans would be surprised to hear you are into? Do you find yourself singing along to Ke$ha in the tour van? We actually kind of hate Ke$ha, without knowing her personally. She might be an amazing person. We just don’t like the media persona. I mean Katy Perry is someone that does the same thing, but just way better. There must be other Katy Perrys out there. How did we end up with a Ke$ha?
Okay, well what records are you listening to? Well I love the Wild Beasts record. But I think that’s from 2009, so that might be lame for me to say that. Too old. I love the two bands that have been supporting us for this tour. Rewards and Lightspeed Champion. Rewards is really just Aaron Pfenning. He left Chairlift about six months ago and this is his solo project. The music is just so good. Listening to it just makes you feel cool. Like watching-Serge-Ganisbourg-in-a-smoke-filled-scene-at-the-Angelika-Theater cool.
How long will We Are Scientists be on the road this time around? This record came out around three weeks ago. We’re just getting back into touring mode. So we’ll probably be away from home doing shows for around a year. But over that time we’re hoping to develop some ideas for television.
What kind of television? Well we did some shorts for MTV UK. It went really well over there so now they’ve invited us to pitch a 30-minute sitcom. We hit them with some ideas and they were really into it, but we had this record coming out so it’s been put on hold for a little bit. Hopefully by next year we will have something going.
What kind of sitcom are you guys working on? We proposed a bunch of ideas but the ones we like the most involve being in space. They’re inspired by a series of books, the Mars Trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson. The books are based around the first trip to Mars and then the gradual Terraforming of Mars over hundreds of years. So it would be a comedy worked around that. Nothing cheesy; it’s going to be nothing like "Two And A Half Men."
So no Charlie Sheen? If we can [get] Charlie Sheen he’s in. He can have any role he wants.
Would you do the soundtrack for the show? No. Aaron Pfenning would probably make better music for it, which is something that I just realized right now. Thanks for helping me come to that idea.