RYAN: We were having a brainstorming session on Gmail chat one day.
I threw out the name “Capital of Maine” and Sebu responded
with “How about Capital Cities?” We both instantly knew
it was the right band name.
NECR: Describe your first show- epic? Nightmare? What have you learned
about performing since then? How have you grown as a band?
RYAN: Our first show was at The Key Club in Los Angeles and it was actually
a pretty big show. At the time we were more of a rock outfit with live
drums and two electric guitar players. We later decided to go in a more
electronic direction.We are very self reflective when it comes to our
live show and constantly push ourselves to make it better and more entertaining
for the audience. We also like to take risks. One was when we started
to incorporate synchronized dancing. It could have been a huge mistake,
but audiences love it.
NECR: What do you hope to fans leave the show feeling like? What makes
your show unique?
RYAN: I hope they feel like they’ve just seen something very unique
and entertaining. We also strive to create an environment of inclusiveness
where people can let go of inhibitions and experience pure joy. There
are two lead singers in our band, which is fairly unique and as mentioned
before, there is a fair amount of synchronized dancing.
NECR: What messages do you want to send to your listeners through your
RYAN: We never set out to convey a specific message with our music.
That said, I think people feel a joyousness and an optimism when they
hear our music. It comes through in the way the music is produced, the
lyrics at times and most importantly, the way we perform our music.
Our shows are all about inclusion and a feeling of community. We are
the antithesis of “too cool for school”.
NECR: Your sound/CD is very eclectic do you like all different genres?
Which brought inspiration for the album? Any new bands you’re
RYAN: We are inspired first and foremost by good songwriting regardless
of genre. The best songs are accessible, yet have something totally
unique and original that satisfies the human desire for novelty. This
is basically what we aspire to with our songs. Familiarity mixed with
novelty. To achieve that you need to think outside of the box. Our album
has a lot of very jazzy trumpet, which is somewhat atypical in our genre.
To us it felt right because it sounded so beautiful. If we like the
way it sounds, we do it.
Toro y Moi has some great tunes.
NECR: Favorite song to perform?
RYAN: We have a song on the album called Chartreuse. We play it early
in the set and it feels amazing.
NECR: Favorite line in a song?
SEBU: “In a town of ones and zeros, you are one magnetic hero.”
From “I Sold My Bed, But Not My Stereo.”
NECR: Safe and Sound has gotten a lot of attention and speaks to a wide
range of issues people are dealing with. Ryan you said “It seems
like every generation feels like it’s living in the worst of times
and of course there are horrible things happening, but the average person
is better off now than he or she was 50 years ago. In some ways ‘Safe
and Sound’ is an antidote to the human tendency to think in apocalyptic
terms and not really look at the logic of the world around us. Things
are getting better and there’s a lot to be positive about.”
Have you both always had such a positive outlook?
RYAN: I was much more angst ridden when I was younger. That was reflected
in the music I made at that time. As you get older, you become more
comfortable in your own skin and you don’t buy into the pessimistic
messages pushed by the media as much. Hence your outlook naturally becomes
NECR: At what moment did you know music was something you wanted to
do? Was there a song that you heard that made you fall in love with
RYAN: Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” was a huge catalyst.
That song/video showed the power of good songwriting married to great
SEBU: Hearing “I Just Called to Say I Love You” by Stevie
NECR: What do you miss most about home while on the road?
RYAN: Lazy bike rides along the Venice beach bike path.
NECR: What is an on the road necessity?
NECR: Any pre show rituals? After show rituals?
Pre-show: Not really.
After show: Dance with the audience and then hangout with them
NECR: If you could have a co headliner who would you choose?
RYAN: Phoenix, although they would probably be the real headliner.
NECR: If you could start a festival like Bonnaroo or Coachella which
would be the bands you would have to have playing? Let’s say 6.
SEBU: Led Zeppelin, Royksopp, AIR, Poolside, Shook, Underworld
NECR: Any embarrassing on stage moments?
RYAN: I was watching video from a recent performance in front of a very
large daytime audience. I noticed that my white underwear was sticking
out of the back of my pants pretty badly. Thankfully I was not aware
of it during the show.
NECR: Describe yourself in three words?
Perfectionism, Experimentation, Groove
NECR: What are the changes now that you have signed with a big label?
RYAN: More money and talented people available to help us realize our
NECR: Goals for your band in the upcoming year?
RYAN: Conquer the World in the most benign way possible.
NECR: What is something you are never asked ( or not asked frequently
enough) that you wish you were by an interviewer?
RYAN: Tell us more about the guys that play live with you?
Manny is our amazing bass player/zen master. Nick is our guitar player/computer
expert. Spencer is trumpeter/lady killer.