Chris Cain from We Are Scientists Says That Releasing 'Barbara' Was Akin to Bowling a Gutter-Ball

And then he told us a joke.

08 April 2014, 11:05am

Gavin Haynes has 100 free minutes but no friends. So each week we're going to make him call a popstar. This week: Chris Cain from We Are Scientists.

Noisey: Hello Chris. They tell me you’re a funny guy. So could you please say something funny right now for our readers.

Chris: Uh, let’s see. Shit I don’t have anything ready.

Are you sure? There must be something.

What about “neck squat”? The term “neck squat”?

And that is funny why?

Because if you imagine a muscular guy in a gym wearing small pants and a tank top, doing them, I think it’s just a funny funny idea. Neck squats.

I dunno Chris. Frankly I feel like you under performed in that gag.

I’m sorry.

Is this a bad day for you? Or is that just your average standard now?

Well, it’s the warm-up phase so I think the standard will rise as we progress.

Well I could keep an eye on that for you and then maybe we could try for another gag towards the end?

That sounds good. Obviously I’m much more interested in my cumulative score than any one-off spikes.

Tell me about your new album. How much does it weigh?

It’s about seven ounces, I’d say.

What’s that in grammes? Would you say it’s heavier than a slotted spoon?

What’s it made from? It’s definitely heavier than the plastic ones. But it’s definitely not as heavy as as the metal ones. It’s certainly heavier than a proper chef’s knife though the vinyl version probably weighs about the same, actually.

You’ve covered all bases then.

Yup, there’s something for everyone.

Ok. Let’s have a bit more about your new album. What shape is it?

They’re both round. The CD and the vinyl. The MP3s, they’re an amoeba shape, I guess. More lumpy.

So you’ve gone circular, have you? A touch conformist?

Well, we tried the faddish hexagons thing on our last record, and we found that a traditional audience essentially wasn’t interested.

What about the music. If you had to compare the music that you’ve made on there to a member of Hitler’s inner circle, which would it be? More kinda Goering jolly and rambunctious? Himmler thin-lipped and weird? Or Goebbels chatty yet kinda emo?

Goebbels yeah, definitely. He was absolutely a guy we had in mind during the composition of a lot of the songs. I wouldn’t go on the record saying he was a patron saint for us. But he was certainly a kind of Saint Nick.

He had a bit of dark side too though, didn’t he, Goebbels?

I guess. I mean that’s not the Goebbels I personally picture. The image that comes to my mind is of a jolly man in a red suit and hat with a white beard.

Tell me more about your career in indie rock n roll. In 2008, you released Brain Thrust Mastery. Why?

Why? Well… if I had to summarise it in one word that word would be ‘creditors’. At the time we had incredibly steep financial obligations and we were advised that releasing another record would be the quickest way to relieve ourselves of those. So we were prepared to spill some ink, as they say.

In 2010, you released Barbara. How?

Well… it wasn’t as easy as it seemed like it should’ve been. At the time there was a lot of label-juggling, a lot of management juggling. And, well, we didn’t know how to juggle, to put it succinctly. So If I were to get back to the question, how? I’d say ‘badly’.

This is not a story with a happy ending.

You’re familiar with the sport of bowling? I would say releasing Barbara was akin to bowling a gutter-ball. In that your ball does make it to the end of the lane: you reach the directional goal, but in other ways it was a complete waste of time.

In 2014, you are releasing a new album called TV En Francais. What???

Well, it’s more music, for sure. Is it more than that? I don’t know. But yes. Yes it is. The reports are preliminary, but we are finding that this album is solving a lot of problems for individuals and organisations.

What are these problems?

A couple of divorces have been solved amicably without the use of the courts. Uncomfortable love triangles that have morphed into very comfortable orgies. That sort of thing.

Tell me about your kitchen.

It’s on the small side. But it’s fully equipped. Stove. Cupboards. Blender. Utensils. Pots. Crockery.

Do you use the blender a lot?

I use it primarily for smoothies.

They’re quite bad for you, aren’t they?

Are they?

You’re chunking down an awful lot of fruit. It’s the ‘injecting heroin into your eyes’ of fruit consumption.

Mine are, mainly yoghurt-based with fruit around that.

Oh, ok. So it’s not just hardcore undiluted fructose. Well I owe you an apology then. Can we mention a brand name of blender?

It’s actually a Ninja Blender.

Sounds like you bought it on an infomercial.

It’s an atypical blender arrangement where you have a carafe, you place a lid on it, and then you put a blade shaft in the middle of the carafe. And then the motor is placed on the top, it locks into the blade shaft, and spins it. You know: like a ninja.

Does it work as well as a ninja would?

I think it is even better than a ninja at blending solids into liquids. But worse at everything else.

Shall we go back to this joke, then. God knows something amusing has got to come out of all this.

Let’s see… My eight year old son had a joke the other day… I wanna remember that one for you… How the hell did it go… Oh yeah:


A skeleton walks into a bar. And he says: give me a pint and a mop.


I don’t get it.


Oh, I see! That’s quite an advanced eight year old you’ve got there. There’s an implied chain of causation that doesn’t really leap out at you. Do you think he is preternaturally gifted?

Yeah. I think he’s on the top of the curve, for sure. I’m guessing he gets the intelligence from his mother, and the preternatural side from me.

Finally, Chris, can I possibly ask you a personal question?

Well maybe…

What’s 6x9?

That’d be… 54. The only reason I know that is my son is doing his times tables right now, so I’m getting better at mine.

You don’t have to apologise for your gifts, Chris. But perhaps, if I could be so bold, you might tell me what is 8x8?


What is 7x4?




8 9s.

72. That’s one of my favourites.

It has a glacial beauty of its own. So you’re doing flash cards with this child? Another wearying pushy-parent chore?

Well of course it’s all app based now.

This is why I can never have children. You have to bring them up in a world of iPads.

Well it is at least comforting that there are apps out there with educational value.

I’m not convinced.

Follow Gavin on Twitter: @GavHaynes

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