STORY BY MICHAEL CHRISTOPHER /For 21st Century Media
After spending the summer supporting Katy Perry on the first leg of her Prismatic World Tour, Capital Cities are embarking on a fall headline run which comes to Underground Arts this Sunday, Oct. 26. Best known for the bouncy, trumpet led hit “Safe and Sound,” the Los Angeles based duo of Sebu Simonian and Ryan Merchant famously got their start writing ad jingles for the likes of Home Depot and Nike.
“Writing music for commercials is great practice,” Simonian said via phone just before opening the tour this week in Miami. “It also allowed us to create a very large repertoire of material; lyrical ideas, melodic ideas. That gave us the material for more music that we could flesh out and create whole songs that would work well with the album we finally ended up releasing after we compiled all of our songs over the course of two to three years.”
Despite having all that practice, “Safe and Sound” didn’t come together as easily or breezily as the song’s tempo would lead one to believe.
“It took a while for us to write that song,” said Simonian. “When we first wrote it, it was just kind of an idea, a demo. We had one verse written and it was a slower but more electronic vibe in that the trumpet line you hear today was originally a synth. We kept going back to it as it sat on the shelf for months at a time. Finally we just wrapped it up, added trumpet to it and released it ourselves in 2011.”
The song then appeared on the Capital Cities major label debut, last year’s In a Tidal Wave of Mystery, which received the deluxe edition treatment this March which featured the recent hit “One Minute More.” The band has already performed the track on Good Morning America and The Late Show with David Letterman.
Having road tested the album’s hits in front of Perry’s audience, Simonian, for one, is happy to be headlining shows for a crowd there primarily for Capital Cities.
“Generally our demographic is pretty wide; we have seven year old fans and 77 year old fans who reach out and connect with us all the time,” he said. “It’s really a good feeling to know that we can reach out to such a wide demographic. At our concerts, on our own headlining tours, it seems to me that they all share one thing, that desire to smile and sing along and let go for about an hour or an hour and a half. We really do feed off of that energy and enjoy the shows that much more.”
IF YOU GO
Capital Cities perform at 7 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 26 at Underground Arts, 1200 Callowhill Street between 12th and 13th in Philadelphia. General admission is $29.50. For tickets check undergroundarts.org