London based indie rock quartet Citizens! have been on the rise since the release of their debut LP Here We Are on hip French label Kitsune back in 2012. We were fortunate to be able to catch up with them immediately before the release of their follow-up album European Soul and from what we heard is a completely different sound for the group. Listen for yourself and pre-order it here.
EM: What are your hopes for the release of your LP European Soul?
LD: Immediate term, get people dancing, making out and singing along at shows. Medium term buy Lincoln Continental, paint it in the colors of the Album artwork and drive it coast to coast while listening to the entire back catalogue of Stax on specially installed portable vinyl player. Long Term take one step closer to headlining the Super Bowl Half Time Show-try and be as good as Bruno Mars was.
EM: How has being signed to Kitsune helped your development as a group thus far?
LD: Kitsune has been like the cool big brother I never had. They advise me on clothes, who to hang out with, where, and what to do once I get there. But it’s not all cool hang outs. They help me when I’m down and sad, and occasionally they let me visit them in Paris and take me smoking on the top of Belle Ville.
EM: So I saw that you’ve been the face of Yves St. Laurent, how do you think fashion has influenced your career in the music industry?
LD: I know that from the moment we started the band we wanted to let our style speak through what we were doing. We all met when we had a big argument at a house party and there were probably a few ripped sleeves in the morning. So clothes have been there right from the beginning, so just letting that come out in the music and be another part of who we are has always been part of what we wanted to do. That people like Yves St. Laurent and Yohji Yamamoto have gotten in to what we are doing is just a bonus, a very lovely bonus.
EM: How do you see the progression of yourselves as artists from the beginning of your time together as a group until now?
LD: Musically we always wanted to take the things we loved and try and do something new and fresh with them. Like Rob Brydon said, "Everything has been done before, now you have do it differently, or better." We try and do both. On the first album we rebelled against bad pop and this sense of revivalism in guitar bands, where you just stole a sound form another era and ran with it. Now we want to take soul music, take on it’s defiance and sense of longing and add that to our European metronomic roots. That’s European Soul. I guess you could also characterize it as 4 guys start a band, have friends and girlfriends and lives, couple of years later, have none of these things. Write album to reflect the heartbreak, want it to be uplifting not depressing, tour forever.
EM: Major musical influences for the album that you’d like to talk about?
LD: There have been some big things running through everything we do since day one. Bowie, Kraftwerk, Talking Heads, Kanye West. But on this album we really got into some of the classic 60's soul. Percy Sledge, Otis, Irma Thomas, Richie Havens. And also the stuff later on when Disco has had an influence and machines are coming along. Womack and Womacks “Teardrops”, Luther Vandross, "Off The Wall" era MJ (All MJ). Right through Charles and Eddie’s "Would I Lie To You," to Frank Ocean.