A Quickie With We Are Scientists' Keith Murray

2010 was a productive year for the gentlemen in We Are Scientists. The New York duo released their fourth studio album – Barbara - this past summer and shortly after they hosted the Siren Festival after party at Music Hall of Williamsburg. Now they plan to close the books on another great year by throwing a New Year’s Eve party with 250 of their closest friends at Mercury Lounge with a performance that includes sets by their buddies Rewards, Sara Walker and Bad Girlfriend. We caught up with lead singer and guitarist Keith Murray for a Quickie about all things New York.

As a New York based band, whats the benefit of playing hometown shows? I'd say the largest benefit is that any post-show celebrations can end with a relatively easy stagger back to one's own apartment. I once tried to stagger home to my place in Williamsburg after a particularly rowdy after-party in Providence, RI, and it was a positively MISERABLE walk.

You've played a number of NYC venues over the last ten years. What has been your most memorable experience? Probably our very first NYC show in L'Amour, a nightmarish hellhole deep in Brooklyn, in 2001. We played after a gang of fifteen-year-old mall-punks and drew exactly one customer (our then-drummer's then-girlfriend). It was the first and (thankfully) only time we've ever had a promoter literally shake his fist at us in anger.

It’s 4:00am and last call has come and gone, what’s next? Are there any speakeasies, late night eats or after party spots you frequent? We're all pretty big fans of the bar behind Dokebi, in Williamsburg. Chul, the owner, is almost always there at the end of the night, so friends too irrational to go home at closing time are occasionally invited to stick around for a nice after-hours lock-in. The only real drawback is that Chul is a uniquely gregarious fellow, and he'll likely rope you into doing at least one or two rounds of shots with him, which, at 5:00am, will likely result in a very unstable homebound-stagger, indeed.

What is your local watering hole? Why? The Commodore has recently become a favorite, since the drinks tend toward the celebratory (the piña coladas and frozen mojitos are fantastic), the bartenders are mixological crack-shots (ask for Emily), and the Gilligan's Island pinball machine is free (and features a fairly relaxed tilt sensitivity).

The courting process is on and a major player is taking you to dinner on the AMEX Black card; where are you eating? What menu item is not to be missed? Do any label reps even have an AMEX black card, anymore? I feel like, these days, you'd be lucky if they showed up with a buy-one-get-one-free coupon for Subway. In which case, the veggie delight with a bag of Sun Chips (indulge! It's on Geffen!) is a pretty safe option.

It's the holiday season and you've got some gifts to purchase. Where's your favorite place to exercise commerce? My first stop tends to be Spoonbill Books on Bedford Ave., although I generally tend to just end up buying books for myself.  It took me three trips this week before I walked away with a gift purchase that wasn't immediately placed on my own bookshelf. Sorry, mom.

Good or bad, have you ever had what you would describe as a quintessential New York moment? Every time I'm standing on a sidewalk, drinking low-grade whisky from a brown bag, trying to drown the sorrow of having just been fired from my job in television marketing, and a taxi drives by and splashes me with curbside slush, drenching the bag and causing the bottle to rip through its bottom and smash on the curb, I'm reminded of Bobcat Goldwaith's beleaguered character from Scrooged, which is the most iconic New York movie I've yet seen.

NYC has all sorts of tourist attractions Central Park, the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty to name a few. What's the most touristy thing you've done here? I once went on a walking tour of locations from Ghostbusters with a writer from the NME. He wasn't even writing a feature on me - I just insinuated myself into his holiday.

Finish this sentence: New York City is the sweetest place on earth because…Free Gilligan's Island pinball and delicious piña coladas at The Commodore. 'Nuff said.

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