New York’s Diet Cig have literally just finished a chaotic set, the sweat is dripping off guitarist / vocalist Alex Luciano who is still stood centre stage looking puzzled about what she’s supposed to do next. Leaving the stage doesn’t seem to be a preferable option and after the performance Glasgow’s Broadcast has just witnessed it’s easy to see why. Alex seems to be born for the spotlight. She constantly bounds and bounces on (and off) the stage like a maniac; I’m sure the only thing stopping her from having choreographed dance routines is the inconvenience of having to play guitar and sing.
Rewind three hours and I’m introducing myself to both Alex and Noah Bowman, the duo that formed Diet Cig, and I don’t get any clues about the whirlwind performance that’s coming later. That’s not to say they’re shrinking violets by any means, they’re both very pleasant, polite and seem genuinely pleased to be answering my questions. “It’s just been really amazing and really weird, like we can’t believe we’re in the UK but here we are,” boasts Alex when I ask how it feels to be playing their first shows in Europe not much more than a year since they started the band properly. Noah seems amused about the US/UK differences, “Everything over here is the wrong way round, you drive on the other side, what’s that?” Alex continues with the most immediate benefit, “I’m allowed to drink over here cos I’m 20 and back home it’s 21 so we’ve been having crazy dance parties. We’ve also done the touristy stuff, photos at Buckingham Palace, waving to the Queen, stuff to show folks at home.” They also seem to be on a constant search for Gordon Ramsay, I explain he used to play football (“you mean soccer?”) for one of Glasgow’s big two clubs, “Aww man, that makes him even more awesome.”
To say Diet Cig’s rise has been quick is a serious understatement. An EP, a single and a US Tour has generated far more gushing PR than many bands will get in a lifetime. I ask if they feel that all the attention has put a lot of pressure on their young shoulders, Noah takes this up, “The way it’s happened is that we maybe felt pressure at first. We never knew a lot of people would hear these songs but now it’s just really exciting for us. We’ve now got the chance to take a bit more time and put more thought into the songs.” Alex continues, “So it was kinda stressful for a bit, that immediate expectation brought a little pressure and since I always felt that I don’t really know what I’m doing… but we don’t feel that now, we’ve been really, really lucky and now we can’t wait to share this stuff with people.”
At Overblown we’ve got an ongoing love affair with Father/Daughter Records who released Diet Cig’s debut EP Over Easy. I ask about how that relationship came about. Noah explains “So we recorded the songs at Salvation Sound studios (in their home town of New Paltz) and Dean from Quarterbacks helped by getting the tape out to Jesse Frick (who runs the label). It just must’ve instantly clicked with her and she was so helpful and enthusiastic. I guess we’ve got a lot to thank Dean for, it was him that started all this.” Alex tells me “Jesse is amazing, we’re so grateful and now she’s our manager and everything.”
I wonder how they’re getting on with getting new songs together, how do they find writing as a team? Are they feeling prolific? “The writing has been cool,” says Alex. “I don’t really know the technical side of music at all and that used to be a bit tricky when i didn’t know what Noah was going on about or I was like Noah, play the bit that goes Bam Bam Bam (she’s air drumming) but now we sorta cracked it and we’re just working together really well.” Noah agrees, “We’ve loads of new songs and everything’s just much better than the stuff we’ve had before and we just want everyone to hear them. There’s three of the new songs in tonight’s set, we love playing them.”
So what’s the plan for the year ahead? “ Once we’re home we’ve got another tour of the US, mostly across the South with Bully which will be cool and then we’ll be doing a lot of recording” says Noah. “The record should be out by the end of the year, actually we hope it’ll be out way before the end of the year,” adds Alex. I ask if the next record will be on Father/Daughter again and there’s a bit of an awkward silence, “Umm we kinda can’t say much,” they both mutter before Noah explains a bit further, “No, we’ve actually got a new deal and it’s pretty amazing but we can’t tell you what label it is yet.” Alex adds “It’s so exciting, pretty amazing for us, we’ll be able to tell people soon.”
The sound of loud bass from the venue below starts shaking the floor and we wrap things up by talking about the current short UK tour with new Leeds band Bruising, a band who’ve been around for even less time than Diet Cig but have made an instant good impression. “Bruising are just so amazing, they’re so cool and they’ve been so nice to us,” beams Alex. “Last night was the first time we’ve seen them and they blew us away,” continues Noah, “We’re so excited to see them tonight.”
I am too so we say our goodbyes and good lucks and I make my way down to watch the show somewhat unprepared for what’s to follow. Their live show is wild. Noah’s batters the life out of his drums but it’s Alex that’s firmly in the spotlight. They want to start with a dance party but their Taylor Swift tape isn’t working. No matter, they rattle through all seven released songs and the aforementioned three new ones. It’s an indie punk racket for sure, every song seems anthemic and they tear through each one like they’re fully aware of their good fortune and the only way they can justify their luck is to put their heart and soul into every note. Alex talks non-stop between songs, laughing, telling stories and generally talking any amusing nonsense. I swear one of the new songs is about 16 year old Alex dating a guy who had the same name as her and how weird it was to scream his name when they would fuck. No shortage of quotable lyrics there then. Diet Cig are seriously fun and super excited to be here. Time will tell how much substance there is behind their music but whatever the outcome, it’s going to be a thrilling watch.