Surely you’ve heard Capital Cities’ smash hit ‘Safe and Sound’. The song, which hit #1 in the U.S. and Germany, made its way into countless DJ sets, and was also featured in TV commercials in North America and Europe. That last point is fitting because the duo of Sebu Simonian and Ryan Merchant got their start writing advertising jingles together after the duo connected through a Craigslist ad placed by Simonian.
Capital Cities latest release, the poppy, uplifting track “One Minute More” is a perfect tune to help start your day with a little added motivation (or at least dancing around in your underwear). the gents are currently out on the road serving as support for Katy Perry on her ‘Prismatic’ World tour which rolls into Philly for back-to-back shows at the Wells-Fargo Center on August 4th and 5th. We recently caught up with Sebu Simonian for a little chat.
Independent Philly: How’d you come up with the name Capital Cities?
Sebu Simonian: A random brainstorming session over the internet with myself and my band mate, Ryan. We were just thinking up names for the band and I think we were throwing out suggestions and Ryan came up with ‘Capital of Maine’, and I said, “That’s silly, how about just ‘Capital Cities'”, and it stuck.
IP: What do you think you’d be doing with yourself right now if Ryan had never answered your Craigslist ad?
SS: Maybe some gardening, maybe shooting some hoops.
IP: How did the transition go from writing jingles to creating music for Capital Cities?
SS: I don’t think it was a conscious decision. We’ve always made music (since we were teenagers). I’ve made music as my career since I was 18 years old. I’ve been in a bunch of bands and Capital Cities just happened to be latest and most successful of those.
IP: With your first single, ‘Safe and Sound’, being such a big international hit, do you feel pressure to live up to that with subsequent releases?
SS: Not really. It’d be nice to continue a trend of writing hit singles but having a hit single is obviously a very rare occurrence for anybody, so we’ve been blessed and lucky to have that. If it happens again, if it happens over and over again, it’ll be more blessings.
IP: It’s been more than a year since you released your album ‘A Title Wave of Mystery’, and you guys currently working on new music for a follow up?
SS: Always. We’re working on music for Capital Cities and outside of Capital Cities as well.
IP: You’re currently in the midst of a tour with Katy Perry. How is the tour going so far and what is Katy Perry like in person?
SS: The tour is going really well. We’re playing the first leg of her tour, which she’s divided up into three parts, so we’re the opening band for the first third of her North American tour. It’s great because we get to play arenas every other night in front of really excited music fans. Katy Perry, we’ve met just twice so far, and she’s super cool human being and very friendly. Her crew and the entire tour are hospitable and gracious and we’re having a great time.
IP: You’ll be in Philly on August 4th and 5th, what can fans expect from a live Capital Cities performance if they’ve never seen you in person before?
SS: They can expect a lot of fun, dancing, singing, tears of joy, audience interaction; we try to get the listeners to sing along and dance with us. It’s going to be a fun, musical experience.
IP: If you were to dive full-time back into jingle writing, what three products would you most like to write about?
SS: Solar energy, Nutella, and, I’m trying to think of a musical product here, maybe the resurgence of some old-school, analog musical equipment like the tape-player, the Walkman.
IP: We did hear that the Sony Walkman is making a comeback.
SS: That would be awesome. I’d write a jingle for free for that one.
IP: Well if the folks at Sony are reading this, it just might happen.
SS: That would be great.
IP: If you could go back in time 20 years and give yourself a piece of advice, what would it be?
SS: Follow your heart. Follow your gut. Which is what I believe I’ve done, so I guess ‘be true to yourself’.
IP: Finally, tell us something about yourself that would surprise or even shock our readers…
SS: Nothing shocking but I enjoy playing basketball. I’m kind of good at it, that might be a surprise to some people. (Laughs) I don’t know, I’m not that interesting beyond music.
IP: What’s the best part of your game?
SS: The twenty foot jumper.
IP: That’s a good tool to have in your arsenal.
SS: Thanks, looking forward to visiting Philly soon.
Sebu Simonian will be throwing down a DJ set on Bounce Boat in NYC this Friday (along with BRENMAR and Solidisco) and we want to give one of our readers the chance to check it out for free! We’re giving away a pair of tickets to one lucky winner and their guest. To enter, fill out the form below (must complete all fields). The winner will be notified via email on Friday morning at 9am. Winner and their guest must be 21+. Good luck! Full details for Bounce Boat can also be found below.
When: Friday, July 25th
Boarding: 7:00 PM
Departure: 9:00 PM
Return: 1:00 AM
Attire: Summer Chic