Baltimore-based band Super City is premiering a new music video today via DittyTV for its 2019 single release “Greek,” a song with the yearning characteristics of Roy Orbison and the styled tightness of David Byrne. “Greek” was composed during the Trump presidency, “at a time that felt particularly desperate and chaotic,” according to the band. “It’s a snapshot of the fear, the hate, the frustration, and an intense love for the person who is going through it with you. It’s a complicated and desperate song.”
The band took the DIY approach, conceptualizing and building the set themselves inside beloved Baltimore venue The Ottobar, where they filmed with Adam Priest. “The video is about being stuck in a small room and watching the world unfold through a screen. The band has been really important through the pandemic, and we think you can feel that in the video.” Learn more about Super City and check out the video below.
5 Questions with Super City by Sam Shansky
1) Could you give us a short history of Super City and describe the general creative mission of your band, which appears to be a very intentional project in everything from stage performance to sonic qualities?
Super City formed in 2013 just before Greg and Dan graduated from college. After being in separate bands and going to the same high school and university, Greg and Dan eventually began writing together. We recorded the first EP as a duo, hiring drummers Mike Gambone and Mike Kuhl to play on the tracks. Eventually Brian and Jon joined, and then Ian a few years later. The choreography and matching outfits happened over time. There were direct influences from Devo, Talking Heads, St. Vincent, The Spinners, and The Temptations. The guitar choreography happened organically. The music dictates where the choreography will go, especially since none of us are dancers.
2) As a Baltimore-based band, could you update us on what’s happening creatively in your city and what you’re currently most excited about?
There is so much in Baltimore! It’s really exciting to watch new artists emerge and start performing. John Tyler is organizing big shows and playing sick guitar in a lot of bands. Peach Face is playing at Firefly Music Festival this year, which is really exciting. Outcalls are working on new music that is going in a really great direction. Micah E. Wood just released an ABBA cover — and we just did an X-Ray Spex cover with Corynne Ostermann from Natural Velvet. $100 Girlfriend had a great video come out for their song “Paper”. Chiffon just came out with a new single this month! Also, The Ottobar let us film our videos as well as a livestream in the venue.
3) DittyTV is offering the World Premiere of your new video single, “Greek,” which you filmed at the height of quarantine at the above-mentioned Baltimore venue, The Ottobar. Could you tell us about the creative process of producing the video and share as much as you’re willing to about the meaning of the song?
“Greek” was written during the Trump presidency at a time that felt particularly desperate and chaotic. The people you are closest with became increasingly vital through those years. It’s a snapshot of the fear, the hate, the frustration, and an intense love for the person who is going through it with you. It’s a complicated and desperate song. The title is meant to give it a feeling of timelessness — like this happens in many eras and has to be fought every time. Most of the lyrics were written by Dan, Brian, and Greg while we were on tour right after Dan produced the backing track / recorded scratch vocals.
The video was conceptualized by Dan and Brian and the entire set was built by the band. The Ottobar was kind enough to let us use their space, even for the building process. Adam Priest shot and edited, and Dan directed. The video is about being stuck in a small room and watching the world unfold through a screen. The band has been really important through the pandemic, and we think you can feel that in the video.
4) A lot of the music you release is recorded at home and brought to a high level of arrangement and production before you take it into the studio to mix. Could you detail this recording process and tell us why this works well for you?
This particular song was recorded on Dan’s iPhone while on tour. We were driving in the Pacific Northwest when Dan produced the backing track. Guitar was recorded while we were stopped at an Airbnb in Crescent City. Vocals were recorded in the studio when we got back home and we added some finishing touches after that. Dan and Greg have recorded a lot this way, which is great for spontaneity and capturing the idea when it’s new. In a lot of our recordings, you’re hearing the moment or the period where we were most inspired.
5) Are there any causes that you’re committed to and would like to advocate for here?
Now is as important a time as ever to support Planned Parenthood.
Bonus: What’s next for Super City?
Super City has been recording and recording and recording — and we have a show at The Ottobar on November 20th!