Los Angeles duo of composers Ryan Merchant and Sebu Simonian initially met on craigslist in 2008 and worked as jingle writers until they formed the indie electro band Capital Cities in 2010. They released an EP independently in 2011 that included the song “Safe and Sound,” an upbeat mesh of synths and melody that spread like wildfire across the Internet.
When they discovered through social media that an alternative radio station in Peru began to play the song, they connected with fans from Lima and organized tours in South America.
Encouraged by the experience, the band self-funded a promotional campaign and got on the radio in the states. Soon after, the music industry and the rest of the world took notice. Capitol Records signed the band’s indie label Lazy Hooks and released Capital Cities’ debut album, “In A Tidal Wave of Mystery,” in June 2013.
“Safe and Sound” went multi-Platinum in the U.S., Canada, Germany, Mexico, and others, and shot to the top of numerous international charts, including number one on alternative radio in the U.S. and number eight on the Billboard Hot 100. The music video, a celebratory mash-up of dancing from various eras and cultures, received a VMA and a Grammy nomination.
The band has played in front of hundreds of thousands of fans on four continents. Merchant and Simonian are joined by bassist Manny Quintero, trumpeter Spencer Ludwig, guitarist Nick Merwin, and drummer Aaron Prather.