Interview: Citizens!

Friday, 10 August 2012

Photo courtesy of Citizens!
If you are going to Parklife 2012, you certainly would recognize the name Citizens!. That is because this UK band is coming to Australia and play in Parklife.

Last week, we got the chance to chat to Tom Burke (vox) by phone while the band is in their van, going to a venue that they were going to play at. Here is Tom, telling us about Citizens!, their album and their upcoming shows in Australia.

Can you tell us how Citizens! formed?
We all live in a similar area of London so we're all aware of each other. Lawrence is playing in a band together before so we've known each other for a while. But I think, the night when the band really kicked off was when Mike, Martyn, Lawrence and I were at a house party together. It was kind of late in the night. Martyn and Mike ended up having this fight about whether we're gonna play Suicide or Kanye West as the next song. It looked as if it's gonna get pretty serious so Lawrence and I kicked off this whole debate about pop music and whether different style of the music could be called the same thing and united by a pop element. So we play with sounds that come from all kind of different places, but the thing that unite and bring them together is pop.

What's the story behind your band's name?
When we're choosing the name, we just wanted something that was simple, catch our attention and that would look good on the poster. So the particular time when we're choosing was at the end of summer last year, when there's just been this riot in London. And that kept jumping up to us and something that was particular powerful at that moment and Citizens! (with the exclamation mark) has a good ring to it.

How's the recording process behind your album?
It was pretty intense. We recorded it in Scotland, West Scotland, in the country side in a house/village  and when we got out and look out on the window in the morning all we see was a flock of sheep, a little lamb, mountain, lion. There is the five of us in this house with the producer Alex and we had an amazing time.

How did you meet Alex?
We met Alex through a mutual friend. We were just trying to come up with the songs that will fulfill the kind of mission that we set up. Once we've done with a demo that we're happy with, we started chaining them around and we're saying to them, if you know anyone in music make sure you pass along. And Alex had them and he really liked them. So we went for a drink at pub in East London and talked endlessly about music. It was only a social thing at first really, but then we got along really well and see eye to eye on ideas about recording and songwriting and eventually the idea came up. So he eventually produced the album.

About your dance moves on your music video Reptiles, is that a natural or being choreograph?
It is completely natural, absolutely. It was a spontaneous improvisation.

So, you guys are coming for Parklife, is this your first time in Australia?
Yeah it is, although our tour manager is from Adelaide, he is kind of explaining to us how to behave when we are in your country.

How do you feel? 
Yeah none of us have been there before so we're gonna have a good time.

What can fans expect from your performance?
When people listen to our record, if making a record, you want to make something that wasn't affected by all of the cynical practices that has crept in to the way people record music these days. Everything is over-produced, corrected and auto-tuned that makes it sounds what people called perfect and we didn't want to sound like that at all. Our record is quite a lo-fi record with a lot of space in it and we really proud of it but when we play live, it's important to us that we could sound as big, powerful and exciting as any other band out there so I think people surprise when they hear us by how big it sounds.

Is there any particular artists/band that you are excited to see at Parklife?
Chairlift and Tame Impala

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