The sounds of a better time are steadily creeping from the wide hems of bell bottoms of the 1970s to the present. Rock outfits such as Graveyard, Horisont, and Blood Ceremony are bands that are on a steady rotation on my summer playlist, but I recently stumbled upon Electric Citizen. Track after track of their debut album, “Sateen”, kept me from pressing the button to skip to another song. After researching and finding out that my new favorite band was not only on RidingEasy Records with label mates Mondo Drag and Slow Season, I also found that like me, this band is also from Cincinnati. I had the absolute pleasure of speaking with the lead-crooner of Electric Citizen, Laura Dolan, who spoke of her origins in the queen city. “I grew up on the east side in kind of the Addams family house of Hyde Park. My dad actually ended moving to north side, so I ended up living between those two places growing up, and now I own a house in north side with Ross, the guitar player. We’re super proud of our hometown, we think it’s a pretty cool place.”
Growing in popularity are bands with a simpler yet modern sound that has an essence of rock and roll from decades past. Dolan says, “You know, I think that music in general has its cycles and it seems as though whatever’s popular now you can pretty much expect the exact opposite to be popular at some point. I know for us personally, we’ve always been drawn to kind of the older, more roots style of music because it has more of an organic approach. From a songwriting standpoint I don’t know exactly why it’s a trend, but I imagine it’s because there’s a lot of people searching for kind of that authenticity again that maybe they’re not finding in current popular music, not to say there’s anything wrong with that. I think people are starting to return to the original roots of rock and roll. There’s a lot of people who are attracted to that nowadays for a reason. It does seems to be resurging thanks to a lot of bands like Graveyard and Witchcraft and Wolfmother, who we toured with last year. They were some of the early front runners in bringing that style back to life, so we’re super thankful that they did.”
On the topic of Graveyard, I recalled an article featuring the band where they mentioned an aversion towards a “classic rock” title. Although there is a classic rock revival happening (which I am wholeheartedly not mad at), calling them as such could be taken as an insult because, “What we’re doing is in the here and now, and there is a reason that we’re doing this. It’s hard to get away from that because it is the defining sound that is associated with classic rock. I look at it like we’re kind of carrying the torch on the genre, so for me it’ll never die, and for a lot of people it’ll never die. It may come in and out of the limelight, but we’re carrying the torch and we’re putting our own modern spin on a sound that’s been around since the 60s and 70s. It has this connotation to it that’s not necessarily fresh and cool and new, you know, and I feel what we’re doing is.”
Recently releasing a music video for their track, “Light Years Beyond”, I asked Dolan about the origins of a song that somehow perfectly personifies a chaotic time in my life that required an upheaval from all familiarities. “Sometimes when songwriting, you’ll have songs that you rewrite three times before you’re actually happy with the melody or the lyrics. “Light Years Beyond” was one…it’s funny, I was walking downstairs in my house and these words just started shooting in my brain and I was like ‘I better write this down’. It came about really fast. I think it takes on a different meaning for anyone that’s listening to it, but for me it’s about being able to separate yourself from something in the past. For different people that’ll mean different things. It’s like a healing song almost. In simpler terms it’s kind of of like ‘Fuck you negativity, I’m out of here’.”
In July Electric Citizen will embark on a tour with previously mentioned label mates Mondo Drag and Slow Reason before going back to the studio to work on their second album, which will be recorded in Cincinnati. The new album will be, “what I hope is an evolution and not a departure for our sound. I kind of live my life with the philosophy to live in a constant state of improvement, so I hope that comes through in the next album”.
Electric Citizen are on tour!