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RGM INTRODUCING – WE INTERVIEW AUSTRALIAN DUO CIGARILLO

Hiya folks thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, grab a brew and take a seat.

What made you decide that music is a thing for you?

We both came of age in the era of Top of the Pops, where bands could blow millions of minds on the same night. That’s been lost somewhere, but the gain is that literally, anyone can be a pop star now. It doesn’t matter if you have 5 fans or 5,000,000. You can sneak bizarre thoughts and perspectives into people’s heads with nothing more than a catchy tune, a laptop, and a phone. We want to give people a new take on everyday life, and have them dancing at the same time. 

Introduce us to all to the members and your musical history.

We are Marc Garnett and Ben White, two musicians who live on opposite sides of the world. We went to school together in the UK, then Marc relocated to Australia. The genius of the modern world is that we can record over the web, so we decided to start making records that we’d have loved in our school days, but brought up to date. We generally channel post punk and Britpop sounds, but have everything from string-driven chamber pop to grunge in there somewhere.

The music industry is the hardest industry in the world to progress in, How do you feel you are doing?

We’re just loving it. We both have a long history of playing and touring in other bands, but we’re having so much fun with Cigarillo. We’re steadily building a fanbase of people who get it- the typical Cigarillo fan loves Pulp, hides behind a protective wall of irony, reads a lot of books, drinks more than they should and thinks too much about everything. We actually think the industry is pretty healthy – there is an incredible scene for new bands on Twitter.  

We set up RGM USA and many other countries in the world ( Now Including RGM Australia) to share music with America and the UK, good idea?

Brilliant idea! Good tunes know no boundaries. 

Do you sign up to any conspiracy theories? 

Lots:

  • Yuri Gagarin wasn’t the first man in space; he was just the first man to come back alive.
  • The Kardashian sisters keep their brother chubby so they can use his fat for their injections.
  • King Charles is a prolific prank caller and goes by the pseudonym “Frank Garrett” when making these crude calls. He calls people around the world and cusses them out using a southern drawl. There are tons of these calls people have recorded and posted on YouTube…if you ever receive a call from a “Frank Garrett” who makes no sense and repeatedly cusses you out, there is a good chance it is in fact, King Charles.
  • All VPN services are compromised and the government is tracking our online activity through them.
  • The Weathergirl’s “It’s Raining Men” and Drowning Pool’s “Let the Bodies Hit the Floor” are two viewpoints of the same event.
  • Justin Trudeau, prime minister of Canada, is actually the son of Fidel Castro.
  • All of the existence spawned into being last Thursday exactly as it is, including what you believe to be memories.
  • Bigfoot is real, he’s just naturally blurry which is why it’s impossible to get a good photo of him.
  • Governments make up a large number of conspiracy theories and exaggerate real stories to make them less believable and muddy the waters of what’s real and fake.
  • Rocks are soft until you touch them.

Let’s share the love, what bands are doing really well in your Town / City?

Adelaide has so many great bands right now. Them Creepy Crawlies, Mode, Dangerman and Fuselage are probably our favourites, plus Electric Park who Marc produces for End of the Pier Records. 

Since the pandemic, Ben hasn’t gotten out to as many gigs in Brighton as he’d have liked, but he went to see Speak Galactic recently, who was wonderful. Tigercub’s last album was also amazing.



What advice would you give other artists starting out?

Don’t get lost in rabbit holes trying to produce music on your own. Get out there, help people on the scene in your hometown, and learn from everyone you can. Don’t be competitive – every band is good in its own way. Be the friendliest person at every gig you can get to. Learn how to play the guitar well enough to write a song, but no better.

Did you buy anything you don’t need during the pandemic?

Marc bought an entire recording studio! He swears blind that he needs it, but he probably bought too many obscure EQ units and mixing desks. 

Ben bought a MIDI guitar in order to play drums by tapping on the fretboard, but has mostly used it to make an awful noise, like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=epmZMSyRTUQ

What was the worst experience on stage?

Marc once did a gig with a band that plays to a backing track, and in those days an IPOD seemed like a good option. Sadly, it forgot the track names seconds before going on stage, so the band played most songs to the wrong drum beats. Strangely, it worked pretty well in the end, but it was the scariest gig ever.

Tell us something about each member that you think people would be surprised about.

Marc once flooded a hotel room in France by leaving the shower on for too long. When he went down to breakfast, it was raining in the restaurant and everyone had soggy baguettes.

Ben’s cat used to enjoy having a balloon rubbed on its back before sniffing a radiator. The static discharge produced a short-lived feline high.

If you had to describe your band/music to an alien how would you describe it?

Britpop from Mars.

What makes you stand out as a band/artist?

Clever/amusing lyrics, and we spend ages making the tunes as catchy as possible. We also really sound like we’re having fun because we are.

I hear you have new music, what can you tell us about it.

Bacon and Eggs is our fifth single, released on October 21st on Adelaide label End of the Pier Records. A touching ode to parenthood, the song revels in the chaos of a new arrival with a deft touch of kitchen sink realism. 

Included in the digital single release are two bonus tracks, the first being a squonky dance remix by Brighton electronic artist (and Cigarillo member) The Organ Grinder’s Monkey. The second is a revelatory cover of Taylor Swift’s Shake It Off, which reimagines the casual complaints of a multimillionaire as a heartfelt cry for help from an alcoholic in the grip of delirium tremens. Impressively, it does this without changing the words.

Talk me through the thought process of the new tune/s.

When Marc’s second son was born, he ate Bacon and Eggs every day for a week between hospital visits. The song grew out of that, and tries to capture the joyful chaos of a new arrival. We think there aren’t enough songs for Dads that aren’t mawkish and sentimental, so tried to write one that was more real.

What was the recording process like?

Cigarillo records are complicated to make. A song is initiated by Marc or Ben, then flung to the other side of the world for overdubs, then it sounds totally different when it comes back again! We remember this one being relatively straightforward – lots of grungy, 90s guitars and some amazing wonky solo work from Ben. 

What was the biggest learning curve in writing the new tunes?

We produced ourselves on the record and slowly got better at working quickly to keep a fresh perspective on the material. The worst thing you can do is work things over so much that you can’t hear them anymore.

Would you change anything now it’s finished?

No, it’s done!

Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?

Bacon and Eggs is the final taster from our debut album Deodorant, released on November 18th digitally and on CD.  The album was produced by us in England and Australia, and mastered by Pete Maher (U2, The Killers, Pixies, Katy Perry).

Presave HERE

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