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 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,
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
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