Words: Kezia Cochrane
Photos: Emily Quirk
Diet Cig exude an infectious vitality. Bursting with equal bounds of playfulness and feisty attitude, their earnest and tenderly-defiant pop-punk has firmly established them as DIY stalwarts and earned them a reputation for energetic live shows. With the re-release of their Over Easy EP on limited edition egg vinyl last month, they both express how much of a surprise the reception has been.
“We recorded this just to have a record in the world and the idea of it being repressed on vinyl now two years later is pretty exciting and crazy,” drummer Noah Bowman says. Guitarist and vocalist Alex Luciano adds, “we had no idea that people would care about these songs we had kind of just thrown together one summer and it feels really cool that people still care about it so much.”
As a band that has very much grown out of and been integral to DIY communities, their appreciation for the scene is apparent as they glowingly contemplate it. “It definitely gave us a great network to start” Bowman explains. “There’s a little bit more of a sense of community when you’re in a DIY band. You play a house show and it’s more intimate than just going to a bar or pub and playing that place and talking to the bartender who doesn’t know who you are; there’s just more to it. We are, I guess, moving out of the DIY scene with shows getting bigger and the way everything’s moving forward but we will always love and respect the DIY scene.”
“There’s a little bit more of a sense of community when you’re in a DIY band.”
Commenting on the evolution of this scene Luciano adds, “I feel like it’s become a larger community of artists who can rely on each other to help each other out. It’s been really special to be part of such a cool music community of people who want to help each other out and are there for emerging artists as well as established artists. I feel like we wouldn’t have had a lot of our success without that community we’re in.”
On the topic of this creative collectivity and the band’s consistently on-point merchandise, featuring a particularly snazzy Tuesday Bassen-designed satin jacket, Luciano says, “we really like to work with people who we like as friends and are excited to collaborate with and we like to work with women artists. It feels good to be able to lift each other up in any way we can and kind of create a community that merges music and art and design.”
“We wouldn’t have had a lot of our success without that community we’re in.”
In a similar vein, they gush about their label, the ever wonderful Father/Daughter Records, and how it was through Father/Daughter founder Jessi Frick that they got involved with the Bristol-based Art is Hard Records. “When we were putting out our split we told Jessi we wanted to work with a band in the UK and tour there,” Luciano explains. “She knew the Art Is Hard folks and we’ve become such good friends with them now as a result of it. It kind of just goes back to what I was saying before, how everyone helps each other and grows. I don’t think that we’d be where we are without all of the people surrounding us who are part of this smaller DIY community.”
Having released their debut full-length Swear I’m Good At This earlier in the year, they both ardently affirm how special it felt for them to be sharing these songs with an audience. “It was like yes, we’ve been working on this for so long and finally we get to let the world listen to it,” Bowman says. In terms of content, the record conveys intimate anecdotes that offer solace in their relatability, with Luciano describing it as “a personal record” for the band. “Especially with the lyrics,” she adds. “It was a lot of things that I don’t talk about that much but was able to put into our songs and just being able to put that out there and have people respond to it in a way like ‘I get you, this is something I’m going through too’. It was really special to feel, like, I’m not alone, and neither are these people and we have each other. It felt really cathartic and good to share.”
“Punk is including everyone and saying ‘fuck you’ to forces of oppression.”
Discussing the progressive shift toward inclusivity over the often-associated hostility within punk music Luciano inspiringly declares, “I think if you get to the bottom of it, punk is including everyone and saying ‘fuck you’ to forces of oppression through music and community-building. I think that idea of punk is really strong right now. The very misogynistic, aggressive side of punk is very much alive and well and that’s something as a femme artist you have to fight against,” she adds. “But at the same time there’s this new wave of reclaiming punk and making it feel like it’s for everyone.”
Undoubtedly it’s thanks to bands like Diet Cig and their unwavering positivity that this inclusive spirit is ever more prominent, proving just how connecting and powerful music can be.
Diet Cig’s debut album Swear I’m Good At This is out now via Father/Daughter records. They play Simple Things festival on 22nd Oct.