Citizen: “This is the record we’ve been waiting to make, it really feels like an accomplishment”

Citizen: “This is the record we’ve been waiting to make, it really feels like an accomplishment”

By Will Whitby

Oct 7, 2017 12:41

“Life for Citizen is great,” guitarist Nick Hamm told Punktastic before his Manchester date on the first show of the ‘As You Please’ album cycle. The Citizen guitarist discussed their “best album yet,” finding purpose outside the band and his fondness for Nandos.

“I’m very excited for this, I can’t wait as we’ve been sitting on this for a long time” Hamm eagerly said. The Ohio emo quintet released their third album ‘As You Please’ via Run For Cover Records on 6th October. It sees them change their sound yet again since 2013’s angsty debut ‘Youth’ and their soul-searching sophomore ‘Everybody Is Going To Heaven.’

Maturing from their younger selves ‘As You Please’ exploits the seven years of experience to purvey inescapable strife in more versatile ways. The jarring and visceral intensity of the first two albums is still present but around that is a band maturing and exploring their own ability in new techniques. Sonic vocal modulations in their second single ‘In The Middle Of It All’ showcases a band pushing the boundaries of playing it safe in an emo scene that has plateaued in recent months.

The massive hooks and choruses that grab fans remain and none more so than in album opener and first single ‘Jet’.’ It opened the show at Manchester’s Deaf Institute to the strongest reception of the night. Considering the short time this track has been out, the reaction of the crowd and the way Citizen played it blew both me and frontman, Mat Kerekes, away.

“Jet specifically went down really well and it has done better than anyone in the band could imagine. It’s nice seeing people ease back into Citizen after releasing such a different record last time round” Hamm said about.


Hamm revealed the attention to detail and longer time ‘As You Please’ took to record, compared to their first two albums. “We were in the studio for such a long time, we were there for over a month and a half.”

Working with the “go-to guy” in producing emo albums, Will Yip, the band entered with 16 songs, tracked 14 and put 12 onto the final product. “We had a lot of time and we were really prepared to just mess around and do different things. It was a really good time” Hamm continued to open up about his friendship and respect for Yip:

“I’ve known Will Yip since high school and he works within a great circle of bands (Tigers Jaw, Title Fight, Wonder Years, Turnover.) But he is everybody’s friend first and recording partner second so it was a no-brainer and it was business as usual.”

Adding mixer Ken Andrews into the project, later on, gave the band “such a solid team around them to execute the good job” Hamm added.

The band relentlessly toured their first two albums traveling the world with a growing position as one of modern emo’s hotshots. But the constant travel and at times demanding lifestyle is something that Hamm has learned to see the positives in as of late: “the past two years has taught me that there is a lot more to life than just being in a band. At one point it was all I wanted to do and I really put everything into it and I still do.”

“In recent years I’ve learned however that there is a lot more that makes me happy and inspires me. I’ve learned to actually enjoy my free time, I love the outside.”



Embracing his free time and maturing from their debut 18 year old selves “the new Citizen record is still very Citizen, it is just communicated in a different way. This is the record we’ve been waiting to make, it really feels like an accomplishment” Hamm eagerly discussed in the bunk bedroom of the Deaf Institute.

“’Youth’ was a great album and it changed my life completely. I’m thankful for it all but it was also 18 and 19 year old me on the record.” Maturing through to their early 20s the band found it easy to see past their late teen ways as it “wouldn’t be honest to continue that kind of sound on the new record as it isn’t who we are any more” Hamm confirmed.

With ‘As You Please’ it is Citizen coming into their own sound. A sound that has been worked hard on by a band pushing emo into the forefront and bridging the gap between teen angst and alternative rock.

“It feels like a triumph. This album is the best, absolutely, I really think it smokes the other two records” Hamm boldly claimed. “Both of them are really special to me so it actually means something. We’re better performers, we’re better writers, we’re better musicians, we’re better than ever” he finalised.

As the interviewed tailed off Hamm confessed his love for Nandos and how they shared a flight with A$AP Rocky and Geordie Shore, as he began to eat a cucumber which had been present throughout the interview.

The teen angst and bitter ferocity is still present in ‘As You Please’ but it states itself as one of 2017’s best. Here are a band doing what they want to do musically and within themselves and it’s just so refreshing it shows what emo in 2017 strives to be.


As You Please is out now via Run For Cover Records.