Q&A: Alex Luciano from Diet Cig talks writing while touring and ‘Swear I’m Good at This’
Sometimes you need to scream about all that’s wrong with the world. Diet Cig, a two-piece band from New York, will be there when you need to let it all out. It’s hard not to dance when singer and guitarist Alex Luciano yelps and Noah Bowman’s drumming provides a cathartic burst of energy. Diet Cig’s debut album, “Swear I’m Good at This,” is the kind of album for yelling about stupid boys who share the same name with you and spending your 21st birthday alone.
The band is touring in support of its debut album, released April 7, and will stop at the Boreal on Wednesday, April 26.
The Emerald spoke with Luciano on the phone before the release of “Swear I’m Good at This” about the songwriting process and starting out as a band in a college town.
Emerald: What was the process of writing “Swear I’m Good at This” like? Any highs or lows?
Alex Luciano: It was really wacky ’cause we were on tour a lot during the writing process. It kind of came together throughout touring and being home for a couple days between tours. We had a lot of songs where we weren’t really sure [where] to go with them. It really took until we were in the studio, in that space where we could allow ourselves to sit and write these songs for real, for that to come together.
E: Do you think there’s a sense of movement in the album then? You talk about being on tour and kind of needing to settle down to write these songs. Does that come through on the album at all?
AL: I think some of my most personal writing happens when I’m out of my comfort zone. I think that getting to travel and experience all that different stuff definitely inspires a lot of the lyrical content of the record, for sure. I also think touring kind of helped us build our confidence writing with each other. Being on tour while writing helped the record in that way as well.
E: In past interviews, you have talked about being from the college scene in New Paltz, New York and then moving to Brooklyn. Has Brooklyn been helpful to making music? What’s it like there compared to the scene you are from?
AL: It’s really different. New Paltz is a small little college town, a little village. Brooklyn is like Brooklyn; it’s the city. It was cool to come up in New Paltz because there was not as many expectations. Everyone was doing it for fun. We had a nice time learning how to be a band without the pressures of feeling like we were in a big city and everyone was watching us. But we moved to Brooklyn two years ago and we were touring so much it didn’t really feel like our home necessarily. It just felt like somewhere we lived. It was very different and I think it was a fun step up from New Paltz. We had been there for long enough to feel like we were itching to get out. Brooklyn was a cool way to get out.
E: What ways did your college experiences influence your music or yourself, for better or worse?
AL: I write a lot about the things I experienced in college. It would be a different experience if I didn’t go to college. A lot of the scene that we came up in has to do with the fact that it was in a college town because every four years there are fresh, new people. Every four years it refreshes itself. The scene really thrives in that kind of atmosphere because there are constantly new people coming and new artists. I think that being in college while writing our earlier stuff and drawing from those experiences for the new stuff was really strong. If I didn’t go to college, I wouldn’t be in this band, for sure.
E: Did you expect music to be a part of your life when you entered college? Or did that happen organically?
AL: It did happen organically. I had no idea I was going to be in a band or go to DIY shows or anything. I didn’t really know what to expect. It was kind of a nice surprise after going to shows and seeing artists that inspired me playing at house shows, doing things that are real and attainable — it was really inspiring.
E: Now that “Swear I’m Good at This” is just about out, what are your plans for the future? What can we expect from Diet Cig?
AL: I think we are going to tour the circuit. We’re really excited to get out there and play these new songs for people. There are people who have been waiting this whole time for us to release a proper record. We’re really stoked to go and tour the whole world, share our music with everyone and create a safe, fun space for everyone to enjoy our music at our shows, so, hopefully, just getting to meet everyone. It’s exciting to feel that community that’s around what we are doing, but in real life. A real goal of ours is to just keep touring as much as possible.
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