Capital Cities Share The Secrets of Their Success

Capital Cities_1

Capital Cities. Photo Credit: Erika Reinsel

Capital Cities Interview

These days, the music industry moves at the pace of a high-speed wi-fi connection, exponentially shortening the process of “breaking out.” Young bands make the leap from playing rooms of hundreds to festival crowds of thousands in a matter of months, and their art reaches wider audiences than ever thanks to the power of the internet and the prevalence of live music. Capital Cities are the perfect example of a band that’s benefited from the fast-paced nature of the modern music world, as they’ve quickly grown from upstarts to road warriors since releasing their debut LP in June.

It’s hard to really step back, relax, and appreciate everything when you’re in the midst of touring… – Ryan Merchant, Capital Cities

It’s not hard to imagine the toll such a sudden rise to fame might take on a young band, but founding members Ryan Merchant and Sebu Simonian approach their new-found success with a steady hand. They showed maturity beyond their years as we sat down with them to discuss Capital Cities. These guys did get Andre 3000 of Outkast to provide vocals on their album, after all. Maybe they’re simply doing something right? We followed up on our last interview, and asked Rukkus’ Erika Reinsel to find out just what that something is…


Rukkus: ‘Safe and Sound’ recently hit #1 on the Billboard Alternative charts. First off, congratulations! What was your first reaction when you heard the news? Sebu: It was exhilarating. I mean, it was good but I don’t remember my first reaction (laughs). Ryan: It’s hard to really step back, relax, and appreciate everything when you’re in the midst of touring and be like ‘Hey, let’s celebrate and throw a party!’ It’s more like, ‘Okay, what’s the next milestone.’ But it’s awesome! Rukkus: So you guys write all of your lyrics. Is it collaborative, or do one of you write more than the other? Sebu: Yep, we always do it together. Rukkus: Do you have any inspirations when writing, or does it flow pretty easily since you were both previously jingle writers? Sebu: When we write songs, we’re inspired by the songs themselves and the music itself. We try to make music that inspires us so it’s kind of a Catch-22. Our inspiration is the result of our music. Rukkus: Capital Cities perform a lot of covers, who comes up with the choice of songs? Ryan: It’s a pretty difficult process because we both have very particular ideas. There are a lot of songs we like and a lot of crossover in our taste. We try to tackle songs that are well known to most people, but haven’t been covered a lot. We really want to be the ones to put a new spin on them. We just love classic, amazing songs and love to pay homage to the artists we respect so much. Rukkus: You guys have some pretty awesome dance moves. How much time do you spend practicing, or does it just flow naturally? Sebu: It comes naturally; we were born with wings on our shoes. Rukkus: You guys have been touring nonstop – how has it been? Sebu: It’s very tiring and this was our first tour. It was a good two months of pretty much non-stop shows, but we got through it and it was very successful and fulfilling because the crowds were very susceptive. Rukkus: What’s the best and worst thing about touring? Sebu: The best thing is the crowds and the worst thing is the bumpy ride on the bus (laughs). Rukkus: You’ve recently played some pretty big festivals, but have also done a lot of smaller, intimate shows. Do you enjoy one more than the other? Sebu: For me, it depends on a number of factors. Is the sound system good? Is the crowd good? If the sound and crowd are good, I’ll have as much fun as possible. It’s really just the overall vibe that makes it. Rukkus: You’re continuing touring until November, any plans after that? Sebu: Maybe take a break. Hopefully work on some music videos. Even though it looks like we’ll have a break, I think it’s going to be filled with a lot of shows. Click here for cheap Capital Cities concert tickets Article by Nicolas White and Erika Reinsel

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