Chico, California based indie/emo band Citysick present their second release, Get Better.
Formed in fall of 2016 by members Caleb Sievers and David Hollenbeck, Citysick has been gaining attention steadily in the west coast music scene over the last year, taking their unique blend of chiming guitarwork and impactful vocals on tour up and down the coast and more recently into the midwest. Curtis Loyless on bass and Connor Lewis on drums completes the quartet.
After returning from their winter tour in January of 2017, the band set out to create a body of work that combined the honest storytelling of their first release with a more upbeat musical backbone.
From the melding of those concepts came an album that is uplifting more often than it is ‘woe-is-me,’ with lyrics that focus on facing life’s challenges head on. Check out the EP below!
We managed to catch up Caleb and David as they talk about the latest release and more!
So how has the release of Get Better gone so far?
The reception has been great! We’ve been working on this EP on and off for most of the year so it feels weird to have it finally out and available for everyone to listen to. We’ve had a really positive response from listeners so far.
What is your favourite track from the release?
D: My personal favorite is Moving Season but I think almost everyone in the band has a different favorite. Leaning seems to be the fan favorite so far.
K: Cut Short for sure. It was such a cathartic release of a lot of pent up anger and pain for me to write. To have it finished in its final form was such a good feeling. Now getting to play it for people and having them identify with the message is incredible.
What was your favourite moment recording the EP?
D: Lots of cool moments but one of the most satisfying was writing the ending to Cut Short. It’s a song that’s been with us in various forms since the beginning of the band. Kaleb wrote the original lyrics at our first studio session for an unreleased demo and the song has gone through more versions and re-writes than anything else we’ve worked on. We finally had an arrangement that we thought did justice to the lyrics and recorded the vocals a few days before I finished mixing the EP, and it felt like the second chorus needed a closing thought. Kaleb came up with the first line to that section and we wrote the rest of the lyrics right there in the studio while he was still in the vocal booth. Those are some of my favorite lyrics on the record and a great way to close the EP in my opinion.
K: Vocal tracking, as much of a long and arduous process as it was, was my favorite. Although I didn’t realize it until long after the fact. David produces our albums, and he always works with me for as long as I need to get the right takes. I learn a lot every time, and I think I came away from the sessions for this album a much stronger musician.
If you could work with any band on a new song, who would it be and why?
D: My dream is to ghostwrite for Fergie. Her song M.I.L.F. $ is a certified bop.
K: Brian Swindle of Have Mercy. His songwriting style has really influenced the way that I look at music, and I think he would be a really interesting person to create with.
What’s the alternative scene like in California?
California is such a big state that there are a lot of different alternative scenes going on. Los Angeles obviously is huge and so is the San Francisco Bay Area. We’ll play in those areas on tour but since we live in Chico (north of Sacramento) we have our own little scene going on up here which we love. Chico is a college town with a strong music scene, and according to bands that come here on tour it’s one of the friendliest places for a DIY out of town band to play. It was also named the drunkest city in California by USA today. There might be some correlation there.
Would you like to tour the UK/Europe sometime?
We’d love to! A few bands from the Chico scene have gone on international tours recently to the UK and Sweden, it looks super fun.
What would be your favourite venue to play in the world?
D: I would love to play the Regency Ballroom in SF. I went there to see a lot of my favorite bands that inspired me to take music seriously in high school so it would be awesome to come back and play that venue.
K: Not really a venue but it’s always been my dream to play Groezrock Festival. I knew I liked live music after going to my first few shows as a kid, but I fell in love with the idea of live music watching sets from Groezrock on Youtube. That much energy in one place, it just looks so infectious.
What was the first gig you ever attended?
D: There first real gig I went to was the U2 360 tour in Oakland. It was scheduled a year before I went but Bono threw out his back before the Oakland date, and my friend that had bought a ticket couldn’t make the rescheduled show so he gave me his ticket. They had this microphone hanging from the top of the stage lighting structure that he was using as a rope swing so I think that may have had something to do with his injury…My friend’s mom that took us to the show is obsessed with U2 so we got there at like noon and got to the very front of the stage, it was pretty crazy.
K: It was a christian rock band called Skillet at the mega church in my hometown. It was part of this whole big production trying to get tennagers into the youth group there. There were like dirt bikers doing stunts and pyrotechnics and everything. A little overwhelming for a nine-year old. Not to mention not at all a good representation of what most live music actually is. I was so confused and disappointed at my next show when I found out not everything is that over the top.