American indie pop duo, Capital Cities could best be described as an experimental New Wave, synth-based, electropop band. If that description isn’t so clear, take a listen to the first track and single “Safe and Sound” off their debut studio album In A Tidal Wave of Mystery and all will be made clear. The band, who is currently on their Bright Futures tour with Fitz and the Tantrums, consists of 35-year-old Sebu Simonian and 32-year-old Ryan Merchant, though they typically use full bands for their high-energy live performances.
The pair met via Craigslist and were able to easily establish a musical rhythm and capitalize on their immediate chemistry despite such unorthodox beginnings. Originally, the two formed a company that created TV jingles, an occupation which acted as a wonderful incubator in birthing Capital Cities. Sebu elaborates, “Throughout that process we kind of grew as producers because in that world you have to write in a wide variety of genres with a fast turnaround time and we definitely applied that knowledge to our songwriting for the band.” The duo’s ability to incorporate medley genres into cohesive tracks shines throughout their album especially in the sound-bit ridden track “Farrah Fawcett Hair” that also features Andre 3000.
“The song came from our desire to do something experimental…and started out with this idea of writing a song that pays tribute to the best things in life,” Simsonian says of the process. Some of the items on the guys’ “undeniably awesome” list included Farrah Fawcett’s hair, NPR’s famed commentator Soterios Johnson and the musically talented Andre 3000. “A lot of our ideas were coming through and so our manager reached out to Andre 3000′s manager and to our surprise he agreed to do a verse on the song.”
Simonian and Merchant are all about artistic experimentation and quirk. “Kangaroo Court,” the track for their latest visuals is a great example of the way they balance intelligence and silliness. “A huge part of our theme is to show the dark and the bright side of life…in “Kangaroo Court” the lyrics discuss these dire situations and yet there’s this sense of optimism and desire to dance your way out of it,” explains Simonian. Although, “Kangaroo Court” might seem like a bunch of weirdos dressed like animals at first glance, you can also look at it as a piece of social commentary. Check out the video and let us know what you think Capital Cities is trying to say in their funky video for “Kangaroo Court” (Tip: Look up the meaning of kangaroo court in the dictionary).