Michigan Indie/Rock band Citizen have become one of the most well known bands in the alternative music scene, following the launch of their latest album, Youth (2013).
Citizen, who play a blend of emo, melodic hardcore and grunge, signed to Run For Cover Records in 2012 – a move that led to the release of their EP Young States and to them jumping on tour with key bands such as Circa Survive, Title Fight and Daylight.
After speaking with Nick Hamm (guitarist) from Citizen, it’s clear that the guys have all the high hopes and excitement of a band grasping their bright future in the palms of their hands, as they prepare for their first headline tour this autumn.
You’re one of the most well known bands in the alternative music scene. To whom or to what do you owe your success?
Honestly, I don’t know how much I’m able to recognize or even gauge where we are as a band. I just really don’t know. I see a lot of bands selling out shows quicker and playing to more people, but I do know that the past year has been really cool. I don’t really know what we owe it to. I think we were 18 year olds writing songs that we liked and other people ended up liking them too. I know that’s not the most introspective answer but we just kind of wrote what we wanted to write, and it ended up being a fun year.
How does it feel to play to huge audiences such as at the Vans Warped Tour, Riot Fest and Fashion Meets Music Festival?
I generally view most shows in the same manner. Once you’re up there, it’s business as usual and it more so feels like the 5 of us are in a room together. I really like playing small intimate rooms with no barrier but playing big shows and fests allow me to appreciate the smaller ones so much more.
What’s the greatest thing about playing at a festival?
Seeing bands you don’t usually get to play with. That’s by far the best part.
What’s the craziest thing that’s happened on tour?
We’re pretty tame but one time, our booking agent, Peanut, fell down an entire flight of spiral stairs. I was the only one who asked him if he was okay but he thought I was making fun of him and flipped out on me. That’s a memory we always bring up.
Stagediving – a) How awesome is it? b) How dangerous is it?
I love it but obviously sometimes people just shouldn’t do it. I see a lot of people run to the edge of the stage, stop, and then try to jump with no momentum. That’s not a good idea.
What was it like to produce your latest album, Youth, at Studio 4 with Will Yip?
3 weeks of recording and writing with your best friends (Will Yip included). It was one of the best times of my life.
Which is your favourite song on the album and why?
“The Summer” is the song that we collaborated the most on. I think it’s the most definitive Citizen song because it sounds straight up like Mat’s writing style meeting my writing style. I’m not really sick of that song yet. I haven’t listened to the record in a really long time so it’s hard for me to say. My other fav is “Figure You Out”.
How do you divide the song-writing tasks between the band members?
On Youth, it was mostly either me writing a song and letting Mat screw with it a little bit, or Mat writing a song and then letting me screwing with that. I really like the way we do that. I think the new one will probably have more direction from everyone though.
What do you enjoy the most about being in a band?
Traveling and not having to work!
You just finished touring the UK. How does the response in Europe differ to in the US?
It was honestly pretty similar. I think the people coming to the shows might be a little more excited to see us since they haven’t before but besides that, pretty similar to the US.
Do you have a favourite city or crowd to play to?
I love Philadelphia and Chicago. Those are my top two. London was also incredible.
Your latest album, Youth, got leaked. How do you feel about the Internet age, illegal downloads, streaming and the general loss of control over the diffusion of your music?
At the time Youth leaked, I was glad it leaked because I just wanted people to hear it. However, we didn’t have some crazy airtight roll out plan that was sacrificed or anything. As far as the Internet age, it sort of sucks because I love physical packaging and record covers and all of that. I think packaging is really important.
You begin your very first US headline tour this fall. How psyched are you and what are you looking forward to the most?
Oh I can’t wait. This is Citizen’s first opportunity (tour-wise) to offer something that we’ve kind of built ourselves. We got to pick all of the bands and it was really exciting putting it together. I think it’s going to be a blast.
From the 7″/Digital “Silo,” available only on the band’s Fall 2014 tour with You Blew It!, Hostage Calm, True Love and Praise. Tickets available at www.citizentheband.net
1. Roam The Room
2. Figure You Out
3. The Summer
5. How Does It Feel?
6. The Night I Drove Alone
7. Speaking With A Ghost
8. Your Head Got Misplaced
9. Sick And Impatient
10. Drawn Out
Buy Youth at the Run For Cover store!
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