Capital Cities Almost Signed a Deal With Rick Ross, Worked With Andre 3000
In our print feature this week, we caught up with Los Angeles' Capital Cities who have been flying up the pop charts on the strength of their hit single "Safe and Sound." Ahead of tonight's sold out show at the House of Blues in Anaheim, we decided to share a few interesting tidbits that didn't make the cut for the piece and you can read those below.
On things coming together:
Sebu Simonian: The momentum was always on an incline. Even from the first blog that wrote about us that was enough encouragement for us to keep at it. I think the first part of our experience was very DIY. We got on the radio independently and then Capitol Records came in and took over, and it's been a huge jump towards global visibility.
Ryan Merchant: SiriusXM was a big thing after we funded this radio campaign. Alt Nation started playing "Safe and Sound" a lot. When I'm at shows and I ask people how did they first hear Capital Cities and they say SiriusXM. That was definitely a very powerful catalyst for the labels that have been interested in us. It helped tipped the dominos or whatever.
On how much material they have saved up:
Simonian: Completed songs? Not much. We have a lot of ideas and bits and pieces of music. Hundreds probably since we have a library of commercial music that hasn't been used. In terms of complete songs, these are it.
On their trademark oversized sunglasses:
Simonian: It's a fun aesthetic aspect of the band. When we see fans donning them, it's an added visual bit of encouragement.
On signing with Capitol Records: Merchant: We were talking with them for a while, since the beginning almost. I think we weren't ready to be signed and had a lot of developmental stuff that we needed to do ourselves. Everything came together after we invested in that radio campaign and things started to take off. At the time we signed with them, there were other labels interested in us, but [Capitol] wanted to partner with us and it was the perfect match.
On being courted by Rick Ross and Maybach Music Group: Merchant: It was bizarre and random. He had heard our music and had this random meeting with us.
Simonian: He invited us to a recording studio in Burbank when he was in town and he was going to drop a verse on this one track. He asked us to come over and hang out. He's such a nice guy and was encouraging with our music. He blasted it on those speakers louder than we ever heard any song. I was a little worried about my hearing. Merchant: Swizz Beatz was there and DJ Khaled. We were switching tracks with Swizz and we would play Capital Cities songs and then he put on one of his productions. Simonian: It was a chill moment getting to know each other.
On collaborating with Andre 3000:
Simonian: It was this wish that came true. We have a song called "Farrah Fawcett Hair" that is probably the most experimental track on the album. The idea of the song lists all these undeniably good things in life. We thought we'd collaborate with interesting people, the first being Frank Tavares who lists the NPR funding credits. After a few other things, we also thought what else is undeniably good? A rap verse from one of our favorite rappers and we came up with Andre 3000. Luckily our manager had a contact and reached out to him and he agreed to do a verse. We talked with him over the phone and had some back and forth. He's a really nice guy. Merchant: He totally got the meaning of the song. His verse was lyrically perfect. He referenced American Apparel ad girls. I'm like that's perfect, everyone loves those girls! And he worked with us to make sure that everything was right, which was really cool.
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