An Interview with Citizen Zero
>> Loud, edgy and straight-ahead rock and roll is how the four members of the band Citizen Zero describe their sound. These Detroit-based rockers, currently on tour with Steel Panther, sat down with Floated to talk about their sound, influences and life on tour.
When asked about the formation of their band and details of how they came up in the music industry one thing was very clear: Citizen Zero is and always has been committed to making a career out of music. The band formed after a mutual friend introduced the members, and the rest is history. The guys feel they clicked really well from the beginning, and shared that even some of the first songs they wrote together back in 2010 made it on the band’s current album.
When asked about what dream jobs they all had growing up, the entire band agreed that none of them have every really wanted to do anything but make music and that, while being in the music business has it’s downsides, it’s pretty amazing to them that they get to do exactly what they’ve always wanted to do for a living.
On the topic of their sound, the band cited “straight-ahead rock and roll” as their primary descriptor, but said they expect their sound to grow and evolve as time goes on. The laid back group of guys agreed that their sound evolves with whatever music they’re all listening to at the moment, and that ideas and genres are always being bounced off of one another. The band also agreed that they like their sound to evolve from album to album, and feel that it happens naturally. While they’ll always have recognizable elements to their music, they said that none of their albums will ever sound exactly like their previous stuff.
If you have a shitty band with a Soundcloud, you should slide into Citizen Zero’s DM’s. They probably want to listen to your music. The guys said they’re always looking to draw influences for their own music from other bands and artists, and while they cited Kings of Leon, The Killers, Stone Temple Pilots and Death Cab (For Cutie) as favorites, they also mentioned that they love listening to undiscovered bands they get sent over social media while they’re on the road.
Speaking of life on tour, the Floated team wanted to get to the bottom of what tour life is really like. It seems like all bands on tour do is travel the country, party, drink, play a little music, party some more and then pass out on a luxury tour bus to sleep a little and do the same thing the next day. Citizen Zero confirmed that, yeah, they do get to do all that and that while it’s rad as fuck it’s also a whole lot of work.
“It’s a lot of late nights and early mornings. You’re also constantly surrounded by people and noise,” said the band, “and when you think about it, there’s really only about 45 minutes every night when we’re playing music. Of everything we do on tour we play music the least, which is strange because that’s the whole reason why we’re here in the first place.”
They all agreed that the positives of being on tour far outweigh the negative aspects. The band members said that some highlights of touring included meeting tons of new people, playing shows at larger venues than they ever have before and getting to travel the country.
“We’ve done the drive across the country so many times.,” the guys said, “We know so many people who are in their “big kid jobs” after college and all they talk about is wanting to travel. We’ve camped in Yosemite, we’ve been through Banff and gone to Joshua tree. We get to do this all the time for our job.”
Although they agreed that being on the road was one of the best parts of touring, the band said that the most inspiring places they’d traveled to were determined by the shows they got to play in each location. They cited House of Blues in both Boston and Chicago but agreed that playing The Whiskey in Los Angeles was a high point. “We were standing in The Whiskey in L.A. and there was kind of a surreal moment,” the guys said, “there’s this picture in the corner of Eric Clapton standing with Jimi Hendrix and then you realize that the picture was taken in the corner it’s hanging in and that it’s in the venue you’re about to play in. It’s crazy.”
The general consensus from the band was that the best part of the tour they’re on right now with Steel Panther is the exposure they’re getting. On this tour, they’re playing larger venues than they ever have before and are getting to collaborate with “professional-ass people who have been doing this for a long time.”
The guys had been Steel Panther fans long before the opportunity to tour with them presented itself, and admired their ability to put on an awesome show immediately after seeing them on the main stage at Rock on the Range in 2016. When their agent reached out and asked if they wanted to tour with Steel Panther they jumped at the opportunity.
“It’s crazy dude,” the guys said of getting to tour with Steel Panther, “everyone says you can make it on your own, which is totally possible, but to do it well I think takes a team of people. Our agent brought us the opportunity to be a part of this tour and we were like, ‘yup, absolutely.’ When we were asked to play with them it was a no brainer.”
The band expressed gratitude to their whole team who was helping to make touring possible for them and helping them to grow steadily and gain popularity, but Floated wanted to know if they had anything to say to their fans.
“Seriously, thank you,” said the guys, “the responses that we’ve gotten from our fans have been so freaking amazing.” <<