Taking his name from a passing visual reference in the Manga film Akira, Citizenn, has seen releases on labels including Knee Deep In Sound, W&O Street Tracks, Mobilee, &Friends, Kaluki, Do Not Sleep and ABODE, and his DJ travels have taken him all over the world, from big festivals such as Hideout in Croatia to the Techno legend that is Berghain.
His latest release lands on Saved this week. ‘Stay With Me’ is indicative of Citizenn’s unique sound, fusing together rolling percussion, moody melancholic vocals, dark and brooding synth lines all held together with an infectious bassline over ominous atmospherics, while Black Circle’s remix puts a different spin on the record bringing a more tribal feel to the track.
Ahead of its release, we caught up with Citizenn for a chat.
Hi C, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
Thanks for having me. I’ve been alright you know. Surviving the apocalypse and that. It’s crazy how creative and driven you can get when the world is burning around you.
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Stay With Me”?
I first sent an early version of this track to Kat a while back now. It had been a while since ‘d done a vocal number and I’m a sucker for those. I loved what she sent back and ended up taking the music somewhere completely different (vocalists I work with, I’m sorry I keep doing this, you just inspire me so much 😁😁).
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song
I made it just as I was vacating my last studio and decided to go through some unfinished projects in a folder entitled ‘ The Abyss’. It has quite an abrasive sound that I thought might work quite well in this context.
Any plans to release any sort of video for the track?
The video is in the works right now! Another abstract visual created in box. I’ve been playing around with different aspect ratios as most of the visual stuff I make now seems to be dictated by Instagrams generous 1080×1350 portrait resolution. Fingers crossed I finish before release day.
How was the recording and writing process?
Kat is an amazing songwriter and nailed it on the first go around. Her themes and cadence are my guilty pleasures made flesh. The track started out as more of a balaeric vibe with very minimal instrumentation. As I worked on it though I kept hearing this melody and played it in with a view to use it for something else and it just seemed to work for me. Deleted 90% of the track and lead with that abrasive synth composite.
How does anime and comics influences your writing?
I wouldn’t say they do. Aesthetically I love the Manga style and it was instrumental in developing this project visually from the beginning. A kind of nihilistic, detail rich symphony of ink on paper is a really good image when you’re 2 days deep in the sesh.
Does the new single mean we can expect a new material – how’s that coming along?
There’s a lot! Like I was saying, you can get really creative when you don’t know what tomorrow brings. My sleeping pattern has gone out of the window and I’m challenging myself to do more all the time. Not just in music either – I can’t remember the last time I was this excited about creating.
Any tentative release date or title in mind?
“How Stella got his groove back parts 1 -5” 2000 and late.
Any plans to hit the road?
I mean everything seems to be cancelled! I’m just watching this space. I have a few things pencilled in for next year but it seems as though my priorities have shifted and I’d rather venture out once things have calmed down a bit. For now this is perfect, creating without distractions, missed flights or weekend binges! It’s like enlightenment through scarcity.
What else is happening next in Citizenn’s world?
Reuniting with a few of my old collaborators for a new audio visual project and lots of video and still work for various things in the pipeline. The world looks an awful lot different but I’m hanging in there with a grateful smile.