Citay
Urban Rockers
by Sean Blake

For our very first interview, the Deli SF had the great pleasure of speaking with Citay's Ezra Feinberg. Making the rounds with a standing-room only live show (that means the stage has a lot of people on it), Citay's source is the sweet California folk/pop/rock sound of the 70's, and with an excess of fashion-heavy, irony laden bands around these days, it's nice to hear something earnest.

First, how was the tour with Vetiver? How has the response been to Citay across the country?
The tour with Vetiver was really fun. We all flew to the east coast, played a few shows on our own, and then some with Vetiver. We also had a Vetiver/Citay trip to the beach along the coast of Rhode Island -
definetly a highlight. We did a live set with Brian Turner on wfmu in Jersey City (which is archived at wfmu.org) and that was also really fun. It was a busy trip...The response was generally really good - we
made new friends everywhere we went, and people seemed to dig our set. It was more difficult playing mostly for people who hadn't seen or heard us before, unlike the west coast where we've gotten much love
and affection...But I'm hoping we'll be giving the right coast another taste before the year is out...

How did Citay come together and what was the idea behind it?
The Citay album came together when I moved here in the summer of 2004. I started writing and recording songs in my apartment just using acoustic and electric guitars, a casio and a pair of bongos. I wanted to layer the acoustics to provide a cushon for the whole track. But I wanted the cushon to have something to stare up at so it wouldn't get bored, so I added these soaring lead guitars flying above everything. Then I re-recorded it all on tape with Tim Green at Louder Studios. Tim added so much to the album - he made the frosting from scratch, and it's the frosting that gets the people off their feet. The Citay live show came together after I sought out some friends and
strangers as recruits for the band. Now it's all friends, no strangers. I drew from some of the most fervent sources in San Francisco - Tussle, Skygreen Leopards, Kelley Stoltz, Crime In Choir, The Dry Spells, By Land And Sea, Horn Of Degoth, Ascended Master, 3 Leafs, and Sweet Potatoes.

Who are your influences and are there any bands that served as a model for Citay?
People who sang hamoniously on and off the radio around the time my older half-brother was born, people in the passenger's seat of my car, people who I think about while jogging...Not to mention Brian May
(from Queen) , Chris Bell (from Big Star), David Crosby (from The Byrds), Kirk Hammett (from Metallica), Joni Mitchell (from the Heavens)...

Which is the truer representation of your sound - live or on record?
It's kinda 2 shades of the same colour...Live it's big and you have to deal with it or go outside for a smoke. The record, at best, could improve your day. It could also just ease the pain of cleaning the kitchen, ya know?

Since the songs are well worn by now, are you working on new material for Citay? And, is it a continuation of the initial idea behind the band, or do you see the sound changing?

YES, new material is being worked on as we speak. I'll be going into the studio with Tim in late Sept and then again in the winter some time, and I'm aiming for a summer '07 release.We'll be playing new songs live some time in the fall I think. The new stuff is more or less similar to the first album - no drastic changes, no surprise reggae breakdowns or spoken word. However, the sound will be pushed even farther into the deep end of the sonic pool - the highs will be higher, the lows lower, as if the first album went off its medication...

Since you reference iconic 70's bands as your main influences, how would you say you translate these influences into something modern and different?
They are already translated because it's not the 70s anymore. Which means I don't have to do any of the translating, so I've got that going for me, which is nice. I think that everything is modern in its own way, whether it wants to be or not. Words like retro and modern can be like giant sloppy banana peels on the sidewalk of talking about music. We all get lost trying to pin these words down, and the harder we try the harder we fall.

How does the irony in your bands presentation, ie: the song titles "Season Don't Fear The Year" and "What Never Was And What Should Have Been", function? Is it a way of distancing yourself from some of the serious, self-important ideas from that time that seem silly in retrospect?

The song titles are not ironic in any way, so I suppose any irony is disfunctional. What some people see as serious and self-important, I see as positive and life-affirming. I don't feel a need to distance myself from anything I like. If anything I want to bring myself (and my bandmates, as well as my friends and family) closer to everything I like.

The first time The Deli SF saw Citay, with your large co-ed ensemble and 70's pop-rock sound, we couldn't help but think of Fleetwood Mac, but in the most enjoyable way possible. Do you get that a lot, or is it just us?
No one has ever said that before, but I love Fleetwood Mac, so it sounds good to me!

What new bands are you listening to right now?
Hmm, thats a tough one. I tend to dig into the piles of history before I servey what is happeneing currently. New records by some of the bands we've been playing shows with have really been doing it for me - the new Vetiver, Six Organs, Howlin' Rain, James Blackshaw...I really love that big hit song "Crazy" by Gnarls Barkley. I love really loving big hit songs - it's rare, and it feels especially good in the summer, ya know? That Brightblack album is awesome, but for me just the presense of a Fender Rhodes sweetens the dish...


 




 "I think that everything is modern in its own way, whether it wants to be or not. Words like retro and modern can be like giant sloppy banana peels on the sidewalk of talking about music. We all get lost trying to pin these words down, and the harder we try the harder we fall."

 

Citay
Self-Titled CD/LP




Listen To: "Nice Cuffs "


 

 


 

 

THE DELI MAGAZINE 2006