FEATURE: Diet Cig Get Deep On “Swear I’m Good At This,” DIY Ethos, Inclusion In The Scene

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Interview by: Lindsy Carrasquillo

Words by: Lindsy Carrasquillo

Everyone’s introduction to music is different. For some, it’s through their parents or maybe whatever is on the radio. For others, it’s through tightly packed sweaty house shows while dancing with a handful of friends and strangers. Many music fans and musicians can come into their own within their local scene through the DIY community. Some nights, houses turn into well-coordinated house show venues where kids put on their own shows. No big promoters or judgment involved. This was the case for Diet Cig’s Alex Luciano. As the lead singer/guitarist and one half of the two-piece band, she was able to get involved with music while attending the State University of New York at New Paltz. We were able to catch up with her to discuss the band’s new album, honesty and the importance of safe spaces.

While the band’s drummer, Noah Bowman, had been making music for a long time and comes from a musically inclined family, Alex’s introduction to music was her college’s DIY scene.

“I was so floored by the fact that people were having shows in their houses,”Luciano said. “The first two artists that I really saw were Frankie Cosmos and Radiator Hospital. Seeing them was really inspirational and made me realize that I could write honest songs that are simple but powerful and inspired me to start writing my own songs.”

House shows can help provide a sense of community by being accessible and allow a space for those who are too young for the 21+ venues. However, they can still have problems.

“It’s important to keep these spaces safe and have kids policing themselves to make sure that their spaces are accessible and inclusive of everyone as well as free from predators,” she said. “There’s more responsibility on a DIY venue in that sense.”

In order to create a sense of community at their shows, the band likes to engage with their audience.

“We have the privilege of having the microphone and we want to extend our privilege to our fans and put ourselves on the same plane as them,” Luciano said.  “We’re not rock stars or too cool to talk to the people who like our music, we like to engage with them and foster the community that we want to be a part of which is keeping our shows safe, honest and accessible.”

One specific thing that Luciano and Bowman have been trying to figure out about making their shows safer is moshing.

“We don’t want people to mosh at our shows because then people aren’t as excited to be in the crowd or at the front,” Luciano said. “I want everyone to dance together and make it a cool place to feel safe. We tell people not to before our set and want to make sure that everyone is safe so it’s clear to people.”

Diet Cig’s first full length album, Swear I’m Good at This, was released in April via Father/Daughter Records and the short and fast indie pop tracks touch on a variety of subjects ranging from loneliness to reclaiming your voice within spaces that are dominated by others. Luciano’s personal favorite and a track played at their live shows is “Link in Bio.”

“It’s saying fuck anybody that’s going to tell me who I am and I think that idea has resonating with a lot of people as well,” she said. “Live, we all have that cathartic release and with it being such a short fast song, it’s kind of like, ‘okay, now what?'”

When it comes to the writing process, she only knows how to write songs that are personal.

“It’s the way that I can get really raw and deep into myself,” Luciano said. “With some of them, I think, ‘wow, that’s personal, I’ve never told anyone about that before.’ I like writing songs because it’s kind of like a way of reclaiming the situation that I was in and turning it into something that I can be happy and excited about. It’s allowed me to process these certain feelings in a way that I can share with others. Making art can be important to finding your voice in that way.”

In support of their album, the band went on a headlining tour through April and the beginning of May.

“We haven’t done a proper headlining tour in a really long time so it was really fun and validating to go to all of these places that we hadn’t been to in two years and see that there were still people who like our band. There’s so many more people and it was really exciting.”

Alex’s favorite show of tour was when the band got to play Los Angeles, CA. While the band previously played in L.A. while supporting The Front Bottoms, the show was sold out and they weren’t able to get their friends in and hang out with them like they did this time around. As the band continues to tour throughout the month with Sports, fans should be prepared for a high energy show. Luciano said it will be a “happy release” and good to “let our anxieties go.”

While the band’s fall plans include touring throughout Europe in late September and October, she said that fans should prepare for something special that’s coming up.

“We have a really extra special release through Father/Daughter Records that will be released real soon and it’s something that we’ve been wanting to put out for a while,” Luciano said. In the meantime, make sure to listen to their record and go see them live if they’re coming to your city.

EURO
23th September – Le Grand Mix, France, Tourcoing
25th September – Supersonic, France, Paris
26th September – Trix VZW, Belgium, 2140 Antwerp (Borgerhout)
28th September – Le Romandie Rock Club, Switzerland, Lausanne
30th September – Loop, Italy, Osimo
2nd October – B72, Austria, Vienna
4th October – Orange House, Germany, Munich
5th October – Berghain Kantine, Germany, Berlin
6th October – Stengade, Denmark, Copenhagen
7th October – Molotow, Germany, Hamburg-St. Pauli
9th October – Blue Shell, Germany, Köln
10th October – Gleis 22, Germany, Münster

UK
13th October – Rough Trade, Nottingham
14th October – Lancaster Library, Lancaster
16th October – Soup Kitchen, Manchester
17th October – Sneaky Pete’s, Edinburgh
18th October – Broadcast, Glasgow
19th October – Headrow House, Leeds
23rd October – Portland Arms, Cambridge
25th October – Moth Club, London
26th October – The Hope & Ruin, Brighton

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