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Capital Cities to bring unique brand of synthpop
By: STEPHEN CENTANNI | May 14, 2014

Independent music has seen a surge of synthpop sounds entering its domain. This retro-sounding musical genre pulls muses from the synthesizer dominated days of the ‘80s and brings it into the modern age with current technology in electronic music.

As with many unique forms of music, electro pop began as an underground form of music. However, this musical style has slowly seeped into the mainstream with its fun and infectious beats and lyrics. The Hangout Fest line-up has a plethora of synthpop sounds for the sandy masses. Comprised of Ryan Merchant and Sebu Simonian, Capital Cities could be considered one of the groups at the forefront of this scene. According to member Simonian, the number of synthpop acts making it into the mainstream is a result of the genre coming into its own.

“Fundamentally, people like good songs,” Simonian said. “There just so happens to be a few new acts lately that are doing the electro-pop sound and writing good songs as well. These songs are making their way to the forefront. This type of music is just fun and accessible to a lot of different types of people. It’s hard to deny.”

Capital Cities has remained consistent both in their musical integrity and work ethic. They jumped into the public eye with their 2011 debut single “Safe and Sound” followed by the release of their follow-up single “Kangaroo Court” in 2012. These singles eventually found a home on Capital Cities’ 2013 debut full-length “In a Tidal Wave of Mystery.” Since its release, the band has been spreading their sounds worldwide. They also took home a MTV Music Video Award for “Best Visual Effects.”

“In a Tidal Wave of Mystery” may have been three years in the making, but Capital Cities is definitely enjoying the benefits of touring in support of this album.

“I’ve been in bands all my life,” Simonian said. “It’s nice to travel the world and play in front of huge numbers of people. More importantly, it’s been nice to experience the food, culture, heart and heritage of the various cities and countries that we get to visit.”

Capital Cities recruited two special guests for the creation of this album. Producer Simon Mills is best known for his work with the group Bent. Simonian and Merchant gambled on a cold-call to Mills, which resulted in the duo sending tracks to Mills. After listening to the tracks, Mills decided to remix the track “Lazy Lies.” According to Simonian, his remix allowed the album to “breathe” with its departure from the overall dance groove vibe of the album.

Simonian and Merchant also reached out to Andre 3000 of Outkast to lend his verbal skills on a track. After listening to several songs, 3000 contributed to the track “Farrah Fawcett Hair.” With Outkast also appearing at Hangout Fest, the public joins Capital Cities in wondering whether he will join them onstage during their set.

“They are super busy regrouping with Outkast and launching their comeback with shows at festivals,” Simonian said. “We will definitely be making an attempt.”

With their personal soundman hailing from Mobile, Capital Cities has already heard much about the Gulf Coast, and they are looking forward to performing in Gulf Shores and feeling the beach “vibe and energy.” They are also looking forward to sampling both local culture and local food, especially crawfish.

Capital Cities
Date: Sun., May 18, 3:45 p.m.-5 p.m.
Stage: Hangout Stage