With their debut album, Diet Cig gathered both plaudits and whole bunch of big toothy grins, such was their infectious energy. Now they’re back with a follow-up. We caught up with vocalist and guitarist Alex Luciano to ask more.
Alex! Hello. How's it going? Are you guys good?
It's going great! We just announced our single 'Thriving' and our record two days ago, so we're soooo stoked to be sharing stuff with the world! I'm also currently drinking a lovely cup of coffee in my PJs at home so truly thriving over here.
What have you guys been up to of late, mostly working on the album? Is it all done and dusted?
We've been working like crazy on this album! The record itself is DONE (yeehaw!) but there's always a million more things to do that go into it, so we've been busy. When we're not working on music though we do a lot of rock climbing, I also volunteer for an art studio non-profit! It specialises in printmaking, and we give tons of people the tools to make the art they want, we also do a lot of educational stuff like teaching classes and hosting field trips. The record has definitely been at the front of our brains though!
What was your starting point for the record? What was your mindset like, and what ideas did you have going into it?
Our mindset going into it was really like WHEW we've been doing this for a minute, let's take a second to step back and take a look. We toured a lot less in 2019 while writing it and it kind of gave us a second to reflect on what we had done so far, when before it always felt so GO GO GO. We just wanted to go into this without the stress and pressure of cranking something out for the sake of it, and really made a record we're excited about. We allowed ourselves to take that deep breath and relax off the get-go and I think it really helped make the record so special.
Was putting together a second album a different process from your first?
Totally!! We had a lot more pressure to get it done SOON, and we were kinda like... we're gonna finish it when it's ready. The last one we wrote on tour, this one was written in a more relaxed place, physically and mentally. We gave ourselves the space to reflect and hone in on some feelings I don't think I would've gotten into if we were living the hectic touring life while writing it. There were some things that stayed constant though which was really nice, we worked with our longtime producer Christopher Daly and did a lot of recording at this studio in New Paltz, Salvation Recording Co. There was a level of comfort and familiarity that allowed us to play with new stuff and feel confident in the sounds we were making.
Can you tell us a bit about the first track you're releasing from it?
So 'Thriving' is the first track on the record and its also the first song we wrote specifically for the album (technically the makeup interlude came first, but we didn't know it'd be on the record). It tackles the feeling of doing great without someone or something in your life but still hoping they notice you doing so. It's the duality of the confident proclamation of "I'm thriving thanks for asking" and the desperation of "do you wonder about me?" that defines the song. It's a campy ode to the front we all put up and what's really lying beneath (and how that's okay!!!).
How would you describe the album's vibe?
I think the album's vibe is a little more driving, emotional, and reflective. It's got some upbeat bops but also some really emotional vignettes. It's very dynamic and goes from one mood to the next pretty rapidly.
Do you have any fun stories from your time in the studio?
There's an a cappella section of one of our songs ('Broken Body') and I just could not get the timing because we hadn't recorded anything to a metronome. I had to grab this old school stopwatch and time the part, and keep watching for my time to cut off and it just felt like one of those Macgyver moments!
What was the biggest lesson you learnt from releasing your debut?
It's sooo important to be making songs you like because you have to play them over and over and over again for like a year and a half afterwards! I think we did that really well on the last record because I still love all those songs, and we really thought about that while making this record. We're so excited to play these songs over and over!
Anything else we should know?
We're very stoked to come over the UK in April/May! And just know if we didn't hit your city, we'll be back soon!
Taken from the April issue of Dork. Diet Cig's album 'Do You Wonder About Me?' Is out 1st May.
Featuring Easy Life, The Strokes, Tones & I, Sorry and loads more.