Indie Mixtape 20: Citizen Once Listened To ‘September’ By Earth, Wind, And Fire For Five Hours Straight

After storming onto the pop-punk and post-emo scenes in the early 2010’s, Toledo-based outfit Citizen have spent the last few years evolving and redefining themselves into a band that are more difficult to define. The band’s fourth full-length, Life In Your Glass World, feels like a culmination point for this evolution. Across the album’s eleven tracks, it is difficult to find one that sounds anything like the pop-punk that the band perfected on their earlier releases. Instead, the band’s new songs are influenced more by dance beats and auteurs of the new-wave era.

To celebrate the new album, frontman Mat Kerekes (who also has an incredibly impressive string of solo releases) sat down to talk being inspired by his brother and seeing Slipknot live in the latest Indie Mixtape 20 Q&A.

What are four words you would use to describe your music?

Loud, quiet, angry, sad.

It’s 2050 and the world hasn’t ended and people are still listening to your music. How would you like it to be remembered?

I think we do whatever we want musically and I think that’s a pretty cool thing. I would like us to be remembered by how we stay true to ourselves and that’s about it.

What’s your favorite city in the world to perform?


Who’s the person who has most inspired your work, and why?

My brother Chris. He get into music after me but he’s such an insanely talented songwriter that I feel like I have to keep up with him.

Where did you eat the best meal of your life?

One time we stopped in Las Vegas on tour and we splurged on the Caesars Buffet. I ate only crab legs for around three hours.. with breaks here and there of course.

What album do you know every word to?

Out Of The Vein by Third Eye Blind.

What was the best concert you’ve ever attended?

I saw Slipknot at DTE Energy and that was pretty awesome. The energy was crazy.

What is the best outfit for performing and why?

The best outfit is whatever you feel good in. I’ve been known to go onstage in sweatpants and what not and that makes me feel comfortable.

Who’s your favorite person to follow on Twitter and/or Instagram?

My girlfriend Shay because she’s beautiful and also hilarious. It’s a great combo.

What’s your most frequently played song in the van on tour?

One time I listened to “September” by Earth, Wind & Fire on repeat for five hours straight with only a short break from it to go into the gas station.

What’s the last thing you Googled?

Stimulant-free energy drink.

What album makes for the perfect gift?

Citizen – Life In Your Glass World, of course.

Where’s the weirdest place you’ve ever crashed while on tour?

Something that has haunted me for a while is… one time we stayed in a hotel next to a slaughterhouse and the screams throughout the night were very disturbing. It made me feel sad and disturbed.

What’s the story behind your first or favorite tattoo?

My first tattoo was a sailboat on my leg. I got it done in someone’s house when I was 15. I was really excited about it. Then I went to school and showed all of my friends and they told me it sucked and looks like sh*t. I then attempted to get it covered up with a really cool eagle which also ended up looking like sh*t.

What artists keep you from flipping the channel on the radio?

I have not listened to the radio in a really long time so I’m not sure. I listen to Spotify playlists that either I or my girlfriend make.

What’s the nicest thing anyone has ever done for you?

I guess it’s not really a one time thing but I do think it is pretty crazy the amount of support I or Citizen receives. The fact that people are excited about the things we do is really awesome and makes me feel really grateful.

What’s one piece of advice you’d go back in time to give to your 18-year-old self?

Relax, see things from perspectives other than your own and don’t be so selfish.

What’s the last show you went to?

I played a house show in Feb 2020 in Toledo right before COVID shut the world down.

What movie can you not resist watching when it’s on TV?

Forgetting Sarah Marshall! I love that movie.

What would you cook if Obama were coming to your house for dinner?

I would make the only thing I can make…. Cajun and red cayenne pepper stir fry. I hope he likes spicy things.

Life In Your Glass World is out March 26 via Run For Cover Records. Pre-order it here.