WORDS: MALVIKA PADIN

It’s 2017, and after a sweat drenched club show on the other side of the globe from their homeland, the duo – Alex Luciano and Noah Bowman – from upstate New York City were drenched in sweat, meeting fans with genuine enthusiasm and warm grins on the face. With a few pictures clicked, Diet Cig was left behind in that venue in Nottingham. Fast forward to present day, the duo, now based in West Virginia, have just finished making masks for frontline workers of the pandemic as volunteers at an art charity ; as we connect via Skype everything feels different yet incredibly familiar. 

“It boils down to looking inwards at yourself and reflecting on how far you’ve come…”

Having just dropped their second album Do You Wonder About Me?, Diet Cig are in an interesting phase of their career where they are not quite veterans but also no longer newbies. Suitably, this album also focuses on this in-between arc of Diet Cig. 

On the message of the album, Luciano says “  It boils down to looking inwards at yourself and reflecting on how far we’ve come as a band, and as people. We started this band when we were barely in our 20s, now we’re six years into this and still doing this ; we’ve gotten to go to all these places, meet amazing people and do so many things that feel unbelievable. This record is about taking a moment to look back at who we were before and trace it back to who we are now. Accepting our past, present selves and all the different versions of our existence, knowing that we’re all always evolving.” 

Elaborating on the organic sound they’ve created, they say “ We’ve taken the things we loved about out sound and pushed them further. For the vocals and lyrics, we added a lot of harmonies and melodic, catchy elements this time round, while still layering the storytelling, personal elements. We expanded beyond our duo bringing other people into our sound in terms of harmony and bass, to boost the elements that we hadn’t necessarily been able to focus on before.” 

“WRITING SOMETHING SO PERSONAL AND THEN PERFORMING IT IN FRONT OF A CROWD FEELS LIKE YOU’RE PART OF SOMETHING BIGGER…”

On personal favourite tracks from the album, Bowman says, “ My  current favourite is ‘Broken Body’. The verses I wrote with along with the harmonies just hits right.” Luciano’s favourite is ‘Stare Into The Sun’. She says,: I’ve been listening to it in my garden and feeling all the feels. It’s melancholy yet triumphant so  fits how I’m feeling in quarantine.” 

About sonic evolution she adds, “Our sound evolves a lot as we take it on the road. When we record an album, then we play it every single day for months our sound evolves based on the dynamics between us and the crowd – it goes from loud and powerful to intimate and emotional. When we played our last record on the road we recognised this dynamic, so we took it and applied it to this record. I’m interested to see how we can push that relationship between listeners and us as performers to make all these different feelings happen all at once. “ 

Touring is undoubtedly Diet Cig’s favourite part of the job. They say, “Writing something so personal and performing it in front of a crowd feels like you’re part of something bigger.” The quarantine has paused this, but Diet Cig perseveres, doing their best to connect with fans. Engaging with fans keeps them motivated during these tough times. 

They say, “At the moment we’re trying to engage with our fans online, to bring the album to them in a way that feels special even if we can’t be with them. We’ve had livestreams and a listening party; it’s been a fun challenge to get creative with how we engage with fans. The challenge actually keeps us motivated because we want to connect with the beautiful community we’ve built around our music.”  

“we want people to know they aren’t alone and that their feelings are valid.”

While happy to keep in touch with their fans online, the duo are itching to get back on the road, but this time as a quartet. Bowman reveals, “ Once we start touring again our plan is to do it as a four-piece. We’ve already added another member, Lucy who will be playing bass with us live. We want to bring people in who can fill the gaps in our sound and bring in the elements we’ve missed as a two-piece. We’ve loved doing it as a two-piece but we’re at that point in our career where we can other people, which is a fun and exciting thing.” Luciano, adds “Going forward as a four-piece it opens us up even more collaborative operations and  opportunities for varied sounds.”  

Inspired by each other and those around them, the duo have grown exponentially since the last time we crossed paths yet the image of genuine enthusiasm and warm smiles remain when they share what message they’d love for listeners to take away from their music ; “We’d want people to know they aren’t alone and that their feelings are valid. When we listen to our favourite music it makes us feel seen and heard, reminds us that people we love and look up to have gone through something similar to us so it’ll all be okay. We want our music to be that for someone else.” 

Diet Cig is rooted in reality while still living their dreams, leaving behind the echoing message that rock’n roll is for everybody! 

Do You Wonder About Me is out NOW via French Kiss Records

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