Based in Southern Michigan/Northwest Ohio, Citizen are one of the best new bands in pop punk that I have heard recently. The band’s new split EP with The Fragile Season is available to pre-order now from Either/Or Records, but before the split is released we caught up with the band’s guitarist Nick to discuss the band.
Start off by stating your name, your role in Citizen and your favourite band of all time?
I’m Nick Hamm. I play guitar and chip in on vocals as well. My favorite band of all time would have to be Green Day. I grew up on it and it really integrated me into a lot of good stuff.
Citizen are still relatively unknown in Australia at the moment, can you give us a quick rundown of the history of the band?
Mat, our vocalist, started the band as a side project while we were all in this other band. He quit the band and wanted to do Citizen as a primary band. We got on board with this, had a few member changes, and here we are.
Who are your major influences when writing material for the band?
We try to avoid any ‘too close for comfort’ ordeals when it comes to writing. I personally try to write in a very natural manner. My writing in general sort of influences from early Fall Out Boy, Hot Water Music, and stuff like that.
The band’s split EP with The Fragile Season is available to pre-order now through Either/Or Records, what was the writing process like for these songs?
It was a pretty long process. I sat down with Mat to demo out Fremont and I just really had a good idea of what I wanted to accomplish. The other two tracks felt natural and we finished the writing process a couple weeks before we headed to the studio.
You recorded the tracks for the split with Vince Ratti (Balance And Composure, Tigers Jaw, The Wonder Years) at The Skylight Studio in Pennsylvania. What was it like recording with Vince?
Recording with Vince was amazing. We got to hang with some really awesome people while we were there. The songs came out very well and I highly suggest him to any bands that need recording work done. He also bought us pizza and took us to the mall.
How would you compare the tracks on the EP to the band’s older material?
I hate to even talk about the old stuff. I’ll just put it this way: We have no interest in revisiting any of the old material.
How did the partnership with Either/Or Records fall into place?
Vince exposed us to a couple labels and we got an email from Either/Or about teaming up. After talking with a few other labels, we decided that Either/Or was a really good home for us. Rob is awesome and we really feel welcomed on the roster.
Is the band planning on doing some solid touring once the split has been released?
We are in the works of some dates in March. Touring will be prominent for us in the summer if all goes well.
What is the band planning on releasing next? Do you have many songs written for it so far?
We are planning on releasing a split tape. That’ll be announced shortly. We currently have one and a half songs written for it. We are going to take time to perfect it, however.
When do you think we can expect to see something new being released?
Hopefully that split tape will be released in early 2011.
What has been your favourite show that you have played, and favourite show that you have attended this year?
My favorite show that we’ve played is a recent show in Kent, OH with Tigers Jaw, Hostage Calm, Transit, The Sidekicks, Aficionado, Louder Than Bombs, Light Years, and Plum Paws. That may have been one of my favorites to attend as well.
Do you have any goals that you would like to achieve with this band?
I really want to expose the music to as many people as possible. I don’t really have a pre-notion of what I want the band to be. I just hope that what happens turns out for the best.
Who are some bands that have impressed you lately that we should be checking out?
Louder Than Bombs, great melodic hardcore from Michigan. The Fragile Season, amazing band. SHARKS from the UK. Hostage Calm. Smear Campaign.
What are your favourite records that have been released in 2010?
Hostage Calm’s self titled album is without a doubt my favorite of the year. I also love SHARKS’ Show of Hands EP. Makeout Party’s First Annual EP is amazing as well.
What are you hoping to receive for Christmas this year?
Hopefully I recieve money so I can blow it on teenage non-necessities.
What are the band’s plans for the rest of the year and into 2011?
Play as many shows as possible, release a couple splits/EPs, expose Either/Or Records to a wide range of people.
Thanks for doing the interview, any last words or shout outs?
No problem! Check out Either/Or Records. The label is about to be on fire in 2011. Listen to our friends in Louder Than Bombs, The Fragile Season, Transit, Fisherking, and Homelife. Buy records. Eat children.