We Are The Physics, may not actually be masters of the molecule, but when it comes to crafting fun filled quirky pop songs they've got their PhD's hanging on the wall. New album, 'Your Friend The Atom' serves as further proof of this, and contains plenty of great tracks alongside recent singles 'Goran Ivanisevic' and 'Applied Robotics'. We caught up with Michael from the band (which one? You'll have to guess!) for some Scottish Fiction style banter.
Hello, how are you?
It's the question everyone hates, but could you tell us a little bit about your music and your influences?
We call our music 'mutant science punk rock', but that's actually just a way of making derivative music seem more exciting. It's basically just fast, jerky, springy music. We stole all our ideas from bands like Ex Models, Devo, Polysics, Brainiac, The Skids, Buddy Holly, Servotron, Mocket, A Flock Of Seagulls, Adam & The Ants and Del Shannon.
What's your song writing process like?
It's usually a case of someone having some wee embryo of an idea that we nurture until it sounds much much worse than it originally did, and that's how our songs are born. We went through a phase of writing out formulae for each song. None of us can read music or really know anything about the theory of music, so we'd phonetically write out noises and musical phrases that we wanted, then just follow the formula. They would typically read like this: Boom, boom, TIIIIING *drawing of a mountain*, sloooooooow bit, BADDA DADA DOOF, etc. etc.
What could we expect to see from a live show?
Four grown men embarrassing themselves for little or no money. We like to treat each gig as an event and our one basic rule is to never ignore the audience. We used to see so many bands just dully and dutifully going through all their songs with a pointless 'thanks' after each one was met by a polite and expected applause. Why are those gigs even happening? Nobody's getting any pleasure from it! It's like a horrible ritual where everybody knows what's expected of them and urgh. We appreciate the fact people have turned up to see us, and we won't let them go home uninterested, even if they have to stay behind for a punishment exercise.
If it were all to end tomorrow, what would you say has been your greatest achievement?
What's ending? Us, or Planet Earth? I suppose getting to the end of time was pretty decent of us. As a band, I think our greatest achievement, apart from this interview, has been managing to be so bad for so long with very few people trying to murder us.
What have you got planned for the second half of 2012?
Our UK tour to promote our new record starts tomorrow, we'll probably have a new 7" record out in November and we're off to do some Christmas gigs in December. Then we will celebrate Christmas by eating and eating and eating, then I think we'll be off out on tour again across Europe and Russia and Japan in the new year. It all depends on how much time Michaeldrum can get off work. He's a commercial airline pilot.
At Scottish Fiction we focus on new Scottish music, how do you as a band view the Scottish music 'community'?
I think, in honesty, we've never really felt any part of any community, not even as a Scottish band. Scotland produces some brilliant music and it's great to have that heritage, but we've never felt accepted by any musical scene or community and, in fairness, that's good - we don't really trust flag-wavers. Scenes and communities are usually about spotting similarities between bands and people in bands and heralding that as a good thing, but we've always preferred bands who sat on the fringes. The good thing about Scotland is that it does produce such diverse bands, it's a shame that there's got to be a 'scene' surrounding it for it to do well elsewhere. Scottish bands pouncing on other Scottish bands for having any success is a bit of a shame, but I can understand that their nationality being the only thing that unites them isn't enough. Although, we all know how tough it is to get out of Scotland to do gigs, so it feels like should applaud those who do rather than scorn them. There's quite an insular attitude to some of the bands who'll do Scottish tours but rarely ever go south, whereas our whole shtick was to get out and play the rest of the world as soon as we could. Scotland's our home, and it's an amazing place, but there's a whole world out there; there are a lot of bands who just stick touring Scotland, grow a huge loyal home fan base, but couldn't fill a toilet past Carlisle. By all means, bring more tours to Scotland, tour Scotland more, but don't limit yourself to one country like a creepy tribe. It's the first rule of good genetics - spread the musical genes across the world. This is starting to sound like we're promoting invading countries aurally. And we are.
What other Scottish artists would you recommend to the Scottish Fiction readers?
I reckon every Scottish band is bigger than us in Scotland, so they should probably be recommending us. There's the lovely We Were Promised Jetpacks, of course, PAWS, Ex Wives, Divorce, Hivver, Miss The Occupier. I remember I heard a band a few years ago called The Videos on that thing called MySpace, and they were amazing - I think they'd split up by the time I found them. But we shouldn't forget some of the bands who came and went who didn't get the recognition that they probably should have like Invisibles, Take A Worm For A Walk Week and Astral Planes. Oh, and Bis.
Thanks for speaking with us, would you care to share a joke with us?
We Are The Physics. Biggest joke oot, mate.
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