At DIY, we love finding people who are just as passionate about new music and giving artists a platform as we are. So, when we first chatted to New York blog-cum-promoter Alt Citizen, it seemed like a no-brainer to team up and do something exciting over in The Big Apple.
Having documented and helped shape the city’s scene for nearly a decade, founder Nasa Hadizadeh is undeniably one of NY’s most clued-up tastemakers. Regularly working with Cult Records and Strokes mainman Julian Casablancas, as far as credible backers go, hers are about as good as it gets.
We’ll be collaborating for a new, regular series of DIY x Alt Citizen nights at new venue The Broadway, with the first one launching in mere days (20 June to be precise) featuring Computer Magic, The Muckers and Nissa. Ahead of the show, get to know Alt Citizen a bit more, and then hotfoot it down to Brooklyn for an unmissable night of exciting new music.
Hey, Nasa! Tell us a bit about the concept of Alt Citizen.
Alt Citizen started in 2010 and we would cover live music and things to do around the town, creating this hub of interviews and reviews and this place that captures and documents New York City underground culture. All of our contributors are local artists and writers, so it’s a nice forum of what’s going on in the city. We had a gallery for a year, we’ve toured the country in a school bus doing showcases all over America and now we feel like New York City is really our place and every local band knows us.
Was there a gap in the media at the time that you felt needed filling?
I was always into Brooklyn Vegan and a lot of blogs that are no longer in existence like Hipster Run-Off and Brooklyn Mag. But they all felt a bit out of touch and it was more about the business of everyone’s work, whereas I thought it would be cool to focus more on the creativity and art behind it all and have it be in a more cosy environment. Our blog background colour is pink, and I like the softer approach of talking about music without taking away the actual journalism and criticism when necessary. Before it felt like the press talking to people, and with Alt Citizen it feels like the people talking to people.
How would you describe the ethos behind what you do?
We shine a light on up-and-coming artists before most people do, and we put a lot of artists on other people’s radar so they can get behind and support them. We definitely bridge that gap between the industry and local people that just want to support good music. Community is so important to us and I think that’s a thing we’ve been able to foster very well over the years. There’s a certain vibe at an Alt Citizen showcase which I think feels really good. No-one’s making the big bucks, everyone’s there because it’s a labour of love. It’s a family vibe. We just cover what’s inspiring us, and I feel like we’re really close to the pulse and we’re reporting from right in there.
You’re also really involved with Julian Casablancas and his label Cult Records…
For our last zine, Issue Seven, Julian interviewed The Voidz himself because he wanted to communicate the idea and message of his band and he thought Alt Citizen was a cool place to give this intimate interview to. We’ve also done Cult Citizen, which is a collaborative showcase between Alt Citizen and Cult Records, for over two years now in New York City and we’ve had an official showcase at SXSW and we’re now taking it to LA.
And now the first DIY x Alt Citizen show is happening! Why did you pick these bands for the debut night?
The Muckers are a really exciting band and the story of Amir coming to America to make the band happen is really inspiring. They’re great live and they’ve got all these plans for the next year, and they’re the perfect group for this show.
Nyssa is an artist that Julian introduced me to. I was booking the tour for The Voidz last year, and for each one I’d book cool local acts in each city to open up; Nyssa is an artist that my friend Katie Monks from Dilly Dally told me about, so I booked her for a show. Julian said she was wonderful and was like, ‘You should be her friend’. Nyssa and I became good buds, so to have her open up this show is really special.
Computer Magic is an amazing producer who’s been around for a while. She was killing it back in 2010 when Brooklyn was creating this identity of its own, and it was a really special time. I was a huge fan of hers then, so it’s really cool to have her play this show because she’s a legend of New York and has such a strong fanbase and unique style.
The show is like putting three worlds together in a really cool room. The Broadway is a great new venue that’s been redesigned really well; it’s three worlds in this intimate space and I know it’s gonna be a really memorable night.
Tickets for the first DIY x Alt Citizen night are priced at $12. Grab them here.