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Interview with Sebu Simonian of Capital Cities

1/2 of LA duo talks new album & live shows


May 31st, 2013

Angelica Corona

LA locals Capital Cities have burrowed their catchy ways into the heads of thousands with the release of their hit single “Safe and Sound.” I’m not sure if it’s the horns, the hooks, or the harmonies, but radio stations have fallen in love with the duo and served their music to the masses, and we’ve found ourselves humming right along.

In the midst of a huge headlining spring/summer, Sebu Simonian, one half of Capital Cities, took some time to talk to LA Music Blog about the whirlwind of success the group has had and looking forward.

How’s the tour going so far? Are you in Denver currently?

Well, we were in Colorado Springs last night — that was our first stop in Colorado — and we’ll be going to Denver as well.

I saw in a previous interview that Ryan described your music as an “antidote to the human tendency to think in apocalyptic terms,” which is a very distinct mission statement. “Safe and Sound” really countered that mentality. Can we expect a lot more of that in your upcoming full-length?

I think you’ll definitely hear a lot of that in the new album. We are trying to produce joyous, happy-sounding music, but the lyrics are sometimes twisted and dark, so that gets you thinking both ways. That whole juxtaposition and yin and yang thing that’s happening is just fun to play with.

So we’ll be seeing a deeper side lyrically in In A Tidal Wave of Mystery?

Yeah, we try to write lyrics that are unique and pay attention to the songwriting aspect of it.

You guys are local to Los Angeles, and I know Ryan moved here from up north. Are you LA-born?

I was born in Syria. My family is Armenian, and we came to the States when I was pretty young, so I’ve been in Los Angeles pretty much all my life. Ryan is originally from San Francisco, but he’s been in LA for a while now.

And now you’ve got two big, sold-out shows coming up at El Rey next week in celebration of your album, which will just be released then. Is that a surreal experience for you?

Yeah, it’s really exciting. LA’s our hometown, so we definitely enjoy the support we get here.

I know you have a commercial background. Do you feel that influences the music you create now?

It allowed us to write and produce in a variety of different genres, and we had really short turnaround times, so we had to be quick about it. That helped us with our production chops, so I would say that commercial work helped us be creative with our band.

I saw your video for the Capital Cities Shuffle. What inspired you to start that and put it out there?

It was just the desire to have fun on stage and be interactive with the audience. It’s just a fun thing to do. It’s simple and it gets the party going.

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