Electric Citizen are some wild rock and roll dudes. Perhaps the wildest and rocking and rollingest is Nathan Wagner who sat down with me for a few minutes to shoot the shit about the band.
Interview by Matt Bacon
From October 2016 Vandala Magazine
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How gnarly is this festival?
Nathan: I can’t believe this venue let them put this hit here. I feel like last year that hotel we were staying in they were like “Yeah you can’t come back!” there was so much riff raff running around. There are so many families around here it trips me out.
Don’t you think Electric Citizen could appeal to the family market?
Nathan: I’d like to think so. It’s really funny – my aunt is here! She’s a stewardess and is in town for the day on a layover and wants to hang out! As far as appealing to family markets at least my family likes it.
Do the other people’s families like it?
Nathan: Yeah, I guess but my parents are the only ones who come to visit. Everyone else is old. My parents have flown across the country to see shows. They’ve been talking about coming to visit us on our European run, they want to make a trip out of it. It’s hard to want to rock and rebel when your parents are telling you to go for it!
It’s weird being in heavy music and having well off parents…
Nathan: It’s true. It’s not something most people have. I guess that’s why I have the luxury to do as much as I have with this.
What’s your relationship like with your parents?
Nathan: It’s tight. I don’t see them as much as I should. I try to do dinner with them once a month. No one in my family left Cincinnati.
But how have things been in the world of Electric Citizen?
Nathan: Things for us are good. We had a great year. So far everything has been wonderful.
Now that the record has been out for a while how do you feel about it?
Nathan: F*cking fabulous! The more time I spend with the product the happier I am. I can flash back to the studio and the memories are so cool. More people seem to like it than the first record. I’m totally cool with people liking new stuff. That’s how it’s supposed to be.
We will be over in Europe in a month doing Orange Goblin dates. We’re doing some dates with Salem’s Pot and I’ve never met those guys and am looking forward to it. We’ve been over with Wolfmother in the past and that was insane. To play to three thousand people a night and have them hear you were insane whereas when you play smaller clubs half the people aren’t even paying attention. With a band like Wolfmother people come out early and really care.
What is it like coming back from that experience?
Nathan: It was really fun! We came back and did a homecoming how which was surreal. We went from three thousand person shows to a 600 cap bar. It was close to The floor and we were staring at everyone in the eyes. That’s what I really love. We’re not slowing down we spent this summer writing. We took the time to tour and we were glad to do it, but pushing off doing more touring until the fall was a great idea because it allowed us to knuckle up and do it right and take the time it needs so we could do it at the right time of year.
You’ve always had a strong business sense behind you…
Nathan: I like to think we do because we’ve all made so many mistakes in previous projects! So now it’s like ‘Let’s not make those mistakes again!’ We’re older and wiser. It’s been good man.
Who are you most looking forward to seeing this weekend?
Nathan: Arthur Brown. I feel like this might be the last time. I never expected to have that opportunity and now it does. If he had been touring I would have driven across five states to see him. I don’t even know how that booking happened. I’ve seen Alice Cooper but he’s a great time. I’m excited to see Blue Oyster Cult. It’s a f*cking solid lineup and half of the bands are my friends. Budos Band is here also and they are like my best buds, brothers. Everybody has been awesome to us and has helped us out on the way. To run into Pentagram in the lobby and hug them was insane. Last Psycho Bobby was in the room across from me and now I know that motherf*cker!
How do you reconcile that meteoric rise?
Nathan: I don’t know if I ever will! You just have to be humble all the time. Every day gets better! I meet talented motherf*ckers. I still have a real job. I have to go home and work and shit but this is a chance to meet everybody I wanted, the artists and the fans. The whole reason we do this shit is for people to come to these festivals. I can’t even explain. It’s so crazy. Shit has been nuts. To have fans is weird. It doesn’t ever sink in. I want to buy everyone who comes to shows drinks and shit. How do I say thank you?
We just went to get tacos earlier and some dude who does a radio show in Canada started fawning over us. I never expected that! It’s surreal dude. I’ve played o nobody a million times. The fact that people want to hear it makes all the difference in the world.
Why do people want to hear it?
Nathan: I think we jump back to people’s weird memories of growing up with hard rock in the 70s with mom and dad putting records on. You’d be a kid and go into your room and put on records and you would enjoy it and it makes you whole. If you can articulate that and redo and hand it to someone else that’s amazing. I’m just glad people want to listen to it!
Electric Citizen is currently on tour in Europe and back touring the states in November so be sure to grab your tickets early. Also be sure to grab your copy of “Higher Ground” which you can preview on Bandcamp.
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