Capital Cities in 2013
Left to Right: Sebu Simonian, Ryan Merchant
|Origin||Los Angeles, California, U.S.|
Capital Cities is an American pop duo from Los Angeles, California, formed in 2010 by Ryan Merchant (vocals, keyboard, guitar) and Sebu Simonian (vocals, keyboard). Their debut EP was released on June 7, 2011, with lead single "Safe and Sound" which became their first top ten hit single. The band currently consists of Ryan Merchant, Sebu Simonian, Manny Quintero on bass guitar, Spencer Ludwig on trumpet, Nick Merwin on guitar and Channing Holmes on drums.
A subsequent single, "Kangaroo Court", was released on March 27, 2012. The band was featured on the Pop Up #1 compilation selected by Perez Hilton that was released on August 7, 2012. The band's song "Safe and Sound" charted at #1 on the US Alternative Songs chart. The song was also used in a German Vodafone commercial. It was also used in the United States and Canada in a television commercial for the 2014 Mazda 3. The song "Center Stage" was featured on ESPN's First Take where they played a short segment of the retro sounding track before going to commercial breaks.
The band's debut album, In a Tidal Wave of Mystery, was released June 4, 2013 via Capitol Records in partnership with Lazy Hooks. It was the first release of new material on Capitol with a Universal Music Group catalog number. The album debuted at number sixty-six on the Billboard 200 chart.
Merchant met Simonian on Craigslist after he responded to the other's open ad offering his production services. They soon fell into jingle-writing together, and after a successful three years composing music for commercials and advertising campaigns, the duo formed Capital Cities. The band released its debut, self-titled EP in June 2011 via their label, Lazy Hooks.
In 2012, the band signed with Capitol Records. In partnership with Lazy Hooks, the label released In a Tidal Wave of Mystery, the band's debut album, on June 4, 2013. The album takes its name from the lyrics of its top 10 Modern Rock radio hit "Safe and Sound", which is the album's first single. The song has been heard in promotional campaigns for HBO, Smart Car, Microsoft, Mazda and many other spots. The album also includes the songs "Kangaroo Court" and "I Sold My Bed, But Not My Stereo". Outkast's Andre; 3000, vocalist Shemika Secrest and NPR's Frank Tavares are featured on the song "Farrah Fawcett Hair". The album is produced and mixed entirely by the pair of Merchant and Simonian. The artwork is by Brazilian artist Joo Lauro Fonte.
The band embarked on its first-ever North American outing, the "Dancing with Strangers" tour, with special guests Gold Fields, which kicked off on April 23 at the Crescent Ballroom in Phoenix, AZ. Capital Cities' May 9 show at New York City's Irving Plaza sold out two months in advance as well two nights at the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles. All proceeds from the June 7 show at the El Rey went to MusiCares and a Place Called Home. The band has also appeared and performed at Sundance, SXSW, SweetLife, and ULTRA.
The band premiered the official video of "Safe and Sound" on April 25, 2013 on VEVO. The clip was directed by Grady Hall (Beck, Modest Mouse). In the video, the song fuels a mash-up of the past 100 years of dance, presided over by the band at the newly restored Los Angeles Theater in downtown Los Angeles. The video featured work from Emmy-nominated choreographer Mandy Moore. The video was nominated for two 2013 MTV Video Music Awards: Best Art Direction and Best Visual Effects. The video won a 2013 MTV Video Music Award for Best Visual Effects.
September 5, 2013 marked the premiere of the "Kangaroo Court" music video. The video features appearances from Darren Criss, Shannon Woodward, and Channing Holmes. The story tells of a zebra (Merchant), who has been forbidden from a club called The Kangaroo Court. Attempting entry disguised as a horse, he falls for a lapdog (Woodward). Her date that night, a bulldog (Criss), becomes jealous and reveals the zebra for who he actually is. The zebra is placed under arrest for his crime and sent to court to face a kangaroo judge (Holmes). He is found guilty immediately and is executed by lion (Simonian).
The band was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Music Video.
In April and May 2016, nearly three years after the release of the band's debut album, the official Capital Cities Facebook page made two posts strongly suggesting that new music was in the works.
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|Capital Cities EP||
|Kangaroo Court EP||
|Swimming Pool Summer EP||
|Title||Year||Peak chart positions||Certifications||Album|
|"Safe and Sound"||2011||8||1||2||2||5||1||4||28||8||42||In a Tidal Wave of Mystery|
|"I Sold My Bed, But Not My Stereo"||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|"One Minute More"||2014||--||23||29||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|"Vowels"||2016||--||29||--[A]||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||FIFA 17 Soundtrack|
|"My Name Is Mars"||2018||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||Non-album single|
|"--" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.|