Edited by Lester Brathwaite on
January is music month over at our sister site — and occasional spooning buddy — LOOKBOOKS.com. Editrix-in-chief Cator Sparks spoke with the super artsy The Citizens Band, who counts among its impressive numbers supermodel Karen Elson. Click through for a snippet of the interview!
The Citizens Band is a magical musical group of wide-eyed bandits that I wish ruled the airwaves and the dance floors more than the pop racket we hear so much of. Their look may hearken back to Vaudevillian escapades and Weimar Republic wackiness but if you listen to their lyrics, it’s all very much of the moment politically and culturally. I sat down with two of the band’s founding members, Sarah Sophie Flicker and Mark McAdam, to hear how they got their start, how Karen Elson became involved and where in the world they find those KitKat Klub clothes.
When did the band start?
Sarah Sophie Flicker: We started in 2004 in response to the second Bush administration. We tried out the idea of a band a while ago in Los Angeles and they weren’t very receptive of it.
Ha. The Kardashians aren’t very political I guess. Are you?
SSF: I like to think so. My husband and I have been a part of a political organization to campaign for Democrats in swing states for a while.
I am excited about what is happening now. People feel their voices can be heard. Unfortunately a lot of us are really disappointed with Obama’s run so we have to keep voting.
How did the first show come about?
SSF: I am also a filmmaker and Jeffrey Deitch asked me to screen one of my pieces at his old Williamsburg location. I knew they had high ceilings and an amazing space so we decided to give the band a shot.
Mark McAdam: But that was more of a variety show and it went on for three hours! Billy Corgan even got up and sang.
SSF: Deitch really fell in love with the band and we ended up on his artist roster. We had 3-4 shows at his gallery. I love artists’ collaborations. The more people you can pull in from different disciplines the better.
Lets talk the fashions. Where do you find your costumes?
SSF: I grew up in the Bay area and used to go to The Wasteland vintage shop after ballet class and this girl Jorjee was working there. I always wanted to be her. I made her become my friend and she has an amazing esthetic. She grew up with Zaldy and Sophie LaMar and all those cool kids. She is now one of my closest friends and a main member of the band. She is also a super makeup artist.
Back then we would just get everything from showgirl outfits to lingerie and Victorian dresses. So I have always collected those things. Once Karen came into the mix we became obsessed with collecting more.
How did Karen Elson get involved?
SSF: She is one of my close friends and she has always been a singer but she was very shy. I remember at one of the first shows we had to drag Karen on stage and then we couldn’t get her off! It’s been amazing to watch her evolve as an artist. And she worked with a lot of us for her own album.
What is next for the band?
SSF: It’s a big political year for obvious reasons. We want to make a big show that makes apathy the enemy. Just with what is happening on the streets and the Occupations, I feel an electricity that I haven’t felt in my lifetime and it is something I am nostalgic for. I am excited about the focus and that the dialogue is changing. Our goal is to perform a lot, and also to do something beautiful and inspiring.
To read the rest, visit LOOKBOOKS.com!