5 with Capital Cities
The duo comprising Capital Cities—Ryan Merchant (vocals, keyboards) and Sebu Simonian (vocals, keyboards)—has many fans, among them Perez Hilton and Katy Perry. Their debut Capitol Records album, In a Tidal Wave of Mystery, dropped in the summer of 2013, and they haven’t looked back. A summer 2014 tour with Katy Perry led to a headlining tour this fall. Among the band’s accolades are the #1 appearance on the U.S. Alternatives Songs Chart (“Safe and Sound”), spot on the Pop Up #1 compilation issued by Perez Hilton, and commercial placements with Vodafone, Mazda, and Sea-Doo. Their latest single, “One Minute More,” will be on the soundtrack for The Giver.
Simonian took a few minutes to speak with me before embarking on the tour, which kicks off October 1 in Denver.
1. How did you two come together, and what made you believe you could find success with this project?
We actually met on Craigslist. At first, we started collaborating on music for our solo projects and soon knew this was special. We also wrote music together, and Capital Cities was formed. As for success, we knew the music was good.
2. Rags-to-riches story—i.e., how were you “discovered?”
One of the first songs we recorded was “Safe and Sound.” We posted it on the web and we watched it blow up on the internet. It caught the attention of Capitol Records and we went on to make an album for them.
3. You are being held at gunpoint to come up with a description of your music that contains neither “pop” nor “indie.” Go.
[Pauses] Electro-funk. Or maybe psychedelic funk. [We debate the perhaps unfortunate connotations of deeming one’s music “psychedelic.] Yeah, let’s go with the first one.
4. You just came off a summer tour with Katy Perry. Surely there’s a good story in there somewhere.
The Katy Perry tour came about—I don’t know. It was one of those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, of course, because we got to play arenas in front of a whole new audience. Let’s see…a story. [Pauses] We’re kind of a boring band, I guess. [Laughs] We had a great time.
5. Best pop band ever?
Um… The obvious choice would be the Beatles. [Mumbles to himself as he debates his answer.] Yeah, I guess it’s the Beatles.
10.01 | Ogden Theatre, Denver