The Rise: Interview with Capital Cities

17 October 2013

By Julija Kaselyte

LA pop indie duo Capital Cities are an effectively rising band. This year, Sebu Simonian and Ryan Merchant released debut album In a Tidal Wave of Mystery that includes captivating, easy vibe hits such as Safe and Sound and Kangaroo Court that have captured the public’s imagination. We checked in with Sebu to talk tours, dance moves and kangaroo courts...
I know that you just got back from Europe. What countries did you go to and play shows?
Yeah, we were in Europe! It was our second European tour. We went to Germany, France, UK, Belgium, Netherlands, Poland, Italy, Spain, and Portugal.

What countries did you like the most?
I loved them all, but particularly I have fond memories of Lisbon, because we had a day off there and we got to explore the city – it’s very beautiful. I also enjoyed Poland. The festival we played there was called “Burn Selector” and it was really cool. We have been touring pretty much non stop since April. But we love it, it’s great!

Your debut album In a Tidal Wave of Mystery came out in summer. Was it always fun making it or did you have any difficulties?
It was all fun. It took a long time to record it. We started writing and recording for the album in 2010 actually, so it took us almost three years to do it, but, you know, we took our time and just kept writing and as soon as we came up with 12 songs that we were really happy with we tore up the album.

The album has such an interesting title. What is the story behind it?
The title In a Tidal Wave of Mystery came from the line of lyrics of Safe and Sound and when we were looking for a title for the album we thought of that line from the song. We thought it was very appropriate and descriptive for the entire album.

It’s such a popular hit right now. How do you feel when you hear it on the radio?

I feel great!

Safe and Sound video features some good dance. Who did you work with on choreography?
We worked with choreographer Mandy Moore who is a great choreographer. She worked on So you think you can Dance and she was nominated for the work that she did in the movie The Silver Linings Playbook.
Do you like dancing yourself?
Of course, absolutely!

What is your other single Kangaroo Court about?
Kangaroo Court actually describes a mock trial in a corrupted society. The song is about a character that feels judged and is looking for ways to feel accepted. He adventures into the dark part of town where he basically has the lyrics that say “dance these blues away”. It’s a song about partying, dancing, letting go, and trying to escape from the problems in your life.

Speaking of the video for this song, was it Ryan who played the main character, zebra?
Yes, it was Ryan. I played the lion.

Tell me what you like the most about being a musician.
I enjoy it all. I enjoy writing, producing, performing, and music videos is kind of a new thing for us and I’m enjoying that as well.

Overall is it nice to be recognized for your work?
Yes, it’s nice.

What music do you listen to on the regular basis?
I listen to electronics, funk, and anything that has good melody. One of my favorite artists of all the time is Pink Floyd. Current artist that I’m listening to is Bei Ru.