We Are Scientists and Ash interview each other

We Are Scientists and Ash are about to hit Australia for Splendour in the Grass and a pair of co-headline sideshows and if this exchange between We Are Scientists’ singer and guitarist Keith Murray and Ash’s drummer Rick McMurray is any indication it’s sure to be one hell of an entertaining tour.

Murray and McMurray’s hilariously unhinged conversation covers a vast array of topics from their Australian tour plans and the possibility of an onstage collaboration; to the physics of buttered toast and the depiction of prison in film and television.

Ash: You are scientists; who is your favourite scientist of all time? Or what is your favourite scientific discovery?

We Are Scientists: My favorite scientist the guy who invented Strawbs? You know those gummi strawberry things that they sell in movie theatres throughout the UK? They’re the best. My favourite scientific discovery is, of course, the airplane, because it allows me to quickly reach the UK, where I can set about collecting more Strawbs.

We Are Scientists: Have you considered changing your band name in the past few months, since that Icelandic volcano has really begun giving “Ash” a bad name? Would you consider renaming your band “BP Oil Spill” instead? Why or why not?

Ash:We were rehearsing for our UK tour when the volcano farrago kicked off. I had the genius idea of going to Heathrow to busk for the poor stranded travellers. Needless to say I was outvoted 2 to 1. Or to put it another way, I thought it was a great idea and everyone else didn’t. Sometimes genius gets overlooked. Maybe we’ll go to the Caribbean and play to some moribund pelicans instead.

Ash: You guys seem to like cats; we do too. how many cats do you have as a band? Any special breeds?

We Are Scientists: Chris is the cat man in the band. I, myself, hate them. They’re loathsome creatures who crave nothing more than to poo in a pile of dirt. I can’t have that. I prefer dogs, who down give a darn where they poo, just as long as they can pounce on you when they’re done.

Ash: We’re playing in Australia together. Any special memories of playing there? Favourite places to eat drink visit?

We Are Scientists: Every time we arrive in Australia, I’m stricken with an insurmountable case of jet-lag – one of those situations in which I’m asleep by 7pm and wide awake a 3am. It’s destructive, and it means that everybody else in the band has a great time going to bars, hanging out at beaches, and manhandling koalas, while I’m trying to figure out ways to latch to the curtains of my hotel room in such a way that I can trick myself into believing that it’s not broad daylight outside. I did have one fantastic day off strolling around the botanical gardens in Brisbane, although, if memory serves, I did fall asleep, face-first, in a patch of grass there, too.

We Are Scientists: Our drummer on this forthcoming tour is Australian. Do you think that gives us an unfair advantage? Do you plan on employing an Australian to even the odds?

Ash: I’m not sure it will create an advantage unless you’ve changed your name to “We Are Scientists, apart from the guy/girl at the back hitting things. he/she is Australian.” Although that would give you a bit more billboard space.

Ash: Do you have any Australian stalkers?

We Are Scientists: As far as I know, we don’t have any fans whose enthusiasm can be qualified as stalker-grade. We’re there infrequently enough, though, that perhaps we just always forget about the disturbing ones over the long breaks between visits. Perhaps we’ve got some truly hard-core sociopaths tailing us over there, and we’re simply unaware of it. Now I’m scared.

We Are Scientists: Our bands have met a handful of times, but only fleetingly. Are you nervous about these shows? Do you feel like we’ve been set up on a blind date?

Ash: Yeah, it’s a bit like a blind date but at least we know what you guys look like. Thankfully you’re a handsome looking bunch. It’s all about the looks you know; I don’t care about personality. Luckily you sound pretty good too…

We Are Scientists: Part two of that last question: how far are you willing to go on a first date?

Ash: As far as it takes; besides its not all about the first date. We got two and we can’t “pull out” if the first one doesn’t go to plan. We’re thoroughly modern guys, you know.

Ash: What would you like to see the crowd wearing at our shows in Sydney and Melbourne?

We Are Scientists: I’d like to see some wearing hand-fashioned shirts bearing the word “WASH,” which, cleverly, is an amalgamation of your band name and our band’s initials. Perfect for creating the sort of team spirit we’re going to need to get through what could otherwise be two highly-competitive shows. Let there be unity, Ash!

We Are Scientists: Rumour has it that you’ve recently added Russell from Bloc Party to your line-up. Is this true? If so, how has it affected the way you put together your backstage rider?

Ash: This is very true yes. We’ve had to add a little more vodka, since he is of polish extraction, but more importantly some straighteners for that magnificent fringe. I wouldn’t be surprised if by the time we reach oz, his haircut has its own dressing room. and i thought you guys were painfully hip…

Ash: At home do you prefer to eat whilst sitting at a table or just off your lap? for the purpose of your answer please assume a plate is

involved in either instance.

We Are Scientists: I almost never eat at home – I’ve maybe prepared two meals in my apartment over the course of the six years I’ve lived there. So, I’d say that I prefer to eat at a table – if a restaurant asked me to set my plate on my lap, I’d probably leave a very meagre tip, indeed.

Ash: Does toast mostly land jam side down? If so why?

We Are Scientists: I’m not really a toast man, myself, so I have no real empirical evidence to support this phenomenon, but I’d say that if toast does really fall jam-side down, it’s probably because the jam seeds are trying to find their way back into the earth, or something. I’m no botanist, though.

We Are Scientists: Are you willing to eat food once it’s been on the floor, regardless of whether or not it falls jam-side down? What if you drop it on the floor in Paris, though?

Ash: Oh yes, without so much as a second thought. A little bit of dirt goes a long way in my book. It keeps the immune system pumped up and ready for anything. On the subject, nor do I wash my hands after a piss. i know where my old chap has been, thank you very much. First time I was in Paris, I watched a chef cooking whilst smoking a gauloise and scratching his dandruff riddled head. I think the floor is the least of our worries, don’t you?

Ash: I feel like I may be getting sick, although this may be because of a heavy weekend. How can I tell the difference?

We Are Scientists: It’s a two step process. One, check your nostrils. Are they filled with mucus? Then you probably have a head cold. Step two, check your bed. Is there an empty bottle of Grey Goose in there? In that case, you probably just need to take an aspirin and slug a bottle of Gatorade.

We Are Scientists: What are your feelings on putting together a two-band jam for our shows together in Australia? How would it affect your opinion if we stated that we wanted to jointly cover Poundcake by Van Halen?

Ash: I can’t believe jam has been mentioned so frequently and yet only now does it come up in a musical context. I think we should leave it as a strictly culinary concept between us. No offence to you guys but we have had experience of some one getting on stage to jam. It went well until he wouldn’t get off the stage hence this conversation:

” Why don’t I play the last song?”

“We’ve not rehearsed it.”

“Well what key is it in?”

“F sharp I think.”

“It’ll be fine.”

It wasn’t.

What about Hot for Teacher instead?

Ash: I’ve just done my back in playing Nintendo wii and I fear it may put some forth coming shows in jeopardy. have you had to cancel shows due to any frivolous injuries?

We Are Scientists: We’ve never cancelled a show, no, but there was one show that I put in tremendous jeopardy by playing several hours of Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Vegas 2 while drinking what turned out to be an incredibly potent batch of Seabreezes (it was the height of summer – give me a break). by the time I took the stage, my mind was addled by the twin attack of vodka and digital terrorists, and it took all of my resolve to make it through the show before collapsing backstage, demanding that our XBox and all of the grapefruit juice on the rider be thrown away.

Ash: Have you ever taken a Rorschach test? What did you find out about yourself?

We Are Scientists: I think I was given a Rorschach test as a child, when I was applying to the advanced placement program in my elementary school (why this process involved a psychological examination, I have no idea). I don’t really recall what the results of the test were, but if I know the 9-year-old me, I probably saw lots of chewing gum and kittens and boobs.

We Are Scientists: If you were sentenced to ten years in prison, do you suspect that you’d spend your days getting physically huge in the prison gym, or educating yourself about potential legal loopholes in your case in the library? Do you think my understanding of prison life has been too greatly informed by it’s depiction in cinema and television?

Ash: I’d do a bit of gym in the morning followed by a nice lunch of bread and water then afternoons at the library, where I’d find out that some guy knew the guy who did my crime. then I’d talk to the warden only to be shot in the head. Do you think I should watch some more prison drama other than Shawshank Redemption? Maybe a bit of prisoner cell block H? We are going to Australia after all…

FasterLouder presents We Are Scientists and Ash sideshows:

Tuesday 3rd August – The Metro,Sydney

Wednesday 4th August – Billboard, Melbourne