Artist Watch x Stereo Citizen
If there's one commonality that brings us together as a human race, it is music. It is also one of the top things that we are emotional about. Have you ever relayed your favorite current song to a friend, and their response is "Ew. That song is so annoying". Then you two proceed to argue back and forth on its credibility and value to society. Yup; we all have. Whether it's country, rap, rock, hip hop, or edm, we take something away from it so intense that it drives us to share it on our Facebook, create an entire playlist around it, replay it over and over until we HATE it, or for Stereo Citizen...make a song inspired by it.
Copyright: Steve Simpson Photography
Stereo Citizen is a 5-man band (Christopher Puckett, Spencer Vaughn Kelly, Josiah Frazier, Matthew Prewitt, and Austin Buck) that have made their mark in their hometown of Bakersfield, CA. With their Pop-Rock-Funk sound and catchy lyrics, it was bound for them to catch the eye (or ear) of TLA. We were fortunate to get an email interview in with the guys to talk about their latest single, how music relates to them, and some of their craziest show stories!
TLA -What is your latest song, "Can't Help Myself" about?
SC -Our newest single “Can’t Help Myself” is kind of a double entendre, so really we leave it up to the listener to really translate it; it’s really a matter of perspective. Really, it’s about something (or someone) that you find yourself indulging in too much, when you know deep down that it (or they) are really a weakness or a soft spot that you know is holding all the cards.
TLA -Is there a personal story invloved?
Christopher Puckett -The lyrics I write are always personal. There hasn’t ever been one song I’ve ever written where the lyrics didn’t come from true experiences. This song is no different. I’ve personally struggled quite a bit with over-indulg[ing] in a few areas of my life, and battling with that is a pretty common theme in a lot of the songs I write.
TLA- As far as the writing process goes, who's usually involved?
Christopher Puckett - [I]t sort of varies in regards to the instrumentals. Sometimes we will write as a band with all five members in the same room, and then I sort of freestyle a melody with [g]ibberish over it and I record it and try to find sounds that almost make out a word that can be easily sung with whatever melody comes to mind. Then I take that home and finish the melody and lyrics. Other times, I’ll come with a demo of a bare bones instrumental with a bass line and a chord progression and sing them my vocals. [T]hen in practice or in the studio, they all add their own personal flavor to it, so it changes up quite a bit.
TLA - Are there some quirky methods/rituals used to create a beat or a line for your songs?
Christopher Puckett - As far as quirky things go, I think that we draw inspiration from music we admire mostly. One thing I do with lyrics is I’ll be in the middle of a conversation, and sometimes someone wi[ll] say a phrase out loud that I will be struck by; I think it would make a great line in a song. Or I will hear a song on the radio, and have an idea to either make a rebuttal to a certain song, or sometimes I’ll even merge the premise of two songs together. Our single "Hold Your Breath" was actually spawned from a combination of a Keith Urban song and a Falling in Reverse songs.
TLA - How is it to work alongside other artists and bands like Red Jumpsuit Apparatus?
SC - Getting to hang with and share the stage with bands that we looked up to when we were young is surreal. It makes us appreciate their hard work ethic even more, and lets us pick up some pointers about gear, stage setup, and performance.
TLA - Who's most likely to pump everyone up before a show?
SC - Dirty Ernie is definitely the most likely to pump everyone up before a show. He really might be the best hype man for a rap group that never was.... but he’s still young and if he decides to take the route, we’d be sad but supportive
TLA -What has been one of the craziest things to happen to you guys during a gig?
SC - The rain almost short-circuited all [of] our equipment during an outdoor show. We had to cover everything with plastic, and our stage monitors started gurgling from all the water.
TLA - You've promoted Bakersfield in your work, such as for your music video for "Til the Wheels Came Off"; how important is it to showcase the band's place of origin?
SC - We think it's a natural response for many bands to draw creative inspiration from their hometowns. We're no different, and we think it's an honest way of showing listeners who we are and more importantly HOW we became that.
TLA - What can we can expect from SC in 2020?
SC - In 2020 we plan to still try to release 10 songs this year. We are at 4 or 5 right now. COVID kind of hurt our plans a bit, but we were actually chosen to perform at the huge Launch Music Conference in Pennsylvania, so that’s huge. It might end up being virtual though, so we’ll see. We also entered a publishing deal of sorts with CHROMA Music, who [have] songs in most of the Oscar Nominated movies from the past few years. Hopefully...we can get some placements in some tv and film! Other than that, we really need to get better with our online presence and email list. We are on it with the creative side, but a good goal for the rest of this year would be to pick it up a bit with social media and all that jazz.