Having just released their third studio album, We Are Scientists are back on the road, complete with a new drummer you may have heard of: Andy Burrows, who joined following his departure from Razorlight. Bassist Chris Cain is in a good place, enjoying the release of Barbara, making the most of a lifestyle that there’s no denying he loves to bits, and bringing out just the slightest increase in maturity in the band’s newer content. Just in time to head this way this coming weekend, where the Scientists will star on Oxegen’s Green Spheres stage’¦
With Love and Squalor was obviously a big break through for you guys, while Brain Thrust Mastery didn’t do quite so well. What are you expecting from Barbara?
I’m pretty confident about it actually. It won’t strike anybody as a big left turn, but it’s absolutely better than the last two. Both of those albums explored different sides of what we do, but there’s been a consistent forward motion with the song writing, and I feel like this record represents that.
Barbara strikes me as a bit less angst-ridden than your other records. Have you calmed down a bit?
It’s only natural. There’s less hormone pumping through the brain, and I think it is a little bit more fun than Brain Thrust Mastery. With Love and Squalor was quite upbeat musically, but the lyrics were quite fraught. This undoubtedly represents the most even keeled of our records from a lyrical perspective.
Is there still a big lyrical focus on partying?
Yeah I think that is a thing. Alcohol is still a serious concern in the We Are Scientists lyrical world. It’s either about that or relationships. Uncertainly tends to be the dominant theme of that world, and when you’re uncertain, you tend to reach for a drink. If that’s the sort of person you are, anyway, and it is the sort of people we are.
Do the people you’re referencing in your lyrics usually clock on?
Not normally. Often the perspectives explored in the songs are kind of composites of a couple of different people. Either that or they’re outright fictional. Take the song -That’s What Counts’, the lyrics are fairly clear in what they apply – some kind of one-night-stand situation. But that actually evolved from a really pedestrian yet heated argument one of us had with one of our girlfriends about a band that was using a lot of backing tracks in their show. There was an argument over whether that was making things better or worse, or even whether it was crippling the show, according to the girlfriend. Whichever one of us it was.. (laughs) was defending the possibility of correctly applying backing tracks. It was a very boring argument, but some of the language became the feed for the story in the song. So it can be just fictional. Some of them are based in reality, but We do take pains to make sure it’s not really possible for someone to realize that the song’s about them.
The title of your new album’s Barbara. Who is she?
There is no Barbara, perhaps fortunately. For us, Barbara is meant to be a sort of stand in name for womankind in general. We chose that name specifically because it feels like a name from a slightly older generation than ours, so the chances of people taking it to be someone that one of us dated are less than they would be if the name was Stefanie or something. It’s not Barbara Bush or Barbra Streisand!
We heard the album was leaked onto the Internet a few weeks before release. How do you feel about that?
Well I guess it’s inevitable these days. We’re obvious in a transition period with regards to intellectual rights and how that can be enforced with something like music. It’s hard to be too legalistic in your thinking about something where practical concerns are really dominating the issue. At the end of the day, it’s a question of what people can do, and until there is a more clearly delineated method of distribution for these things it’s going to be chaotic. It would be silly to get too upset about it. We might bring the digital release date forward, we’ll have to see to what degree the flood gates have opened.