Electric Citizen recently embarked upon their debut European tour opening for Australian hard rockers, Wolfmother.
Electric Citizen, is about to release the follow-up to 2014â€™s Sateen with their sophomore album, Higher Time, on May 13 via RidingEasy Records. National Rock Review caught up with Ross (guitars) and Laura Dolan (vocals) whilst on tour supporting Wolfmother in Newcastle to talk about their new album, the artists that have influenced their sound and the band’s plans for the rest of 2016.
NRR: Thanks for taking the time to speak to us here at National Rock Review, we really appreciate it. So you are out on tour with Wolfmother at the moment, you’ve done a few shows so far in the UK. How have the shows been going?
Ross: Good, fun, really fun.
NRR: This is your first UK tour, is that right?
Laura: Yeah, first time ever in Europe.
NRR: So how have the Brit’s been treating you guys?
Laura: (laughing) Great.
Ross: Actually really good, they are really funny people actually. It was kind of unexpected, they’ve been joking around with me and stuff like that, it’s pretty good.
Laura: Yeah, we love their sense of humour (laughing).
Ross: The Irish people are really funny too.
Laura: Even just watching the security guards and how they interact with the drunk people, it’s so brilliant like it’s non-violent but assertive and funny. It’s different than how it is in the U.S, where it kind of escalates quickly when somebody’s drunk and out of control at a venue (laughing), it just turns straight to violence usually.
NRR: I understand you are coming back to the UK later this year as well with Orange Goblin is that right?
Laura: That’s right.
NRR: That will be a great tour as well.
Laura: Yeah, I’m excited.
NRR: So you are about to release your second album Higher Time on the 13th May. I was just wondering if you could tell us a little bit about the album and the inspiration behind it?
Ross: I think all of our, at least my inspiration for writing kind of darker heavy stuff is just to mirror the surroundings that we live in. So we write darker, heavier music so I look towards more of the darker shit that goes on. Like there’s a massive heroin epidemic going on in Cincinnati, people are dying and in Indiana which is like twenty minutes away there’s an aids epidemic from sharing needles. So my frustration in all of this I just kind of channel it into like the dark riffs and stuff like that, on a more serious note you know. But it’s got to be fun too you know, I think it’s fun also to write like heavy, dark riffs and stuff like that.
Laura: Even worldwide, everything that’s going on in the world these days it’s just you know a reflection of our music and the lyrics that I write and that’s as much inspired as today as it is from our great inspirations as like the Detroit rock scene from the Seventies, huge inspiration on us.
Ross: And the Sixties as well with The Stooges and the MC5, some of my favourite bands.
Laura: A lot of that music were born out of the frustrations of their time you know. So for us, it’s very much a reflection of that.
NRR: I got to hear the track “Misery Keeper” from your new album. Could you tell us a little bit about the story behind that track?
Laura: I think that track really is born out of the kind of human tendency to take yourself to a dark place and some people get stuck in that place and can either get out of it and learn from it or can really take themselves down you know by getting stuck there. It’s just that human tendency to what I call “terriblize” (laughing) the situation that’s going on in your life and it’s just really exploring that.
NRR: I understand also there’s a little bit of a Black Keys connection on your album because Brian Olive did the recording and also the Black Keys engineer mixed the record. What was it like working with those guys?
Ross: Well Brian is a good friend of ours, we’ve known him for years. We’re big fans of his, he’s an excellent musician. He was in a band called The Green Horns and that was like a favorite band of ours, local band that went on to tour the world with White Stripes and what not, so we love him, we just trust him, he’s got an excellent ear for music. He can play multiple instruments and so it’s just easy, it’s not stressful.
Then as far as going down to Nashville to mix the record with Colin the engineer for The Black Keys, I mean that’s just like a walk in the park. Like that dude knows what he is doing, so I mean he just hands us a song and we’re like that’s good.
Laura: We went down there to work and engage and give our opinion and we ended up just going to lunch and coming back and going yeah you are done (laughing). He’s so incredible at what he does and of course, it was mixed at Dan Auerbach’s personal studio Easy Eye and that studio just have every piece of cool vintage equipment on the planet in one place.
Ross: Giant reverb tanks.
Laura: Nine-foot reverb tanks that you could run the vocals through and things like that that you just in most situations can’t get your hands on, so to be ableÂ to use that stuff in the mixing it just helped us achieve a bigger, fuller sound. It really brought the album to life I think like we never even imagined it could be brought to life.
NRR: So for those of your fans that haven’t seen you perform live yet. What can they expect from one of your shows?
Ross: Hopefully they can get their face rocked off (laughing).
Laura: A lot of energy, there’s a lot of energy in our music and we hope that that is the connection that we make with the crowd because you know, I feel I get on this rhythmic next level with the crowd when you are playing that youÂ hope people lock into as much as you do. I do a lot of moving around and head banging and whatever the heck else I come up with while I’m up there spontaneously (laughing), it’s not planned I can tell you that much.
NRR: If you could choose any band to cover one of your songs, which band and song would you choose?
Ross: I would think the original lineup of Pentagram with Vincent playing guitar and maybe “Shallow Water.”
Laura: T-Rex covering “Evil.”
NRR: Obviously you guys have got a very retro sound. I was just wondering is that the type of material you listen to yourselves or do you listen to many contemporary artists as well?
Ross: Yeah both, of course.
Laura: I love so many different types of music, I mean I like classical music, I like The sixties, Seventies you know tons of stuff that came out of those eras, as we as modern bands.
Ross: You know we listen to a lot of Seventies progressive stuff as well like she really loves Frumpy you know and we try not to go too progressive, we like to try and keep it somewhat in a pop element like in a three and a half minute type song.
Laura: Yeah, like Frumpy meets MC5 (laughing).
Ross: Yeah, or The Stooges.
Laura: I don’t know if my voice is quite as deep as Frumpy.
NRR: What’s the one album in your record collection that you couldn’t live without.
Ross: There’s so many.
Laura: “Electric Warrior” by T-Rex. It’s pretty much my favorite (laughing).
Ross: I would probably have to say and it might sound generic but Jimi Hendrix “Are You Experienced.” That was my first love.
NRR: What else do you have in store for the rest of this year?
Laura: Well this tour goes on until May. The record releases officially on the 13th of May and then we’ll be touring again this summer, late summer and playing a festival in Las Vegas called Psycho Las Vegas. We get to play with Mudhoney, which is awesome.
Ross: We’ve driven to Chicago to see them which is a five or six-hour drive.
Laura: You know it’s just really at this point touring and we are already starting to write the third album because we know touring schedules get in the way of writing.
Ross: Yeah, we can’t write on the road.
Laura: So we just feverishly keep writing and writing, because we know that will be due before we know it.
Ross: I also think that one of our favorite acts that we are really excited to see is The Crazy World of Arthur Brown who is playing at Psycho. He’s been a huge inspiration of mine for quite some time now.
Laura: Yeah, there’s some amazing acts. I’m a huge Alice Cooper fan and he just announced that he’s headlining.
Ross: Apparently he wrote “Eighteen” in Cinncinatti, Ohio.
Laura: We have a small connection to him and he played us on his radio station. Well, he didn’t but the DJ that does the Alice Cooper Show, so I have a jacket that has a huge Alice Cooper patch on the back and I’m quite excited to see him (laughing).
NRR: That’s great. Thank you so much for taking the time to speak to us we really appreciate it.
Ross: Yeah, thank you.
Laura: Thank you so much.
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