Forming a band, an EP and setting sights on touring all in a few months? Freshly-formed Citizen catch their breath with Kate Rothwell.
Citizen are not a band to rest on their laurels. Formed in the early days of 2008, members Danny McConnell, David Sayers and Ben Clarke already have an imminent EP launch and an interview with the Sunday Independent under their belt.
For such a productive trio it is then surprising to discover that the band’s formation was little more than an accident.
“We had been involved with a singer-songwriter, Eamonn O’Connor, and were his backing band for about six months”, explains singer and bassist Danny McConnell. “We were in rehearsals and Eamonn had to leave early, so the three of us kept jamming. We got two songs out of it and said we’d better give this another shot, so we started kicking in to rehearsals”
The new material was, from the offset, quite a transition from O’Connor’s folk rock, as drummer Ben was quick to point out. “It was nothing like what we were playing with Eamonn. It was more ballsy, a big contrast.”
With Eamonn focusing on his own recording, the band began to take shape and soon followed suit with demo tracks and the recording of their debut EP, You Don’t Know My Name.
In a move unusual for regular rock bands, Citizen had stepped into the recording studio before even standing onstage together.
“We went straight into recording before we’d ever done a gig. I suppose it’s as good a way as any; the songs have developed a lot more than they usually would if you start live first but it did make it slightly trickier trying to get an edge live… I think we’re getting there now, transferring it properly on to the stage.”
The EP is bound to attract attention for its risqué cover alone, but Citizen do have their reasons for using such a shot.
“We’re just perverts!” is Danny’s claim, but Ben reveals the method behind the madness. “We didn’t want to look like we were taking ourselves too seriously- we kind of look like a cliché but there’s a fine line between being cheeky and corny”.
Ben and David will both be returning to college this year, and so will have to find time for music and study, but all three have agreed that the band will be their top priority for the next twelve months.
Once that time has passed, according to David, they will take the rational step of reviewing their progress. “We’re going take a step back after the year and have a look at what we’ve done.”
Playing the college circuit is an obvious and important next step; they could be seen hitting the Student Bar in UCD for a gig or even a Battle of the Bands before long.
“What we’re about is playing in front of as many people this year as possible, be it part of a competition or a set up gig, it’s all exposure. Our aim is to get ourselves up to a decent level, playing-wise, get another stock of songs recorded, then hit London and see how that goes”.
If Citizen have started their career the way that they intend to go on, it would be advisable to see them at a venue near you before they take their tour elsewhere.