Recently CAPITAL CITIES toured Europe. NBHAP presented the band’s German tourdates and checked out their amazing performance during the Reeperbahn Festival in Hamburg. So we took the chance and talked to Ryan Merchant – one of the bearded guy with huge glasses. Find out who these guys are, where they come from, what they do, what they experienced in Europe and a lot more…

1. Who and what is CAPITAL CITIES?
Who? Ryan Merchant and Sebu Simonian.
What? A band from Los Angeles that writes thoughtful, catchy electropop music with heavy doses of funk bass lines.

2. CAPITAL CITIES seems pretty new. What have you done before this musical project? Seems you got some experience…
Sebu and I started working together writing for TV commercials. This type of work is the best training ground for learning music production and how to be creative as quickly as possible. Eventually we decided that we needed to start a band and CAPITAL CITIES was born. 

3. Your music sounds rather happy, cheerful and dancy. Is there a specific message that you want to spread?
Our music doesn’t have a specific message, but there is a specific goal with every song we write. That is to compose something familiar and accessible, yet at the same time surprising and exciting. Our compositions are then wrapped in a shell of electro / pop / rock production with lots of live bass and trumpet. 

4. Who influence(d) your music and your life in general?
The biggest influence has been the creative songwriters and producers that have preceded us. People or groups like DAVID BOWIE, MICHAEL JACKSON, FLEETWOOD MAC, JONI MITCHELL, STEVIE WONDERStevie Wonder etc…  
The drive to be creative is very elusive. I started wanting to write songs when I was 5 or 6 years old and haven’t stopped since. It’s challenging and very rewarding when you stumble upon a melody or lyric that feels original. 

5. You’ve been in Europe recently. Would be great to hear some anecdotes.
Europe was amazing. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Played in front of 8,000 people at the Dcode Festival in Madrid. Our set was In between THE KOOKS and THE KILLERS. Not sure how we got so lucky.
  • Lost my voice for two days and stressed about being able to play the rest of the shows on the tour. Fortunately it came back after two days.  
  • Missed our plane from Madrid to Munich and had to buy new tickets. Pricey mistake. 
  • Drove over 1,000 km in Germany and hit 165km on the Autobahn in our Volkswagen van.
  • Played a show at David Lynch’s nightclub in Paris, Club Silencio.
  • Consumed delicious, unhealthy food in every country.
  • Just finished the tour with some rest in the mountains of Utah

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6. By now you “only” released some EP’s, when will your debut-album be released and what will be the title of it?
We don’t have a specific date for the release, but probably early 2013. No title at the moment. 

7. In your opinion…

…the best release of 2012

…the best album(s) ever

…the better presidential candidate

…the view towards the worlds future: optimistic or pessimistic?
100% optimistic

…the best sport?
Soccer (Football in Europe)

…the best way to fight racism?
Programs that bring young people of different races together to explore their shared interests like sports, music, art etc…

…the best way to a post-capitalist society?
I have no idea

…the best way to give people hope?
Teach them to look at statistics instead of sensational news reporting. 

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Photo by Armen Poghosyan


8. What do you hope for and what are you passionate about?
I hope that technology will continue to help us solve our problems. I’m passionate about creating interesting music and constantly trying to better myself as a person.

9. Any last words?
Check out the work of a guy named Aubrey De Grey. He studies human aging and is developing medical technology that he believes will someday allow us to live to 1000 years old. 


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from Los Angeles, USA


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