CITIZENS! met, tragically, at a house party. Lawrence was trying to chat up the host, Tom was there trying to impress a date. They both failed miserably. But Tom did walk in on Lawrence and Mike sitting, drunk, and, alone, listening to music. They foolishly decided to form a band. So, thanks to a couple of providential female rejections CITIZENS! came into existence.
They say there are a few things that they all agree on:
‘We actually enjoy hanging out with each other.’ (Martyn)
‘Some of us are too mal-adjusted to be able to do anything else, and the rest of us are getting there fast.’ (Thom)
‘There are two things that really, really piss us off: REVIVALISM and UGLY POP. Bands only make two kinds of music these days: Pointless revivals of subcultures past, or ugly, inhumane cynical pop.’ (Tom)
‘Pop is not a dirty word. It’s a holy one.’ (Mike)
‘Death to Guetta’ (Lawrence)
They thought that a band needed to come along with the guts to make imaginative pop music, but to do it with soul and integrity,
In order to be able to make this music they had to make what Tom calls ‘some stupid decisions.’ ‘Stupid,’ because it means Tom is still working as a kitchen porter, Lawrence is still making coffees and Martyn is still on the dole.
They signed to an indie label who ‘wouldn’t tell us what to do,’ recorded the album in a house, played the whole thing live, got drunk, fought over lyrics and didn’t edit out the mistakes.
The name is a call to arms, a statement, a mark in the sand.
‘It’s us against the world,’ Lawrence says, ‘we make our own rules and we take them very seriously. But it works because we don’t take ourselves seriously while we do it.’
They treated recording like a game, an experiment. They asked questions that other bands weren’t asking, and mixed elements they hadn’t heard mixed before. Most importantly they wouldn’t allow themselves to mimic any particular moment from decades past.
Instead of REVIVALISM, they stand for ECLECTICISM.
Tom says ‘We all live in London. It was supposed to be an impression of the different experiences of living in the city. That was the plan, but now its finished all the songs seem to be about sex. I wonder what that says about us?’