L.A. electro pop duo Capital Cities are spreading their music all around the world without the help of a either a big or small record company. Lots of music blogs started to talk about them when they first released their massive hit Safe & Sound. Ryan Merchant and Sebu Simonian released their debut EP last year, which did pretty well and let them played in Canada, US, South America and as soon as tomorrow also in Europe. They were also widely tipped by internet guru Perez-Hilton as “the best band in L.A.”.
ROCKAST reached Ryan Merchant and this is what he told us:

  1. You have just published one EP and seems like it’s working pretty good and has been spread by word of mouth. Has it been self-produced or is there any company backing the album?

Yes, we self produced and self released our EP and lucky for us the music has spread through word of mouth. This is the best way to build a fan base.

  1. Is it getting harder to get real support from record labels?

We don’t have a record label backing us so I would not know. We do everything ourselves with the help of our excellent manager and attorney. In this day and age you have to take control of your own destiny and create opportunity. You can’t count on so called “professionals” to make things happen.

  1. You two actually met via Craiglist (San Francisco’s equivalent to London’s Gumtree) also Manny, your bass player. How do you see the media nowadays and how has it helped you to bring your music around the world?

There are many forms of media and it is important to utilize all of them to build your fan base. Initially we got the attention of the blogs. This is how you start getting your name out there. Eventually you move to radio and the bigger magazines. At the same time we make connections with our fans through Facebook and Twitter. It’s an amazing time to be an independent musician. The labels still have a lot of power, but it is much more democratic now.

  1. Safe & Sound is as euphoric as it gets. Where does it come from? Saxophone is lately becoming very popular again in electronic music but that trumpet… What’s the story behind this song?

Safe and Sound took a long time to get to where it is now. We produced 10 versions before we were satisfied. Thematically, the song is about not worrying that the end of the World is coming. Every generation thinks we are headed for Armageddon, but it never comes. Humans have an amazing ability to adapt and solve problems. It’s a love song to the human race.

  1. You covered Pink Floyd’s Breathe pretty well with the Tupac sample and also Sinead O’Connor’s Nothing Compares To You or Madonna’s Holiday with such a great result. Do you have something on your mind for a next cover or mashup you’d like to do?

I’m not sure what we will cover next. It might be a Beatles song, but not one that you would expect from an electro/pop band.

  1. What artist or band do you see as a musical reference?

We have many musical influences, but one of the biggest is Michael Jackson. His songs were so funky and danceable, but also had amazing lyrics and melodies.

  1. What’s the most played song on your iPods /iPhones/Walkmans…?

I really like the band Beach House a lot. Every song on their albums is good so you can listen through and not get annoyed. Whitest Boy Alive is also pretty awesome.

  1. Let’s talk about your concerts. With all this never-ending recession we’re having in Spain, I reckon people in your concert will disconnect and will be with a really good disposition and ready to have a lot of fun. What can we expect from your gigs?

We like to entertain crowds when we perform. We don’t just sit there and act cool. We dance, interact and enjoy ourselves on stage. We also have a good mix of live musicians and electronica that makes people dance.

  1. Ever considered any extravagant idea for your gigs like for instance, the hamster ball from Flaming Lips or something like that?

I saw The Flaming Lips use that hamster ball and it annoyed me. I went to see them perform their amazing album “Yoshimi Battles The Robots” and they just did silly stage antics instead of play the songs. So I don’t think we would do anything that would take away from actually performing the songs. People want to hear the music.


Last week we got news about BattleBorn, de new album from The Killers out on September. Today we can hear the new song called Runaway, that was posted on Tumblr just minutes ago.Give it a try:


  Today we have an exclusive interview with one of the season’s sensations, Radical Dads. They hail from Gowanus in Brooklyn, and have influences from Sonic Youth, Pixies, Built to Spill or Dinosaur Jr. Offering a known formula but one which is no less effective. Unpretentious rock . Energy and rudimentary. Blending sounds with poisoned riffs and catchy melodies inflate the songs with every listen.

But despite having a common denominator, and sometimes being shoe-gazer friendly, each tune in Mega Rama has  its own way, that ends up completing an enjoyable album from beginning to end.

Radical Dads are formed by Lindsay Baker and Chris Diken on guitars, and Robbie Guertin on drums. Most of you will know Robbie as the keyboardist / guitarist from Clap Your Hands Say Yeah!, but in this case, he deals with the band’s rhythm section.

We had the opportunity to talk with them and this is what they told us:

I have to admit the very first thing that caught my attention was the name of the band. Where did you get the idea for Radical Dads?

I think we all secretly had the idea as soon as we were born and radically raised. But the term didn’t emerge in language until much later. We like it because it can be easily shortened into “Rad Dads” — which is perhaps a better band name — and because it enables use to create slang such as “Dadical” — something rad in a particularly dad-ish way.

Are you still based in Brooklyn aren’t you? How is a normal day in the skin of a Radical Dad? Are you focus on your music and concerts or do you still have “normal” jobs?

Yes, the Radical Dads headquarters is still in Brooklyn. We focus on music as much as we can outside of our other obligations, which unfortunately do include normal jobs. We wish we had some abnormal jobs, like trout juggler or bulldozer psychiatrist.

One lady and 2 guys, but who wear the trousers in the Radical Dads family?

 Lindsay wears the pleated slacks, while Robbie and I wear the cut-off shorts.

You’ve made one of the most exciting albums of this year so far.  Are you happy with the reaction of the people and the media? Is there something else you’d like to do to promote it? Any crazy idea admitted.

Thanks! Yes, we’re definitely super happy about the reaction so far. People we respect have said some really nice things about it, and that feels really good. If we could do anything to promote it, I think we’d want to have a big concert for all of the world’s dads. Moms can come too. They all deserve it! While we work on that plan, we’re going to take an intermediate step and release Mega Rama on vinyl later this year.

Who in music do you admire right now and why?

We admire Sat. Nite Duets because of their lyrics and pure contemporary dudeness. And Yuck because they really know how to use those guitars.

Seems like the music industry wants to be rejuvenated with lots of new bands, and each year new groups come and go, do you feel strong enough to reach the top? Are you here to stay?

Oh yes. We’re hell-bent on wrestling that #1 ranking away from the Rolling Stones. We’re here to stay as long as it’s fun and as long as there is energy to make electricity to power our amplifiers.

What can we expect from your gigs?

Broken spectacles, spontaneous combustion, constructive criticism, deep introspection, and a pretty big racket.   

Do you have any tour planned for autumn? Are you going to visit Europe/Spain sometime soon?

We’re doing a micro-tour of New York City in October — we’re aiming for 10 shows in the 10th month of the year. We hope to visit Europe and Spain soon — maybe in 2012 when they finally finish that bridge across the Atlantic.

As the site is in Spanish, we have to ask… do you like any Spanish musician? Band or solo artist?
How about a Spanish writer? Javier Marias is a badass.

Robbie seems pretty comfortable with this new “project.” Is it compatible with Clap Your Hands Say Yeah?

It’s compatible except when Clap Your Hands Say Yeah is on tour.

If you could choose a band or an artist to play live with, who would it be and why? Any song in particular?

We’d like to do “This Here Giraffe” onstage with the Flaming Lips and an actual giraffe. During the chorus, we’d point to the giraffe and the song would suddenly become incredibly literal. We hate metaphors.

Last question….  Are you happy?

Last answer: When we’re all playing together, yes, we are happy.

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