Happy Friday, everyone. I sat down with Ryan from LA buzz band, Capital Cities, for today's edition of my PUMP Sessions Interview Series. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. This band is so fucking rad and their single, "Safe and Sound" was definitely one of my summer anthems of 2011. So, turn up your speakers and dance those work blues away. x
Capital Cities Sessions
Welcome to the PUMP Sessions Interview Series.
You're in Los Angeles now, but where are you from?
I was born and raised in San Francisco, but have been in LA for about 11 years.
You’ve been getting some buzz throughout the industry lately. What has your experience been so far in dealing with record labels, A&Rs, journalists, bloggers, promoters, agents, managers, etc?
My experience has been very positive with all sides of the music industry. I think when you have some good songs and can perform them pretty well, people start to find out and opportunities arise. That’s exciting because it confirms my belief that hard work, more than anything else, leads to success.
What people or companies have you brought on to your team in order to build your brand and gain exposure? Such as a manager, agent, publicist, etc?
We are now working with CAA as our booking agency. They have a great reputation and we just hit it off instantly with the people there. Despite being large, they are very hands on and responsive. We’ve also been working with an independent publicist and a music consultant to help with marketing the EP.
How has that helped you thus far? And how do you make sure all units of your team are on the same page and working together?
All of these people have been extremely helpful and instrumental in getting us to where we are now. They’ve helped us navigate a very complex industry and take some important first steps to gain awareness from the industry and online music community. We send a lot of emails to stay coordinated.
Most - if not all - bands, acts, and musicians have found their way to Twitter. What do you enjoy most about the interactive capabilities of the site and how do you make the most of your Tweets?
To be honest, we are relatively new to Twitter and are still figuring out how to be effective with it. We mainly tweet about cool things that are happening with the band, like a big show coming up or if our song was mentioned by a notable blog. Nothing too personal. I really like being able to do a search within Twitter to see who is talking about our music. The other day we found out that Zune had tweeted about “Safe and Sound” as their recommended Friday night song.
Facebook is now offering so many different music apps, it can often be a bit intimidating to choose one player. What are you using to play your music on Facebook and why?
We have been using Rootmusic on Facebook. They actually embed your tracks from your Soundcloud account. It seems to work fine, but I’m not blown away by it. We chose it because it was simple to set up.
Do you follow any music or industry blogs regularly? If yes, which ones?
I mainly discover music through The Hype Machine, the radio(I drive a lot) or friend recommendations.
What is your favorite method of recording music? What instruments do you play, other than your main one?
Sebu and I work “inside the box”, but use a couple pieces of analog gear to give our recordings warmth and depth. Specifically, we have this amazing Juno 106 synth that is all over the EP. It just sounds so much better than any soft synth.
My main instrument is my voice, but I also play guitar, keys, bass and drums. Although I’m not a virtuoso on any of those instruments I know enough to write song foundations and tell good players what to do.
With the decline of recorded music sales, what are some of the ways you have compensated for that missing income stream?
9. We’ve been working as a composing team for TV commercials for the past three years – separate from Capital Cities. This experience has taught us the importance of licensing music in the “new” music industry. There is a lot of opportunity there. Live performance income is also very important to bands these days.
At PUMP Merch, we have seen an explosion of creativity in merchandising, both at live shows and online. What items do you offer your fans and why? And what items would you like to offer, but haven’t been able to?
We are known for giving away giant sunglasses with Capital Cities handwritten on them at our shows. We’re going broke because of it, but people love it so we’ll keep doing it!
Which bands and artists have influenced your music?
Old School influences: Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Joni Mitchell, The Cure, Tears For Fears, Fleetwood Mac. New School Influences: Air, Phoenix, Royksopp, Empire of The Sun, Underworld.
Who have you toured with recently?
We haven’t gone on tour with any bands yet, but recently opened for Body Language and Wallpaper in LA. They are both great bands that know how to perform very well. We have a show coming up in Boston opening for The Knocks too. Very excited about that.
If you could tour with any current band/act, who would it be?
Empire of The Sun. Great music and amazing live show.
Who produced your record?
We produced it ourselves.
Which producer(s) do you dream of working with some day?
There’s a guy named Tony Hoffer that produced Phoenix’ album Alphabetical. I love that album and all his work.
If you could record with any band/artist, who would it be?
We’d like to write a song for Katy Perry, yes, Katy Perry. If that doesn’t work out, we’d settle for a collaboration with Air or Underworld.
Where does the band rehearse? And is there a regular schedule? Who is always first to practice, and of courese, who is last..?
We rehearse in beautiful Burbank, California at a place called Stereotrain Rehearsal. This is where we have our production studio as well.
Desert Island Albums – Top 5. GO!
Joni Mitchell (Blue)
Zero 7 (Simple Things)
Fleetwood Mac (Greatest Hits)
Motown Greatest Hits.
Favorite books of all time, Fiction or Non-Fiction…
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
Bright Lights, Big City by Jay McInerney
Abre Los Ojos (Spanish version of Vanilla Sky and much better)
Hook (Watched it 4 times in the theater as a kid)
Into The Wild (This story haunts me)
What are your favorite fashion labels? And what is preferred stage attire?
Labels that don’t put their name all over their clothing. We always change what we wear on stage. We spray painted capital city names onto sweatshirts for our last show.
When was your first concert? Who did you see? Where was the show?
Smokey Robinson at The Silverado Country Club in Napa, California. I played in a tree the whole time and don’t recall the music at all.
What are your hobbies outside of creating music?
I really enjoy imitating voices, camping and reading a website called Reddit.
Are there any charities that you support as a band? How about individually? And of course, why? Also, where can they be found?
There is a really cool organization called LA Works that allows you to easily sign up for community service opportunities in LA. No red tape to go through. Just sign up and get to work.
Any upcoming performances, events, releases, news you’d like to promote here?
We’re going to be in NYC for two shows in early October. On the 4th we play Pianos in Manhattan at 11pm. On the 5th we play The Rock Shop in Brooklyn at 9:30pm. Come say hello and dance!
Please let everyone know where they can find your music and stay updated.
Thank you so much. I look forward to hearing more and more from you. Best of luck and please feel free to contact me any time. Be well.