New Sound From New City

Toronto-based trio New City is a new band with classic rockstar appeal. They have been making major waves with their recent singles like “Dirty Secrets”, “Coachella”, and their most recent record “Getting Closer”. I had the pleasure of speaking with Adrian Mitchell (vocalist), the day before their performance at the Festival D’été de Quebec, which had them sharing the same stage as Shawn Mendes. We spoke on how he, Jed Webster (Guitar) and Nathan Brown (Drums) met, their go-to summer fashion pieces, being signed to legendary producer Timbaland, and much more. I began by asking them about the inescapable heatwave in Montreal at the time.

Interview By Akeem Johnson-Pierre

 images courtesy of umusic

images courtesy of umusic

So how are you guys enjoying the Montreal weather?

Adrian: We’re enjoying it man. We were just talking about how hot it was because we are off to L.A. in three days or so. It's 47 there but here... like 33 people died! It’s ridiculous!
 

How excited are guys to perform tomorrow?

Adrian: Aww dude we’re ecstatic! We just wanna get to the hotel, hang out and rehearse. We’ve been waiting to play a festival, this is actually our first one so we’re excited.
 

So you guys are performing on the same stage as Shawn Mendes at the Festival d'été de Quebec?

Adrian: Same day yea.

Do you all have a survival guide for getting through festivals in one piece?

Adrian: We rehearse the hell out of the set obviously. We prep ourselves for the stage there. We try to eat really healthy, exercise. And keep each other mentally focused throughout the weeks and the days before the festival. Yea, I think it’s pretty standard for bands.

You guys made a song called Coachella since this is your first festival performance, you haven’t actually gotten to play there yet right?

Adrian: No we haven’t been to Coachella yet but it’s in the works yea. we ‘ve never been ourselves, but we think we need to end up there or play it, we'd love to play it!

Awesome man, I hope to see you guys perform there soon!

Adrian: Thanks man.

At this point in our conversation, Adrian asked me how I felt about their video “Getting Closer”. I went on to say that I am a big fan of the video. I also told him that RnB is, in fact, my favorite genre, but that their  EDM vibe mixed with the boy band aesthetic and their interesting take on production was something I can sink my teeth into. We went on to talk about Nathan’s drum programming method.

So I saw that you guys actually program drum?

Adrian: Yea so [ Nathan]  programs them as well. He has an SPD-S and he also has a Push and he runs it all through Ableton. Good eye man!

Does he use it on stage as well?

Adrian: He uses his SPD-S on stage and plugs in the drum sounds he wants. It’s a cool set up.

So it’s probably with all these cool production techniques that lead to Timberland discovering you guys.

Adrian: Actually we were at the Coachella music video shoot just chilling out and our manager walked up to us and said “Hey! Timberland really fucks with your music” Nothing was out yet cuz we were just making music videos so it all just started right before the music came out. Yea, he got involved with us cuz he really likes our style and everything we were doing.

Do you guys feel any pressure to change your style after getting signed to a legend like that?

Adrian: No man! The way we looked at it is he liked what we were doing and wanted to build something with us and keep the New City soul in it. He’s been really great about it.

Have you guys been in the studio with him yet?

Adrian: Yea man we’ve been in the studio and we are gonna finish up some music when we go see him in two days after this festival. We’re very eager to make some music.

I continued to tell him that it’s been great to see what Timbaland has done with artist like Nelly Furtado and OneRepublic.



Adrian: OneRepublic! Yea man he did Apologize. That shit was a hit!

Yea man I can’t wait to see what you guys do with him.

Adrian: Thank you. I can’t wait to show people.

So how did you guys come up with the name?

Adrian: That’s a good question. “New” and “City” were always getting thrown around and we weren't sure how we were going to put them together. But we really liked those two names. I think one of us just threw a text and was like “Yo! What about New City?” and then everyone was like “hmm. I like that”. New City kind of developed its own meaning throughout the band because as the band started in the studio basement, it took us to every new city we’ve been to, and we all kind of met in a new city cuz we’re all from different cities and now reside in Toronto. [ Jed and Nathan] are from New Brunswick and I’m from Orillia just north of Barrie. We moved to Toronto to do this new music. New City made itself through all this.

There’s actually a venue called New City Gas in Montreal.

Adrian: That’s one of the places? We have to check it out and take a picture in front of it!

You guys are pretty stylish, do you come up with your own outfits or do you work with a stylist?

Adrian: We’ve worked with stylists for the music videos and stuff like that but we love to put on pieces, we go thrifting. There’s also some Toronto brands we rep too.  Kollar, we’ve worked with them as well. We like to thrift we like to buy things and we like to keep up with whatever is trending to.

Do you have any go-to summer fashion pieces?

Adrian: Go-to fashion pieces? Jed’s rocking the Converse, those are always a go-to.  We mix it up man. Sometimes we will rock a jersey or we’ll throw on some old kicks and stuff like that. It’s really changed, man. We all used to like different styles and now it kind of all turned into a New City Style. We all have our own little thing but it all came together quite nicely.

If you had to pick one brand to rock for the rest of the year, what would it be?

Adrian: hmm... I would say for Jed it would be Off-White. For myself it would be Alexander Wang...but I also Fuck with Nike too.

We went to speak about Virgil Abloh and his move to Louis Vuitton.

 

Adrian: Yea we’ve been talking about the collab, It’s fucking sick.

You mentioned being from different cities. How do you guys know each other?

Adrian: We actually met three years ago at a downtown party in Toronto. It was through a mutual friend who did music. And we knew of each other's music through Email. We linked up at a party and from the first time we got to talk I was like “ Hey man, I did some of the music you’ve been doing and we like the same to of music as well” So the next day I went up the subway into their basement studio and made records every day.

So ever since then, you guys have been making music together?

Adrian: Yea man for three years, we didn't know each other before. Music brought us together.

So I'm sure in three years you guys have clashed heads while working?

Adrian: There’s definitely been some musical difference sometimes, but that makes the best music. If we ever do, we try to stay open-minded, see where that person is coming from. New City is way more into understanding than judging. If there is any conflict, we squash it right then and there.

What makes you guys different from the other bands out right now?

Adrian: I think New City is doing things differently in a sense that the “electronicness” in our music and all the different sounds that we’re bringing together from rock to RnB to pop to electronic music, is just a party that I don’t think anyone is bringing right now.
 

Adrian and I ended the conversation by confirming New City’s debut EP coming out this summer. He went on to say that the same party vibes the band is known will be present on their forthcoming tracks. Nathan gave a quick shout out from the hotel room  to all their fans “We love you and there’s more everything on the way!” There's no doubt New City has the makings of a great band. With their blend of Rock, R&B, and EDM sounds, the band has something for everyone. Don't take it from me, take it from Timbaland, the legend who took these guys under his wing. The band just released a remix pack for their anthemic summer smash last Friday.  In collaboration with fellow producers; Watson, BEAUZ and Highland Grove each of the remixes reimagines the song through various lenses. The remix package includes a dance mix, a tropical house interpretation, a chill wave blend and the band’s own vibey acoustic version. You can listen to the remixes here.