“I always want people to ask me how I like my eggs,” Alex Luciano teases and, unable to resist, we ask. “Over Easy, duh!” she chimes before adding “and scrambled, sometimes, if I want something different.”
Diet Cig, AKA drummer Noah Bowman and vocalist Alex, met at a house party towards the end of 2014. Noah was playing with his band Earl Boykins and Alex asked if he had a lighter, mid-set. He didn’t but he did hand her a bottle of wine instead. From then on, it just clicked and the pair released their debut EP ‘Over Easy’ (geddit now?) a few months later. The record, a scrawny yet relentless five-track burst of infectious charm and lip-curling honesty, was one of The Best EPs of 2015 while the follow up shotgun of ‘Sleep Talk/Dinner Date’ was just as rampant and wonderful.
The band spent a majority of last year touring the US and they’re kicking off a very exciting 2016 with a seven date UK tour.
“We’re so excited,” exclaims Alex. “I’ve never been overseas, Noah has once, but we’ve never been to the UK and we’re super stoked to drink some tea and maybe meet the Queen. We’re actually flying out on Noah’s birthday, 7th January, so we’re going to drink little tiny bottles of champagne on the flight. Well, maybe one.” Despite this being the first time the band has played outside of the US, there are no nerves. “We’re just super psyched to go over there. I’m just stoked. I’m ready. We went across the US this summer so we feel like we’ve seen a lot of that. Now it’s time to see something new.”
Diet Cig’s hectic summer schedule has knocked the band into shape. The shows have “got more energy, for sure. When we first started playing together, I was terrified. I’ve never played in a band before this. I was so scared, I didn’t move at all. We were probably really, really sloppy,” Alex admits before pausing. “No we definitely were. Now, we’ve both found our groove and really learnt how to play with each other. It’s one massive dance party. I have conquered my fear of playing live and totally turned it on its end. I dance around like crazy and jump on stuff and totally just shred. The live show’s changed a lot over the past year. The touring forces you to play every day and perfect your craft.”
That idea of starting from imperfection is echoed in the bands music. “I want people to take away the idea that even if you can’t necessarily play instruments very well or have crazy things happening to you, you can still write meaningful songs,” declares Alex. “I learnt that last year. I am not a very proficient guitar player or lyricist but Noah made me believe that I could do it anyway.” The pair want to pass that self-belief on. “You don’t have to be a professional to just do it. Anyone can write songs about their feelings.”
Their songs of struggle and everyday discovery have been embraced from the off. They’ve connected with fans across the country in a very real way. “We have this established relationship with this nine year old girl,” starts Alex. She doesn’t miss a beat before correcting herself, “actually she just turned ten yesterday, and we’ve been emailing and she got to come to some of our shows. It’s really inspiring because she’s so young but so in touch with music.”
Despite the tangible connection, the band don’t really know why people have got on board with their music but they’re not wasting any time dissecting it. “I think ‘Over Easy’ just came out at the right time and hit people in the right way. It hit them in a way that I still don’t understand. Somehow the universe just aligned and people were really into it. I think they really liked the honesty and the simplicity of it. I don’t really know but I’m going to go with that.”
“Every day we’re like ‘What the fuck’,” continues Alex, with a laugh. “We feel like we’re part of an elaborate prank on people. It’s like, how the heck are we doing this? When I told my family we were going to the UK they said, ‘That’s awesome but you only have seven songs.’ It’s really unbelievable and we are totally just rolling with it but at the same time every day we look at each other and realise, ‘oh right. This is real. This is a real thing.’”
And it looks like the real thing is only getting more real. Diet Cig have “a lot of tours in the works,” and will be “hopefully putting out a full-length record” later this year. The pair are currently in the midst of writing it and a couple of new songs will be aired during their upcoming UK tour. “We just want to get out and play everywhere, so it’s exciting that the UK is the kick off to our 2016 because there’s a lot of exciting stuff happening.”
Tea, Gordan Ramsey, the Queen and touring with Bruising – “We love their music and we’re so excited to play with them. They’re one of our favourite bands coming up in the UK right now. We’re actually sharing a van with them so I’m going to bring my Travel Scrabble. We’ll see who are the real proficient spellers.” – there are a lot of reasons the band are stoked about their UK tour, but the list doesn’t end here.
“I think we’re excited to see all those English dance moves, for sure,” ventures Alex. “I want to see the classic moves. I want it to be like a dance lesson over there so I can bring back some moves. I dance a lot. Like, a lot a lot on stage and I come off stage and make everyone dance with me. The dancing is so important. All the shows are going to be one big dance party.”
At a Diet Cig show the band want to, “make people feel blissful for half an hour. Even if they have crazy shit going on at home or y’know, they’re really busy and stressed out. I hope that they can, for half an hour, have a lot of fun and forget about all the bullshit that’s going on in life and just dance it out. I just want to give them a little moment of bliss amidst all the crazy.”
Sounds eggscellent to us (sorry – Ed). Diet Cig’s UK tour kicks off on 9th January in Sheffield with Bruising*. The full run of dates is as follows.
09 Bungalow Bears, Sheffield*
10 Broadcast, Glasgow*
11 The Louisiana, Bristol*
12 The Old Blue Last, London*
13 Servant Jazz Quarters, London
14 The Lexington, London
15 Headrow House, Leeds*