Los-Angeles-based duo Capital Cities will release their breakout single, 'Safe and Sound', on August 18. Signed to Capitol Records in the US and UK, the band's euphoric sound is already creating waves internationally, where 'Safe and Sound' has gone Top 10 in the Billboard charts, reached #1 in Germany, and spewed several #1s on Hype Machine. It is taken from their forthcoming debut album, 'In A Tidal Wave Of Mystery', which features a guest turn from Andre 3000.
Capital Cities are Ryan Merchant and Sebu Simonian, two DIY singers, songwriters, and multi-instrumentalists who met in the most unlikely of circumstances. Simonian was born in Syria to Armenian parents but raised in Lebanon until the age of six, when his family moved to California to escape civil war. Merchant, meanwhile, was born and raised in San Francisco, before moving to L.A to take classes in English Literature and Jazz piano. The two of them met on Craigslist, after Sebu placed an ad offering to produce music for new bands, which Ryan - struggling with solo material - duly answered.
Having formed a close friendship, the pair began to make ends meet via Merchant's then-job as a jingle writer. Working as a team, they spent couple of years composing music for adverts, including one that required a cover of David Bowie's 'Space Oddity' (approved by Bowie himself). "When you write for TV," Sebu explains, "you're being asked to write in a multiple of styles and the turnaround is really fast. We were simply tasked with writing catchy songs." This proved transferrable into creating the Capital Cities sound: all carefully crafted melodies, instantly-infectious songwriting, and lead vocals sung in unison, befitting a true partnership.
Debut single 'Safe and Sound' is a testament to Capital Cities' immediate sound, but also the sentiment of optimism and hope that runs through all their material ("you could be my luck / even if the sky is falling down, I know that we'll be safe and sound"). "It seems like every generation feels like it's living in the worst of times," says Merchant. "In some ways 'Safe and Sound' is an antidote to the human tendency to think in apocalyptic terms, and not really look at the logic of the world around us."
Conceived with this positive outlook, 'Safe and Sound' has since become a self-raising success story for Capital Cities. The band released the track independently as part of their debut EP, topping Hype Machine and picking up praise from the likes of Neon Gold and Rolling Stone. Their covers of 'Nothing Compares 2 U' and Pink Floyd's "Breathe," which includes an uncannily fitting Tupac Shakur sample, also took blogs by storm. Encouraged, Simonian and Merchant self-financed a successful radio campaign and planned their own tours. Their ability to build a subsequently massive grassroots following led to the duo penning a deal with Capitol Records in December 2012, though they continue to grow via word-of-mouth: hip-hop legend Rick Ross recently invited them to his studio, simply to listen to their own songs, and Andre 3000 agreed to a rare guest spot on 'Farrah Fawcett Hair' (a track from their forthcoming album, 'In A Tidal Wave of Mystery').
From Syria to L.A and - via Craiglist - now being heard across capital cities worldwide, 'Safe and Sound' is set to soundtrack the summer of 2013.
September 19 - XOYO, London