“There are moments in the set that are really chaotic and noisy and then there are moments that are dead quiet. In a big venue, that’s really cool,” ventures Citizen’s Nick Hamm. “I think that’s what is special about Citizen.” The band have just spent the day at Maida Vale Studios recording a session for Radio One ahead of their first tour in mainland European tour. They’ll be back in seven days for a trio of UK shows ahead of a six-week run around the US alongside Turnover, Milk Teeth and Sorority Noise. Since the release of ‘Everybody Is Going To Heaven’ last year, Citizen have had more space to play in.
“When I go see a band I don’t really like it if they only play bangers or they only play chill songs,” he continues. “We place a lot of importance on being as dynamic as possible.” Their live attitude is reflected on tape.
“The perception of Citizen has changed more than anything since we put out ‘Everybody Is Going To Heaven’. It was us trying to do something nobody else was doing and taking a risk in a scene that risks aren’t really taken. It was a necessary record for us to make.”
“We’ve knocked down a lot of doors,” Nick ventures. “The record led us to a tour with Circa Survive which is a cool step compared to the tours that we were doing on (debut album) ‘Youth’. We were stuck in a box so being able to do a tour like that and have so many new people watch us was really cool.” There is still room for Citizen to grow though and they’re more than happy to ride the wild haze.
“It’s a really different reception because not a lot of bands in our scene make such a drastic change.” Instead of the widespread understanding of ‘Youth’, ‘Everybody Is Going To Heaven’ is a record that forces an opinion. “This is a record we hoped people would either love or hate.” The band know it might take a while for people to see past the transition jump and into sprawling pastures new but everyday, they’re seeing more and more people catch up.
“There’s also been a lot of bands who I would say did not think much of us before, who have come around and shown respect about us taking a risk and doing what we want to do rather than concern ourselves with what would be an easier ticket to popularity. It’s been really cool. A lot of people have reached out that we didn’t think would. It’s been an exciting year.”
Despite the leap between their albums, Citizen bring everything together live. For a band intent on moving forward, it’s important for them to display the snapshots of old “A lot of bands will write a new record and totally dismiss their previous material. We want people to appreciate the entire catalogue so we’re not quite in the place where we’re dismissing ‘Youth’ just yet.” There’s a confidence that comes with cutting the old with the new but as Citizen grow, so does their assurance.
“We’re not done yet,” promises Nick. “I never want to be too content with where we’re at. I want to stay hungry but so far into this record cycle, everything has worked out really well.” The band are in “a constant dialogue” about what direction comes next but for now, there are shows to play. 2016 will see ‘Everbody Is Going To Heaven’ wind down as the band promise they won’t be taking a super long time to tour, “We’ll be in and out.” This special run of UK shows might not be our only visit though.
“I would say for people to look out for us hopefully coming back at some point this year which is a bit different for us. We neglect a lot of places that aren’t the US but we’re going to try and be better about it.”
Citizen are touring the UK with Turnover before they head off to the US with Sorority Noise and Milk Teeth. Dates as follows.
28 Leeds Brudenell Social Club
29 Glasgow Classic Grand
30 London Tufnell Park Dome
09 Pittsburgh, PA @ Altar Bar
10 Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Ballroom
11 Pontiac, MI @ The Crofoot
12 Chicago, IL @ Double Door
13 St. Louis, MO @ Fubar
15 Oklahoma City, OK @ 89th St Collective
19 Grand Prairie, TX @ So What? Music Fest
20 El Paso, TX @ Mesa Music Hall
22 Mesa, AZ @ Nile
23 Pomona, CA @ The Glass House
24 San Diego, CA @ Lamppost Warehouse
25 Los Angeles, CA @ Teragram Ballroom
26 San Francisco, CA @ Slim’s
29 Portland, OR @ Analog Theater
30 Seattle, WA @ El Corazon
01 Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court
02 Denver, CO @ Marquis Theater
04 Springfield, MO @ Outland Ballroom
05 Nashville, TN @ Exit/In
06 Atlanta, GA @ Masquerade
07 Tampa, FL @ The Orpheum
08 Margate, FL @ O’Malley’s
09 Orlando, FL @ Backbooth
10 Jacksonville, FL @ 1904
12 Greensboro, NC @ Greene Street
13 Virginia Beach, VA @ Shakas Live
14 Baltimore, MD @ Ottobar
15 Philadelphia, PA @ TLA
16 New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom
17 Boston, MA @ Paradise Rock Club
18 Brooklyn, NY @ Shea Stadium
19 Syracuse, NY @ Lost Horizon
20 Ottawa, ON @ Ritual
21 Toronto, ON @ Virgin Mobile Mod Club
22 Buffalo, NY @ The Waiting Room
23 Columbus, OH @ Skully’s