"Imagine if you were walking along the floor and then suddenly you realized you were walking along the ceiling. You're not in pain, you're not necessarily in danger, but you would freak out. It wouldn't make any sense to you." That quote from Chris Cain is probably the most elaborate way we've ever heard of a band decipher the stripped-down, acoustic vibes we sometimes demand during our Dead Kitten Sessions from fully fleshed-out album tracks, but we'd expect no less from a pack of scientists.
Cain and Keith Murray, the side-splitting musicians who power We Are Scientists, always seem to provide as much entertainment between takes as they do with their anthemic, sing-along indie rock offerings; the latest collection being the exotically titled TV en Francais. Earlier this winter the rather dashing pair swung by our pad, bringing a few songs from the collection and that ludicrous, always-on sense of humor with them. Apparently it wasn't their first rodeo. "We used to do sessions for other sites, other services, and it was always missing something, we never knew what it was," Cain joked for our benefit. "It never scratched the itch. Now we're done, no more sessions," added Murray. So I guess this it, the last ever We Are Scientists session, exclusively on Baeble! Not so fast "We'll probably chase the high for a couple more sessions but I doubt that we're going to find this again," concluded Cain. Fine. But we're using their rave reviews anyway to market the shit out of this this rather preposterous, oh so enjoyable get together with We Are Scientists.
session and they say to us, "What is that, your new album that I just heard?" No, no. This is a stripped- down version of a couple of songs off the record. that, because they've never-- - I get that all the time. - Have they heard the album and they just can't tell the difference? They sense that something is a little different but they don't really... - Yeah, imagine if you're walking along the floor and then suddenly you realize you're walking along the ceiling. You're not in pain, you're not necessarily in danger, but you would freak out. - It wouldn't make any sense to you. That's what these people sound like when they ask me about the session, but yeah, the secret is it's stripped down. It's a different instrumentation than what we did on the record. - I mean, we've been looking forward to this session as long as we've known about these sessions. Forever is going a little overboard. I mean, I think we always had a sense that we were longing for something and we didn't know what it was. Then we heard about these sessions. - Because we used to do sessions. We had to do sessions for other sites, for other services, and it was always missing something and we never new what it was. - Yeah, we never scratched the itch. Now we're done, no more sessions. - I mean, we'll probably chase the high for a couple more sessions, but I doubt that we're going to find this again. It took you long enough to figure this out. It should've been hours ago. I wish you'd thought of all your lingering doubts like she told you so. And I think it would be nice. 'Cause one time is never enough, and if you want a piece of advice, I'm sorry but I'll tell you what. You can always keep it by. dumb luck If it's so hard for you to say I was right what are you gonna do? It's a problem that's taken all night for something to dawn on you. And it would be so nice. 'Cause one time is never enough, and if you want a piece of advice, I'm sorry but I'll tell you what. You can always keep it by, Dumb luck. I therefore think it'd be nice 'cause one time's never enough. If you want a piece of advice Sorry, but I tell you what, You can always keep it by Dumb luck... Dumb luck. Dumb luck... Dumb luck. - Keith, talk about dumb luck. Is that what it's called? - Yes, you know it's called that. You helped... you designed the-- - I'm a journalist. I ask questions that I want you to answer for the audience. - Under what authority have you been declared a journalist? - I thought, when I was a kid, I had one of those little pads because I thought it was a journalist pad and I was like... I walked around with it for about a year. Talk about Dumb Luck. - Dumb Luck... I feel like the acoustic version of Dumb Luck is a more legitimate song than the young version. The young version is just a big, dumb, goofy... it's like a golden retriever of a song. - It sounds like someone banging on a garbage can with a baseball bat, kind of, to me. - That's what he said throughout the mixing of the album, too. We'd spend hours a day with a producer and the mixer and I, honing everything, just pulling up every track. You know, he'd walk in and be like, "It still just sounds like someone hitting... " - Did you guys record yourselves banging on a big old garbage can, or is that an oil drum? I can't tell. What is that? - It was pretty frustrating - That is what it sounded like, though. You should have heard it. I admit now that the other nine songs do not sound like that. Dumb Luck, though. - Never quite got over it. - Yes, Sprinkles was the first song that we wrote for the album, and we had initially wanted the album to be called sprinkles. Before we had written anything, really, this album is just going to be called sprinkles, and we quickly got over that, but realized that Sprinkles was a good name for something. - I was encouraging Chris to have another kid, to name it Sprinkles. But then the song Sprinkles was written, and we realized - it's sort of like how you hadn't intended to call your son Daschel until he came out, - and you were like, "That's a Daschel. " - Why, that's a Daschel if I've ever seen one. - When Sprinkles was written, we were like, "That's a Sprinkles. " I swear I wouldn't have left you alone if I'd sensed that it would have helped this at all. Back then, how could I know? I should have known. If it seems important, you should rest assured it is. If it seems important, of course it is. It's bad enough to have to watch you just leave. I'm backing up, and we both want you to be falling forward, falling forward into me. I guess it's nobody fault but my own. I can't tell if all of my senses were wrong. I taste the sugar in your serving song. If it seems important, you should rest assured it is. If it seems important, of course it is. It's bad enough to have to watch you just sleep. I'm backing up, and we both want you to be falling forward, falling forward to me It's bad enough to have to watch you just leave. I'm backing up, and we both want you to be falling forward, falling forward into me. - I mean it all started. . - It all began with Witch's Spell. That's a bit of a story. That's a bit of a story. - Yeah, nobody wants to hear about it. - I guess that's true. I guess that's true. If you had to tell someone the name of the record, what would you say? - I'd sit them down. I'd sit them down and make sure they're comfortable. - Yeah. - And then I'd say, "TV en Francais," and then I'd walk away. - What if it was nonverbal but it was clear that they were in a state of, like, needing more information? They were going like this? - They weren't doing the international-- - Choking. - Symbol for choking. No, no, no. - They were joining the international choking symbols. - What if at first they were like, "Where did you get that phrase from?" - Well, first I would thank them for their patience, and then I'd report that TV en Francais is an advertising tool for a lot of hotels in South Florida, because they're big French-Canadian tourist population. They want you to know that at least some of you will understand what's on TV. For the rest, they're not going to get it. or at least part of you, like a part of you as an individual. - The French speaking part of you will understand. - Yeah. I thought that was a funny, funny thing for them. I mean, it's a sales incentive. - It's an amenity. - You know how motels elsewhere might say HBO. - Free continental breakfast. - Free continental breakfast, pool, rooms. Talk about Make It Easy. - I'm trying to talk. I'm not making it easy right now, am I? - Is it? Let me ask you this. Let me come at it from the side. Is it a key track? - Yeah, I think I would regard it as a key track. I think mainly it's a key track and it's not really going to present as such in this session, because to me, the defining feature of a key track in this case, in the case of Make It Easy, Because it features a triangle. - A triangle, yeah. Yes. - We somehow lost the triangle on the walk over, - so in this session, it's probably a third... a third tier track, but in general, Make It Easy is number one. - Is it the only triangle on the record? Is that the only key track? - Yeah, not to undermine-- - I feel like that was a mistake. Did you know about this, like, triangle thing before? - No. I sat down with a radio plugger later on and they're like, "Alright, well, let's cull the tracks that don't have triangles then we'll see what we're dealing with here. - Yikes. - Yeah, frankly, we panicked. Can we just agree to both stop wasting time tonight? Every second is a second chance to get this right. I'm all in, it doesn't matter, I know what this is. Maybe I should be embarrassed to be saying this. You make it easy and it should be easy. You make it easy. You make it easy. Every gesture that you make toward me is sacrament. I won't bother even trying to make sense of it. There's a part of me that's wondering if I'm correct. This is probably as right as I'm going to get. You make it easy, and it should be easy. You make it easy, and it should be easy. If it's not worth doin' it right, let's not do it at all. It might be true, just might, not be totally false. I'd like to know what it's like to finally get what I want, but if it's not worth doin' it right, let's not do it at all. You make it easy, and it should be easy. You make it easy, and it should be easy. If it's not worth doin' it right, let's not do it at all. It might be true, just might, not be totally false. I'd like to know what it's like to finally get what I want. But if its not worth doin' it right, let's not do it at all.
It was the kind of bar where nobody nice goes on the kind of street where nobody nice
lives, which is probably what made it so cheap, which is de?nitely what made We Are
Scientists take meetings there. Not that Murray & Cain were cheap, but they could do
math just ?ne. If they were sticking a quarter into a video game machine, they'd just as
soon the thrills last for more than thirty seconds. Same with buying a lady dinner. Of
course it had been a long time since video games or dinner with a lady cost a quarter, and
anyway they weren't looking for either of those things, except in the deep-down quiet way
that men always are. They were looking for a producer.
Murray & Cain, they're the guys who started We Are Scientists 13 years ago. Fresh out of
college and bored by their day jobs, they ?gured rehearsing a rock & roll band would eat
up the long slow evenings. Only it back?red, because the band panned out. Now nothing
eats up their long slow days, except proving that a busted clock is wrong nearly all the
time, and if you watch a pot long enough, eventually it boils.
They ordered two whiskies, no ice, ?lled to spilling. Those were for Cain. Murray took a
squid-looking thing made of plastic tubes from his briefcase and handed ?ve of the six
tentacles to the bartender, who attached them to the ?ve closest taps. Murray stuck the
free end into his mouth and nodded, and the bartender opened the taps. That's when
Chris Coady stepped out of the gloom.
They'd met Coady six years prior. At the time he was a hotshot engineer who'd made his
bona ?des giving Yeah Yeah Yeah's and TV on the Radio their signature sound. Now he was
one of the best mixers in the game, and had a producer's rsum that reminded you of a
perfect hundred dollar bill. It looked so good it had to be fake. Only Coady was for real
Beach House, Wavves, and The Smith Westerns could testify to that.
"Tequila, ice," he said, reading aloud every word on the itty bitty drink menu in his head.
"Beer fucks with my sinuses."
They talked. Songs, gear, bands, plus dirty, slanderous gossip. Lots of agreement, with
enough "you're fucking crazy"s to keep things interesting. It started to sound like this was
the crew for the job. Two months later, they were drinking the same thing, but they were
doing it in one of New York City's best small studios, the kind that doesn't come cheap,
but gives you a lot more than you paid for. By the end of the year they'd made a record
that knew how to throw a punch, but was no slouch in the bedroom, either. A record that
gave you the big, wide-angle view, then brought you in for a closer look. It was a We Are
Scientists record, and it was a Chris Coady record, and everybody who'd listened to it was
having a real hard time staying calm.