Music doesn’t make any sense. It just doesn’t.
People, after all, pay disgusting amounts of money to see Miley Cyrus writhe around on stage. Like, hard, mostly legitimately earned money.
Creed was a thing. A really big, embarrassing thing.
And if music as a larger paradigm doesn’t make any good sense, successful music is even more of an abstract concept. A black hole of random luck, voodoo magic, sacrificial goat karma and whatever the hell Rivers Cuomo is smoking. That dude is still recording new material. How has nobody tried to intervene by this point?
We can catch an Academy Award-caliber film on the big screen or hang on every syllable exchanged between Hank and Walt in that epic garage scene (ugh, so good!), but afterward that’s it. We’re done. I don’t fire up the VCR once a week to re-watch Tim Robbins crawl through a sewer pipe because I have a few minutes to kill.
When it comes to music — particularly good, viable music — we’re asked as humans, in the year 2014, to do the near impossible: maintain an attention span and not become instantly bored.
Unless you happen to be one of the members of Capital Cities, an indie pop act out of Los Angeles that nearly threatened to consume us all over the summer with the impossibly catchy smash hit, “Safe and Sound.” Or, as many people may know it, the horn song from the Mazda commercial that makes us all want to go buy Mazdas. Consumer Reports says the Mazda CX-5 is best in class. Kelley Blue Book raves that the Mazda3 more than holds its value. Indie pop group Capital Cities insists you must make Mazda the newest member of your family.
It was impossible to go anywhere over the last few months without bumping into “Safe and Sound” in some form or fashion. With nearly 140 million views on YouTube and a slew of crossover commercial gains, you can bet Ryan Merchant (vocals, keyboard and guitar) and Sebu Simonian (vocals and keyboard) will go to that well when they visit the Electric Factory Sunday night for a performance sure to be packed. I caught up with Simonian to try and learn a little more about what it’s like living the good music life.
It’s only been a year and change since you released your debut album, “In a Tidal Wave of Mystery,” but I’m sure you’re already getting inundated with pleas for new material. When do you guys start thinking seriously about the next record, or is that something that’s always ongoing?
I hope we never think seriously about the next record. But instead, think silly-ly.
Of course the summer concert season is huge, especially with all the festivals popping up everywhere, but I imagine there’s still a lot of fun to be had during the fall months as well. Do you guys like touring this time of year? Does it serve as a nice change of pace?
We love playing in the fall. As the temperature drops, it’s easier to get our fans to experience goose bumps.
Staying on tours: what’s it like going out as a headliner on a campaign of this size? Do you feel any sort of pressure in that role?
No. The amount of pressure is inversely proportional to size of the campaign.
I think it’s safe to say YouTube has been very kind to your group. Do you enjoy producing video content and watching the way it’s received by your fans?
Producing music videos gives us another opportunity to brainwash — I mean influence — I mean inspire — I mean entertain.
I understand you had the opportunity to tour with Katy Perry over the summer. She commands a huge following, and I’m sure there was a pretty interesting cross-section of people in the audience. Do you guys like being able to play for diverse crowds like that? Does that end up feeling like more a treat, or a challenge?
It was a challenge to figure out what adjustments we needed to make to please a new unfamiliar crowd, but we were thrilled to learn that all we needed to do was be ourselves ... and play the hit single earlier in the set to reel them in.
What’s your reaction to the commercial appeal your music has inspired? Is it rewarding to know your sound and style is sought after and scaled for a mass audience?
Kids these days!
Halloween is right around the corner. Can you recount a terrifying moment from your real life? A time when you were truly freaked about over something?
I once got in my car to run an errand in my hometown of Los Angeles and realized it was rush hour.