“I always find it hilarious when people say things like 'ah, you believe in science'. I mean, that's just oxymoronical. You can't believe in science: it's not a belief system. That's kind of the point.”
Paul Dempsey, it's fair to say, is a fan of The Science.
“I have a very curious nature, and I haven't seen anyone else providing reasonable answers outside of the scientific method,” he shrugs. “I guess what I'm talking about is more a way of reasoning towards understanding rather than filling every gap in your knowledge with mysticism.”
And it leads to some fairly obtuse jokes too, like the title of Something for Kate's sixth album, Leave Your Soul to Science.
“It never fails to amaze me how often my sense of humour doesn't come across,” he chuckles. “Which is clearly my fault, I'm obviously not as funny as I think I am. But there's at least as much sly humour in that title as there was in [2009 solo album] Everything is True. I was surprised at how few people commented on it.”
Everything is True was meant to be a bit of a low-key palette cleanser, but turned out to be an enormous success. However, he had no doubt as to his priority
“Certainly a lot of people said to me 'you'd be mad if you didn't follow it up with another solo record', but I was never tempted to do that. If I was releasing another solo record then it'd be seven or eight years until a new Something for Kate record, and that would just be too long.”
The album is classic Something for Kate, but there's a new space in their sound compared with previous albums. “In the past I think we've been guilty of overdoing it a bit and layering things up to this point of infinite density,” he explains, “but I think we've gotten better at not doing that, and definitely with this record we were committing to things in the moment and not overthinking them - to such a degree that we actually finished the record two weeks early.”
He and his wife, SfK's bassist Stephanie Ashworth live in New York these days - which must make for a hell of a commute for drummer Clint Hyndman.
“That's why we're based in Melbourne until we feel like we've wound down on this record and it's safe to go to the other side of the world for a while.”
Of course, he's had a fair amount of commuting himself. “In the two years I was living over there I'd come back three or four times, sometimes for three nights. But I wouldn't want to know anyone who'd complain about flying back and forth to play music,” he laughs. “I'm pretty damn lucky.”
It must be physically tricky to fit six-foot-five-inches of Dempsey into an airline seat though, surely?
“Ah, but I've always been very lucky to get the exit row seat so I can stick my long legs out in front of me,” he laughs. “It's not too bad for me, or the poor person who might have been unable to recline their chair because of my knees in their back.”