Q: “Universal Fade” is an amazing song that encapsulates summer during isolation. What inspired you to write this song?
DEAD SCIENTISTS: The song was written just after our album launch in July 2020. Though we were living through a lot of isolation at that time due to the pandemic, the song actually was about a different kind of social isolation that a person might feel, especially living in a modern high-rise city. We imagined the whole world, moving around at street level whilst you’re looking out from a few floors up. Everyone else seems to be enjoying themselves and living a life you wished you had. We wanted to explore that feeling of pressure that the summer sometimes brings; that you should be happy, enjoying yourself and making the most of life. Having lived alone in a city we know that this isn’t always the case. It’s all about exploring those jarring feelings but still looking out and seeing the beauty outside but trying to reconcile that with an existential crisis. Sometimes it can all seem like a different world you’re viewing from a platform, rather than one you’re actually a part of.
Q: How were you able to conjure up the lyrics?
DEAD SCIENTISTS: Lyrically, we want to use a lot of imagery and when pictured the song’s feel, we imagined a hot, humid, summer evening in a city apartment with light fading through sunset to night time. As you stare out the window, you can see everyone coming home from work but then going out again to enjoy the evening. The protagonist has probably sat thinking to themselves and wondering why they don’t feel the same for hours by the time the song finishes. There’s a lot of questioning going, there are feelings of disappointment but also of hope.
Q: Your music is inspired by cold-war conspiracies and science fiction, like your song “Three Point Six,” and I love how you guys prove that stories (whether a myth or true) can be transformed into music. Why is it inspired by these?
DEAD SCIENTISTS: The album started as more of a concept EP that we imagined back in 2009. The Cold War has always been a fascinating subject area for us. The advancements in technology and espionage in particular take the imagination into interesting places. One of the other things that we think still draws parallels today is the quest for truth. The lies and exaggerations told by both sides really provides a lot of relevant subject matter for us to dig into. It often allows you to take inspiration from the more surreal, strange and unreal mysteries out there. We ate all that stuff up—proxy wars, Tunguska, Chernobyl, HAARP and all these other weird ideas. There’s so much to draw inspiration from. Taking all of that and imagining similar things happening today—sometimes our current world seems even more surreal than the ideas we were inspired by. We originally wanted to write an album or EP in 2009 about a second cold war and what that world would look from the perspective of somebody travelling to a Soviet style state.
Q: Where did the band name come from?
DEAD SCIENTISTS: The band name was inspired by a newsletter written by peers of Dr. David Kelly following his death. The different views about the strange circumstances of his death seemed oddly prescient. Especially now where we seem to be living in an age where, as a society, many people seem to have had enough of experts, it is still quite an interesting and relevant name.
Q: The band took a hiatus for 11 years, which is a really long time. What was the cause of this?
DEAD SCIENTISTS: 11 years was a really long time and the years just flew by sadly. There isn’t a particular reason for it—in 2008 to 2009 we had just left university and were living together. The music and ideas came naturally and we had all of the time in the world to work on what we wanted. The break just came as a result of inevitable changes that happen as you are young adults—relationships, careers, families and all the other things that meant we were no longer “roommates” and ended up living on opposite ends of the UK. The desire to finish what we started never went away but it took a while to happen.
Q: A lot of musicians saw the pandemic as a perfect time to get back into music. What drove the decision to return after 11 years?
DEAD SCIENTISTS: We’d actually made the decision to start working on music together again in 2019. It was something that we had been wanting to do and talked about for years. The time finally just felt right in 2019 when we started sharing little ideas and song snippets. The rest just fell into place. We had always known that as we lived apart from each other on opposite ends of the UK, that we would have to collaborate online, so to speak. So, by the time the pandemic hit and forced bands to try and work that way as well, we feel like we had the advantage. It hadn’t really changed anything for us. We are fortunate though but you really feel for the musicians and bands that have completely lost their livelihood as a result of venues and performances being non-existent.
Q: What has been the biggest struggle in bringing the band back together, and why?
DEAD SCIENTISTS: I think the biggest struggle for us has been the way in which the whole music industry has changed in the last 11 years. Working remotely and collaborating together long distance has actually been the easiest aspect for us, a really liberating way to work and consider the songs we write. The work really seems to start with actually getting heard—especially when you’re almost starting from the beginning and trying to build a new audience from scratch. Trying to build an audience online with no prospect of playing live is such a challenge. There is so much music out there and everyone seems to be selling success to you in a million different but unobtainable ways. It is a far cry from the early days of putting your music online and people happening to stumble on something that might change their life. Trying to get noticed alongside everyone else has been the biggest struggle and learning curve for quite some time.
Q: What are some things you want listeners to know about Dead Scientists?
DEAD SCIENTISTS: With Dead Scientists, we want our listeners to ask questions about the wider world and to look at situations from different perspectives. Whilst we enjoy writing about some of the stranger and weirder side of things, we try and weave in how that would affect yourself in that situation. Other than that—we have a love of all things Sci-Fi and classic games (songs like IDDQD for example).
Interviewed by Taylor Berry