10 Questions with ... Sebu Simonian
July 28, 2014
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Los Angeles duo of composers Ryan Merchant and Sebu Simonian formed the indie electro band Capital Cities in 2010. Merchant and Simonian are joined by bassist Manny Quintero, trumpeter Spencer Ludwig, guitarist Nick Merwin, and drummer Channing Holmes. They released an EP independently in 2011 that included the song "Safe and Sound." Through social media, they discovered that an Alternative radio station in Peru began to play the song, so they connected with fans from Lima and organized tours in South America.
Encouraged by the experience, the band self-funded a promotional campaign and got on the radio in the states. Soon after, the music industry and the rest of the world took notice. Capitol Records signed the band's indie label Lazy Hooks and released Capital Cities' debut album "In A Tidal Wave of Mystery" in June, 2013.
"Safe and Sound" went multi-Platinum in the U.S., Canada, Germany, Mexico, and others, and shot to the top of numerous international charts, was #1 at Alternative radio in the U.S., and #8 on the Billboard Hot 100. The band also received a VMA and a Grammy nomination for "Best Music Video."
Capital Cities recently played Coachella, Bonnaroo, and they will be playing at Outside Lands, Hangout Fest and all three South American Lollapalooza dates and are featured on the first leg of Katy Perry's summer tour. They recently released the new single "One Minute More" from the deluxe edition of their album. The song has been well received at both Hot AC and Alternative radio.
1) Where did you all grow up? How did your location influence your style?
My family moved to Los Angeles in 1985 when I was 6 years old. Southern California has been home ever since. I love its diversity of cultures and natural landscapes.
2) Why did you want to get into music? Who are your influences and why?
Making music makes me feel good. Bands like Pink Floyd, Depeche Mode, Radiohead, Royksopp, and AIR are influences because I enjoy psychedelic pop.
3) What's your favorite song that you have written and what was the influence?
The answer to this questions changes quite frequently. Lately, I've been enjoying listening to "Tell Me How to Live" off our debut album "In a Tidal Wave of Mystery." It's a strange mix of Hip-Hop, Electronica with a touch of Armenian folk music as it uses an old guitar-like instrument called the oud.
4) What was the first piece of music that you fell in love with growing up?
Stevie Wonder's "I Just Called to Say I Love You"
5) If you could meet any musician that isn't alive anymore, who would it be? Why? Where would you go? What would you do? What would you ask him or her?
Easy. John Lennon. Best songwriter of all time. He was a deep thinker but he also had a great sense of humor. I'd have him give me a tour of India and do some meditation, although I'm afraid he would confess that meditation is a waste of time.
6) How has the tour been so far? How has life on the road been treating you all? Can you share with us any memorable stories from the road so far?
Touring is wonderful. Life on the road is tiring, but worthwhile. The opportunity to experience a wide variety of cultures, sights, sounds and tastes is a true blessing.
7) If you were on an island and could only bring three things, what would you bring?
Solar power, gardening tools, my family.
8) What is in your current music playlist? Any guilty pleasure songs?
- Bob Marley - "Is This Love?" (Montmartre Remix)
- Cherub - "Doses and Mimosas"
- Gnarls Barkley - "Crazy" (TEEMID & Joie Tan Cover)
- GUILTY PLEASURE: Capital Cities - "One Minute More" (Dustin Que & Mr. Best Remix)
9) Do you have any hidden talents we don't know about that you would like to share with our readers?
I'm ok at basketball.
10) What's on tap next for you this year?
A collaboration with Brian Wilson.
Thank you to Nicole DeRosa who contributed To This Article